BBQ Adventures – Sons 18th plus friend visit

Its been a while since I posted and felt good opportunity would be to summarise the feedback received form BBQ to date and the techniques I have had to improve on since my initial uses of the Napoleon Pro22k Charcoal Kettle BBQ.

More BBQ ribs this time smoked on Cherry wood and giving a wonderful sweet smokey taste.  In addition I smoked the ribs at a higher temperature 300-325 degrees due last time they didn’t quite have the tenderness I was after.  I identified this to be due to the lids infra-red ambient thermometer seem to reflect hotter temp at the top than lower  in the dome (yet to prove this with a temp probe).  This time the ribs came out allot more tender and falling off the bones as you would expect a good well cooked rib to be.  The image below shows the ribs just before mopping with the first apple juice mop over which maintains the moisture in them and keep them from drying out.  I do this mop every 15-20 min for the last hour.  I then finished with a new foil wrap stage.  Lay out foil, squirt a nice zig-zag of your favorite or home bbq sauce, then opposite zig-zag of some lovely local honey.  Put ribs face (arch side) down and then repeat your zig-zags of bbq sauce and honey on their backside.  Wrap the foiled tightly around the ribs and return to the BBQ for a further 15 mins before finally removing and slicing into the ribs (note to self get picture next time of these last two steps :( ).


A few weeks later after my sons BBQ bash I had a friend from Wiltshire, England to stay.  A nice opportunity to try out a new Beer Can Chicken recipe.  I first created a Simon & Garfunkel based rub to prep the chicken with.  Ingredients for this rub was sage, parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil and bay leaf powder.  I then applied the rub by a light rub of olive oil on the skin for the rub to stick  to, then applied the rub all over the skin and between the skin and the meat of the chicken.  I allowed it to rest and marinate for 45min in the fridge whilst I prepped the BBQ.  Once the BBQ reached its target 375-400 degrees I added the chicken to the pan & stand (replicating the beer can method) and placed on the griddle for the first 60 mins before reviewing.  After an hour I checked the internal temp and is was nicely at 158 degrees, leaving a further approximate 30-45 mins to reach the 175 degree target. Finally after a further 36 min, the thigh and breast temps had reach 178 degrees, and the skin had turned a wonderful crispy golden colour. Time to get the chicken off the BBQ and leave it to rest on the board with foil wrapped for 30 min.

BBQ Adventures -Birthday BBQ

Time for the new Napoleon Pro22K BBQ first outing for my father-in-laws 70th birthday family event.  Turns out the wife had invited the family to ours and given me the opportunity to try out my new BBQ and a recipe I have been going on about for over year, Smokey BBQ Baby Back Ribs.  So now I had to try and find some ribs at a local butchers or supermarket, turns out  you have to order in advance for our 3 local butchers and Morrisons, Asda, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s all didn’t have any, so this left me a trip to Costco in MK.

Homemade BBQ Sauce

I also wanted to go all out and try one of the recipes I found for making homemade BBQ sauce from key ingredients ketchup, tomato paste, black treacle, sugar, apple cider vinegar, water, onion, garlic powder and bit of heat via some cayenne pepper.  Allow to cool, blended in my Kenwood soup blender and allowed to cook before I bottle it in the washed out ketchup bottle.  A shot below in the pan, cooling before the blend.


Setup the BBQ

Setting up for an indirect low (temp) and slow smoking cook of the ribs at consistent 225-250f (100-120c).  Indirect cooking means using the spherical shape of the kettle barbecue to act as a convection type oven.  Heat on one side, rises up, hits the roof of the dome and then back down other side, cooking with its radiant heat.   I setup my  briquettes, approximately 70 in the snake formation to allow me to add lit briquettes at one end allowing a slow burn through unlit briquettes to maintain the temp. (image credit to  I added a few whiskey barrel chips at the start few inches for the smoking of the ribs.

fuse charcoal


Next up was lighting 7 briquettes in the chimney starter and allow them to reach white hot (appx. 20-30min).  Whilst these briquettes heated up I prepped my favorite BBQ rub based on the New Orleans Rub with my own twist.  I prepped all the drumsticks onto a large tray applying the rub to them. I moved on to prep the ribs by removing the membrane using the common paper towl technique which made it much easier.  Applied a light rub of yellow mustard all over for the rub to stick too, then applied the rub layered twice over and put the ribs onto a tray. Wrapped both trays and put them in the fridge couple of hours.

