Category Archives: BDO

The Fantastic Races of the Black Desert

Black Desert Online is one of those MMOs, like Age of Conan, that only lets you roll humans/humanlikes as player characters. Okay, the ranger class are elves apparently (although my ranger looks zero elf and a good thing too) and it’s debatable what Berserkers are… But there’s not the exotic choice of being a tiny Asura, a grumpy dwarf or a green-skinned orc in BDO. What that meant to me at first was that I wasn’t going to encounter the usual high fantasy whimsy in this MMO but a more serious, maybe Skyrim-esque setting with the odd dragon or crazy wizard.

Thank god I was wrong! For some reason Pearl Abyss are only down to earth when it comes to player classes but outside of that, anything goes. Exploring the world of Black Desert Online with all its different quirky races is a true delight. I’ve only discovered maybe half of the current map by now and some of the races I’ve encountered had me go squee with joy or laugh in amazement. Current favorites: otters and kuku birds!


Dwarves and Granoks?


Otter with dudes that look like fauns


Goblins have it tough in BDO




They have a cave troll!


Creepy reindeer geek


Fishman on his way to weightwatchers


Mario was here


He asked me to kiss him, I said no


KUKU bird <3

Happy Friday everyone and enjoy that early MMO magic!

Black Desert Online Soundtrack Interview at MMOGames

This is just a quick update to ping the composer interview I got to make for MMOGames with the leading people behind Black Desert Online’s soundtrack. There was next to no (English) information about this so far, so I was excited to get this special opportunity. It is always fascinating to hear how different composers approach creating MMO music, especially for titles that have different publishers across the world and pay credit to regional differences and language. BDO’s music has been somewhat hit and miss for me so far in terms of consistency, but we’ll be talking about that more in an upcoming Battle Bards episode.

My first MMO music column at MMOGames was about Blade&Soul, in case you are interested! Now excuse me, I have carrots to farm and cats to take for a horse ride in Black Desert!

Black Desert Online Soundtrack Interview

Riding with kitty!

Black Desert Online: Cash Shop Equanimity

Black Desert Online’s cash shop is rather pricey which is the one complaint I personally have with it. The 3$ reduction between CBT2 and launch doesn’t deserve a weak smile, 29$ for a cosmetic costume in a game that offers very little variety in armor styles is tough. I don’t quite understand it either: assuming I am not the average MMO customer, Daum could make a lot more money by lowering prices by 50% and have more than double the people grab one or two costumes instead. But that’s a question for the economists and all those who have real insight into spending behavior in Korea versus Europe or North America.

Other than that, BDO’s cash shop served for many an outcry selling a ghillie suit and lucky underpants which are supposedly very pay-to-win in an endgame that never comes (no level cap?). Sorry, doesn’t interest me in the slightest. And Eri is very angry at herself for buying pets and inventory space because that made a company that’s delivered a beautiful and huge game a couple of extra bucks after “only being buy-to-play”. If it’s any consolation, I too have bought a few things in the cash shop when I really didn’t have to. I’m not sorry, I am enjoying my time with them. Why is spending a few bucks in a game you enjoy a question of moral guilt? Hellou.

The whole thing is starting to wear me down too because basically, not even f2p or b2p MMOs are supposed to have cash shops anymore nowadays. Screw the effort, size and maintenance of a game that’s run 24/7 across four continents. Fallout 4 can costs 70$ but god forbid an MMO that costs half that box price has a cash shop with few useful items! Where are we getting this notion from that MMOs must be financially self-sufficient for years without any subscription or shop? Where did PA or Daum make a statement that the game isn’t gonna make another dime after you bought the box? If there’s any false advertisement going on, I am not aware of it.


What do you mean I shouldn’t have bought this armor?

They can’t even sell cosmetics in shops anymore. Cosmetics are after all content to somebody (I love outfits okay)! So are pets and other conveniences, no matter if they could be acquired by other means if people did the research or had a bit of patience towards their “sandbox progression”. Okay, pets are off-limits in BDO the way most other things aren’t. Inventory space can be expanded another 30 slots just by playing the game and then there’s a whole list of things you can do via storage expansion and alts once you actually figure out how it all works. It’s fiddly yes but it also serves the underlying “realism” of the game that dictates towns should have individual storage or that characters can’t binge-craft for hours for example.

