Yo ho, this ain’t no work for landlubbers

I engaged in more of Black Desert Online’s oceanic content during the past week, because of course I did. After all I was eager to take out my new frigate and explore the open sea, brave its dangers and hopefully make some profit in the process.

A quest I had had for quite some time wanted me to visit a settlement quite a distance away, on the other side of the Margorian sea, so that’s where I was headed first. I filled my ship’s cargohold with trade items bought in Port Epheria in hopes of getting a hefty distance bonus, stocked up on cannon balls and ship repair kits, then off I went.

Since map and waypoints can’t be used on the open sea I set a course roughly to the northwest and just hoped for the best. The first obstacle wasn’t long in coming.

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The lighting changed dramatically from one moment to the next and that whirlwind appeared right in front of me. I steered around it and that was that. I took no damage or anything. Looks nice though. I think I’ll sail right through next time, just to see what happens.

A bit further I hit another road…err…seablock.

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Would use that skin for my own ship in a heartbeat

Good thing I had brought those cannon balls. I manned a cannon and opened fire. Two hits was all it took.

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Give my regards to Davy Jones, you scallywags

It didn’t leave any loot behind, but I guess it can’t really be expected for this little effort.

I assume both storms and ghostships indeed serve as roadblocks more than anything, preventing AFK travel. They look pretty cool, I’ll give them that.

After traversing the open sea for maybe 15 minutes total the map flickered to life again. It turned out that I’d veered a bit too far to the west, so I corrected my course and headed due north for the last leg of the journey.

After passing a bunch of islands, some small, some pretty huge, my destination finally came into sight.

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Land, ho!

This beautiful, asian-styled little town is called Port Ratt, and it’s at the time of this writing the first and only settlement of a whole new continent. Unfortunately the continent itself isn’t developed yet, so islands aside the town is the only accessible part of it. Actually it’s not even a proper town, everything but the lowest level is just backdrop, closed off by invisible or actuall walls. All NPCs are located right at the piers you see on the left and right.

I was pretty disappointed to discover this, especially because it’s so atypical of BDO. Until now I’d never hit an invisible wall anywhere. If you can see it, you can reach it had always been the game’s motto. Oh well, I just hope the continent will be developed eventually.

For now I had to be content with advancing the quest and selling my trade goods, which indeed yielded a nice distance bonus. Of course I would have liked to fill my cargo hold with exotic goods for the journey home, but my trading skill level was too low to buy them.

I also took a quest to deliver a special trade item to one of four possible destinations, the reward being a big chunk of sailing XP. I chose to bring it to Altinova, the second farthest option. Since this item doesn’t slow you down like a normal trade item does I figured I’d just sail back to Epheria, then take it the rest of the way on horseback.

I completed a few more quests in the area, then decided to head back towards the mainland – I had some more things to attend to on the way. Before leaving Port Epheria I’d accepted some daily quests to kill various sea monsters and pirate ships for even more sailing XP, which I wanted to try now.

Both monsters and ships are abundant on the open sea, so I didn’t even have to actively look for them. I chose a small pirate ship for my first target.

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Doesn’t look like much, does it?

I did sink it, but it took quite a while, and as you can see my ship took a serious beating too. So much so that it definitely wasn’t viable to fight anything else without fully repairing it first.

Since I didn’t get loot right away I dove after the wreck to check if there really wasn’t any.

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Give me my loot, dammit, you’re not taking it down with you!

It had dropped something after all, albeit only sell-loot. At least it had a cumulative worth of just over three million silver, which ain’t bad. I would find out later that it can only be sold to a guild shop though, so the silver goes to the guild account, not your own. Much of the game’s oceanic content seems to be designed with guild members working together in mind. In a game that’s overall very, very solo-centric this strikes me as a bit odd, but it is what it is.

Then I finally headed back to Port Epheria. The wharf manager repairs even badly damaged ships for chump change, which is nice. I delivered the trade item to Altinova and received a pretty nice sum of sailing XP.

