Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Pet Project : Black Desert

The event celebrating the addition of the two new classes, Maehwa and Musa, to Black Desert Online ends tomorrow. There wasn't a lot to it. All you needed to do was log in and collect some Maehwa Seals

Why are there Maehwa Seals but no Musa Seals? I have no idea. Like everything about Black Desert the whys and wherefores are opaque.

Why, for example, would you create a system for providing quest rewards that requires the player to arrange quest items in a geometric shape within the character's inventory and then click on a tiny plus symbol? Is that supposed to be a mini-game?

Fortunately the combine ignores the squares in the middle.
Otherwise I'd have had to ride all the way to Calpheon
to find some warehouse space.
We didn't have any of that fiddle-faddle with the previous event, where we had to collect the eggs. That was a straightforward hand-in to an NPC. It didn't generate a slew of threads on the forums with people complaining that they'd laid out their Seals in the wrong order and gotten a reward they didn't expect.

Depending on your patience and dedication there were four levels of award on offer. For three seals you got a couple of black stones to upgrade your armor. For six you also got weapon upgrades and at nine Seals Daum threw in a few Fragments of Memory, used for restoring durability.

The big ticket prize was for a round dozen Seals. That got you all of the above plus a hawk pet. Obviously that was what I wanted. The event runs for fifteen days so there was a margin for error. I completed mine yesterday and, after some considerable finessing between my inventory and the warehouse in Heidel, I managed to arrange the Seals in the requisite 3x5 rectangle and collect my winnings.

I was a day behind on doing the event on Mrs Bhagpuss's account. I finished that this morning only to find that at level 11 she doesn't yet have enough bag space to make the shape. She has enough slots easily but it has to be completed as a vertical not a horizontal, which means earning another seven slots to extend the range down a row.

Luckily I realized this in time because years of playing MMOs has made me excessively cautious when combining or handing in anything, particularly when it's associated with temporary content. As far as I can gather, Daum is being very good about returning mis-arranged Seals, provided the reward box itself hasn't been opened, but still its a hassle you'd want to avoid.

The Seals will just have to sit in the Velia warehouse until Mrs Bhagpuss gets around to playing the game for long enough to open the bag space, which probably means they'll still be there when the servers close down. There's no cut-off point for combining them, luckily.

It's not as if pets are hard to get in Black Desert anyway. You can buy them from the cash shop. In fact, I believe that outside of this event you can only buy them from the cash shop. They aren't outrageously expensive, coming in at around $10 but the hawk is slightly more expensive than the cats or dogs so a chance to get one for nothing is not to be ignored.

Ah, bless! He's asleep!

Pets in Black Desert aren't just for vanity although they operate exceptionally well in that arena. Other MMOs that use pets as nothing more than eye candy could certainly take a look at the behaviors of the animals in Black Desert, where cats can jump up and sit beside you on your horse or ride on your shoulder.

The hawk has a good range of animations, including a wide circle high above your character, a wing-flapping hover, a settled shoulder ride and a head down, eyes closed resting position. It gets a bit confused if you lean against a wall, though. Mine just hung motionless above me like a helium balloon.

Not so much bird on a wire as bird on a string.

As well as looking cool the Hawk has storage slots (What, it's hollow? Don't ask). I haven't hunted with mine yet but I'm guessing it uses these to hold the loot it picks up for you every ten seconds. Like pets in many F2P games these scurry around after their masters going through the pockets of downed enemies for loose change and trinkets.

Because nothing in Black desert can ever be straightforward you don't just buy a pet and leave it to do its own thing, as I did in City of Steam, for example. No, you have to feed them, they have their own progression path and you can even breed them. It is ferociously complicated and there's no reason for me to try to explain it when Dulfy has already gone over the fine print in painful detail.

Fly, my pretty. Fly!

In addition to picking up loot my new hawk also spots "Rare Monsters" and marks them for me with a beam of light. I am guessing laser vision. Could be magic. I'm not actually clear on what a "Rare" monster is, even after a little googling. I guess I'll find out when I take the hawk out hunting.

So that's Black Desert's latest event over and done with. According to the latest interview the addition of the next two classes, Ninja and Kunoichi, has been pushed back a little. Whether that will spawn another event we will have to wait and see.

It's at times like this that shoulder pads come into their own.

As to whether I'll keep logging in now there are no more Seals to collect, well that's a point to ponder. I'm guessing not. Motivation is low and other distractions are powerful. I guess I at least have to try the hawk out at some point just to see how it "works" but beyond that I'm not sure.

These log-in incentives do the job - if the reward is tempting enough. This one definitely passed that test but now I have my object of desire I realize I probably didn't really need it after all. Story of my gaming life, that is...


  1. I picked up the hawk from this event as well. Seeing this is my first and only pet, I'll take it. :)

    1. Almost before I finished this post Daum released yet another major update and another event along with it. I have a couple of weeks off work recuperating from an operation I had yesterday so I might end up doing that one too. The rewards are nothing like as tempting but conversely the event itself looks fun.

  2. Okay well that sounds awesome. I don't play a lot of F2P MMOs, but the shots of this hawk, and description of how pets are actually engaging and interesting, is definitely making me consider it.

    1. BDO is "Buy to Play" in the West but it's true that the original Korean version is F2P and it follows a lot of the forms of that model. It's definitely at the very high end of F2P as far as quality goes, though. Well worth the box price.


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