Only, we don’t want to figure out how it all works. We’re used to WoW convenience levels and always getting the best of everything and every MMO that comes out must start there. No thanks! I don’t want another themepark epic-lol-wins MMO like WoW. I don’t need the best pet, I don’t need to purple everything. Yeah, the weight limit annoys the shit out of me – I’ll see about that. Maybe I should just get a cart, you can actually do that. Almost every problem has a solution further down the road in Black Desert. And the exceptions aren’t real problems for me, either.

What are they gonna sell if they can’t sell cosmetics or dyes, can’t sell inventory or weight limit increases, can’t sell extra character slots (because they actually too matter in the game)? They can’t very well sell uber-potions and they can’t sell anything that’s already easily available ingame. And to their credit: there are no lottery-box-for-epics shenanigans going on in BDO’s cash shop, whereby someone could potentially burn endless cash on an illusion of greatness. I would rather it stayed that way.

And don’t get me started on subscription MMOs now because WoW and FFXIV too sell “content” by above definition in their cash shops on top of charging monthly.


Okay, that was a bit more than equanimity maybe! I keep finding myself in the same position for years when it comes to MMO payment models but truly, Black Desert offends me not. At the end of the day I decide what I consider good bang for the buck in a game and in the business of fun, no one’s defining any price tags but yourself.

Black Desert Online as a PvEr? Round Two: YES you should play!

Two weeks ago I asked the pressing question of whether Black Desert Online is actually a game for PvErs out there, including information we had on how PvP flagging works in the game and how it affects the later gameplay experience. I did make it clear in my post that when talking about PvE, I am referring to that established definition of “player versus environment” the way we’ve come to use it thanks to MMOs such as WoW, Rift, GW2 and many others. That means player versus quests, player versus dungeons, player versus raids and all associated and preconceived progression. Black Desert Online has little of that, plenty of quests and dailies aside; what it does have however is an incredible sandbox appeal, so much that it very well may be the game many jaded MMO veterenas, on both sides of the spectrum, have been craving.

Now here’s the important bit of news that requires this update: as it turns out, some of the previous information regarding PvP was in fact wrong. It’s frustrating how hard it is to find much corroborated information for the NA/EU installments of the game but basically, PvP is a little different for us at the present time, as was finally confirmed to me ingame by guild mates who are way past level 50:

  • PvP on NA/EU servers starts at level 45 (not 50)
  • While becoming eligible is still non-consensual, this does in fact not extend to any lowlevel alts (also goes for the Russian version of BDO)

In lieu of any contrary news or things planned for the game, this in itself is pretty huge if we understand how BDO works. The game is all about your different characters working together, sharing whatever progress you make but having separate energy pools to invest in various undertakings, such as resource gathering or crafting. The great news about this: you don’t have to level past 45 to access any of Black Desert’s huge non-combat content. If you opt to be a crafter, gatherer, trader, breeder, house decorator, farmer or candlestick maker – you can do it! Most of the quests related to these activities yield no life/skill EXP, only kill quests do; 50 hours in, I am still only level 21 because I started crafting and thus my character has basically been stagnant while I keep progressing in other ways.

And if  I should ever in fact require one higher level character, I can always use my “main” for that sort of adventure and switch to my alts for the rest. Right now, they are located in different towns and already assisting me a great deal. This is a big point about BDO, to conquer the world for yourself, decide where to make temporary or longterm homes and how to make best use of your different characters.

The game has no level cap either which to me proves it’s not about a set progression or reaching certain levels to unlock content. You can truly make your own adventure and if you ever need to venture anywhere with a level 45+ toon, wear the ghillie suit from the store and you’ll be next to invisible to other players (or just switch server channel if there’s any PvP, problem solved). For the amount of content BDO offers while not requiring any subscription, I am more than happy to put up with that.