The sea called out to me on the very next day already, and I set sail again.

This time I hunted down an Ocean Stalker. Instead of using a cannon I tried to kill it with the ship’s ramming skill.

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It didn’t like that. Not. One. Bit.

Maneuvering the ship and learning the beast’s movement patterns again took a while, but I prevailed. It too dropped guild-only sell-loot, but also some crafting materials I’ll need for the better ship parts, yay!

This time around I’d also brought my fishing gear because I needed to catch two specific rare specimens for another quest.

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Gone fishin’ instead of just a wishin’

While I managed to catch one of them relatively quickly the other remains elusive for now. I made a killing catching fish close to Port Ratt and selling it in Altinova though, so I’m not complaining (too much).

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On the way back the game’s weather system treated me to this stunning view

If you only have like 30 minutes or an hour to play I wouldn’t recommend tackling BDO’s sea content, but if time isn’t an issue it’s a really great and immersive experience. Another fine example of sandbox gameplay that sure isn’t for everyone, but is exactly my cup of tea.

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Time to buckle some serious swash

Huzzah, it is done! Sometime Wednesday morning my workers finished the final construction cycles for my Epheria Frigate in Black Desert Online.

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This was the state of affairs when I went to bed

Construction had started on February 1st. Of course I had to gather and process some of the needed resources beforehand, so all told the project took me just about two months, maybe a bit longer.

I obviously couldn’t wait to register it at the wharf manager in Port Epheria and hoist its sails for the first time.

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No way would I’ve sold it…dat market price though, holy crap

I wanted Lakisa to be there to share the moment, and since she had a quest to explore some islands anyway she was more than happy to oblige.

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A real beauty, isn’t she? The ship’s nice too

In preparation I’d already bought and enhanced the available ship upgrades like better sails and cannons, so I installed those right away.

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For some reason she got a red paintjob in the process

The really good upgrades are player crafted, making those will be my next project. Some of the necessary components only drop from sea monsters though, so starting off with the ones sold by NPCs seemed the way to go.

We began our journey by visiting the islands closest to the mainland so Lakisa could invest contribution points into those fishing nodes like I had already done a while ago.

Whenever she was ashore talking to node managers I seized the opportunity to take tons and tons of screenshots. Obviously the best place for that is the crow’s nest. Not only does it offer a great view – as it should – it even has the option to activate a free-look mode that completely detaches the camera from your character.

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Enabling you to take shots like these. I really need to find out how to turn off those darkened edges though.

Since the first island Lakisa needed to visit for her quest was near Velia, which is also where she got the quest in the first place, we sailed all the way there from Epheria.

The ship isn’t lightning fast, but waaay faster than a fishing boat. With better upgrades and a higher sailing skill on my character (which unlocks the ship’s special abilities) travelling distances like these should become a breeze.

We made a quick detour so that I could pick up the quest too, then off we went to do some island hopping.

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Of course I sported my self-crafted sailor’s clothes for the occasion

And boy, island hop we did. One quest turned into five, into ten, into…I completely lost count on how many isles of various sizes we had to discover.

Day turned into evening…

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…and evening into night. We were still sailing when dawn came.

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It was well worth it though. The final quest rewarded us with tons of XP, silver and some crafting materials, and discovering all those islands showered us with Knowledge. My maximum energy pool went from 241 to 253 due to that.

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Islands as far as the eye can see

Since this took way longer than expected we didn’t have time to also head out into the open sea, as I had originally planned. Just like in the desert the map doesn’t work there, so you have to hone your navigational skills. Additionally storms, ghost ships and sea monsters try to make your voyage difficult. I’m actually looking forward to that, sounds like another adventurous undertaking. I hope we’ll get to that soon.

So is the ship worth the time and effort I poured into its construction? Absolutely!

Not only was working on it mostly fun and only rarely felt like actual work, the freedom it gives us to explore the ocean and engage in its content without the need to join a guild, which we don’t want to do at the moment, is really great and will undoubtedly enrich our experience playing the game. Would do again.