Checking the chimney starter it was time to add (overlap) the lit briquettes to the end of snake of unlit ones in the bbq and close the bbq lid allowing for the temp to raise to 225f and begin smoking.  It took approximately 15min before the heat and smoke was ready and time to add the ribs on the side of the bbq not directly over the heat and close the lid.

The rib smoke and cook lasted 3 1/2 –  4hrs with every 45min or so a light mopping (basting) of pure apple juice to keep the ribs moist.  After the initial 1 1/2 hours I added the first few bbq rubbed drumsticks and cumberland sausages ready for the first of the family due approximately 30min later.

The Result

Ribs had about 40-50min to go and the first drumsticks and sausages were well into their cook. Here’s a near final shot before all the fun started and family arrived break my photo grabbing attention of the bbq🙂 … tune in next time when I be trying Beer Butt Chicken…


BBQ Adventures – The Beginning

Barbecuing has been another area of cooking I enjoy, but like most, always just been the normal family affair or get out the BBQ, light and cook burgers, sausages and chicken. Thanks to a good friend Faithless, he started a few years ago delving into the more complex barbecuing recipes, like Beer Butt Chicken (more on that later) and slow and low pulled pork.  As I stay with Faithless on a regular basis as one of my benefits working down in Wiltshire, UK, we have tried a fair few other recipes and it got me wanting to upgrade to an improved BBQ myself. The search began in 2015…(currently ole faithful 6yr BBQ below)


My search for new bbq began like for most new items with a budget and my needs, such as how often will I bbq like cooking dinner or will I just use it when we have some British sunshine.  I decided a full blown american style large gas bbq wasn’t for me as I am a traditionalist in all my cooking and prefer the old authenticate approaches (charcoal in this case).  I also decided as I didn’t want anything to big in case I didn’t get the passion for cooking out in the British wet weather, so I ended up targeting a something like a kettle style charcoal bbq.  The research began, through YouTube (BBQ Pit Boys, BBQ Pitmaster X, Kettle PitmasterPostal BBQ, Weber BBQs, Napoleon BBQs, many more, see my BBQ Playlist which im always adding too), bbq sites like AmazingRibs and The British BBQ Society have great advice, information and forums.

Decision Time

After many months (appx. 17mth) of research and attending my friends delivering some awesome cooking results, the time had come to make a decision.  I had so far decided on the following requirements and resulting 4 options…


  • Budget £100-300 GBP
  • Charcoal Kettle (ball shape with lid)
  • Kettle in built thermometer / Buy seperatley thermometer set
  • Light, easy to move in storage (garage) or out to garden for use
  • Medium area of space required to use (1-2m squared)


  1. Weber Original Kettle Premium (57cm) at £172
  2. Weber MasterTouch (57cm) at £202 with lid stand and built in thermometer
  3. Napoleon Rodeo Charcoal Kettle (57cm) at £171
  4. Napoleon Pro22k Charcoal Kettle (57cm) at £250 hinged lid and built in infrared thermometer, iron cooking grate plus offer of FREE cover worth £48

and the winner was….

Napoleon Pro22k Charcoal Kettle 

Results are a very well made, sturdy, strong metal BBQ with the extra benefit over the other makes of providing 3 heights of cooking for the iron cooking grate, ideal for those larger poultry birds, pork joints, briskets.  In addition I luckily bought during (May2015) the offer of FREE £48 cover which is also very well made and protects in the weathers. The hinged lid works great and removes the worry of dropping the lid during food checks. The final built version is ready for next weeks father-in-law 70th birthday bbq (look out for the next bbq blog entry)




Nominated, shocked and excited!

I was nominated for the Creative Blogger Award by fellow friends and bloggers, Eldaeriel and Xannziee which is a great surprise (shock🙂 ) as I’m very new to getting back into blogging since my first attempt back in the early 2000s.


