Category Archives: BDO

The 11 Commandments of Great MMO Player Housing

Briefly, for a split second last week, I was considering re-subscribing to LOTRO for the upcoming winter season of Q4. I have loved the world of LOTRO ever since joining late in 2013 despite its many flaws and these days, I like to call it my favorite MMO that I’m not playing. There’s always that pull, the call of Middle-Earth to return to its glamorous wide vistas, its merry horse rides and romantic visits to the Prancing Pony. How I miss playing my lute, sitting on a lonely rock under a tree.

The 11 Commandments of Great MMO Player Housing

But I know myself too well and the fickle beast that is MMO nostalgia. Jumping back into LOTRO would mean jumping back to the Gates of Moria grind of the mid-40ies, dealing with an overwhelming number of features and systems that are poorly introduced to newbies and the same old static MMO combat. It would also mean dealing with the loss of my housing plot which was lackluster to begin with, yet I gave it my all to make the little hut by the waterfall somewhat comfy and welcoming. For years, I’ve hoped Turbine would up their housing game as so many have – it’s one feature that would get me to re-sub in a heartbeat, if only it were properly revamped and made accessible.

Yet once again, it’s not to be; watching the upcoming LOTRO patch features has left me forever disillusioned with this developer’s idea of a good housing system. LOTRO’s premium housing is as expensive and inaccessible as ever, not that I had my hopes up for “premium” housing in the first place. Still, it’s grinding my gears! Player housing should be an integral part of MMOs these days and yet over and over, players are being let down in this department. When will this long-awaited “future of better player housing” finally arrive?

I guess it’s fair to mention Wildstar and Black Desert Online in this context, two titles which both made laudable attempts at accessible and fun player housing in more recent years. I loved my sky plot in Wildstar, the crazy customization and design options, yet Wildstar housing is so disconnected from the rest of the world that it never quite felt like a home but rather, that side-game you go play at when you need a break from being social. That’s the issue with instanced player housing which is both a blessing and a curse in so many ways. Pearl Abyss tried to solve this very issue most expertly in BDO – yet all seamless phasing and great housing options aside, the fundamental questions of “what to do with all this stuff now?” and “what is it good for?” remain mostly unanswered.

The 11 Commandments of Great MMO Player Housing

The 11 Commandments of Great MMO Player Housing

Musing on all my gripes with player housing old and new has inspired me to come up with a definite list of commandments or guidelines to ensure housing features are a fun addition to games rather than frustration. Your mileage may vary but here go my personal commandments for great MMO housing design –

  1. Thou shalt not make your MMO housing an exclusive or expensive feature.
  2. Thou shalt not create a limited number of housing options that are up for FCFS land grabs.
  3. Thou shalt not exact weekly or monthly housing tolls / upkeep costs.
  4. Thou shalt not pre-define indoor/outdoor decoration options and location of hooks/plugs.
  5. Thou shalt not unreasonably restrict the total item number of decor items.
  6. Thou shalt allow for social sharing of housing rights and visitation.
  7. Thou shalt not disconnect housing from the rest of the outdoors / world.
  8. Thou shalt offer great variety of cosmetic customization for housing, such as layouts, colors, styles, materials and music.
  9. Thou shalt give housing a meaning beyond cosmetics, such as storage, crafting, stabling, shops and neighborhoods.
  10. Thou shalt offer housing items from various sources, such as questing, raiding, crafting and trade.
  11. Thou shalt enable players to expand their housing space over time.

And yes, this is all easier said than done. I realize, I don’t know of any MMO that meets all commandments although Ultima Online came reasonably close and I also keep hearing the praises of EQ2. Then again, I’m not looking to play 2D top-down and generally much older MMORPGs these days, sooooo……I guess I want too many things! It’s a nice thought, though.

Black Desert Online Status Report: My Top 10 Gripes

Black Desert Online has been out for over a month and I’ve had an absolute blast so far. I am nowhere near max level yet, nor do I wish to be as I continue this fantastic journey through vast and beautiful lands. These past weeks I have explored, crafted, traded, decorated, fished and killed a few things. Mostly, I have taken screenshots and sighed in awe at the scenery. All that said, there are also quite a few things getting on my nerves by now, so following in Bhag’s footsteps – let’s talk about that!