Playing Whac-A-Boss in Black Desert

I’m still having a lot of fun beating the crap out of Dark Rift bosses in BDO. I guess I was pretty lucky to get almost one spawn per day on average since the feature was introduced, as some folks are reporting that they got a lot less.

I’ve fought most existing bosses at least once by now. Some are basically identical to their daily or weekly scroll counterparts, for example Giath, Bheg or Red Nose, just much stronger. Others were new to me, like this strange centaur-tree-hybrid called Ronin.

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I’d rather not meet his former Shogun then

I also got to fight Ferrid again, the Balrog-like creature I talked about last time. His spawn location was changed since I met him the first time though, apparently because many players weren’t able to find the cave’s entrance he spawned in before. It’s a real shame because that cave looks awesome with its pools of lava and was a perfect fit for that particular boss.

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The new locale has nice lighting in the evening though

I mostly got base grade accessories from the treasure chests, but I did get one PRI Serap’s Necklace, which is cool. Overall the bosses are definitely worth doing, and I’ll probably have amassed enough stuff to seriously get into jewelry-enhancing soon.

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This alt’s inventory would even make Mr. T envious by now

To make it easier for lower geared players the bosses have a power level that degrades over time. They spawn at level five and lose one level every 24 hours, becoming weaker in the process. Lakisa conquered her first Dark Rift boss yesterday after waiting for it to drop to level one. At character level 56 with +10 to +12 gear it still wasn’t easy, but manageable. I assume that most players enhance their gear to a higher grade than that until they reach 56, so I think it’s fair to say that this content doesn’t lock anyone out, which I think is great.

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This is assuming you can even see the boss for the trees though

After having beaten so many Dark Rift bosses, all at level 4 or 5, I finally felt ready to tackle an important part of Black Desert’s PvE-endgame I had chickened out on until now: world bosses.

These spawn about twice a day each on specific timers and are the main source for boss gear. Since the piece I’d really like to have right now is the off-hand dropped by Ancient Kutum I picked that one for my premiere.

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Savouring the calm before the storm

The most important thing to keep in mind about world bosses is that normal PvE death-penalties apply if they kill you, resulting in XP loss and possibly one or more crystals slotted into your equipment being destroyed. Naturally I wasn’t eager to see that happen, so I watched and read some guides to the fight beforehand. I also did a short questchain to get the knowledge about Ancient Kutum, which allegedly improves the chance for more or better loot.

To be safe I had made my way to the spawn location early, and as the minutes ticked down I became a bit nervous. At T minus one I popped my buff-food and elixirs. At that point more and more players arrived or logged in right there.

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Being fashionably late is as cool as ever it seems

Finally the serverwide message announcing the spawning world boss came up, and Ancient Kutum dug itself from the ground.

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Okaaay then…at least there’s no Fremen riding on it

Once the fighting began I immedietely knew I’d made a mistake. My preparations hadn’t included turning off other player’s skill effects.

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“Remember, always stay at the boss’ back!” “…what boss?”

The framerate didn’t actually drop all that much, but I could barely see anything. Despite that I miraculously made it through the fight without dying. Phew.

And thus I’d earned my first few boss auras, a hundred of which can be exchanged for the corresponding piece of gear. The piece can also drop directly, but I assume the chance for that happening is pretty slim.

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Look, I made more money than fits into the window, I’m rich!

To me bossfights in BDO are a welcome diversion from mob grinding and absolutely worthwhile. I defenitely recommend checking them out.

These are the rifts you’re looking for

I don’t follow Black Desert Online’s development over in Korea too closely. While it can serve as a mouthwatering preview of content or features that might come to our version of the game sooner or later it’s not actually guaranteed that we also get that stuff, nor that what we eventually get will have any kind of resemblance to what they have. So why bother?

