Do MMORPGs age like fine wine? This one does!

I initially wanted to talk about my latest seafaring adventures in Black Desert Online today, but the updates the game got during the past few weeks (and months and years, really) were just too amazing to not duly praise them.

If you ask me the fact that the game still gets a patch each and every week like clockwork is already pretty remarkable in and of itself. I mean, BDO originally launched in December 2014, and even our younger NA/EU version just celebrated its seventh birthday. If there’s another MMORPG of that age that receives substantial balance changes, quality of life updates and bug fixes on a weekly basis I haven’t played it.

Of course not every patch contains stuff that I actually like and/or affects me, but overall there’s a whole lot to commend, especially in the quality of life department.

Believe it or not, one of the most recent changes is one I’d actually thought about and wished for just a couple weeks prior. I was trying to promote some more of my workers to their next respective tiers, a process that used to take 24 hours per attempt, and I thought Wouldn’t it be great if they reduced this to, say, 22 hours, so we wouldn’t lose half a day whenever we have to go to bed or work a bit earlier than the day before?

Well, they did even more than that. As of two weeks ago the promotion test only takes a mere eight hours, with increased success chances to boot. As if that wasn’t enough the probability to recruit Skilled- and Professional-tier workers from the get-go has also gone up. Last but not least, once your Artisan-tier workers have reached level 30 they now need less additional XP for each attempt to reroll a skill. The bottom line is, it has become much easier to set up your perfect worker empire.

Which is doubly great because…

…they also lowered the Contribution Point cost of many worker nodes in the game. If you had invested into any of these nodes prior to the February 22nd maintenance you have been refunded the according amount of CP automatically. I, for example, had 6 unspent points prior to the patch; a couple of hours later that number had ballooned to a whopping 25. Time to recruit some more workers, eh?

Now, I guess one might argue that all these were more like game design changes, not really QoL improvements…ok then, strap yourselves in, here comes the good stuff.

At some point last year a rather big questline was added, revolving around The Magnus, some interdimensional…sphere…thingy…look, I have no idea. I don’t play BDO for its story, mkay? All I know is that many of these quests have some puzzle- or riddle-like elements to them, and I quite liked that.

Anyway, finishing that questline rewards you with the ability to access any and all of your storages as well as your marketplace-warehouse from any storage NPC (the latter only if the town you’re in actually has a marketplace NPC too). Hoo boy, if you’ve played the game before you know how huge of a change this is. No more riding from Heidel all the way to Valencia City and back just to pick up some dates for cooking.

Actually you don’t need to ride much at all anymore if you’re not inclined to do so. Each region has an access point (hidden inside a well) to the Magnus, and from there you can go to any of the other wells in an instant. Moving around like this comes at the cost of some loading screens and a few million silver each time, and since I actually like to travel the game’s world I pretty much never use this, but the option is there.

As I said in the opening paragraph I’m currently pretty engaged in the game’s naval content once more, and us sea dogs got some goodies too.

If you’re planning to upgrade your ship to a Carrack, the highest tier an individual player can own at this point in time, you’ll have to, among other things, do the sailing dailies (aka “sailies”) on Oquilla’s Eye, an island sitting right at the edge of the Margorian Sea. And you’ll have to do them often. We’re talking not days or weeks, but months.

I don’t stress myself out over this, and ever since I upgraded my Galleass’ cannons fighting the bigger sea monsters is actually quite fun, so I don’t despise these dailies nearly as much as I do those in many other MMOs. Still, until recently there were some annoyances.

A few of those quests made you choose only one out of two or three different reward items. Problem was, you need all of those items, and lots of them, so whatever you chose, it always felt kinda bad to miss out on the others. Also, some quests were strung together, letting you accept the next one only after completing its predecessor, which meant taking numerous trips back to the island to complete just one full cycle of sailies.

Now we can pick up all but one of the quests right away (I hope they’ve just forgotten the last one and a fix is on its way), and every one that has multiple items on its list of rewards gives you all of them at the end. Great stuff!

Something that’s changed a couple of times over the years is how the game handles its main currency, silver coins.

In the olden days each of your characters and each city storage had their own coin purse, so to speak, meaning you had to actively manage having enough cheese at your disposal where and when you needed it. Because nothing beats getting the rare opportunity to recruit an Artisan-tier worker just to realize you actually don’t have enough silver to pay the recruitment fee, despite having millions or even billions lying around someplace else.

Additionally the stuff had weight, so when you went out to grind it wasn’t just the loot drops that filled up your inventory slots and carrying capacity, even the raw silver started to weigh you down sooner rather than later. Good thing they sell all kinds of stuff to increase your capacities for real money, right?

Well, to give credit where it’s due, they did away with silver weight quite a while ago (I wanna say two or three years, but I don’t remember exactly). Towards the end of last year they took the next step and consolidated all those different purses down to just two: your marketplace wallet, where your sales revenues go and from where you pay your purchases, and a thing just called “My Silver”, which is everything else. You can pay any kind of stuff in the open world with that, no matter where you are and which character you’re on.

There is even more good stuff I could talk about, like the ability to repair depleted cooking and alchemy tools on the spot instead of having to replace them all the time, or the fact that when you cancel a worker’s task you can immediately give that worker something else to do instead of having to wait for the current cycle to end.

Suffice it to say, the game keeps getting better and better, especially in the QoL-department, and if any of this was what kept you from enjoying the game in the past it might well be worth another look by now.

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