This award nomination comes with a few rules

  1. Thank the person that nominated you and share a link back to their blog
  2. Post 5 facts about yourself
  3. Nominate 15-20 people for this award – Could be tough as only have few fellow blogger friends, but working on it, only three (excluding those nominated me).  I nominate:
  4. Post the rules so everyone will understand what to do – Check √



A very special thank you for the complete shock nominations Eldaeriel and Xannziee.  Very much appreciated although I am a mere baby in the blogging world.

The Nominees are…

I’ve made some great friends over my years of gaming, such as Faithless one of my longest standing friends and newer recent ones from joining the GGGs such as HeadBurrow Antfarm, Eldaeriel, Cmdr Paws, Chrybdis, Arin, KateCold, Ketrikken, Space Dementia and many others.

So my nominations from the list who I have blogs for are:

5 Nonsense Facts 

#1 Few years ago I got fed up with eating manufactured bread and remembered my dad always use to make his own and I loved the smell of fresh bread on a Sunday.  I decided to follow his footsteps but go old style by trying to make Artisan bread and grow my own leaven (yeast).  Took  me 3-7 mth to learn and succeed to point happy with the outcome, favorite was Walnut & Cranberry Sourdough.


#2 Dont like ants much, get everywhere, swarm around from nothing.

#3 Massive sci-fi (space) fan, Babylon 5 for its depth and intertwining story through the series.  I still re-watch all series and see, hear conversations in early episodes reflecting later series story lines and lore which it then later delivers on.  Stargate being another great story telling space sci-fi soap, along with other greats such as Firefly (bring it back please) and Farscape.

#4 I am a passionate “do it right”, config management and automation freak.  Its not just my job but also my core in everything I do.  If something is worth doing well, do it right🙂

#5 Wife challenged me to ride a horse because I kept saying how easy it was when watching her and my daughter.  Ok its not easy!  First a little trotting, bounce as the horse trots they say… bump.. bump.. my ass hurting. Now a little canter… whats that.. oh… more bumping up n down and not in sync with the horse.. and faster.. bump..bump..bump..  I learnt a lot that day and in particular how much I like horses now too🙂

Change of Class – Wizards are cool!

I’ve been playing Black Desert Online now for about 2 weeks through trial and now a full paid player.  During my trial I chose the Sorceress and loved her… but I  found some of her skills not so “wow” and a little (to use my teen kids terms) Meh.  The opportunity arouse when I convinced my long term friend and gamer Faithless to try out BDO using my trial key gained from my purchase of the game.  To ensure we was on the same level and I could guide him a little into the BDO play style I create Elkaruk of the wizard class.


What drew me to try the wizard was the coolness of the spells, the magic style and beauty of seeing them in action, along with the wonderful DPS capabilities.  For me the most disappointing thing in MMOs has been the flat progression of magical spells as you level.  What I mean by this is using a fire ball at lvl 10 compared to lvl 20 is usually graphically represented with the exact same animation.  Lets be honest if you was a wizard of (or other magical spell casting class) of 50+ levels you would expected to be able to conjure some serious spells showing considerable graphical scale to compliment its deliver on an unsuspecting mob.  BDO has delivered this to me, finally an MMO where as you level the graphical representation of the spells scales as do the spells.  Most importantly, this increased graphical fidelity does not seem to be at any decrement to my fps (frames per second) smoothness of play.

The differentiation of the spells a wizard has also seem to compliment each other well (in my early trials of lvl 1-15).  One-on-one the chain lightning is great at pulling many mobs to you … then when close … evade back .. freeze them and finish with a nice fireball.  In group play with friends and other GGGs members the devastation you can cause is very satisfying.

Example of how cool it can be:

Something else I have noticed in review my screen grabs is my wizard, whether through gear change as I level or actually a feature of BDO, seems to be aging… or is it me (see 1st screen and one below facial age… is it different?).


Elkaruk is only a lvl 17 wizard at present, but I feel he is going to become my main and I focus my attention on learning his skills, play style and best spell combinations (well those I can do and not mess up which provide the best imho, dps).


Black Desert Online -Trial Day 5

Here we are 5 days into the trial and have to say the more I play the more I want to explore, see, learn, try everything.  So much to learn, to try, but the key I have found is learn new mechanics, like cooking when you need too.  Don’t try do it all at once, their is no rush, just enjoy the game.