The cities are madness

Yes, you should play in this sandbox!

After a considerable learning curve, I finally start feeling like I am “getting” into the flow of things (and there’s more and more guides for everything else). Now to be clear, I am still scratching the surface of BDO but I’ve finally managed to establish some resource nodes, I am training workers who bring back goods of my choosing every hour, I am gathering EVERYTHING I want to, I am crafting to the most satisfying animations and I am riding from place to place for hours because there ain’t any shortcuts. I tamed a wild horse two days ago and felt spectacular. Oh and fishing, just because my alt does that on her own when I go /afk. All of this is going on without obnoxious gold seller messages or botters due to the way PA handle the economy and regulate your ability to binge-craft, farm, fish as well as trade and sell goods.

The world of Black Desert is mind-blowingly beautiful in a Witcher 3 kind of way. More importantly, in this MMO the world truly is the player – you are not, you are just a lowly peasant that gets to do things in it. I could tell you about Calpheon city (Eri has done) and how ridiculously gorgeous, lively and huge it is, easily the most beautiful and largest city ever in MMORPGdom. The scale, the authenticity of how its crafted, the busy streets, they will break your heart. And yet none of it is the highlight of the game; there are so many regions, so many towns and hubs and little things, with individual economies and resources for you to engage with, I could go on for hours! Don’t get me started on the different funky fantasy races you encounter as you go along, I should probably dedicate a next post just to them


Cooking, brewing, drying, grinding, shaking, thinning…

I also got a new home in Velia now and am completely over the moon by the way Pearl Abyss have solved player housing. The fact that you own different, physically existing houses all over the world that let you phase in to perfection, is nothing short of a stellar job. Fancy a small hut by the river? A three-story apartment building with a cellar? A windmill with a fireplace? You can have it – you can have them all to do all sorts of useful things. Or you can just decorate to your heart’s content, open the windows and watch the view outside. In the Korean version of the game, there’s even big-style automated farming via NPCs and personal shop vendors. Every time I cross one of my own workers during my travels, it puts a wide smile on my face because they too actually “exist”.

bdo madness

I don’t know what I’ll be doing in two weeks time or three months from now. All I know is that I’ll still be playing Black Desert Online and doing 19347262094 things that have absolutely nothing to do with combat (and that require no cooperation other than from your own alts if that matters to you). I may build a cart for my horse and start trading for reals. Maybe I’ll get into making my own furniture or clothes. Or I’ll learn how to sail, build a boat and sail away forever, to make a new camp somewhere else.

Did I mention Black Desert Online has tents and campfires to pitch in the deep black of night? Yep.

If you’re at all into any of the things I have described above, just do yourself a favor and play this. (I have one 7 day guest pass for the first person who’d like one)

About that Black Desert Online Learning Curve

Five days into Black Desert Online, including some beta testing and headstart, my current state of mind is best described with this picture:

Black Desert Online learning curve

HALP! (click to enlarge crazyness)

I still don’t know what the fuck I am doing. And that is probably a good thing too, given how I generally find new MMORPGs too easy, too repetitive and too been there done that. Really, BDO is doing a lot of stuff its own way; I can’t say how effective or worthwhile it all is yet, but between node and worker management, haggling and raising amity with NPCs, one million gazillion crafty things and sub-menus for every possible resource, horse breeding, AFK-fishing, shipyards and feeding pets while looking to unlock the perfect residence, I have my hands full and then some. That Black Desert Online learning curve is no joke even for seasoned players.

Sandbox musings

While browsing the official Black Desert Online forums, I chanced upon this provocatively named youtube rant by WoW raider Kungen – ye, that dude that ran/runs Nihilum and raided with Ensidia for a time. I honestly never payed much attention to WoW’s 1% although there was a time when I statistically would have belonged among that group, albeit much further down the ladder from our Scandinavian overlords. In the few interviews I ever read back in’s time, most of them seemed aloof and not in touch with anything.

