Black Desert G-Star 2013 Hands-on: Potentially Korean Version of Elder Scrolls
Pearl Abyss' next generation MMO Black Desert has become one of the most anticipated MMOs after it was announced last year. The game's closed beta stage ended last month in Korea and the western localization was already in the developer's plan. I got my hands on this game at G-Star 2013 and was amazed by the freedom and depth it provides.
BD Hands-on Video at G-Star 2013
A horse was available when I logged in my character and I was able to use it to explore. The wildness was beautiful, lively but not so dynamic. You can set up a tent and settle your horse down and you can join the NPCs who were doing fishing in the pond. The game's graphics evoke your desire to explore. The animations were impressive, as each slash on the monsters felt convincing. Physically, the game was realistic: you can "clash" on NPCs, and they will react accordingly. You can climb basically every wall, and you can walk onto the roof of every house. I was even able to sneak into the balcony and back yard of other players' houses.
When I walked into a village, I was thinking of the Elder Scrolls games. NPCs were doing their own business, and from what I saw, you can talk to every single one of them. Major NPCs were not just quest givers, they can provide additional content. NPC intimacy is a system you can unlock hidden content such as secret store, hidden quests, battle buff and other benefits. By telling the NPCs the adventures you've been through and other NPCs you met in your journey, you can increase the NPC intimacy.
Black Desert Sorceress Cosplay at G-Star 2013
The crafting was deep and huge. You can gather, say, fruits by your bare hands, but you can get more fruits if you use tool. If you use an axe on a tree you will get woods, but if you use a pipe-like tool, you get water from the tree. Besides, the better tool you use, the more materials you can get. The raw materials you harvest can then be made into advanced materials, which can be used to produce items like cannon and ship. If you develop very friendly relationship with certain NPCs, they will allow you to do mining outside the village.
This game is developed by Black Desert's own game engine. Many Korean MMOs have eye-catching graphics but lack of gameplay content. Black Desert has the visuals that can make you forget some CryENGINE 3 MMOs, and more importantly, it has the systems (exploration, player housing, crafting, etc.) that can keep players engaged for a long time.