Saturday, January 30, 2021

Back In The Desert

Having taken the trouble to move my Black Desert Online account from Kakao to Pearl Abyss so I wouldn't have to say goodbye to my characters, it was inevitable I'd want to log in and say hello to them instead. There was only one thing stopping me: a 56GB update. I realize I've been gone for a while but that's... well, it's enough for several complete games, isn't it?

Oh well, bite the bullet. I set the patcher running and it managed to gulp down nearly three gigs before it coughed up a hairball and fell over. Some file caused an exception and the launcher froze. I closed it and re-opened it and the whole thing crashed. 

I thought about trying to figure out something to do about it but then I decided to go patch Twin Saga instead. That's the trouble with old mmorpgs - as soon as I start thinking about games I used to play I want to play them all. 

Twin Saga also needed a hefty patch. I forget how big but it was several gigs. I play Twin Saga through Steam, though, so there were no problems getting back up to speed. That's one good reason to use Steam for mmorpgs that hadn't occured to me before.

By the time the update had finished I was playing something else. EverQuest, I think. A the moment I seem to be playing, for want of a better word, rather a lot of mmorpgs: EverQuest, EverQuest II,, Guild Wars 2, World of Warcraft - those four  I log into just about every day. I've played a fair bit of DCUO recently and now I seem to be adding Twin Saga and Black Desert to the mix. I even played Rift the other night and I'm more than willing to bet that won't be the end of it. 

Red Eyes snitches on Red Nose.


Actually, it already isn't the end - I was playing in this weekend's latest test of FHX until they had to reboot the server and I got kicked out. I'll play some more there tomorrow.

Other than the endless patching, the main problem with dotting about like this is that, as has often been observed here and on many other blogs, mmorpgs can be a bugger to get back into when you've been away a for a while. They will keep changing.

I'd have to say that really is one of the joys of Rift. It's always exactly the bloody same. It's months since I last logged in but it only took me about twenty seconds before I felt like I'd never been away.

I checked my mail (still full of free gifts I never remove because of a perennial lack of bag space) and fiddled around with the guild bank (there's a whole vault full of things that don't belong to me but no-one else has played for years so I guess they're mine now). 

Then I rode off across Silverwood, knocked off a few quests on the way and somehow ended up in Scarlet Gorge,. I put a couple of levels on whoever it was I was playing. It was fun, albeit very much a private kind of fun. It felt like I'd fired up a single-player game. I was there for a couple of hours and never saw a single other player, not even in town. I finally logged out in Scarwood Reach. Might be a while before I log in again.

Today I read a couple more posts from other people who've been reminded Black Desert exists and taken it upon themselves to give the game another go. There could be some marketing traction in this, you know, telling people something's going to happen to their accounts or their characters if they don't do something about it sharpish. I hope no-one's getting ideas.

I'll thank you to keep your suggestions to yourself, Spirit, unless you want a taste of this boomerang .


I was all set to uninstall and reinstall, thinking that might be the quickest way to fix whatever the problem was, but I figured I might as well just give it one more go as it stood and guess what? It worked just fine. Took a while but this time the whole fifty-six gigs flowed smoothly down the pipe and there I was, back in...

... hang on, what's the name of the world again? Oh, look! It doesn't have one! That's bold.

Mailvaltar mentioned in the comments that there were a lot of "welcome back, prodigal child" rewards I might be entitled to and he wasn't kidding. There were so many I kind of glazed over. Didn't take a single one and it seemed like there were dozens, maybe hundreds. I gave up long before I'd even looked at them all.

It's not that there's a lack of detailed explanation in game. Very much the opposite. Very, very much. Black Desert is one of those games that likes to append entire essays to mouseovers and tool-tips. It's only to be expected, I guess. If there's one thing you can say about Pearl Abyss it's that they do like to take a maximalist approach to just about everything they do. 

It's a ferociously complicated game in just about every way you'd care to mention, except perhaps for the combat, which at the levels I've attained consists almost exclusively of running into armies of mobs then jumping and yelling and spinning in circles until either they or you fall over. 

So that's what I did.

It's pretty plain my character has no more idea what she's doing than I do.