Anywho, after several minutes of WoW tirade Kungen goes over to waxing lyrical about BDO, its great sandbox premise and horizontal endgame “progression”. I confess, I found the video rather entertaining for all the ways he hits and misses various points related to his general WoW malaise. He is quite obviously incapable of relating to what constitutes the majority of WoW’s non-hardcore player base. Where there’s only “easy peasy mythics” left for him in today’s endgame, other players would argue that the game has added a lot of non-raiding related content over the years, from achievements to pet battles and the garrison. That doesn’t interest Kungen because raiding was the greatest in vanilla and after that, the game gradually went to shits. Here’s where I agree with him: WoW took a big turn for the worse after the conclusion of the Arthas arch in WotLK; I too am a Cataclysm-unsubscriber. And I hate flying mounts in WoW, they rank right after achievements for me.

The rest is mildly amusing, given how this hardcore player fails to realize how his playstyle adds to his own detriment in MMOs. He probably level 50+ during the BDO beta too or something, so I wonder how long the enthusiasm is gonna last. But hey, it’s nice that even the “WoW elite” (…) can appreciate Black Desert Online for doing things a bit differently.

Should you play Black Desert Online as a PvEr?

Important Update: some of the info in this post is outdated. Please see this update!

One of the lingering concerns from the final Black Desert Online beta is the very PvP-centric focus of the game. Given that we’re dealing with an MMO that comes with such a beautifully crafted world, complex gathering and crafting mechanics, interesting housing and farming features, horse taming, boat building and whatnot, it is understandable that there’s more than your average Darkfall crowd lining up for BDO. The biggest questions from PvErs are therefore twofold:

  • Can I turn off PvP mode for myself / will there be PvE servers?
  • What about classic PvE content, aka dungeons, quests, endgame..?

The first question is easily answered at this point: nope. While there are ramifications for player killing in BDO, once your first character hits level 50 (edited for correction: level 50 is not the level cap as BDO has none), you are available for PvP. There is no opt-out at the present time. This also extends to whatever alts you may create on the same account which will no longer benefit from any newbie moratorium. There is the misconception that “flagging yourself” for PvP in BDO means consensual PvP but that’s not in fact the case; flagging yourself is required to engage in PvP but it does not save anyone from being ganked whether they are flagged or not.

Now, from some of the replies I received to my early CBT2 impressions and also reading more related forum articles since, it appears that ever since the Korean launch PKing in BDO has been nerfed to a point where “it’s no longer fun for hardcore PVPers” due to hefty karma penalties. Indeed, there’s been a lot of  outcry over this. This may serve as some reassurance to all those who would like to try Black Desert without being continuously ganked by others; while you can be killed anywhere, it doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen an awful lot. BDO’s main PvP content is siege / arena / instanced PvP.


What about PvE servers and classic PvE content?

It is always tiresome to see how fast forum discussions on PvE servers get derailed and attacked by those who feel threatened by peaceful playstyles. Or rather that’s not what the PvP player fears: what he fears is the exodus of potential sheep for slaughter. PvP players know fully well that they are a minority. I guess from that point of view I understand their frustration – BDO was primarily developed with PvP in mind, so that audience considers it “their game”. Yet, it is simply a misconception that not having alternatives would mean everyone stays together. This is not the year 2000 where desperate MMO players stick around no matter their environment. These people will simply leave the game never to return. If you want outdoor PvP in any meaningful fashion in MMOs nowadays, it needs to be consensual while allowing everyone else to perform other roles. That said, for reasons already stated above I have my doubts PvE servers are even required.

Furthermore, it de facto doesn’t look like Pearl Abyss have any plans for PvE servers. In this, I believe some of the passionate PvP advocates on the official forums to be correct – it doesn’t make an awful lot of sense to have PvE servers in a game with so little classic PvE content or endgame. It’s a sandbox MMO which is basically the opposite of getting themepark PvE content handed to you. And to drive this point home further, the developers have made it pretty clear in a very recent pre-release interview that they have no intention to turn BDO into a classic PvE game:

Q: Are there any plans to add instance based dungeons and or raids for end game PVE content?

