Taking crafting in BDO to the next level

Until recently my experience with crafting in Black Desert Online had been limited to cooking, alchemy and processing as described here. Processing is as simple as it gets, and while considerable preparation can be necessary for cooking and alchemy the crafting process itself is also very straightforward.

Crafting more complex products like tools, weapons, armor, merchant wagons or boats is quite a different beast. Those things aren’t actually crafted by players themselves. The correct type of workshop has to be rented with contribution points and a worker has to manufacture the item.

Every village and town has lots of properties that can be rented for a range of purposes. Almost every one can be rented as a residence (the actual ‘housing’), more storage space or worker lodging (so you can hire more workers). Only some can be used as a workshop, and not all workshops are available in every town.

Black Desert rentables
I’ve already rented the white ones, the blues I could rent next. For the grey ones I’m missing one or more prerequisite properties.

Since I started doing gathering dailies in Olvia regularly I wear out a lot of gathering tools, so I figured making my own would be a good start. There are six types of gathering tools, which are all produced in a (surprise) Tool Workshop and need mostly the same resources. Because it’s very slow to gather with level 1 tools I aimed for level 2 tools from the start.

The main materials for all of those are Steel and Black Stone Powder. The former is made out of Coal and Melted Iron Shards in a workshop called Mineral Workbech, the latter needs Rough Stone and is crafted in a Refinery. Some tools also need Maple Timber, and the butchering and tanning knives need Hard Hide on top of that.

Luckily I have followed this video guide from Morrolan about lucrative worker nodes for quite a while now, so I already had a lot of resources lying around.

Black Desert produce
This is just my warehouse in Velia. Almost 8k Iron Ore came in handy now, but I could also serve lots of chicken wings on scrambled eggs should the need arise…

Melted Iron Shards are an intermediate material made by processing Iron Ore.

Black Desert heating
Melting iron while Spike, my cat, seems to have scented a mouse or something.

I also had a lot of Coal and Maple Timber already in stock. After gathering Rough Stone by hand for about an hour I was all set for the other intermediate products.

I rented a Mineral Workbench and a Refinery and set two workers on making Steel and Black Stone Powder respectively.

Black Desert Production1

Now I had to wait for a while. Had I logged off all workers would have finished their current task once and then stopped, so I stayed ingame and spent some time aquiring the last needed resource, Hard Hide. This is made by drying hides from lizards and such, so I rode into the wild and decimated the population of triangle head lizards by probably dangerous amounts.

When I returned with over a hundred Hard Hides in my backpack (it’s a large backpack!) the first batches of Steel and Powder were finished. I rented a Tool Workshop, upgraded it to level 2 and sent a worker to make my very first gathering tool.

Black Desert Tools

I went for tanning knives and fluid collectors first because those were the ones I’d need replacements for soon.

I didn’t want just any knife or collector though. When crafting a gathering tool there’s a chance to get a ‘lucky’ version of it. These have a pretty important bonus which increases the chance for rare drops. Hence I don’t actually intend to use every tool I make. I’ll only keep the lucky versions and sell the others on the market.

The first ones, which took about 20 minutes each to manufacture, turned out to be normal ones however. With the fourth or fifth try I got lucky.

Black Desert LuckyTool
No pun intended.

The normal versions sell pretty quickly on the marketplace, so there’s obviously a demand for them. Hence I’ll keep manufacturing as quickly as I can procure the resources, keep all lucky ones and sell the rest.

I’d actually earn more silver by selling the resources or the intermediate products, but by exclusively gathering with lucky tools the additional rare drops should more than make up for that. Besides, I’m having fun crafting them, which is always more important to me than my bottom line.

I’ve simultaneously started to let some workers gather materials for the various life skill costumes, which give speed and XP bonuses for their respective activity. Crafting these will be my next project. Although I might upgrade my gathering tool empire to level 3 first, if the needed resources aren’t too hard to come by.

Maybe I should start thinking about a brand name.

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On non-consensual PvP in MMOs

The other day I was ganked for the first time in Black Desert Online.

The main quests had led me to Sausan Garrison, a popular grinding spot for leveling I had already read about.

