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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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!  😀

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 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)

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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

 

MMOs, a journey to Guild Wars 2 and Elder Scrolls Online

[Part1/2]

I’ve been a long time MMOs player since a good friend Faithless got me into the beta of World of Warcraft back in 2004. I was hooked into a world of make believe, fantasy, magic and a new world of questing to improve my power.  Like most, for me its the fun of increasing your characters ability to survive and take down mobs with powerful spells of magic.  The unlocking of new spells, effects and graphical wonders to be awed at.  For me a good looking game makes it a more believable world, with graphical fidelity which takes on nuances of small details makes those worlds believable and absorbing into the lore. Minor details such as shadow, light, trees moving, affecting the light and shadows, spells impacting the landscape create a sense of realism.  As the years have moved on the graphical fidelity of all games including the vast worlds of MMOs has greatly increased.  For me I lost my Warcraft guild and fun after 6 years of playing, sadly it became a grind, no improvements to the graphics quality of the game, what was once a great, enjoyable game was lost.  So for me, my journey began to try find a new game and guild, which captured what I wanted…

I tried a number of of F2P (Free to Play) titles such as Aion, great graphics fidelity, lacking lore, some new ideas like gliding on thermals instead of mounts, but it lacked focus, lore depth and sadly no guild to enjoy with. I finally thought I found the game for me, Rift by Trion. I followed its development and managed to get myself on the alpha and the beta but on US servers only (no EU at that time).  I met like minded individuals through the alpha, beta together we began to feel like I found the game, the graphic fidelity, the lore, like minded people to be in a guild with, was his the moment I found my missing mojo in an MMO?  For approximately 9 months I played the game post launch with my new guild and even became one of the founding guild officers.  Sadly, playing on US time made arranging raids, runs, just general fun nights difficult for me.  Other UK based players decided to leave the guild and create a new on EU servers and the US members split and created new guilds.  This was the end of my new game and fun.  The search continued again…

Next up was Wildstar, followed the development blogs and podcasts, loved the more light hearted play style of humor elements (in fact some hilarious moments, like the voice over every time you level with funny quips) , graphically a beautiful game and some great new mechanics such as the attack telegraphs, dodge rolling.  Played the game with my buddy Faithless all the way to top level, but then… nothing there was nothing to do.  No exploring options, no puzzles, not even raids as we had to have at least 5 friend to do a raid and sadly we hadn’t met any Guild which we felt fitted us.  Another game fun ended only 2-3 months into…

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So, I moved in to Xbox gaming until I could find something new… during this time I met up with long term (12yr plus) Xbox players I weekly played with and went to beers festivals (which was good social fun).  During this time frame, I met a new friend  IanJ, we talked an he mentioned he got into his first MMO, Guild Wars 2 and was playing with a great bunch of UK like minded, similar aged individuals called Good Guys Gaming or GGGs for short.

Part 2 will go into the outcome of finally finding what I was after and how this led me to another new title with the same great new friends of the GGGs…