Photographic Modes is something I promised to cover at a later date, so before I go into today’s exploits, let me explain some of what I mean by this mode. BDO has in built into the game two approaches to what I like to call photography concepts.

In the settings, the have implemented under the Graphics Settings see below showing the default of Vibrance filter and Sepia filter, of which there a further 12 settings.  Using this method will make the game play with the filter active all the time.



My preferred method is the Photographic (no UI) capability of the game by pressing Ctrl+U at any point in the game.  This allow me to have no user interface, character labels, just pure game graphics showing.  Like normal play I can adjust and tilt the camera angle and grab a screenshot with PrntScrn key. However, it has other benefits, like changing the Depth of Field (DoF) focus (the point at which the game graphics soft focus/blurr).  You can adjust the DoF, by pressing and holding Ctrl, then using the Up/Down arrow key, thus pushing the point of focus/blurr closer or further back.  In addition, while holding Ctrl, look to bottom right of the screen are the other keys for changing the filter and moving the camera.  Bring the UI back again and it will reset back to the the game setting default you have selected.


On to today’s adventures in the world of BDO, I worked way round Heidl talking to most npc’s earning new knowledge, watching in game cutscenes like in the pub with this large scottish speaking giant. Picking up as many quests I could including the latest of the main story from my friendly black ether.  The first few quests led to the beautiful farm, Alejandro Farm with some seriously pain in the ass bee swarms I had to combat in the first few quests.  Very difficult to see them until being stung good and proper… ouch… ouch…


All this combat and travelling on my little Jacko, I hadn’t noticed I had nearly reached lvl 17 and Jacko was well on his way to 9, boosting his travel speed to 109%. I really need to get myself a horse, but for now taming is off the table until I earn enough silver to buy the recommended first time trying of 10x ropes and 10x Lumps of Raw Sugar (est. 20,000 silver). Some more combat will help with this around the farm and I decided to pickup the farms node to allow me to gain a worker for farming of honey. Yes, you guessed it, those bees are now in hives and their honeycomb if being worked by some great looking npcs.


Marketplaces are tied to each area of the map such as Balenos where Olvia and Velia towns are homed, compared with Republic of Calpheon where Heidel and others towns/cities exist I have yet to explore and  gain knowledge on.  I found this out by surprise, when I went to collect my monies at Heidel marketplace, some items had a button stating “Balenos Territory Registered”.  This meant I had to return to Velia marketplace to pickup my cash for those items.  Which like the warehouses, makes perfect sense as its not just accessible anywhere like magic fairies bring your cash across the continents to the marketplace vendor you just happen to be at.  Its shared information but physical items are not (like cash at a vendor of your sales) therefore forcing the living world I am enjoying.  It also explains why the towns feel busy with npcs and players going about their daily business, instead of vacant like other MMOs because other players have out leveled the area.

So wheres does this leave me, wanting more and more, so it will come with no surprise I have taken the plunge and bought Black Desert Online!  :D

This for now will be the end of my daily blogs regarding the trial my friend provided me and turn more into blogs posts when I have some new and exciting to share about BDO.  It will also allow me to progress my other MMOs, GW2 and Elder Scrolls Online and provide some posts on them.



Black Desert Online -Trial Day 4

On Day 4 I decided to focusing how to progress to my first mount of a Donkey. As I mentioned in my day 2 post, mounts in BDO require training to gain speed, turn rate, braking speed and acceleration.

First mount required, so off I went to buy a donkey, which turns in to another lesson learnt (more on this later).  I headed to Olvia and the stablemaster there to purchase a nice little grey donkey for a mere 5000 silver.  On doing so, your prompted for his/her name,  Jacko is his name, short for JackAss🙂  I then popped to the local warehouse and found I can use the donkeys own inventory to transport some of my goods, so I filled his bags ready for transport to Velia. Now let get this little chap moving and earning his levels of training.