Black Desert Sausan
More like Sausan Ruins I’d say…

I intended to kill just enough mobs for the quests I had and then be on my way again. Suddenly I took a whole lot of damage in a flurry of movement and effects, and before I had realized what was happening I lay dead on the ground.

Another player had obviously decided that I was contesting ‘his’ grinding spot and that losing a bunch of Karma was worth having it to himself again.

I respawned and, because I wanted to at least finish my quests in peace, switched to another channel (BDO has one huge server for each region, each with lots of seperate instances of the game world), which worked out just fine.

Was it a pleasant experience? Not exactly. But is the game worse for this even being possible? In my opinion, absolutely not!

I’ve talked about what my idea of a virtual world looks like. The more interaction between players and the environment as well as between players and other players a game allows the more alive and real the world feels to me. It also makes surprising and exciting things to happen more likely.

An example. When Lakisa, a friend of ours and I were about level 30 in ArcheAge our quests sent us to Cinderstone Moore, an area where PvP is allowed most of the time. The three of us as well as some other players in our level range were busy questing when a level 50 player ambushed and killed us all one by one. When we respawned and continued questing he did it again. Instead of giving up and leaving we teamed up with the other players and tried to take him down together. We didn’t actually manage to do so until another level 50 came in and helped us, but it was a really exciting game of one cat versus a bunch of very angry mice, and I had much more fun than mindlessly ticking off one quest after another would have brought me.

ArcheAge Balcony chilling
I have no screenshots of it, so here’s one of Lakisa and me chilling on my balcony.

Now, of course there have to be restrictions to and/or severe consequences for doing nothing but killing other players all day long, else a handful of sociopaths can and will ruin a game for everybody else. If these mechanics hit the sweet spot between leeway and punishment, between allowing to gank freely and prohibiting it outright, then, and only then, this can not only work, but be actually great.

In BDO Karma builds up slowly by killing mobs and falls rapidly by killing players outside of Guild PvP or Node Wars. Having negative Karma means everyone can attack you anywhere without losing Karma themselves (I think), and if you die not only normal PvE-death penalties apply, there’s also a chance that a piece of gear loses an enchantment level (which can be outrageously expensive to regain). As long as you have positive Karma you suffer no penalties whatsoever when killed in PvP.

The fact that I got to level 57 before being attacked by someone for the first time shows that ganking is discouraged enough to not be a common occurrence while not being completely ruled out. Seems like working as intended to me.

Black Desert Karma
Maximum Karma. Took me quite a while to get there. I hear you lose about 60k for one kill.

In ArcheAge a track record of your misconducts is kept, and once you’re past a certain threshold your next death teleports you straight to court where five more or less randomly chosen players put you to trial.

ArcheAge Court
My first time in the jury (second from left). I never stood in the dock myself.

The culprit’s criminal recordĀ is presented to the jury members who then get to choose a sentence, the minimum charge being Not Guilty, the maximum a certain duration of (online) jail time depending on the amount of transgressions.

My first trial was against a well known PK (player killer) named Kuroda. When there are ten pages of attacked and killed players to flip through you know someone’s been really naughty.

ArcheAge Kuroda1
240 minutes of jail time seemed like a quite appropriate punishment to me.

Because he was a repeat offender the other four jury members were obviously in favour of the maximum sentence though…

ArcheAge Kuroda2
Ouch! The highest sentence I ever saw.

The ‘RIP Kuroda’ chants in trial chat went on for quite some time, while he already lingered in the prison’s courtyard unable to harm anyone.

In EVE Online there’s the distinction between high security space (abbreviated ‘high sec’), low sec and null sec, each with it’s own rules and punishments (or in case of null sec, no punishments) for PvP engagements.

My punishment for having shot at a lot of people in low sec is that I can’t enter any high sec system anymore without being attacked by police NPCs, and other players can shoot me without any penalties whatsoever even in high sec. Which restricts me pretty severely in moving around, getting lost ships replaced etc. I can work around much of that with the help of alt characters of course, but it’s still enough deterrent for many players to not choose this path. It took more than ten years until I dared trying it myself.

EVE minus10
Once I did I tried pretty hard though.

I think these three games handle non-consensual PvP in ways that, while still not perfect, work quite well, and for my taste they would be much less worth playing if they didn’t allow it at all.