Due to that I wasn’t prepared for the content drop we got last week. To say I’m very pleasantly surprised would be a huge undestatement.

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Yes, Dark Rifts are a thing now. Every now and then a rift spawns somewhere in the world and spews out a boss for you to fight once you get close. Funnily enough these are pretty much the exact opposite to the rifts in, well, RIFT insofar that the bosses aren’t meant for groups of people, it’s a pure solo experience instead.

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That’s no boss, that’s a…I have no idea what the hell it is

Another player won’t be able to see your boss, not even when grouped up with you. That last bit is a shame I think, but it seems the devs wanted to specifically give us bossfights to test our mettle 1 vs 1. A bit strange for an MMO maybe, but since the game already has bosses for groups as well as proper world bosses galore I just see it as yet another option to play you can either embrace or ignore.

After encountering five different rifts and their respective bosses I already know for sure that it’s definitely the former in my case. It’s great fun, and the rewards are very worthwhile.

I know a lot of folks have complained about the lack of classic dungeon- and raid-gameplay in BDO. Well, fighting these bosses is pretty much the next closest thing, if you can ignore the fact that you’re doing it alone of course.

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Oh, oh, I’ve seen that before, I know what to do!

Positioning, dodging attacks, healing myself, dealing with adds, these fights provide it all.

The bosses come in different flavours and difficulties. Of the five I fought one was labeled ‘normal’, three ‘hard’ and one ‘very hard’. The latter indeed killed me a couple of times while I downed the others relatively easily – they all take quite some time and concentration with my current gear though.

The hardest one doesn’t telegraph its AoE attacks quite as clearly as the others do, which combined with the fact that pretty strong normal mobs surround the place makes that fight much more unpredictable than the other two.

The guy you see above, on the other hand, throws different telegraphs at you all the time and also spawns adds regularly.

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Weaponry used with kind permission of Tony Stark

As mentioned the rewards are pretty good. In addition to some black stones and memory fragments they seem to always drop a new type of currency item that can be exchanged for boss weapon boxes or other rare stuff once you’ve accumulated enough of it, and a box that contains an accessory item up to DUO grade. I assume that the chance for actually getting a DUO is very slim, but the five base-grade items I got until now have a combined worth of about 270 million silver, so I’m definitely not complaining.

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Give me that sweet loot, piece of rabble. I hope Stark Industries offers warranty

My biggest fear going in, other than not being able to beat the bosses at all, was that I might feel pressured to drop whatever I’m doing as soon as a rift spawns from now on so I don’t miss out on its rewards. That would’ve been very detrimental to the way I love to play the game, which is to just do whatever the hell I feel like without any kind of schedule or must-do’s.

Fortunately there’s no time limit at all, once spawned the rift stays open until I can be bothered to show up and kill the boss. It doesn’t even prevent more rifts from spawning as there can be up to ten open at a time. Now that’s what I call unobtrusive and player-friendly.

In my opinion this is a great addition to the game and I can’t wait to see more rifts spawn. Next time I’ll even remember to take some screenshots of the awesome, Balrog-like boss at Omar Lava Cave. Promise!

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Until then a picture of Rednose charging at me will have to suffice

About long term goals in MMORPGs

As you know I’m currently busy building an Epheria Frigate in Black Desert Online. I think it’s the biggest project I’ve ever worked on in an MMORPG.

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Much effort went into this already, yet there’s still a long way to go

Not that this deters me, I like having long term goals in the games I play. This wasn’t always the case though. At one point a couple of years ago I’d played mainly SW:TOR and The Secret World for quite some time. When I started to play ArcheAge afterwards I was a bit shocked and also disappointed by the large amount of resources necessary to build fairly basic things like a clipper or a small farm cart.

After a while I got used to things taking longer and learned to appreciate effort vs reward again, something I seemed to have lost while playing the aforementioned games.