A: Adventures and fierce guild wars in Black Desert are strongly established on an open-world system. Some special content might need to utilize an instance dungeon system, but we are not going to add a repetitive instanced dungeon, where the sole purpose is getting rewards.  Guild- and party-centric raids are already implemented in the game now, and we are developing more advanced kind of raid.

Q: Are there any plans to do epic quest lines for an in game reward. I.E. Extremely difficult quest lines that could take month+ to complete. Rewards could be unique high end weapons that have special characteristics, stats, or an extremely unique look.

A: No matter how hard a quest is, it can never deliver the same level of achievement or anticipation once it is cleared or a walkthrough is published. Most of the quests in the beginning stages of the game are simple and guiding, but as the player proceeds toward a later stage of the game, such as Valencia, desert and maritime quests demand long-distance travel and intense adventure. A quest in Black Desert should be an extension of the exploration of the in-game region, and can also assist players by making the exploration more convenient or helping with character growth.  However, we’d like to state that we do not prefer a type of quest that players feel obliged to complete, in order to become stronger or to gain rewards. Players should play freely and naturally in the game, and it is never fun to be pressed into doing something to get rewards. We do plan to add some difficult quests, but the estimated time of arrival is still not set.

I must admit, while I do not find outdoor PvP enjoyable personally (but I am willing to give it a shot based on everything I know), I love everything about the answers provided above. The devs have no intention to do what’s already been done to death elsewhere. If you want long questlines that everyone can go look up on a Wiki after two days, go elsewhere. If you want to repeat the same dungeons over and over for rewards, go elsewhere.

That’s not to say that there won’t be any types of repetitive grinds in Black Desert Online, I know there will be. But it sounds like there’s a clear vision behind this MMO and a decided focus on sandbox over PvE. And isn’t that what so many have kept asking for in the past? Personally, I look forward to see how things turn out. Should you play Black Desert Online as a PvEr? Let’s find out.

Black Desert Online: Heidel City and Climbing the Top of the World

Yesterday concluded the last beta test for Black Desert Online before launch this March 3rd. I made the most of the time, looking at as many features of the game as I possibly could without spoiling myself entirely. And there is so much yet to grasp, it feels like I hardly scratched the surface. After my brief initial impressions, it was time to find out just how well the virtual world of Black Desert was crafted – would I be able to immerse myself in it entirely and explore to my heart’s content?

I named him Fred, he did not approve.

I named him Fred, he did not approve.

But first I got a donkey from the stable master, thinking it would speed up my travels. The beast felt awkward underneath me and even after I figured out a reluctant gallop, other players kept running past us on foot. Unwilling to deal with further humiliation, I decided to tie Fred down and let him feed on the surrounding grass, which he clearly preferred doing anyway.

I also had a brief flirt with the market place and my first ever encounter with transaction captchas in an MMO. Apparently this is PA’s answer to mass-playing the AH via macros. Since I had almost run out of cash over my unfaithful ride, it was time to blow the rest of it on housing which is a fairly involved affair in Black Desert leading to many different options for crafters. After acquiring a small shack in Velia, I had enough money left to turn the place into a residence and choose some wallpaper, flooring and a bed. Granted, it wasn’t much but it was all mine!

One can also just sit in a boat.

One can also just sit in a boat.

Onward to Heidel City

As I traveled ever further east from the original starting point, it was time to begin the ultimate litmus test of exploration and turn my UI off to allow for aimless wandering. Black Desert Online is beautiful and there are ways to make your screenshots look even more fantastic, so I made full employ of the various ingame options. On high res settings the textures are sharp and terrain is fully accessible, climbable and diveable. A sudden thunderstorm or gush of rain makes noticeable impact on your environment.

Before long, Heidel City crept up on the horizon. I could wax lyrical about what a genuine, lively and bustling place this was, but pictures say more than a thousand words in this case –

From the narrow, crooked cobblestone streets, to the lively feeling created by NPC behavior and the finely crafted details in an old archway or fluttering pennant, I loved everything about Heidel City. It is possibly the most beautiful place I’ve visited in an MMO/RPG next to GW2’s Divinity’s Reach and Novigrad in The Witcher 3. There are nooks and crannies to explore, chairs to sit on and NPC conversations to overhear (although there could be a bit more of that). It is an incredibly well-designed site as far as an authentic medieval-feeling city goes and I have been to a fair few in real life. And hooray, for once scale is working! I can only hope there are more cities like this in the game.

