Now that I’d finally dared to traverse Black Desert Online’s Valencia region I deemed it about time to check out another yet undiscovered area: the ocean.
I actually had the deed for a fishing boat lying around unused for a long time, I don’t even remember when and where I got it. At the time I already knew that fishing boats (just like wagons) have a limited lifespan that can’t be restored or repaired, and I didn’t want to waste it just to cruise around for a bit without an actual purpose.
Nowadays ‘wasting’ it isn’t a concern anymore – measured against high-end players I’m still rather poor, but compared to a newbie I’m obscenely rich – but now I also did have an actual purpose to set sail. I recently learned from a guide about lucrative worker nodes that the islands off Port Epheria have nodes for fish and seafood. Since I need fish for making pet feed regularly and don’t like to fish myself very much this was a project I had on my to-do list since then.
So I grabbed the deed and made my way to Port Epheria, the Calpheon region’s harbor town.
To kill two birds with one stone I accepted some quests there that also required me to visit those islands, then registered the fishing boat at the shipwright and spawned it.
I jumped behind the wheel and held down the W key, eager to feel the sea spraying into my face, which…didn’t happen. The boat started to move all right, but its top speed is underwhelming to say the least. Considering that I could already spot the nearest island with my bare eyes it probably wouldn’t take forever to get there, but I was a little disappointed nonetheless.
Reaching the first island indeed took only a couple of minutes. I intended to stop the boat in shallow water some yards off the shore, alas for a vessel this slow it has quite the braking distance. I almost ran it onto the beach, but it finally stopped just short of it and calmly bobbed on the water, so I thought everything was fine. I talked to the NPCs, advanced the quests and invested contribution points into the first fish node. As I’d already hired two workers before setting sail I put one to the task right away. Bring me that sweet seafood, little goblin!
I embarked my boat again only to realize that I’d run onto ground after all. Despite only a tiny part of the rudder visibly touching the sand I was stuck in place. I tried every possible movement to no avail. After logging out and in again the boat had turned around for some reason (from facing south to north, not upside down), but it still wouldn’t budge. Seeing no other choice I swam back to the port and collected the boat remotely for a fee. From now on I’ll keep at least a five boat lenght’s distance from any object I might get stuck on!
Of course a little setback like that couldn’t stop me, so I set sail again and headed for the next island. After investing into it’s node and sending the second worker to…err…work I finished one of the quests and got a new one in return. It asked me to investigate a nearby underwater cave and bring back any interesting stuff I might find. The previous quest had rewarded me with some potions for holding my breath longer which would probably come in handy now. I sailed to the marked location and took a peek below the surface. I could clearly see the cave’s entrance, but I highly doubted I’d be able to dive down there and up again without running out of air even with a potion’s help.
To test the water, literally, I first dove straight downward without a potion. I hadn’t quite reached the cave when my breath bar hit the 50% mark, so I quickly turned around and headed for the surface. Ok then, maybe the potion would indeed do the trick. It did not. I came a bit farther, but nowhere near a point where I could spot anything of interest, let alone get to it in time and back up again.
What to do? Suddenly I remembered that the game had gifted me time-limited versions of various cash-shop costumes over time, the silly named and even more silly looking Splat Fisher’s Clothes among them.
One of it’s bonuses: a whopping 149% to swim speed. That surely would solve my problem. So I decided to head home for the day and bring the costume with me next time.
At this point one could very well argue about the ethics of having quests in the game that are – or at least seem to be – unsolvable without a cash-shop item. Since it turned out that I’d stored away not only one but three of these suits by now, each with a lifespan of one week, and I didn’t have to pay a cent for any of them, I’ll let it slip.
Anyway, back at the cave I donned the suit and dove right in.
The speed buff is substantial indeed, and not only is swimming at that pace pretty darn fun, I also had no problem reaching the cave’s bottom, finding the chest I was looking for and making it back to the surface even with a bit of air left.
After some research on the topic I now know that there actually wasn’t any need to worry about suffocating. You don’t die when you run out of breath, you don’t even start to lose health or something. You just can’t move on your own anymore until you’ve slowly floated back to the surface. Maybe the quest would’ve been doable without the suit after all.
Because I was having so much fun with it I wanted to zip around some more before returning to the mainland. Since the next quest asked me to gather some oysters I took care of that as well while at it.
It took some looking around to actually find said oysters, but that gave me an opportunity to marvel at the sea life for a while.
Overall I quite like the game’s take on sea-content from what I’ve seen up to now. It’s not as smooth, as speedy or as gorgeous (at least above the surface) as ArcheAge’s, but it’s still pretty good. Below the surface I’d say it looks even better, and definitely feels more lively.
I’ve already started to work on a faster boat. A proper ship, rather. It’s called Epheria Frigate and is a pretty huge undertaking, but I think it’ll be worth it. Also, having a long term goal is always a good thing in my opinion, and all the more satisfactory when achieved. Looking forward to it.