Black Desert Online Top 10 Gripes

Naturally, there will never be agreement over the things we as players regard as priority issues in MMOs. One month in, my list of pet peeves has grown but my top concerns need not be the next person’s; it all depends on play-style and focus. What everyone can probably agree on is that Black Desert’s UI is clunky and the game could do with more polish in many areas of micromanagement and basic functionality. Given the title’s been out in Korea for two years however, I have serious doubts we’ll see much change anytime soon. So for what its worth, these are my Black Desert Online top 10 gripes as of now, in no particular order:

1. Marketplace Functionality

Let’s face it, the marketplace in Black Desert Online is the worst. The search function lacks basic criteria, many items are assigned to the wrong category (wool is now a plant!) and the fixed pricing system really doesn’t work so well. Also, don’t get me started on the onerous process of listing your own items, I have stopped counting how many clicks are necessary until my stuff is finally up – halp!

2. Inventory Management

While I am okay with the general bag and storage space in the game, inventory management itself is quite the nightmare. The list goes from not being able to re-arrange your items as you see fit or split stacks, to missing vendor options such as “sell all trash”. Even with plenty of bagspace, you feel like you’re constantly overloaded on trash items as well as the many byproducts from crafting with no way to separate these from gear and more important items. Eugh.

3. Double and Triple Confirmations

Do I want to sell? Do I really really? And how many?….It is beyond me why I am pressing so many buttons in Black Desert Online when trying to sell or purchase items or put them up on the marketplace. Given there is a buy-back window at every vendor, I do not understand why the game needs to babysit me for every choice I make. And can we please just right-click sell and buy, pretty please? What’s with all the different buttons?

4. Always-Online Mode

There are quite a few ways in which Black Desert Online encourages players to go AFK or keep the game running in the background. Energy replenishes faster while lying in your bed, crops don’t grow while you are offline and workers won’t perform their assigned gathering tasks, although for whatever reason crafting in workshops seems to be the exception. While I understand motivations behind some of these design choices, I simply don’t believe it makes that much of a difference; players will let their PCs run if must be but same as for Eri, it’s neither an ecological nor agreeable choice for me personally.

5. Gear and Costume Choices

The game needs more of everything, okay? Also a better cosmetics tab, please!

Black Desert Online Top 10 Gripes

6. Housing Ratings

The rating system for houses is completely broken. This is grating on me personally because I put a lot of effort into interior design and making my home look unique and shiny – yet I don’t even make it into the listed top 20 because dumping several furniture sets from the store will give you the highest rating possible. Cash shop bias, much? I’ve visited listed houses plenty of times now and nine times out of ten, you’ll find store furniture dumped in a corner or alternatively, 100 flower vases and turban shells stacked on top of one another. This is why only players should be rating houses in MMOs and not some highly flawed decor bonus system!

7. Friendlist Management

Have you ever noticed your friends logging on into Black Desert Online? – Well, me neither! The friend list is a horrible mess, there are no sound notifications that I could remember and no prompts for received tells either. I hate how complicated and difficult it is to add and contact people when it really shouldn’t be in a massively multiplayer game?!

8. No Floating Combat Text

Far be it from me to require DPS meters in MMOs but the fact that I haven’t got a clue what damage I am doing (or not doing) to mobs while grinding and questing is highly irritating. I just upgraded my gear to Grunil and I really would’ve liked running some comparisons but somehow, you’re not supposed to know exactly what difference all this upgrading, enhancing and gem socketing makes. There are basic character stats of course (some of which are bugged too) but hitting things in the dark without any type of combat log is not my cup of coffee. It seems an incredibly weird design decision that I don’t recall encountering anywhere else.

9. Dyes Suck

Black Desert Online really wants you to suffer when it comes to dyeing armor which is sadly the only way to make your character look a bit more unique. The terrible dye window deserves its own rant section but what really gets to me is that dyes aren’t only cash shop-only in this game, they are also random (within a greater color range) and one-time use! This makes it a ridiculous system that deserves being boycotted….I’ll be stuck with the few dyes I receive from loyalty rewards every now and then.