Climbing the tallest mountain around

Recovering from city shock, I wandered off and followed the river south of Heidel until a tall mountain range showed up. I had not really experienced forests yet in the game so it was time to find out if it could rival LOTRO’s Old Forest or Eorzea’s Black Shroud. I am not sure I actually found a forest proper but I found woods along the foot of the mountain and was generally pleased with the textures and shrubbery. There wasn’t the same atmosphere as in the other two MMOs though; the noticeable lack of critters and other creatures puzzled me. When I didn’t manage to “find” anything much, climbing the mountain to see how far I might get became a thing.

And it went on and on! I must’ve spent 15 minutes running and jumping over rocks, dodging one very angry stag lord materializing out of nowhere, before I got close to a finish line. I made it past the treeline and still further up things only came to a halt shortly before the mountain peak, where I was allowed to go no further. The view below was stunning, opening far and wide with recognizable landmarks in the far distance.

Invisible barriers are one of my pet peeves in MMOs. Black Desert Online appears to have very little of the sort and allows for an almost entirely persistent experience. I’ve yet to plunge into a thick, dark type of creepy forest but it is safe to say that my enthusiasm for the game was greatly improved by my two exploratory missions. Even if “endgame” should prove not to be my cup of tea down the line, it will be worth the journey on account of all the sights and places I have yet to see. Just send me that horse with my pre-order mail, please!

Black Desert Online: On the Fly CBT2 Impressions

Syl & Valor

Syl & Valor basking in the sunlight of BDO

So let’s get it out of the way before I start the nitpicking: Black Desert Online is every bit as gorgeous an MMO as the previews have made us believe. The characters I made in preparation for the second closed beta, all work beautifully and look as good and better ingame. The world is huge, detailed, vibrant and few high pop hubs aside because beta, I didn’t experience any lag on high graphical settings. The fact that this monster of a fantasy stage is completely persistent without a single loading screen ever to interrupt your travels, is impressive to say the least. The light, the weather effects, the sounds make this explorer’s heart beat a little faster.

The first towns have a distinct southern European feel.

The first towns have a distinct southern European feel.

Gameplay was not without its issues this second beta. I played my huntress past level 12, learning the ropes of a somewhat overwhelming UI that feels like a bottomless pit at first. Quest handling is familiar yet different, player resources such as karma or energy must be learned and understood. All the basics are accompanied by an ingame live action tutorial window (including audio instructor) in your bottom left corner which is a pretty neat idea (there’s also your personal Navi sprite for which I didn’t care as much). It kept me company while I was struggling to tag five quest mobs of this and that together with 100 other players and no chance of shared kills, something that made me lose the will to live quickly. There is no way this is still a thing? There were also glitches and texture loading issues I hope won’t make it past the set launch date of March 3rd.


World map shenanigans. You even see weather effects in this view.

Fussing around a few things stood out to me, namely travel, quest NPC interaction and of course the combat system. Travel commands and map handling are one of this MMOs greatest forte: other than manually going anywhere, there’s a smart point&click system at work that can be used both actively while running or from world map view. There’s also the option to just right-click your buddy on the world map (friendlists and party invites working perfectly) and make your character auto-run to that location. Furthermore there’s a command to make all of your player characters run to different locations on the map while you are offline, accessed from the disconnect menu. That is some interesting stuff.

Conversing with NPCs wasn’t quite so great. There’s an odd mix of voice-overs and written dialogue going on with quest NPCs especially, whereby they say one thing while you read another. At first I didn’t grasp both were coming from the same source. Also voice-overs are mostly terrible to the point where I wish they scratched the feature entirely. Clicking through quest dialogue was fairly boring too, usually offering just a single option to click. What’s the point?

