Black Desert Online's initial learning curve is no joke. Even as a seasoned MMO veteran, years of themepark conveniences may have accustomed you to such straightforward, guided gameplay experiences that you now find yourself stuck deep in sandbox morass. As much as I appreciate the depth of Black Desert Online's content and the multitude of non-combat activities to do, the game is pretty bad at explaining many of its more complex mechanics.
This is where guides come in handy, even more so a helpful guild that will assist you in your first steps. I must say that without the latter, I may have given up on my first residence or taming my first horse in frustration. There is nothing intuitive about Black Desert Online's micro-management and the node/worker system may be at the top of that list. At the same time, resource gathering via nodes is such a fundamentally important part of the game that you can't very well ignore it.
This is where I present you with this step by step guide on how to set up your first nodes with workers. Unlike many more comprehensive guides out there, this is aimed at making your first experience with node and worker management a quick success without worrying about some of the micro-management that comes later. If you're looking to optimize outcome, train workers or learn all the tricks of the trade, this ain't the place for it. If you however are looking to learn the basics in chronological order, this guide is for you!
Preface: Understanding Nodes
Before we can jump into the step by step guide, it is important to understand what nodes are in Black Desert Online. Easily put, nodes are any point on the map where there's a bigger hub, city, farm or gateway post with people for you to speak to. Since nodes connect to one another to eventually form one big network, you should always attempt to discover them. Few exceptions aside such as cities, every node has a node manager NPC standing around somewhere nearby that is your first stop to node management. Most of the time, you can start the conversation and choose the "node management" option straight away in dialogue. Sometimes you're required to do a side task first, such as talk to or assist another NPC from that same area before the node manager chooses to talk to you. It's simple enough and recommended not to skip any nodes from the moment you set foot in Olvia. You don't want to have to backtrack half of the nodes in the game later on, trust me!
Still with me? Okay, let's do this.
Node and Worker Guide for Dummies
I will use nodes around Velia city as an example on how to activate farming and send your workers there. My first active nodes were the Finto and Bartali farms, which are located directly to the east and south of town. They're a good place to start potato farming because everyone needs beer later on to keep their workers fit and willing. Finto farm is also the node for that region of the map that activates a general item drop rate increase if invested in (as indicated by a mini-icon on top of your screen), so it should be your first stop.
Quick guide to node management:
Visit Velia and find the local work supervisor, Santo Manzi. If you can't find him, toggle the NPC search for "worker," which is located left of your minimap. Choose "contract workers" among dialogue options and invest the 5 energy points to proceed.
You get a random worker assigned to you. You can choose to roll with him or invest more energy until you got what you want. Goblins are a good place to start, so don't worry about anything for now and hire your first worker for a bit of cash.
Visit Finto Farm and speak with the node manager Martina Finto. Choose the "node management" option to open that specific node in world map view (you cannot do this from anywhere else or by pressing 'M' for world map). On the top left of that screen you have the option to invest 2 contribution points. Do it!
You now invested in Finto farm, which means the node appears in red on your world map. You can now also see what resources are available for farming from within the node management map.
By staying in the node management map or talking to the NPC again, you can choose the potato or chicken resource to send your first worker to gather. Before you can send him, the resource also needs you to invest contribution points on the top left of the screen.
After also investing in the potato resource, you can finally assign your worker. Depending on the type and quality of your worker, it will take more or less time until his stamina is depleted and he requires beer to recover. Check the pickaxe icon on the top left of your screen to see how your active workers are doing. The workers list can also be accessed via world map and you can recover exhausted workers from there, as long as you carry beer in your inventory.
Whatever resources your peons have gathered will be stored directly in the warehouse of their city of origin. Once you've established your first gathering nodes, your trade empire will grow quickly and you will need for more workers, which in return requires you to invest contribution points into extra lodging. Workers can also be fired, traded and trained, which is explained in further detail in this Black Desert Foundry guide.
Remember to keep your game running if you want your workers to do their job or they will lay down their tools after you've logged yourself out. How goes the saying, when the cat is away, the mice will play - and these mice require lots of beer down the line! Good luck.
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