As you can see BDO has more beautiful little nuances, such as because Jacko is carrying items the donkey now has bags and nice blanket on his rear. I just love siting back with a cuppa and putting the game in photo mode and watching its beauty as I travel, snapping photos (I guess they are VR selfies really).  My Journey to Velia was over and I had already nearly reach Jacko to lvl 2.  I noticed Jacko’s, yellow bar, his Stamina was now 20% depleted, so after a little reading up I needed to feed him to keep his stamina replenished else he wont be able to travel, similar to keeping workers stamina up with beer.  Carrots is what I needed (cheapest for now, but other options exist which I can also cook, when I work out how🙂 )

More main quest mini bosses to destroy en-route, with my faithful friend Elda.  Which led us to decide we need to introduce the world of BDO the GGGs guild.  Thanks to Elda, she had it sorted and invite came through ready for our first GGGs exploit of beating down my next co-op quest Here Comes the Goblin Chief! mini-boss, gaining me some much needed inventory expansion.


House needed and workers need feeding, so next up was to check on my workers, one in Olvia gathering grapes and one in Velia gathering chicken meat plus bonus of eggs.  Clicking the pickaxe icon I am present with a list of their status, seems they are all worked out and how now stamina left. Looks like its time to make some beer via cooking, time for some googling and nice guide from Dulfy my faithful go to site for GW2.  Reading the guide, first need my first house of residence to allow me to then purchase and place my cooking station.  Then I need potatoes, water, sugar and leavening (yeast) to make my beer. So I purchase my first house for 1 contribution point and few thousand silver, next off to the chef in at the inn to purchase the cooking station and ingredients.


Now we have our house, cooking station and ingredients, we need to place the cooking station ready for use.


Station placed, time to get my chef on and make some beer for my tired old workers.  Pop the water, sugar, leavening and potatoes in the pot… click cook … viola .. we have beer.  Rinse and repeat until used the potatoes I have and we have 6 beers for my merry worker men.  Re-clicking the workers pickaxe icon, I just need to click  Recover on each worker and select how many beers to provide them.  Their we go, all refreshed and ready to work.  I leaving Olvia worker on grapes and re-assign Velia worker to farm potatoes making sure I have resources to make more beer later.

Time to move on to greener pastures as my last quest is leading me to new town of Heidl which is even busier and has a greater feel of life in a living breathing world. Welcome!


I slowly progress with my faithful Jacko increasing his training levels further and leading me to meeting the towns first npc, the stablemaster.  This is more of an interesting meet, as he has knowledge on horse taming, yes, the ability to capture and train your very own horses.  But… no time now as it 1:27am and time for bed… I leave exploration of Heidl until tomorrow, Day 5. Night all🙂




Black Desert Online -Trial Day 3

Day 3 of my BDO trial didn’t quite turn out how I planned as in real life personal commitments happened, so my 3rd day of playing BDO was actually the 4th day of 7 day trial pass.  Due to these same restrictions I decided to trying out the AFK (Away From Keyboard) system which allows me to be more of consultant to my character on exploring and gathering (fishing).  I decided to first send my Sorcerer off to fish at the Velia ocean.


Fishing in BDO is quite different to other games I played, as when you equip your rod, you un-equip your weapon and enter a fishing mini-game.  This gives the option of selecting to throw away trash fished or keep it.  This is especially targeted at the AFK aspect of the game, allowing you to leave the character fishing and walk away do something in real life (like baking gooey choc chip cookies).  The only limit to this is the rods durability and your inventory space must have adequate space to allow to fish for the max durability time of the rod (usually a full row of space in your inventory – thanks Elda for the heads up).  If either the rods durability runs out or you inventory space is full, then auto-fishing will stop.  Its also good to note shortly after this you will be AFK from the game doing nothing and thus the game will log you out, otherwise if doing something it will keep you logged in (more in AFK capabilities in a later post).

Inventory and Warehouse space can be limited at first in BDO (especially when wanting to AFK fish a lot) but there is a good few options through questing and other means (housing) to increase your capacity.  The questing option will provide +1 or +2 additions to your inventory space post quest completions.  This led me to locate the excellent BDO info and guide site Black Desert Foundry with their Increase Inventory Space Guide listing all quests to complete.  Your inventory also has a weight capacity because everything in BDO has weight to it, including your potions and tools you carry to survive or gather.  This makes it more focused to not just carry everything, prepare for what you want to achieve today and then set out on that adventure.  To me this is another mechanic which makes the game feel more alive instead of just logging in and go do the same multiple things.