10. Playing Alone Together

Black Desert Online punishes player interaction in various ways. Looking back on four weeks of playing, the great majority of my time was spent alone. Joining a friendly guild has slightly improved this situation as far as chatting and guild missions go but it’s still far from a social gameplay experience for the most part. Considering that Pearl Abyss seem to have lost the war on gold sellers, it feels like the community is paying far too high a price in all of this. I’d like to see cooperation and interaction penalties removed from the game and also features such as shared housing and guild banks become a thing.

Black Desert Online Top 10 Gripes

And there I already ran out of 10 points to list when I could have gone on. For the sake of completion, I’ll mention that auto-pathing in Black Desert Online is pretty bad, to the point where weird detours and bumping into everyone and everything makes me grind my teeth at times. Other than that, there’s plenty of small things that could use more polish but aren’t exactly frontrunners; it’s amazing how we adapt to a lot of things in MMOs after playing for extended periods of time. The UI didn’t make the list for this reason, despite frustrating me to no end during the first few days of playing in the beta. Guess am over it.

What urgent issues would you like to see addressed in Black Desert Online as soon as possible?

Off the Chest: MMOs are too cheap, Battle Bards Anniversary and my Black Desert Crib!

off the chest

There are too many small updates today, which is a perfect excuse for a quick multi-topic post!

After much consideration and more payment model debates over the past few weeks, I decided I really haven’t had enough of this yet – which led to this post on Camelot Unchained and Subscriptions (and MMO pricing) over at MMOGames. The recent MassivelyOP interview with Mark Jacobs tied in perfectly and from there, it was impossible not to take another look at MMO-specific free-to-play models. I don’t know how many more times this topic is going to occupy my mind, I suspect it will in 6-12 months time like all the other MMO evergreens, but am definitely holding on to this one: MMOs are too cheap and payment model shenanigans are here to stay as long as that’s the case. Solutions are easier said than done, but I would rather see higher pricing for buy-to-play / lifetime sub MMOs than what we’re currently seeing in terms of payment model hybrids.

The Battle Bards Podcast is turning 3!

After 72 episodes and many an MMO music argument, the podcast by Syp, Steff and myself is turning three years old, hooray! This is pretty wild and an occasion to celebrate because we never really expected to last this long, without an end in sight. We’re also getting back to some listeners requests on this special anniversary episode which was a very fun event to return to.


Casa de Syl in Black Desert Online

As Bhagpuss pointed out in his post of today, BDO is seeing content and seasonal events added at lightning speed ever since launch and with that have come additional housing items to decorate our cribs for more shiny! I’m starting to feel pretty happy with my home in Velia 2.3 which is why I decided to take a brief fraps the other night and take a tour. The basement isn’t nearly where I want it to be….but hey, I’m not in a rush, right!

I really look forward to what else will get added over time, as the furniture options in the game have started to feel fairly limited. The recent Mediah patch introduced a new, fairly ugly set of furniture in the cash shop and looking at the market place, there’s not much else to get right now. I should probably start crafting some of those curtains and pillows for myself and find out where to get that blasted owl cage from!

MMO Satisfaction: We Yearn to Learn

Somewhere between Black Desert Online’s learning curve madness and getting the hang out of sending my workers to craft for me in exchange for beer, I’ve come to know a great satisfaction from creating my own gear, furniture and horse armor in the game. I mentioned few days ago how I’m not a crafter in MMOs but BDO fulfills some itch I didn’t know existed without asking me to get super-hardcore about things. I’ve heard the game being compared to EVE Online’s infamous beginners difficulty but I doubt it’s a very apt comparison. Black Desert for all its little inconveniences, requires more in terms of perseverance than actual skill. Or in other words: keep calm and play on, it will all be okay!

MMO Satisfaction: We Yearn to Learn

What adds to the enjoyment of creating useful things for myself is the simple fact that I now know “how to”; the rabbit holes goes deep and I’m on my way. The fact that BDO is far from beginner friendly, comes with a fussy UI and informational gaps, results in a type of satisfaction that’s not to be mistaken for “fun”. For a run-down of these two definitions, I like to refer to this excellent post by Psychochild which I return to whenever the subject of MMO fun pops up.