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As a consequence I was pretty proud and happy to finally get this

Not all long term goals are created equal though. I’m not talking about the reward I get in the end, a purely cosmetic one like a really nice looking mount can motivate me just as much as a powerful item with actually measurable benefits. I’m talking about how much time and effort need to be invested, and how much restrictions or obstacles the game puts in my way.

To me it’s very important to be quite free in how I work on achieving my goals, and that doing so is actually fun and doesn’t feel like actual work too much.

The latter is obviously a very subjective thing, so developers won’t be able to please everyone in this regard no matter what they do.

Let’s have a look at the ‘how’ then. Imagine you have set your sight on a specific goal which requires you to invest, say, approximately 60 hours of play, and you’d like to achieve it within two months for some reason. So on average you’d need to work on it for about an hour each day.

Depending on how the game in question is designed this can leave you with a couple possible scenarios.

One: The maximum amount of progress you can make each day is pretty limited, for example because doing a handful of daily quests is the only way to progress. This means that you probably won’t be able to achieve your goal within two months no matter what you do. You’ll also likely feel forced to do these dailies each and every day so you don’t delay completion any further. I know I feel that way in these situations.

Two: The maximum amount of progress per day is still limited, but not quite as harshly. Here you’re able to reach your goal in your set timeframe and are probably ‘allowed’ to take a day off every now and then. You still need to play and work on your goal almost every day though.

Three: there’s a pretty high limit to progress per day, or none at all. Do one hour per day, two considerably longer sessions per week or each whole Sunday, it’s up to you.

Unfortunately (for my taste) many games fall into the first category. Most instanced dungeons, for example, have a lockout timer of 18 hours or so, meaning that I can do them and get rewards only once per day. Consequently, if I want to maximize my chances for the drops I need I have to run dungeons each and every day.

Another example. Back in SW:TOR I wanted to reach the highest reputation rank with the Gree to get this sweet mount:

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I can’t help it, if something looks like it’s taken straight out of TRON I have to have it

Unfortunately a bunch of daily quests were the only way to increase one’s reputation, and those weren’t much fun to me. My only options were to either do them anyway or forget about getting the mount. To make matters worse the Gree event was only ever available for a limited time before disappearing again for weeks or months, so I felt doubly pressured to do the dailies every day while the event was active.

I just don’t like that kind of design because it can lead to a spiral of constant repetition very quickly, especially with limited available playtime. You log into the game after work and know that you kind of ‘have’ to do a whole bunch of things first. If it doesn’t all go perfectly it might take even longer than anticipated, and before you know it your time’s up and you haven’t done anything other than your daily chores once again.

That’s why I’m really happy that I don’t feel forced to do any specific thing pretty much ever in BDO. The only task I’m kind of compelled to do regularly is brew beer before my workers have used it all up and stop working. Other than that I can do whatever I feel like and still make progress towards at least one of my goals.

For the Epheria Frigate there’s different kinds of gathering, processing, hauling stuff around, keeping production rolling and managing nodes and workers to be done. On some days I gather materials with two characters back to back until their respective energy pools are depleted, sometimes I only do a bit of processing or don’t work on the frigate at all while still making progress because my workers keep at it. If I didn’t like a specific kind of gathering at all I could even try to buy that stuff on the marketplace instead.

I really like that freedom and wish more games would handle it like this instead of forcing me to do the same stuff every day in order to reach specific goals.

Lots of progress made and still going

Lifeskill clothing aside I hadn’t done any gear upgrading whatsoever in Black Desert Online for almost a year. I just couldn’t bring myself to endure the headaches and disappointments its RNG-heavy enhancement system tends to torture me with.

I had a Dandelion awakening weapon lying around since new year’s day though – don’t ask me why the fiercest, most powerful weapon in the game is called dandelion of all things – and the foes my current main story quest sent me to fight made me feel a tad underpowered indeed. I had lots and lots of upgrade materials gathering dust too, so there really wasn’t all that much reason to cop out any longer. More importantly, a couple of weeks ago a pretty huge change went live: the game now displays the exact chance of success for an upgrade, failstacks included. No more relying on supposedly datamined and/or ‘tested’ success charts like the one in the first post I linked above.

