Available on: PC only
Type: Free to Play
Game-play: Personally, my play-time is around 15k+ hours; keep in mind that I “Auto-Battle” quite often to grind while doing other things. In this MMO, you get a main character and eight slots for “mercenaries”; side characters that you can pick and choose for the formation that suit your personal tastes. Yes, there are META formations for both PvE and PvP, as well as certain mains / mercenaries that work better in Indi’s / TBS / etc. The game is meant to be a long grind and is by no means easy. It is also based heavily on RNG and if you have bad luck, well that’s just how it is.
Recommendation: I will not recommend that you try out this game, at least not actively. Sorry AO fans, but this would be a bad pick for me to recommend to the common gamer. Bear in mind that this game has a very “Pay to Win” mentality. Buying from the Item Mall does give a huge advantage, especially now, when a mercenary summon pack can pay for a full set of +10 Judgment [and then some]. The game is also being flooded with exploiters / gold sellers / etc; VALOFE is having a hard time keeping up with them, if even handling them. The VALOFE Forum is also a joke, riddled with vulnerabilities and phishing attempts on anyone who falls victim.
Final Verdict: Avoid!
Available on: PC only [at this time]
Type: Buy once; no subscription
Game-play: This game is amazing; simply put, it’s a stunning experience. There’s so much to do, between PvE, PvP, crafting variables, training horses, and the trade system; also, the most recent large patch, which introduced guild ships and traversing the ocean’s depths. BDO is also a very enjoyable environment with plenty of exploration and quality of detail; the lands are riddled with adventure and plenty of quests / daily activities to run. Gathering is mostly an active method of grinding for materials and profitable items, while fishing / processing / horse training can be both active and passive [AFK] methods and fairly easy to learn. Trade & alchemy are a bit more intuitive, as is some processing, as you will have to figure out certain materials to craft specific items. Also, there’s alot of automation as far as “Workers” which can handle things like gathering, processing, farming, etc – depending on what nodes you have control over and how many Contribution Points you have to spare. Grinding [PvE] is fairly simple, mostly running around, grouping up mobs, and then mowing them down. PvP can be enjoyable for some, while many others prefer to avoid the feature; for the most part just avoid the channels and locations that PK’ers usually stick around and you’ll be fine. There’s also safe-zones and combat-zones; usually these places have something to do with a location that’s under dispute between PvP / PvX guilds.
Story: Your class has a specific main story-line and each class gets a different story ending. Your character finds that they’ve lost all memory of who they are and what they were attempting to accomplish; coincidentally, a “Black Spirit” greets you, saying something along the lines of you are meant to help him recover his memory. As you progress through the main story-line, the Black Spirit starts to grow larger, then eventually challenges you; you beat him, and he’s reduced to a smaller version again. You then progress, dragging him along, until he recovers his lost memory and such – then you recover your memory somewhere along the way. You then return to accomplishing your original goal before you lost your memory, and it tends to be a quite interesting ending.
Recommendation: I think it’s safe to say that I enjoy this game quite a bit, so I will obviously recommend it, and may give some biased input. Players complain that there are some in-game “Pearl Shop” [real-world method for buying items & gear to make things easier in game] advantages, which it is true that there are some things, like pets and the camouflage costumes that give those specific players an advantage. Pets, however, can over time be earned from in-game events. This game is also VERY heavy on RNG and grinding, so don’t expect to get far in a short amount of time. Black Desert is not subscription-based; pay once and you can play for as long as you like. Although, I would certainly recommend checking out the Pearl Shop once you get far into the game; the pets are by far too good to pass up.
Final Verdict: Buy & Play! It’s worth the $5-25 [depending on when there’s a sale].