Dealing with bad translations or unintuitive interfaces (of which there are many in BDO) isn’t fun but it allows for that “grim” satisfaction that kicks in once you’ve conquered and mastered something tricky. All MMOs do this, although preferably by design rather than not/bad design. Grind is one example of something rather unfun but potentially satisfactory in a game. Either way, once difficulty or complexity have been conquered the outcome is always the same: I feel glorious victor!

Learn, Master, Move on

Good or bad design, intended difficulty or not, what makes the early MMO experience such an enjoyable one is knowing nothing and learning everything. These past few years, I’ve lost nearly all sense of newbie progression when trying out new games: nothing surprised me anymore, everything was overly familiar, following the same design “gold standard” both on the formal and content management end of things. Now to be clear, polish is important and BDO could certainly use more of that here and there. Yet, the game has forced players to collaborate in unexpected ways when it comes to knowledge sharing and its alien handling and shutting up about stuff has made for many a great story and shared laugh on forums, channels and social media.

MMO Satisfaction: We Yearn to Learn

A little fun on April’s Fools

Naturally, I was kidding in above twitter conversation but then, we’re talking about Black Desert Online which means you never know! I get both confused and delighted by the game’s internal logic at times, so it’s definitely forcing me out of my comfort zone. I am faced with new things in an MMO – what’s going on??

I suspect that I am currently not alone in feeling quite forgiving about some of BDO’s greater flaws for the above reason. More than that, these perceived flaws add to my personal enjoyment of the game, by virtue of bringing a little satisfaction to an otherwise very fun experience (which is important: the game overall is also a ton of fun). I need both for an MMO to enthrall me more long-term.

“…before all so-called progress, what we really want is variation. We yearn to learn things, master things, then move on to different things. Not just new; it needs to be new and different.” (source)

What many an MMO review, blog battle and twitter discussion have taught me over the years is that I don’t want the same one thing from the games I’m playing. Yesterday, forced grouping seemed like a good idea – today it doesn’t. Maybe it will again tomorrow, after tiring of today’s lessons. It borders on the unfair but when switching between titles, the biggest breaking point may simply be novelty and variation. Is a new game repeating expertly what has been done right before or is it entering uncharted territory, failing gloriously in places? Is it maybe just bringing back something we’ve forgotten by now which therefore feels equally refreshing?

There’s nothing more to learn in the familiar, yet as players we yearn to learn. So right now, an MMO that’s pushing me to do just that, sometimes to the point of being overwhelmed, sounds like the perfect poison. Purple mastery will come soon enough – for now, let me bask in the sunlight of green beginnings.

Black Desert Online Mediah Patch is live! And: The Joys of not being a Frontrunner

A month into official launch Black Desert Online already released the Mediah patch today with all sorts of goodies, ranging from new quests and items to a 30% world map increase. You might have guessed that last point makes me especially happy and I itched all day to jump into the game and ride around for hours chasing genies, collecting cherry blossoms and getting my screenshots fix. It rocks being me – Black Desert Online is already my game of the year!

Black Desert Online Mediah Patch Altinova

Altinova Entrance

Black Desert Online Mediah Patch Altinova

Because there weren’t big cities in the game yet..

While the official BDO forums are still trying to come to terms with an expansion so shortly after original release, because you can have too much to do in an MMO or something, I had a blast so far exploring Tarif and Altinova. As most of the town names and NPCs in Mediah suggest, players heading East from Heidel are in for a veritable pilgrimage to the Black Desert’s Middle East (or alternatively North Africa) – exotic magic, camel caravans and shishas included. Heck, there is even an innkeep lady stationed in Altinova with my real life name, that’s one MMO-first for me!

Black Desert Online Mediah Patch Altinova

I need a camel mount!

Black Desert Online Mediah Patch Altinova

It’s the orient, alright.