I only did it for about ten minutes and I levelled up twice. There seem to be some ferocious xp boosts on by default. I think the server was giving me 200%, an event threw in another 100% and some guild had buffed the town I was in for yet another hundred. I had several other consumable options I could have used but since my goal in Black Desert has always been to try to throttle back on leveling, I refrained from using any of those.

Only a week or two ago I was mithering a little about not having enough mmorpg options on my plate. I think I was misrepresenting the situation. There's absolutely no shortage of very good games I could be playing, it's just that getting beneath the skin of any of them requires more application than I seem to be prepared to give just now. 

It's not a problem. I thought briefly that it might have been but that was because I hadn't thought it through. If I don't have the drive to dive deep into any one mmorpg, I can just splash around on the surface of a whole ocean of them. 

I have no intention of re-learning how to play Black Desert properly but I am definitely up for beating on armies of imps for the sheer joy of it. I also noticed when I logged in that there seem to be about double the number of classes there were last time I played so I feel a new character or two coming on.

And now I come to think of it, it's been quite a while since went through a phase of making a load of new characters in different games. I'm probably about due. 

I wonder what else I could try...


  1. "That's the trouble with old mmorpgs - as soon as I start thinking about games I used to play I want to play them all."

    Boy do I feel this! Not limited to just MMOs in my case though, the 'wiki effect' of starting with a thought about one game and then following the links well beyond the point of recollecting the original game thought or trigger?


    Pretty regular occurrence! xD

    In any case, I haven't tried the Shai character yet in BDO, but it does look pretty interesting! Very different from everything else it seems. But there really is an overwhelming amount of 'stuff' when returning. My bags are pretty well full of the 'gifts' from coming back at this point. lol

    1. I like the Shai a lot but the boomerang weapon is just bizarre. It seems like the most inconvenient and awkward thing to be carrying around just to hit people with. I was kind of expecting she'd get to throw it at some point but that doesn't seem to happen. Then again, my Shai is only level 12. Maybe she just hasn't got to that point yet.

  2. She definitely gets to throw it, and while I can‘t be 100% certain I‘m pretty sure she should already be able to do so at 12.

    When you press K you can have a look at the skills she already has, complete with little videos showing off how they look in action and of course the corresponding key-combos to execute them. At higher levels you need to invest skill points first before you can use new skills at all, but at this stage this shouldn’t be the problem.

    I always want to level up my Shai some more, I‘d very much like to fiddle around (literally) with the instruments she gets at awakening, but there‘s so bloody much to do even with one character I never get around to it.

    1. Now you mention it I have a very vague recollection of throwing the thing back when I was playing her the first time. I also know I have unspent points. I'm going to go in and have a dig around now because hitting mobs with what looks like a banana-shaped ironing board is not really a great look.

    2. Ok, I have now read all the skill descriptions, watched the videos and tried out the skills I have while actually watching what my character does and in fact nearly ALL of the skills involve throwing the boomerang. The thing is, the throws are such short-range, there are so many visual effects and most fights involve so many mobs in a tight cluster I had never even noticed! I was imagining throwing the boomerang in the way an archer shoots an arrow - from a good, long distance away so you'd see it travel - but it's far more closer-up and personal than that. Now I just have to figure out what buttons to press to make each of the different throws.

    3. Yeah, mowing down mobs from a distance and/or in droves isn't the Shai's forte when compared to other classes. It's actually the main reason for my reluctance to get her to level 56.

      On the other hand, maybe I'm just too used to having TET weapons at my disposal that she just has to feel weak in comparison.

      By the way, among the many things you're able to claim now might be a set of "supressed" TRI weapons. I say 'might' because I'm not sure whether it was necessary to log in within a specific timeframe to get them and I was just lucky, or if any returning player gets them.

      If you do have them you can open those three chests to get a main weapon, an awakening weapon and an off-hand at TRI level for the character who opens them for free, the only drawback being that they can't be enhanced any further.

      If you're happy with the Shai you might want to claim them for her. I know combat isn't exactly hard to begin with, but personally I still like it when it goes really fast, especially when trying to reach 56 asap (which, for the Shai, might be even more of a game changer than for other classes).