Miscellaneous milestones and more

Since my last entry I unsurprisingly played a lot of Black Desert and EVE Online again. My resolutions for 2018 notwithstanding I have some goals I’d like to achieve in both games besides just having fun. I’m not super serious about it though, so all is still good and relaxed.

My main character’s security status in EVE has tanked mightily since we joined Holy Cookie. When pretty much all you do is shoot people in low sec it’s inevitable. I have long passed the threshold beyond which anybody can attack me anywhere with impunity, and NPC Police forces attack me in every high sec system on sight.

Once you’ve gone that far you might as well wear your sec status like a badge of honor, which is what most pirates in EVE do. For that just any figure below -5 doesn’t cut it though. You want to get to -10, the worst sec status you can have. It isn’t easy, as the lower you get the more bad deeds are necessary to go any further. I was stuck at -9.99 for about three weeks. Then, finally…

EVE MinusTen

Of course a Pod kill got me there. Normal ship kills hardly ever make a dent once you’re past -9 or so.

So I’m officially a really bad egg now. I have to be very serious about not shooting even a single NPC ever again though, which would bump up my sec status by a good bit in an instant.

In other news, our new monday night doctrine’s DPS ship happens to have a spare high slot, so we now bring a bunch of firework launchers to every fight.

EVE Fireworks

EVE Fireworks 2
Surely causing some WTF?-moments for our targets.

 

In Black Desert I ignored gear upgrading for a while. I just wasn’t willing to tackle what lay ahead of me: enhancing my weapons to TRI, possibly (probably) having them fall from DUO to PRI in the process. The increase in power from DUO to TRI is pretty big though, so I knew that sooner or later I’d have to do it.

One evening a couple days ago I was about to log out and call it a night. I wasn’t all that sleepy though and decided that I’d play another half hour. I felt pretty relaxed and thought, what the hell, I’ll just go for it. Maybe I was sleepy after all.

I built enough failstacks for a shot at TRI, crossed my fingers and went for it on my Liverto gauntlet. It failed and fell to PRI, of course. So I built a lower amount of failstacks on another character and tried to bring it back to DUO. No luck after four tries! Now that character had also enough failstacks for a TRI-attempt, so I switched to yet another char and built some more failstacks. After a total of six tries the gauntlet finally went DUO again. I switched back to my main for a second attempt at TRI.

Long story short, this process would repeat itself another two times. On the fourth attempt starting at DUO I was “lucky”.

Black Desert TRI Liverto
Fricking finally!

This would have been my last attempt in any case too, since I would’ve had to use up my last weapon upgrade stones for getting to DUO yet another time. I have more than enough silver to buy some more stones of course, but I wouldn’t have bothered in that situation.

I have no idea how much the whole process has cost me, but it sure ain’t pretty. I do realize that four attempts should be about average for TRI though, so I wasn’t particularly unlucky. Which verifies what I had already known going in: I don’t like systems like this. I would’ve happily invested the same amount of resources if it were a fixed price, sparing me the disappointment of failing three times and the aggravation of having to work and spend more just to get to where I had already been before.

Anyway, I’m glad that this upgrade gave me a quite noticable bump in killing power, so it was worth it in the end. If I’ll have it in me to stomach more of this I’m not sure though. Maybe I’ll follow the advice forums and guides give to anybody who hates RNG-upgrading and try to earn enough silver and buy already upgraded items from other players.

I also explored some more of the game world. East of Mediah lies the very dry region of Valencia. It’s center is a large desert. Here monsters aren’t the only dangers that await. By day you need an ample supply of clean water to avoid sun stroke, by night you need star anise tea to combat hypothermia. Both conditions make you lose health regularly and rapidly. I almost died while fighting some mobs for a while and not realizing that I was losing health not just due to damage from them. I saved myself by riding back to Altinova as fast as I could while using health potions regularly. Now I always have water and tea with me.

Black Desert Map Big
I’ve traveled so far and still haven’t seen everything.

Another time I visited Calpheon right before dusk, which gave me the opportunity for some beautiful screenshots.

Black Desert Calpheon

I still love the game despite it’s less than ideal upgrade system. There’s nothing quite like it out there.

My next ventures are going to be the production of gathering tools and life skill clothing. I’m anxious to see how that goes.