After James got a quick refresher on WildStars recap demo, we kicked things off at full speed with the long awaited meeting with Pearl Abyss’ Brian Oh to talk about Black Desert. The game has just launched into limited closed beta in Korea and they were present looking to talk to western publishers, but thankfully had slotted us a little bit of time to give us a better understanding of their monumental quasi sandbox title.
For starters I found out that the towns in their game are prebuilt and can be bid on for actual ownership by players. These will exist in the persistent world and help create what Brian Oh describes as ‘a realistic world within cyberspace.’ In fact their entire design philosophy is built around granting players as much freedom as possible to make any of their fantasies come to life, assuming said fantasy isn’t destroyed but a player with an opposing point of view (and larger army at their disposal!). Speaking of said battles, guilds will be able to own castles and tax the surrounding playerbase living in the area.
These castles will be open to be conquered at specific times of the week though so expect to expend some of your resources to keep a well-equipped army at the ready to defend them. The system is still very much a work in progress though so they imagine much testing and alteration will occur before the system is finalized. The ultimate goal though is to prevent one guild from ruling over the entire server by making it exponentially more difficult to control each additional castle beyond your first.
Mounted combat is certainly looking to be a major draw in this game as well. Brian Oh states that a newbie will have a truly challenging time handling a mount and utilizing their skills at full efficiency but with practice, skill ups, and level ups can over time learn to master this to increase their utility on the battlefield. Mounted combat in the game goes beyond simple autoattacks with your weapon and allows you to utilize your classes’ unique skills to keep you plenty distinct rather than losing your character to the mount like so many ‘vehicle’ systems in the MMO realm have done in the past.
Anyone who has followed this game knows that crafting is a primary component of gameplay. I was surprised though to hear that the Pearl Abyss team understands the monotony involved with ‘grinding’ mats via collection means and have instead created a system in which you can pay NPCs to collect mats for you while you focus on the elements of the game that are more enjoyable.
When I questioned Brian about the NPCs in their trailers studying books or playing music and whether that was just background or actual gameplay mechanics, he pointed out that it’s mostly background effects to make the world seem more lively but in some cases you would be able to interact with such NPCs to learn unique knowledge related to these side crafts. I think a bit of info was lost in translation on this so we’ll have to wait till more players report on beta testing to see how this really plays out.
In terms of the world setting, we learned that there exist two nations that players can choose from at the start. These nations are not in any type of war though as there will be no faction system in the game. Again every design decision here seems to be focused on ultimate player freedom.
One final note I will mention is we learned that the classes are currently race locked (though no mention of gender locks). They have implemented four classes in the current testing including the sorceress, fighter, giant, and archer; the archer is confirmed to be an elf class, the giant is the dual wielding berserker from the trailers, and the fighter is a human. Brian didn’t make any mention of the sorceress race so even though she appears to be mostly human, you never know if that’s truly the case. At the time of western launch though they are expecting a total of 12 classes with plenty of tree customization systems to further differentiate yourself. Stay tuned for the full interview to hear all this from Brian Oh and plenty more!