  3. Well, let me know if you've found any that can keep your attention. :D
    I am in the same boat and while I loved BDO, I lost all my data from back then and dont even remember how I signed up for it or what my credentials were. So not gonna put myself through that. The same goes for GW2 which I really liked but havent played in such a long time, I've no idea if I could restore my account. Sigh. We just have too many options nowadays and yet it feels like nothing sticks!

    1. Based on my experience when I wanted to to get my original Guild Wars account back to do the Hall of Monuments stuff before the release of GW2, after never having played it for seven years, ANet can be very good about restoring old accounts. I did still have the original box, though, with the original code.

      That said, when it comes to mmos you haven't played for years I think it makes just as much sense to simply start over, especially since most of them are free nowadays. You're going to have to relearn the whole thing from scratch anyway. Might as well start at the beginning.

  4. Ooh, ooh, are we going to debate the Shai? Her attacks are short range (for a normal size class :p) and her mobility is not great, but she's absolutely one of the best at the end-game grind spots *and* she's virtually unkillable in PvE. And with lots of unique animations and (free, craftable) outfits - the free and craftable part is also rather unique in BDO.

    She's one of the few classes (the other being the Archer) that does *not* change much at 56 - her talent (not an awakening) is basically party buffs and more heals; she'll still be wielding her boomerang even at 61 (where my Shai is at). If you're solo (which I am, almost always), her party buffs don't add a lot - her ability to play musical instruments is more meaningful to me than her ability to buff damage and heals.

    Unlike a lot of games, skill points are essential to spend in BDO - just select whatever the recommended list recommends and you'll be good enough. Conscious choices are better, of course - but spending them is the minimum (they can be refunded at will until you hit 56, so there's no harm in spending them - this is also a change from launch). The damage multipliers from having skill points invested are so large, that without them you may as well be fighting without weapons.

    The forced PvP is shit - it really is, even if it happens only once every 6 months. However, the seasonal servers are PvP-free, have extra xp, extra quests and well, extra people. It's true that once the season ends, you are moved to a normal server - but let's be honest, if you're playing casually, you're not playing 3 months anyway. Seasonal servers are revolutionary for BDO, and I can strongly recommend them: I have levelled 3 characters to 61 now, on the seasonal servers. It's an absolute joy going to some of the notoriously PvP-heavy grind spots - Pollys, etc - and not having to even *think* about where the nearest player is to me. And yes, that need to even think about where the nearest player is to me is one of the main things that made my wife stop playing BDO, so I do really understand when people say it's a show-stopper for wanting to play BDO.

    I've been playing BDO as my main game for nearly five years now - it scratches my itch, and the itch it scratches is *not* needing to fight or grind or PvP unless I want to (ganking aside: but really, it's maybe once every 6 months for me). I potter around in the world and do my thing and, well, that's what I want from an MMO - a world I can live in and inhabit.

    1. Thanks for that - that's some very helpful information all round. I do think I might be about to play a meaningful amount of BDO again. I played for several hours yesterday and got more wrapped up in it than I have in most mmorpgs for a while. It's a very easy game to just roll along in but it has insane complexity if you're in the mood for it.

      The PvP thing is interesting. It doesn't kick in until the low fifties and even though I've actually played quite a lot of BDO in terms of hours spent - easily longer in total than any single-player game for example - I've never come anywhere even close to reaching the PvP levels. I think my Tamer, my first and highest character, is only in the high 20s and it took me weeks to get here that far because I spent a lot of time doing things that didn't give any levelling xp, as I recall. Even with the huge bonuses runing on my Shai (350% at the minimum yesterday) I still only went from 12 to 16 and it was slowing down noticeably.

      I will look at the Season server set-up but I can see me playing quite a lot and still not hitting that PvP cap.

  5. BDO is one of those games that I found interesting enough to download, but I guess the lack of an overall plot kind of hurt. The fact that I frequently confused it with ArcheAge --another game that I tried at that time-- didn't help either.

    1. Someone else who knows about it is probably going to come on and correct me but I think I've read that BDO does have a strong central narrative. It just has about a million other things to distract you from it. ArcheAge, which I also played and enjoyed, had a very clear and present storyline that you could hardly avoid, though, or at least that's how I remember it.


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