So on Thursday night I finally sat down and got going. I didn’t pay any attention to how much it cost me, I just put my head down and charged through. My goal was to reach TRI on the Dandy and upgrade a couple of armor pieces to at least DUO along the way while playing the failstack-dance.

I reached those goals, but as usual the RNG gods weren’t particularly in my favor.

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Notice that downgrade warning? Downgrade it did before this happened. Four times.

After failing the first four tries for TRI, falling from DUO back to PRI each time, I finally hit it with the fifth. Not great, but it could’ve been worse still.

On the upside, I fared much better with the other parts. In the process of building the right amount of failstacks for the weapon attempts I got my helmet from PRI to TRI, shoes from PRI to DUO, gloves from +15 to DUO and even my off-hand from DUO to TRI. My gearscore made a pretty substantial leap due to that, especially in the defense department.

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Ok bad guys, you were saying?

The difference is very noticable and I advanced the story without much problems. I hope this’ll be enough for a while though because I think I need another year-long break from enhancement now.

In contrast, a project I was actually looking forward to a lot was the Epheria Frigate’s manufacturing process. Gathering and processing the needed materials, while a mammoth task in itself, is only the beginning. I needed to rent the shipyard in Port Epheria and set workers to the task. For each and every single piece of material one cycle of work has to be completed.

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When the required work count doesn’t fit the game window you know what you’re getting yourself into

Fortunately you don’t need to have all materials on hand to begin production. I actually only had about 350 Pine Coated Plywood, 200 Timber Squares and 14 Frigate Designs when I rented the shipyard, but I was able to start the first work cycles immediately. Since it’d take forever with just one worker I hired a couple more, and also connected Epheria all the way to Calpheon so I can send additional workers from there.

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30 tasks finished already, yay! Only 3845 more to go…

I have six workers permanently working on it now. If aquiring the materials goes faster than anticipated I will send a couple more, but for starters this should suffice.

I gotta say, until now I never made any kind of progress this slowly in an MMORPG and still loved every minute of it. I don’t feel the slightest bit of impatience, just pleasant anticipation. And I know that I’ll be proud as a punch when I first set sail with that ship.

Once production was rolling it was back to questing. After I’d defeated the aforementioned baddies for my Striker’s main story I was told that I needed to help my black spirit find its true form again. In order to do so I was to seek out and examine some strange entities in the desert.

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Posing with my new gardbrace on…oh, look, I think I found one

If that thing looks huge to you that’s because it is.

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Felt like Shadow of the Colossus all over again

Fortunately I didn’t need to fight any of them. Color me surprised, just for once examine wasn’t a euphemism for kill.

After that it was back to the alien-like caves from last week. This time around I managed to open the strange device at the bottom and got to meet an old…guardian…or something. I don’t know if it’s the translation from Korean or the story itself, but I still find it pretty convoluted and hard to follow most of the time. Anyway, the visuals were quite awe-inspiring.

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Uh oh, I’m leaving already…what’s that, you don’t want to kill me?

I couldn’t recount what exactly he told me if my life depended on it. Among other things he was pleased with my achievements and basically told me to carry on doing what I was doing. Thanks, would’ve done that anyway.

The black spirit indeed got its ‘true form’ back in the process.

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I don’t know what to say…I’m sorry?

Actually this was the first bit of story that was at least somewhat interesting and surpsising, and it seems I’m finally on the verge of finding out what the black spirit actually is. Hence I was eager to continue right then and there. Instead I now need to run completely unrelated errands for several folks in Valencia City for some reason. I can’t even talk to the spirit about what happened, it just hands out dailies and stuff as usual.

Oh well, I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

From pillar to post in Black Desert Online

BDO has a stunning array of stuff to do on offer, and I’ve done a little bit of everything during the last couple of weeks. Well, not everything, there’s still a lot I haven’t even dipped my toes into. So let’s say I’ve done a little bit of quite some things.

