It’s really hard to avoid the hype; I know I have a difficult time not wanting to get on board with what the people I like and respect are all excited about. Sometimes it pays off, and sometimes…not so much. Everyone is different, and while you might find that some of your friends are historically excellent barometers for the kinds of games you are also interested in, every game is unique, and needs to be approached with a critical eye when deciding whether or not to invest time and money. That goes without saying, of course, but considering how many people are playing Black Desert Online in my circles these days, there’s a lot of folks who are asking: should this be something I should try?
If you’ve gotten a 7 day trial key, you can find out for yourself, but if you haven’t then you’ll have to make due with posts and recommendations from other people. To me, BDO is like Elite: Dangerous. I can talk about it at length to the point where someone will want to stab my vocal cords with scissors, but in the end if someone asks me if it’s something they would be interested in, I’ll give them a curt “no”.
The reason is simple: if you can’t find a reason to want to play on your own based on the wealth of videos and posts and information out there, then jumping in on a friend’s recommendation is probably going to end in disappointment. BDO is very much an acquired taste. You have to be 100% dedicated to the idea that combat is not going to be a huge part of you gameplay, that there’s a steep learning curve, that you will be overwhelmed by things to do (all at once), and that the game doesn’t really hold your hand throughout any of it. BDO is a game for people who like learning how to play the game, and after that it’s for people who like playing the game.
If you’ve decided that you want to spend more time researching the ramifications of potato farming, then BDO will not disappoint. As far as MMOs go, it’s closer to a Civilization than a World of Warcraft. I’ve spent time chasing contribution XP and knowledge and willing myself to promise that this next objective will be the last for the night…only to find that I’ve still been at it an hour later. There are so many interconnected systems that while simply knowing about one will help you, knowing about two will help you exponentially. Unlike other MMOs where each system is a stand-alone mechanic with very little or absolute basic relevance to other systems, BDO‘s entire purpose is to create one massive yarn-ball of GTD. You will never have downtime if you don’t want it — although there will be plenty of times when you find yourself resorting to grinding out combat just because you need a break from everything else.
The best option for people who want to know if BDO is a game they’d like is to get a trial key from someone who has one. At this point, that may be difficult (I gave mine away already, and I know many others have as well). Barring that, watch a live-stream; not a “sizzle reel”, but a second-by-second live feed of someone with a specifically stated purpose — collecting knowledge, doing trade runs, managing NPC production, etc. That will give you the best feel for what your time in BDO will be like and can help you decide if the game is something you’d enjoy, or is something you’d rather stay away from.