It is a bit surprising Daum decided to launch this first expansion as quickly as they did but then there’s absolutely no reason why anyone outside of the most hardcore circles should feel rushed just because Black Desert Online got even more content. Maybe we shouldn’t even think of it as ‘content’ but rather treat it like an actual place; a world that’s vast enough to remain mysterious to the average player for a good while yet. I take comfort in that. Without endgame or linear progression, worrying about your individual pace, the best competitive gear or alchemy gems need not be a thing. And for those on the self-imposed fast lane who are ever a millisecond away from boredom, more frequent updates should seem like a boon too…but then this wouldn’t be an MMO if a vocal minority wasn’t unhappy with the way things are done, would it.

I am still nowhere near level 45 and now I really need to figure out how to buy a camel. Also, this thing creeps me out! –

Black Desert Online Mediah Patch Tarif


P.S. Daum published a Mediah patch trailer without corny voice overs this time, let’s be grateful!

The Guy that wins the Internet..

…or maybe just Black Desert Online alright, but this bloke standing around in Heidel really made my day:


Hilarious lols

The infamous pay-2-win, shop-only ghillie suit dyed pink and turquoise made me laugh hysterically at the irony of it all. Probably no intentional meta-mockery, it displays perfectly what goes wrong in so many debates around specific cash shop items in MMOs: your pay-2-win item is my convenience item is his cosmetic item.


BDO Progress Report: I made stuff and Housing is awesome!

There’s something very rewarding about crafting in Black Desert Online and I’m saying that as somebody who never crafts in MMORPGs, like ever. Crafting never made a lot of sense to me in the past; it was either too tiresome to gather materials due to skill gating, too frustrating and punishing in terms of output-RNG (hello FFXI *fizzles*) or simply not effective or required because everything could be bought in the auction house without hassle.

Crafting doesn’t feel irrelevant in Black Desert Online, maybe due to the game’s many trading constraints or just its more complex, crafting-centric gameplay. In hindsight I can say that there is an enjoyable learning curve to the whole contribution-investment and workshop process that let’s you craft pretty much anything in the game for yourself once you understand building progression. There’s none of the usual recipe or schematic hunt involved which I find incredibly liberating. You can gather everything too just by “doing it”, assuming you got the right tools for the job. Then it’s time to explore and learn where the best nodes and resources are located on the map; I know where all the cotton is hiding and I’m not telling!

BDO Progress Report: I made stuff and Housing is awesome!

I made this horse armor for myself and dyed it Azeroth Alliance style!

There is an enjoyable balance struck between the time it takes to gather and process basic mats and achieving the more longterm goal of crafting a serious upgrade or nice piece of furniture. It is not hardcore by any stretch – it is just about right for someone like myself with an average tolerance for downtime shenanigans. And yes there is the auction house too, yet for most basic mats you have to put in the time yourself and manage your alts accordingly. There’s great satisfaction in crafting something bigger and actually useful for yourself!

BDO Progress Report: I made stuff and Housing is awesome!

Moar gear for Syl!

Black Desert Online’s Approach to Housing

Maybe an even greater accomplishment is how Black Desert handles its housing. I will go as far as saying that the game features by far the best and most skillfully realized housing mechanic in MMOs since always, without going down the always sub-par instanced road. Two particular reasons:

  • A perfect compromise between instanced and outdoor housing
  • Easily accessible and affordable housing for everybody!

MMO housing isn’t just a highly enjoyable opportunity to individualize one’s own virtual world experience, it’s an important feature when it comes to player retention. Carving out your own little space, collecting and hanging trophies, these are activities that add glue to our relationship with games and make us want to return. It is pleasant to come home to something we call our own, no matter the illusion.

BDO Progress Report: I made stuff and Housing is awesome!

Loving my flat in Velia.

BDO Progress Report: I made stuff and Housing is awesome!

I have a big door!

Now I agree UO-style outdoor housing was great but let’s face it, comparing today’s titles with Ultima Online is far-fetched to say the least. We’re not dealing with isometric pseudo-3D worlds any longer that house a few thousand players at most. I have experienced server lag and continuous disconnects in Landmark and it wasn’t pretty. I have also been through annoying “land grabs” or faced the usual “inaccessible because ludicrously prized”-MMO housing plenty of times in other games, enough times to know they are neither enjoyable nor fun. And I frankly have no time setting a phone alarm every few days to go and refresh some plot because it disappears if I am playing a game too casually or go on holidays. Come on!