The Warehouse system is where you get to store your wares (pun intended), but is tied to each village, town or city you visit.  What this means is, if you farm potatoes in Velia using a worker, they will store the resulting crop in the Velia warehouse.  If you then travel to the city of Calpheon and enter its warehouse you will not see your potatoes.  Yes, they really are like real life in this game, a warehouse is town based.  The only way to move items from say, Velia to Calpheon is on your personal inventory space, donkey or horse, cart and transport them.  This is easier with workers as they can do the work for you, but more importantly if you do it with a backpack on you increase your strength. This is one reason the game feels alive and you will see many horse and carts, travelers (workers) and players on the roads, town and cities carrying or transporting.  This gives an incredible sense of realism to the world.  So, this is another AFK opportunity to increase your strength whilst doing real life (chores or chilling).  Why AFK, because with a heavy loaded inventory, you walk and run much slower.  Watching your character traverse at a snails pace while playing is … lets face it… boring. So set a Navigate To point and AFK auto-run (walk) there with your backpack on with good in to transport.


Exploring is something I just love to do in MMOs, but in most you cant really explore because of the general MMO mechanic around your level and the mobs in areas you have not levelled up to or higher than the mobs.  On travelling through these areas, usually you aggro (unintentionally making them aware of you low level and triggering the into attacking you just by passing within their unknown aggravation area) on your exploration.  In BDO this is not the general case (as I found it so far 3 days in), you can pretty much go anywhere as long as you stay on the roads.  My favorite way to do this is locate a place on the map I haven’t been, like a farm or location and set my Navigate To, auto-run there and then turn off the UI. Leaving me to run and sit back watching my exploration adventure in beautiful photograhic mode (well its that to me because that when I take a lot of in game photos).

I will finish this post with my top 3 photos of the day exploring and I will go into more on how this photographic mode in a later post as its in built into the game when no UI is present.





Black Desert Online -Trial Day 2

If you missed Day 1 of my trial head over to it here, where I left a lead into what I wanted to achieve in Day 2 of my trail in Black Desert Online.  The thing is it took me a good hour to get my head round my first topic, Nodes & NPC Hiring.  To be honest its quite logical, but the UI (user interface) suddenly loses you and you find yourself at a dead end of progressing what seemed a logical approach.  Luckily for me, my friend Elda came to my rescue and very patiently explained the steps (thanks Elda🙂 appreciated you patience).


Contribution Points are required to hire workers and unlock nodes for use.  These are earned by doing quick quests in towns for various town folk .  They are reasonably easy to earn in the early levels so far, currently lvl 11 and before.

Energy Points are earned through gaining of knowledge by talking to people (npcs), chopping new woods, gathering new materials, killing new unknown mobs for the first time.  Generally exploring the world of BDO and learning all it has to offer to gain ore knowledge and thus earn more Energy.

Workers are npc’s you can hire in game using both Contribution and Energy points to select the type you want, of Orge, Human and Goblin.  Each has worker race has a slightly different stats and benefits, but for my first go I chose the little goblin dude, who cost me 1 contribution point to hire him.  Now onto finding a node to assign him too.

Nodes are points on the map which are either a locations in a city or town, or a junction on the road. Nodes allow you too connect a route for workers (npc’s you can hire) or a location to work or gather at (eg. farm for grapes).

Setting up my first node was done by selecting node on the map and spending the required contribution points to unlock it.  I then had to select the nodes resource icon (fern type icon) and spend another Contribution point to allow my workers assignment.  Now I can select my little goblin to farm grapes.  Elda reminded me to click Change to set him to repeat up to the maximum of his stamina (10 in this case).  I review my map to see him running across to the farm (node) I chose.  I followed my little goblin worker and found him busy farming grapes. So cool to see him there farming and easy to find as he has my family name I chose at character creation yesterday.

Mounts, donkey’s and horses… is easy to acquire, but like everything in BDO, its takes considerable time to master be able to breed and create your own horses.  I first set my Navigate To at the closest stable and click auto-run whilst made a nice cuppa.  Sitting here watching he world drink my cuppa is such a nice chill moment, and beautiful at that.  I ended passing a potions vendor, merrily singing and when I spoke she had this wonderful voice.  Yes a different voice seems to be the norm for every (unlikely but seems that way so far) vendor in the game.