The combat appears to be the most novel and intriguing system in BDO. I can see opinions split on button-combo-based action combat; it did feel a little like playing Streetfighter or Xenogears, for those who know it. There is an assist window to learn combos but once I figured button mashing was more or less as effective, I didn’t bother learning all the moves. I will have to retry this with a PC gamepad next time because it didn’t feel very comfortable to me at all, but then I haven’t nearly given this the time it deserves so don’t quote me on it. For now, it’s different!


50 euros = 5’000 pearls, ya rly.

Naturally I spent time in the item shop and was underwhelmed by the choices on offer and the very steep pricing. To be fair, Pearl Abyss are mostly keeping shop items in the realm of cosmetics and QoL improvements, however paying 50 Euros for one set of armor plus cosmetics and one pet is very steep for a buy-to-play title. One can also argue over things like extra bag space and weight limit increases requiring further expenditure. I would like to see adjustments here and definitely more armor and less underwear, of which there seems to be an abundance for female characters at least.


Menu settings

What did stand out to me as a big positive were countless interface options in the settings that let you tailor your personal experience. Things such as character highlight options for any conceivable target are a long-standing demand of mine. There are pet settings for turning off other companions other than your own and system notification tweaks to your heart’s content – just to name few things. The commands for taking screenshots (including cinematic modes and slow motion), adjusting the overall colors&feel of the game or camera view, are outstanding. All I really missed was a way to make my character not auto-stare at the camera, which is freaking weird.

I will need more time with Black Desert Online before I can draw any type of conclusion. I am still adjusting to the combat and how the overall gameplay feels. The cash shop aside, my biggest concern at this point is probably the PvP factor: after hitting level 50, hunting season officially starts for you and all your other characters from there. With a vast world to explore as well as some potentially interesting sandbox elements (housing, farming, crafting, taming etc.) I have yet to try, I feel weary thinking of groups of lolkids ganking me at every corner. But even if Pear Abyss did add PvE servers for BDO, the game might struggle with lack of endgame PvE content just the way GW2 has done. At least this time around, we seem to be looking at a much sandboxier title. Time will tell…but gosh, it’s a beautiful world!

Celebrity Lookalikes in Black Desert: I am Scared

Since the character creator for Black Desert Online is such a powerful tool, the community has naturally started to create all sorts of lookalikes of famous and not-so famous people. The recently recovered BDO Templates page (which was hacked because someone always needs to ruin the fun for others) has a dedicated section just for this purpose, although results vary greatly in quality. Still, some of the templates bear a striking resemblance to the original –


From left to right: Michael Jackson, Kate Beckinsale, Sean Bean

While I don’t expect a great number of these to be adopted for real when the game comes out, it scares me a little to think I might meet Donald Trump (ew) or Michael Jackson in a dark alley. I would also rather not be joined by Jessica Rabbit and Miley Cyrus while hunting trolls in the field. How is that for immersion? Bizarre.

P.S. I tried to create Arya Stark for myself last night, it’s not quite simple!

Black Desert Online: My Character Templates (I’m getting better!)

So I was whining a bit the other day about how complex and sometimes fussy the BDO character creator is. While this is still true, I believe I have vastly improved my understanding of the tool by now. There is honestly very little you cannot do with the faces. I’ve sunk some more time into creating female characters for several of the classes and love how some of them turned out.

I was going to make these available over at BDO templates but the approval process is either very slow (I can only imagine how many entries they must get by now) or it’s broken for me… I decided to just make them available here in case anyone’s interested. All my characters end up looking like sisters – that’s because I am a raven haired lady in real life who’s always had a thing for the Morgana character (aka Morrigan or Morgan le Fay) from Arthurian legend. I like witches, basically smart and powerful women, I like magic in fantasy games and I like odd eyes!

The thing with other people’s templates in BDO is also that they provide great starting grounds for your own creations. So by all means, if you enjoy any of my below designs you can download them as zip-file here and customize away – have fun!

Ranger, witch and sorceress templates:


click image to enlarge


click image to enlarge


click image to enlarge