Black Desert Online

Calpheon Journal: Daum Appreciation, DPS Woes, and RNG Strikes Again

It’s Developer Appreciation Week in the MMO blogosphere, so let’s take a moment in this column to celebrate the good… and then talk about a few things that arguably players are appreciating less right now in Black Desert Online.

Thanks, Daum!

Developer Appreciation Week is yet another event run by blogging superstar Belghast over at Tales of the Aggronaut. The idea is to take a week from April 24 – 30 to acknowledge the hard work that our favorite designers, developers, community managers, and so on put into the games that we love. So let’s do our part for positivity by showing a little love for Daum Games!

The concept of customer service is viewed differently around the world, and sometimes the very North American ideal of a company being personality-driven and “friends” with its customers doesn’t translate well. It’s easy to feel like an outsider when playing a game that started its life halfway around the world, in another language, using unfamiliar tropes.

Daum Games could have carried on the tradition of aloofness, but instead they’ve chosen to embrace their North American and European players with a team of very active community managers and a number of localized events. Sure, as I wrote here earlier, it was a little strange to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Calpheon, but it was a sign right away that Daum was embracing their latest localization.

bdo-landscape

And how about that surprise Mediah expansion less than a month after the initial release? Or the announcement that Blader and Plum, now known as Musa and Maehwa, would appear along with an additional free character slot in the North American and European release shortly thereafter? We’ve been spoiled with content, and the game hasn’t even been out here for two months yet!

Although Daum Games is the publisher of BDO and responsible for the localization and customer support, we should also take a moment to appreciate the hard work of the team at Pearl Abyss, the developer. I’m sure a whole bunch of people worked very hard to create costume items, quests, crafting mechanics and character creators that let us designate different eye pupil shapes, and it’s been a lot of fun to experience the results of their effort.

So thanks, Daum Games and Pearl Abyss! We appreciate you!

Whew, that’s a lot of positivity! We’d better even it out with a look at a few concerns that are currently burning up in the BDO community…

Stabbin’ Ain’t Easy

As I said above the Musa and Maehwa classes have been out for about a week now, and reviews from players are mixed.

These classes were highly anticipated. Previously BDO didn’t have a class that followed the classic rogue archetype, and everyone loves a sword-wielding DPS class. Additionally, BDO’s male character selection is kind of lackluster, and the Musa in particular is a nice foil to the “pretty boy” blonde warrior.

Unfortunately, it appears that in practice the Musa and Maehwa leave something to be desired: DPS. Described as a “glass cannon with no cannon,” both the general feeling of players is that the Musa and Maehwa need some balancing. Furthermore, there are reports that gear scaling is not working as intended; players with high-level gear aren’t experiencing a great return on their investment.

bdo-musa Daum Games

It doesn’t help that the samurai-like classes are difficult to play. They require excellent timing to land their stunlocks (which you need to do to stay alive), much less pull off any of their big damage rotations. Playing one of these new classes requires arguably more finesse and precision than just about any of the alternatives.

To make things even worse, Musas and Maehwas rely on combos to do their major damage, but they’re also very vulnerable to being interrupted. Even a single interrupt will cause a player’s DPS to plummet, and create awkward moments on the battlefield.

Bladers and Plums were originally introduced in the Korean version of BDO as the premiere PvP class, so it’s particularly disappointing for North American and European players that they appear to be the least powerful class option here. Hopefully, as time goes on, Daum will give the new classes a balancing pass, and perhaps players will get used to the more unforgiving Musa and Maehwa mechanics.

RNG Strikes Again

Part of the charm of BDO at its launch was its inscrutable mechanics. It’s been a long time since an MMO actually felt like a strange new world!

This also meant that no one was sure of exactly how things worked, so it makes sense that it was only a few days ago that a player noticed that different characters get a different amount of stats upon leveling up.  They put in a ticket about the issue, and received a confirmation by CM_Jouska who said:

“After checking with the developers I can confirm this is 100% intended, there is a range for how much HP and MP are gained with each level to add variety between characters without giving too much of an advantage. They believe that no two characters should be identical and that these variations add to the game, making each character more unique and the game more fun.”

On the one hand, I agree with Jouska and the developers that adding variety between characters is a great idea, and some limited randomness is a solid way to do that. It’s a system that resembles creating a character in a tabletop game, and I appreciate the old school attitude.

Black Desert Online horse

On the other hand, I can see how this revelation about mechanics is frustrating high-end PvP players. The variance between players is limited to a range, but it would still be unfortunate to die in battle simply because the RNG happened to assign you to the low end of HP skill points during leveling. We don’t know right now if being assigned to a low range in HP means you would be assigned to a high range in Luck or another stat, but it’s still a tough break for competitive players.

This matters a lot less to PvE players, of course, although I will say that I’m a little salty that the developers apparently value character variety enough to give leveling some RNG, but most of us are still running around in identical, non-cash-shop outfits. Harrumph!

So there you have it! While Daum has created a great game that we enjoy and we appreciate their efforts, but as players there’s still always a way to nitpick just a little.

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