No thanks to all of that! Housing is just too awesome a feature to turn it into a maintenance nightmare or exclude the majority of your playerbase. Now to be fair, Black Desert Online’s housing is far from perfect where interior design is concerned: the furniture placement tool is pretty awful right now and the game needs a lot more options in wallpapers/flooring, general items and lighting especially. Possibilities feel too restricted, similar to my room in FFXIV. Still, BDO beats all competition by a landslide when it comes to its execution of  seamless “phased outdoor housing”. That split-second of loading time aside when entering my door, I cannot tell I am not actually located in the outside world. Heck, I can even open my windows and see the streets outside.

Black Desert Online let’s you have up to 5 residences anywhere on the world map where nodes allow for housing options. The layouts of every house vary a great deal, so exploring options is its own reward. And thanks to the effortless way contribution currency can be invested and withdrawn at any time without repercussions, it is simple enough to pack one’s bags and move to another city or town or farm. I call that awesome housing mechanics in an MMO!

BDO Progress Report: I made stuff and Housing is awesome!

7.5 is a very roomy house in Heidel

BDO Progress Report: I made stuff and Housing is awesome!

So much space to decorate!

In case you’re interested where some of the “best houses” are located in the game, in my humble opinion:

  • Velia 2.3 (2 floors, 3 rooms, 2 doors, 2 fireplaces, very high ceilings!)
  • Heidel 7.5 (2 floors, 4 rooms, big stair, high ceilings)

I am stationed in Velia 2.3 myself at the moment but will probably require a more central flat to stay at very soon. Let me know if you find anything nearly as roomy anywhere close to Calpheon so I can book that U-Haul!

BDO Travel Log: At first I was like “Oh, little Ents”…and then I ran!

So I decided to get some map progress in Black Desert Online last night and hit the road equipped with naught but my trusted horse, some carrots and a lantern for when that scary time comes along at 22.00. I had not yet discovered the south-eastern parts of BDO and parts of the south-western border were still clouded in mistery. Aware of the general direction, I soon toggled off the UI for better screenshot measure and feels. The feels got real real fast.


The adventure is real.

I am starting to think there’s not a patch on that huge world map that doesn’t hold some sort of secret, a hauntingly beautiful vista, a quirky new race, or a fake wall to crawl under and reveal a deep cavern beyond. These actually exist; they’re not obvious to see but there are fake walls with cracks leading to Tomb Raider style treasure hunting, so always look for the telltale signs.

Speaking of other IPs, it seems someone at Pearl Abyss is madly in love with the Lord of the Rings. It’s not just hinted at in the main story but screams at you from so many details in the world. Naturally the elves live in Lothlorien too in BDO but before I get ahead of myself: I also found the Ent Forest.

At first I was like “ohh little Ents”, when all the shrubbery around me came alive to get a bite off my horse –


Harmless Mini-Ents

…Charming! Escaping the hungry underbrush I ventured deeper into the forest and lo and behold, “bigger Ents!” –


Still harmless medium Ent

…that was all fine and dandy before a deafening sound just behind me pierced the air like a hundred dying trees, followed by a large “THUMP” in my general direction. “Oh shit, a REAL Ent!” –


Time to gooooooo!

I couldn’t even photograph the whole sucker. It cast a high shadow among the tallest trees and yes, there were several tree herders in this forest. Time to run and see the elves before Papa Bear kidnapped me to the Entmoot!

Ever the aestheticians, the elves lived up beautiful trees with spiral staircases going ever up and up. There was a lift too for the lazy which I promptly accepted. The highest platform on the chief tree was only accessible by ladder and from high above the view was stunning right before sunset. There is housing here to be rented too, albeit not a very roomy option.