I arrived at the stable and open up the shop to seem what I could afford with my current 2600 gold.  Sadly, nothing yet, the Donkey’s were 5000 and the cheapest horse was 15000 gold.  This lead me to readup more on horses in game and to my surprise, combat is possible while mounted.  Pretty cool I thought, but does that mean I can armour my horse…. oh yeh!  I was aware the game has an in game store, called the Pearl Store, which allows you to purchase costumes, armours, boats, pets (with benefits, but not like friends with benefits obviously), some of which you can check out below.




The next challenge is to try earn enough gold to gain my first mount of a Donkey🙂 Hopefully working my way up to a horse and then maybe a 4 horses and a cart. My final part of the day was to watch a good few guide videos on crafting which was clear would turn into another day of learning’s once I had more contribution points to hire more workers and gain considerable more materials before venturing into the world of BDO Crafting, so for now I leave this for another day.

My last item of the day was to venture into a new town called Velia, where on my route I picked up quest to kill a mini boss.  Now I hadn’t realised at the time I had been provided a scroll in my bags at this point.  So like a noob, I headed to the beach area highlighting the quest point.  Once I reached the area nothing happen, no mobs, no-one around.  This is when I found the scroll and right-clicked to use it…. ohhh… bad move… the UI disappears, camera pulls back the ground in front of me started to opening a black mist ether, the mist began to swirl and swishing as something begins to rise form the ground.  Er… ok thats a big black demon, perhaps I should start killing it… like now!


Right, this guys going down, entering combat stance.  Kiting him around the beach, dodging his shockwaves of sand and serious damage swipes I manage to trigger some of my new combos of combat.  Is health bar is now orange (meaning mid way through his health).  Quick jump back, dodge roll, now to the side, not into him… ouch!  That hit hard, only 11% health, quick drink health pot, phew back to 63% health.  Right, claws combo, 1..2..3… now his red health bar… just bit further…big finisher move and down!  Breath and .. releax, damn that was an intense fight… but oh so enjoyable, I must find more of those types of quests and appropriately added to my list of to do in BDO.

Day 3 I hope to work on more exploring and hire more workers, plus finding more of those mini boss quests.


Black Desert Online -Trial Day 1

I have been reading up and following the story of a MMO called Black Desert Online (BDO) for a couple of years now.  Its finally launched in the EU on 3rd Mar 2016, so relatively new to the EU although the Korean version has been available to play for over 2 years.  BDO is a buy to play MMO, similar to Guild Wars 2, pay once play for ever.  However, its not like Guild Wars 2 its more akin to Elder Scrolls Online but has no PvE end game such as dungeons or raids.  Does this matter if you area  pure PvE player, well  yes and no, Black Desert Online is a living breathing world which has PvE content.

So lets start with your options to try it out before you buy one of the editions, Travelers for €29.99 (£23 GBP) or Explorers for €49.99 (£40 GBP).  This is to me its current issue as you need to find a friend or a site with a FREE 7 Day Trial key you can use if you don’t want to splash out money to find out its not like any other MMO you may have played and may not like.  Trial keys can be requested from players who have bought the game as they have 1x key for Travelers and 2x keys for Explorers edition.  I was lucky enough to have a good friend (Eldae) in the GGGs who provided one of there keys to try. This set of blog posts are about that trial journey into BDO and thoughts after each day.

Day 1 of my Trial

Class & Character creation starts with the most incredible character introduction screen I have ever seen for each class, this alone took me 10 minutes to review and watch in awe each classes intro animations, movement and high fidelity models, along with a sneak peek at in game video f their combat play styles (excellent idea!).  I decided our a pretty damn beautiful female Sorcerer class but then noticed I cannot change the gender of my class, they are fixed.  No big issue but interesting as never in an MMO have I not been able to change the genre of my character. I then proceed to play with the incredible detailed character creation modelling tool with simple click/change buttons or full advance mode.  Wait theirs a button to take a photo of my character… the UI just auto-hides and a camera shutter noise later, shot taken.

