Friday, March 5, 2021

Back To Black Desert Online

Yesterday, I mentioned I'd like the whole monetization soap opera in EVE Online to stop. I shouldn't wish for something that is impossible. Instead, I am going to take the other branch in the timeline: Pearl Abyss' plans for Black Desert Online. Specifically, self-publishing the game in the west.

Pearl Abyss has seen good success and increased profitability when the company began publishing the game in Asia themselves. For example, the company noted on its Q2 2020 earnings call that the game saw a record peak concurrent user mark in Japan when Pearl Abyss started self-publishing the game in the country in April 2020. When PA announced it was pulling the trigger and Kakao Games would stop publishing the game on 24 February, I jumped on the news and transferred my account to Pearl Abyss' servers.

The first time I played Black Desert Online was back in 2018 around the time of the PA's purchase of CCP Games. I managed to level a Valkyrie up to level 31 before I started dabbling in life skills. I eventually stopped playing when I realized the game wanted more money than I was willing to give. Basically, BDO was a pay-to-win game. Not pay-for-convenience. Not pay-for-progression. Pay-to-win.

As someone who is interested in how Pearl Abyss monetizes games, I started playing BDO again last night. I want to see if the way PA runs the cash shop differs from the way Kakao Games ran theirs. I figure I should give PA 2-3 months to make changes. In the meantime, I can use the time to level a character up. Doing so is important, because I will then have some sort of knowledge of the game to use when looking at the cash shop offerings. I'm hoping I can gain the experience in three months.

My New Character

Instead of trying to learn how to play a Valkyrie again, I decided to create a Witch and begin again from level 1. I then discovered a nice thing. All of my money & life skill work I did back in 2018 is shared with my new character. Having 308 million silver and the occasional farm product appear on my screen was a nice bonus. I also found 950 pearls, which is the BDO cash shop currency. If I recall correctly, that is worth $9.50. I have the feeling that will come in handy.

I also came into this latest effort with a plan. I found a YouTube channel, imPansy, and decided to go with his leveling plan. Instead of doing what I usually do, I'll concentrate on leveling to 61, then circle back to start doing life skills.

After creating my new character and adjusting some settings, I started adventuring by doing the main quest line. I played for two hours and managed to reach level 12. I would have progressed further if I could get used to the user interface. I still have to look at the screen to figure out which buttons to push to attack. Even movement still feels unnatural. I think if I weren't playing the game as part of a blog project, I would have rage quit after about 30 minutes. 

Still, once I get used to the controls, I think I'll enjoy the class. Casting fireballs just feels so satisfying. I am looking forward to getting a magic missile attack that knocks opponents off their feet. I also like an attack that steals mana from mobs. Overall, the Witch spell rotation looks interesting. I just need to find out where to train my skills in addition to remembering which buttons to press.

I'm not sure how much I will post about my experiences in Black Desert Online. The first metric I want to know is how long it takes to reach level 32. Recently in Final Fantasy XIV I began leveling my two Arcanist classes, the Scholar & the Summoner. I was able to do so over the course of a weekend. I think I can reach that level in BDO by Monday as well, But I'm wondering if it will take 12 hours or much less. I might post the answer next week.

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