The adventure could have stopped here. Surely it should – it would be greedy to ask for more. However I had barely turned my back on elfland, when a giant Cyclops started chasing me in massive leaps across the map. Apparently this corner of the world is all about big things intent on killing you. On the bright side, escaping the cyclops is how I found Crio Village, home of the Otters. I am not going to spoil it too much –

I didn’t even know this was a thing! The game keeps doing that, it keeps surprising me around every other corner. The world of Black Desert Online feels very real at first, almost “too real” running danger of getting boring – but no so. Who needs heavily themed patchwork-zones in an MMO when you can have a seamless world that despite its pretty realism is packed with reward and whimsy? Or as Bhagpuss puts it: this land is vast and wild and filled with wonders. If you seek them out, you will find them.


The world is as beautiful as you see it

Happy Friday everybody! Enjoy these early steps of MMO exploration, they’re precious!

MMOs are Here to Stay. And: Black Desert Online’s Singleplayer Experience

The last week wasn’t an enjoyable one for MMO fans and much more devastating for developers. Between Wildstar’s layoffs and Everquest Next being shelved for good, people worry about the future of the genre as we know it. I am using that phrase very consciously because massively multiplayer online games will always be a thing – we just don’t know what thing. Or in Scaurus’ words: “we are old fogies holding onto old definitions”. I am pretty sure that the fascination of chasing virtual dragons (or zombies) with other people is not particular to only my generation. MMO angst has gone from an annual bloggers favorite to a quarterly one and yet somehow, we are still here. I’ve been called overly optimistic about the genre before; I decide to remain so until proven otherwise. The fact is when we look back on MMOs an awful lot of things have gotten better over the years, and some have gotten worse or just different. Every time the wheel turns there’s what we leave behind but there’s also what’s yet to come.

And so I came across Russel Shanks giving an interview on EQN’s cancellation over at, with particular note to this segment:

MMORPG: Do you think the genre of MMO, MMORPG, MMOG, or whatever you want to call it is just in a different place these days? There are a handful making a lot of money, and plenty of smaller niche titles carving out their own fanbase. But where you do you see the genre headed, as a company and as a fan?

RS: I believe the magic of MMORPGs and MMOs in general has not been diminished.  In fact, games like Destiny incorporate many of the compelling elements of classic MMOs, which expose them to a new generation of gamers.

Good MMOs bring players together. The activities within the games provide social opportunities, as well as challenges and achievements that build lasting friendships, camaraderie, and long-term enjoyment.  These elements, combined with scale, differentiate MMOs from most other forms of entertainment.  I don’t see them going out of style, ever.

Moving on to playing Black Desert Online, right now I have a few minor gripes from within the realm of polish: the fussy submenu handling and mouse cursor switch, the weird auction house, not being able to buy multiple items without choosing a separate buyer’s option and then confirming choices over and over (YES okay??), overly complicated dye management…and so forth. Am sure these are fairly popular annoyances with hopefullly fixes down the road.

Black Desert Online's singleplayer experience

“You have to enjoy solitude to be a friend of the sea.” ..quoth the sea otter.

If we are thinking more longterm however, there is one thing on the forefront of my mind since the beta: BDO is very playing alone together. There is not just very little opportunity to cooperate with other players, the game actively discourages player-to-player interaction on several levels:

– Restricted ability to speak in global channels (due to goldspam)
– No player to player trading other than potions (due to goldspam…it didn’t work because the shop allows gifting)
– Experience penalties for grouping up above five levels difference
– Guild size capped at 100 people
– Guild leaders having to afford all fees/money costs themselves
– No shared nodes / looting in FFA
– No way to share housing or crafting installations

Given there is also little traditional cooperative PVE content (not complaining), it would be nice if there was at least the basic social experience of you know, sharing your resources or housing with somebody else or within guilds. It’s also not exactly easy to group up without EXP penalties or meet new people in the game, although I have that same complaint for FFXIV which doesn’t even offer global channels. I fully understand publishers trying to fight the goldseller plague but the player base is paying a very high price for it considering it’s not working?

I realize this isn’t an issue for everybody. To me, cooperation is still to some degree a core mechanic of MMORPGs and it feels like a more sandboxy title should allow for that and not actively penalize it. Random acts of kindness between strangers go a long way. Maybe I am missing something here. All I know is further down the road, Black Desert Online’s singleplayer experience might get real lonely pour moi.

