Doing a bit of everything and loving it

I’m still playing the heck out of Black Desert Online. I’m very happy to have found a game that lets me play it just the way I want – even when I want to play it completely differently from one day to the next. It really feels more like a virtual world to me than any other game I’ve played, which makes it so much more than the sum of its parts (of which there are many to boot).

Some play sessions I dedicated to following the main quest lines with the Striker. At first I had to do some backtracking because the quests led me to areas I had already visited while leveling. This wasn’t bad though, since there was still much to discover.

Black Desert Treehouse
Like this village of treehouses in the southern Calpheon area. Great view and thankfully no Ewoks.

A village called Trent, which I had visited before, all but drowned due to the most pouring and realistic looking rain I have ever seen in a game.

Black Desert Downpour
A still doesn’t do it justice really. I had to crank up the brightness a good bit too, it was much darker than this.

Of course I had to kill hundreds of mobs for the various quests, so I snatched quite a bit of loot. I replaced all my accessories during the last couple of weeks and even got some pretty good armor pieces. The Striker doesn’t need the latter anymore, but any future alts I might play will start pretty well equipped (no level requirements for any kind of gear in this game and no bind-on-pickup or bind-on-equip either).

I even looted some boss scrolls. I guess I was quite lucky since I got three in the course of just two days. From what I’ve heard they are pretty rare. Two were for the goblin boss Giath, whom I hadn’t fought before.

Black Desert Giath
The bigger they are…

The helmet he’s wearing is actually the piece of boss loot he can drop, imaginatively called Giath’s Helmet. No luck with that though.

I also got to explore a completely new region, Mediah. I think it’s supposed to look and feel mediterranean, and it kind of does I guess.

Black Desert Mediah
It actually reminds me a lot of some parts of California or Arizona.

In any case, I quite like it.

The largest town of the area is Altinova.

Black Desert Altinova
Admittedly I haven’t seen something like this in California…

It’s nice, I won’t set up shop there though. I feel more at home in the medieval ambience of Heidel or Calpheon.

A couple days ago I hit level 56, which means that I gained access to the ‘awakening’ of the character. I did the requisite quest chain and now have a second mainhand-weapon, a monstrosity called ‘Gardbrace’.

Black Desert Gardbrace
Fisto’s got nothing on me!

A whole bunch of new skills are also available to me now, though I haven’t taken a closer look at them yet.

Of course I also wanted to continue with crafting, gathering and farming, so I didn’t only play the Striker. I’d estimate the Witch got about a third of my total playtime.

In addition to the mainstays beer brewing, carrot farming and meat acquisition I explored some new ventures here too. I had read that Olvia is a great place for Alchemy, so I went back there after quite a while of absence. Indeed there are a lot of Alchemy quests on offer, but there’s more. I also found some quick and easy cooking dailies, and most importantly lots and lots of gathering quests. Those are really great because not only do they give a good chunk of extra gathering XP, when finished I get to keep everything that I had to gather for them, incidentally supplying some of the materials for the cooking and Alchemy quests.

Oh, and I learned how to milk cows. I kid you not.

Black Desert Milking
Even the Striker had to try it. I hope he remembered to take off that Gardbrace first…

I also researched a bit more about workers. I had already noticed that they come in different tiers of quality. What I didn’t know was that lower tier workers can take a promotion test every ten levels (level 30 is the maximum, so no more than three tries per tier). If he passes the test he gets promoted by one tier and resets to level one. Since levels 20 to 30 take considerably longer it is recommended to level workers to 20, then have them try the promotion test twice, and fire them if they fail both. Only one worker can take the test at a time, and it takes 24 real time hours whether logged in or not.

Black Desert Workers
Another way to progress which I quite like. It’s somewhat comparable to collecting trading cards, and just as addictive.

I’m really happy about how progression is handled in this game. There are countless ways to progress, so many XP bars to fill and stuff to level and/or tier up. What’s great about it: the ceiling for most things is so high that even hardcore players won’t reach it anytime soon, yet nothing is useless or worthless even at the lowest levels. There are so many MMOs where, once a couple of weeks have passed after the game’s release, you have to grind your way to the top before you can do anything substantial, anything of value. It’s so much more satisfying to be able to do useful stuff from the beginning while knowing that you will get continually better and better for a very long time.

Lastly I finally managed to tame a tier 5 female horse, which means that I now have horses of both genders at the highest tier to be found in the wild. I will train them to at least level 25 each and then do a breeding attempt. A breeding calculator I found claims that there will be a chance, albeit small, for a tier 8 horse, which is the maximum tier as of now. Fingers crossed!

It’s already a big upgrade as it is though, because the female has learned the skill Sprint while leveling, which my other horses didn’t. As the name implies it makes a horse run faster. A LOT faster. It’s level 10 now and runs much faster than my level 23 male without Sprint. Imagining a tier 8 horse with this skill…hell yeah!

I’m sure I forgot some odds and ends, but these were my last couple of weeks in BDO in a nutshell. I’m lovin’ it!

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