Before (left) and After Customization (right)

20160411.1233_Char_Before  20160411.1233_Char_After

Let the game begin… after a short wizard asking what graphics quality I wanted I thought what the hell lets see what my aging 2013  PC spec can do…. lets max this game out at my UHD resolution of 2560 x 1080p🙂

I appear in a small village (no spoiler on the intro scene), its incredibly detailed, beautiful, and I seem to have a dark black essence talking to me (no spoiler), oh I have to take a screen grab. The camera and movement in this game is of the 3rd person variety, similar to ESO with WSAD keys. I move round this barn to find my first npc of the stables, the character model and subtle movement behaviors are like real people. She starts explaining to me how travel in the game is real, no way-point, magic portals here.  If I want to get around I need to work towards attaining a donkey, then a horse… but wait …  this isn’t just a a mount its a real horse I could leave in open land, run off exploring on foot to return to my horse and find it mauled by a monster.  As I ride my horse levels and becomes stronger, add a cart to it and travel trading (not like trading I seen before, see later), I can even breed horses in this game.


My little black ether re-appears and grants me my first quest to go try combat and kill some weak mobs.  Now.. this is where I began to hate the game only 10-15mins into it… why … because its not like any other game I have played (WoW, GW2, Skyforge, Aion, Wildstar, ESO, etc).  The combat only has 9 quick slots for my attacks and potions.  This game seems to be focusing me to really learn get into combat stance, controls mobs grouping ready for an attack, use correct attacks and most different is the use of combo of attacks to devastating affect.  This takes some getting use too… skipping to over 1 hours play of the game leading to my now level 6 and now I am starting to get it.  Combat guidance through more mini quests by my black ether helps train you in combat which is one way of earning XP.  Quest themselves are not here to earn you XP in the traditional sense.

You are in the world to explore, gain nodes (yet to full explore this mechanic) which allow you to setup NPCs to work for you, gather, craft and trade between cities, towns and villages.  You are encouraged to talk to every NPC to gain knowledge and contribution points (I think these relate to the nodes mechanic, Day 2 learning).  This exploring led me to open the map and play with the Navigate To and Auto-Run capability.  This is a great way to AFK get around, but also see places you wouldn’t normally by auto-running down the safe roads (safe for now from what I have experienced), sitting at your PC watching your character travel (albeit on foot for now) to your destination and taking in the beauty by sitting back drinking a cuppa, watching her run down the road.  On this auto run a storm started and it began to rain, harder and harder, the ground starting filling up with puddles, my skin was wet.  What am I witnessing, real weather, water in an MMO, yes I was, this is very cool to see and not just a trigger by entering an area.  I tested this by just stopping and waited for the rain to stop, the sun comes out and the ground and my skin began to dry.

It was just after this my friend who provided me the trial key came on Discord and offered to lead me to the main city Calpheon.  I set myself on follow and made myself lunch… this was a long auto-run with follow, but boy was it worth it.  Never have I seen a true busy bustling city in an MMO world.  So many different NPCs, shops, streets all working like a real medieval style city.  What stunned me was the detail and clarity in different sizes, races and voices for shop keepers as well as a new mechanic I never scene.  If you just stand still at a shop and in effect go AFK, the game auto pans camera angles around the you and the city whilst your character does auto emotes of movements.  Its just stunning to watch.


Now I was a mere level 11 and spent time just exploring the city, the scale of which is huge as is the continents to explore in the game world.  This is when I ran under an archway into a demonstration by a bunch of npcs getting rowdy, placards being pumped into the air, shouting abuse, damn this game has detail!  It was then I saw this building up higher in the city, could I get there, enter it and look at the city landscape.  So off I went with Eldae to see if we could reach it, took a while and saw some more amazing sights like the procession of guards in their fully armored horses ready for combat (yes this game has on mount combat system, yet to try).


We finally reached the court yard of the high rise building with a considerable training ground of female npcs combat training, where we just sat… and not by /sit but by backing up to the low stone and our characters auto sat.


Their is more mechanics for me to unravel in this game than any other I have come across to date with a true AFK system that allows you to remain logged in and minimise the game.  In this mode your hired NPCs continue to work at gathering, crafting, trading, fish or horses breed, cows can be milked plus who now what else.  I see a busy few days trying to read up and try it all (most I can) before my trial expires on Friday.

Day 2 list of things to discover have to be:

  • Nodes & NPC hiring
  • Crafting
  • Acquiring a donkey