Black Desert Online Additional Cosmetics Guide

Many Black Desert Online players whether they be in possession of shop costumes or not, are somewhat disappointed at the lackluster choice of gear and armor looks in the game. Gear is an important part of a character’s more unique identity so it’s especially sad if an MMO with sandbox and roleplaying appeal lacks such options almost entirely. I am also not quite sure why we can’t see our combat headgear in the game and it bugs me that there aren’t in fact leg items for further customization (the chest piece includes pants or….no pants for the ladies).

Anyway, I am set on acquiring whatever nice cosmetic option there is outside of class templates and costumes. As turns out after some research, there’s unique looking profession gear as well as a noble and traveling attire that can be created by yourself after some resource gathering and setting up shop! If you’re not deeply into the combat end of things, it won’t matter one bit you’re not wearing all the stats in the world.

Now the profession gear can also be bought in some cities (for example in Calpheon or Epheria Port) for a lot of money or alternatively on the auction house. Black Desert Online being what it is though, I see no reason why this shouldn’t be a longterm goal to achieve by myself. To present an overview, here’s my Black Desert Online Additional Cosmetics Guide!

Silver Embroidered Profession Gear

These chest pieces are created by a lvl 1 costume mill (housing system option) such as can be found in Heidel or Calpheon. There’s no skill level requirements for wearing the first level/crafted items and they come with respective profession boosts. The Processor’s gear is currently missing in the NA/EU version. Equipping these items will un-equip all your other armor. These items aren’t dyeable.

I trust you know how to invest contribution points and use workers to craft, so all that’s required is gathering some mats that aren’t too bad (some might also be cheap on the AH). To check design mats, use this database search or look them up ingame in the costume mill window.


BDO silver embroidered gear, images courtesy of and

Progression: These items can be enhanced by an expensive game of RNG in order to boost the bonuses or alternatively you can get higher level ones from quests and achievements. According to tooltip apprentice level or higher gear can then be turned into a costume by way of exchange coupons which do not appear to be an option in the EU/NA version of the game at the moment (also turning into a costume will lose the stat boosts). The looks of the level 1-2 gear is the same; at/above(?) level 3 you *may* get an alternative look (so far only confirmed for skilled gatherer* model).

Lvl1: Silver embroidered: looks as above, no level requirement – crafted
Lvl2: Apprentice: looks as above, beginner 10 requirement – obtained via quest
Lvl3: Skilled: alternative looks(?), skilled 5 requirement – obtained via quest
Lvl4: Professional: appearance unclear, professional 1 requirement – obtained for achievement “master XY”

Calpheon Noble Attire

The Calpheon Noble’s suit or dress can only be crafted by a lvl 2 costume mill as you’ll find it in Calpheon. These appear to be class-specific items with the same basic looks in blue/red for male/female character, according to the information I was able to gather which was limited. Whether the cuts look significantly different depending on class, I can’t say at this point (screenshots welcome). Wearing a suit or dress boosts your amity gain from conversations by +15%. These items aren’t dyeable.

Besides basic mats, they require a design item bought from the Calpheon Tailor shop which costs 50’000 silver and only unlocks after a certain amount of amity. To check mats, use this database search or look them up ingame in the costume mill window.

Black Desert Online Additional Cosmetics Guide

Calpheon Noble Suit and Dress, images courtesy of

Garner Traveling Gear

I got nothing on these costumes other than that you can craft them with a level 2 costume mill in Calpheon and that they also boost your amity gain by 15%. For whatever reason, the witch and wizard don’t come up in the EU/NA version of the game yet, instead there’s one design for the Musa/Blader class right now.

According to the costume mill window, these also require a design item together with other mats. As for looks, there’s this 3D model of the Musa costume which looks like a jester’s suit. If anyone actually finds more information/screenshots of these and can confirm whether they can actually be acquired at this point, let me know so I can update this asap.


I think for now it’s safe to say I’ll be starting to craft some of the silver embroidered gear which looks by far the easiest to make and is also useful for crafting. I’ll be updating and amending this guide with further information in the future, so please tread with caution and send additional info my way – cheers!

– March 14th: added farmer to professions
– March 17th: new image for skilled gatherer
– March 20th: updated prof gear progression, with thanks to Wondo