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!
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!
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.
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!
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!