Since the world is huge and there’s no quick travel in the traditional sense I’ve traveled many, many miles on foot, on horseback and by boat due to that. I don’t mind the distances at all though, as a matter of fact they make the world feel much more real to me.

So what did I do then?

As I had so much fun setting sail last time I decided to explore the game’s offshore locales some more. There’s a whole archipelago out there, and some of the islands are huge.

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While others…aren’t

One of the larger islands seems to serve as a pirate haven. I’ll be sure to pay them a visit sometime, maybe there’s loot to…err…commandeer.

I’ve also started to mass-harvest corals for the Epheria Frigate whenever my energy pool is near maximum. I’m still amazed by how gorgeous the sea looks under the surface.

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While I was hacking away with my little hoe the other day I suddenly spotted something big out of the corner of my eye…

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For a sense of scale, I’m at least 30 yards away

These whales can actually be hunted by players. Luckily there wasn’t a hunting party in sight, so I guess this one got away in peace.

Another material I need for the frigate is titanium ore. Research revealed that there are some worker nodes for it in the far north of Valencia. I’d not yet been there, so I prepared for a longer trip through and beyond the desert. Just a mile or two north of Valencia City the landscape changed dramatically though, and I suddenly found myself in an area dominated by pitch black rock. As it turned out I had reached the foot of a giant volcano. It’s not too steep to climb it, so I made my way up. Soon enough I looked down into its crater.

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Gaze into the abyss and it gazes back into you…or not

The worker node is right in the middle of the crater. How the node managing NPC got there and why he doesn’t get the hell out will remain his secret I guess.

While I was in Valencia I also advanced the main quest a bit, which asked me to investigate the caves below Valencia Castle.

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If my castle sat on top of this I’d be a bit worried

When I climbed down the hole under that little dome-structure I was in for quite a surprise.

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I half expected to find a Predator fighting some Aliens down here

When even the black spirit freaked out and urged me to get out of there I didn’t need to be asked twice. I’m still investigating the matter, but as usual got sidetracked by other stuff.

For example, I finally got around to manufacture some silver embroidered clothes. These are various outfits with bonuses to one of the game’s life skills. To upgrade them to higher levels two copies have to be combined, the good result being one gaining a level and the other vanishing, while the bad result destroys both. As you can imagine I had to craft a considerable amount to reach my goal of getting them to at least +2 each. I kept at it though, and it went even better than I had anticipated.

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Top to bottom: gathering, processing, cooking, farming, sailing, horse training

I had a really good run with the horse training outfits, hence I even got one to +3. I also made a second +2 gathering piece so the Striker could have one too, which is convenient because he’s the one doing the sailing and coral-gathering.

Lastly I kicked my horse breeding into a higher gear. I had spent a good while capturing as many tier five horses as I could find, now it was time to train them to level 30 for the best possible chance at higher tiers when mating them. The tool of choice for that job is a merchant wagon.

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This way you can train four horses at the same time, and they don’t even need any carrots because…reasons. The wagon lasts for quite a while and isn’t too expensive, so I just buy a new one from the marketplace when it’s used up.

The first few breeding attempts netted me a couple tier sixes and one tier seven. Not bad I guess. I’ll continue to train tier five horses for a while, then mate the resulting tier sixes with each other until I have a couple at seven. Those, in the end, should bear at least one tier eight I hope.

All that gathering, cooking (mainly beer for my workers), farming, training and processing also had quite an impact on my Witch’s life skill levels.

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The high processing skill in particular will come in very handy once I start to, well, process the intermediate materials needed for the frigate because a higher skill means more production output with the same amount of raw materials.

What I still haven’t done is to try and upgrade my gear any further. The game gifted me a Dandelion awakening weapon on new year’s day, so I really should pull myself together and get on it. I’ve got Thursday and Friday off, maybe I’ll get cracking then.