Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Beginning My Worker Empire In Black Desert Online

The purchase of CCP Games by Pearl Abyss led to an immediate uproar over how the Korean game maker would turn EVE Online into a pay-to-win dystopia, filled with doomsday weapons powered with PLEX, special mutaplasmids purchased from the cash shop, and SKINs with bonuses similar to hardwiring. Okay, I made up those examples, because the whining I read wasn't that imaginative. But apparently Pearl Abyss' flagship game, Black Desert Online, doesn't have the best reputation, so of course I had to see for myself.

One of the similarities between EVE and BDO is the desire of players to make money passively. The difference is how much each studio catered to the desires of their respective player bases. EVE does have passive income generation such as planetary interaction and AFK ratting in Vexors and the ever present Vexor Navy Issue. But the devs also tried to reign in other passive game play, most notably changing moon mining from a passive to an active feature last year. In BDO, the thought process is totally different. Won't play a game infested with fishing bots? No problem. BDO supports AFK fishing natively. But the feature I ran across had an interesting name: worker empires. So I started to create one.

This post is not a how-to guide. I found plenty searching on YouTube as well as on Google. I just wanted to record some thoughts as I begin the journey down the rabbit hole. So let's begin.

First, I needed to gather something called contribution points. Those come from doing quests. The more quests I do, the more points I receive. At level 25, I've received 18 points. The second is gathering something called energy, although I've seen the feature called "vigor" in guides. Energy is required to do things like actively gather resources and hire workers. Energy is generated at a rate of 1 point every 3 minutes, or double that rate if your character is sleeping in a bed. Currently, my energy pool is 35 points. So if I wanted to, I could wake up on a Saturday morning, do a lot of gathering, use up all my energy, then go out and do my weekly grocery shopping and come back to a character with a full energy pool.

The contribution points allow me to do things like purchase buildings in towns and pay for access to resource nodes. The nearest I can describe what happens is that each node accessed becomes part of a network, and workers travel along the network's paths. In the towns and cities of BDO, one can purchase housing, warehouses, and specialty buildings. The workers bring the resources from the nodes to the warehouses, where the player picks up the raw materials and either crafts or sells the materials to the market.

The nice part about workers is they continue to work unsupervised as long as controlling player is logged into the game. Well, and kept happy. What makes workers happy? Beer! So one of the first steps in my worker empire is to gather the ingredients for beer. Beer is made from any grain, including potatoes. Is potato beer a thing in Korea? So when I started off my worker empire, I hired three workers, 2 humans and a goblin. I started off with the goblin mining iron, one human chopping down ash trees, and the other human gathering potatoes. After a couple of days, my goblin has reached level 11 and both humans are level 12. The human gathering potatoes could keep up with the beer making needs for three workers, but I need more if I want to expand.

Last night I took a break from EVE and worked on getting more contribution points. I now have 4 unused points and am 5% away from a fifth. I figure a few more quests and I can go out and get additional worker lodging, warehouse space, and access to another potato node. My need for beer will decrease for a couple of days as my goblin takes a promotion test. What that does I have no idea, but sounded like something I should do.

I get the impression I am not playing the game right. Instead of racing to the level cap and then working on the life skills, I am slowly building my worker empire as I level. That's okay, because end game in BDO doesn't sound that exciting anyway. Besides, I think trying to figure out how to keep my pets fed is more important in the short term is a lot more important than dreams of level 60 anyway.

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