Black Desert Online in 2023 First Impressions

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Black Desert Online in 2023 First Impressions

Here are our First Impressions of Black Desert Online in 2023, with its new expansion Land of the Morning Light.


**Review Code Provided by the Publisher**

Black Desert Online is a massive game so doing an all-around review of it in 2023 is difficult. So we decided to do a little First Impressions now and come back to this in a later piece after putting some serious hours into the MMORPG. Cool? Cool. Let's get into it.

Black Desert Online is an MMORPG that has been around in one way, shape, or form since December 2014 and was released to the rest of the world in 2016. Back then it set itself apart by having beautiful graphics, an expansive character creator, and fast-paced action combat.

Later on, it picked up a reputation for being a big grindy and featuring a cash shop that lured you in with the promise of inventory expansions and a higher weight limit. Because Black Desert Online's currency has also weight. Which is a problem in a game that puts a heavy focus on trading.

I can't validate these statements because last week was the first time I took a look at Pearl Abyss' fantasy epos.

Black Desert Online Land of the Morning Light

Lost in the Black Desert

Going into Black Desert Online blind was as delightful as it was terrifying, especially in the game's current state. You can start out at the newest expansion, Land of the Morning Light, from the get-go after a short tutorial intro section. But you'll also be dumped into one of the most confusing gaming experiences I've had in years.

The intro quest was cryptic, to say the least, but that is just part of the course, it was only when the game just kept rolling by giving me just the cliff notes of what had been going on that it completely lost me. Might be on me though, so I'll make sure to reroll a new character and start from the real start to make extra sure that I'm not just dense.

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And I know, the average MMORPG veteran probably doesn't care much about endless dialog chains you can skip past by mashing R. But the story of Black Desert's expansion was quite intriguing, I confess that I have no clue what exactly is going on and sometimes the stuff was just happening for the sake of making the video game stuff happen.

But credit where credit is due, the open-ended nature of the Storybook chapters is fun. While most quests boil down to interacting with objectives and occasionally fighting something, you're at least constantly doing something meaningful and the stories progress in a logical, meaningful way.

There is even pretty good English voice acting, but I think its cutscenes timed for the Korean/Japanese voice-over because they tend to skip in and out of each other in English.

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Sorry What?

Let's address my current gripes with Black Desert Online now and I hope it gets better once I put more hours into it. Picking a class was the first hurdle, there are 26 of them right now, and their descriptions don't really help much either.

I picked the Maegu because having a fox spirit is cool. But I still have no clue if what I'm doing in combat is good or bad. Most of the very few encounters I had so far boiled down to pressing stuff on my keyboard and clicking my mouse while my screen was covered in particle effects.

There is probably some finesse here, but I haven't quite figured out the finer details of the combat system. Enemies so far haven't been a threat and I think the highest damage I've taken was by casually running off a cliff at full speed.

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The game will also bombard you with quest rewards, currency, and material that all mean little to you while your UI light up like a Christmas tree. It's overwhelming and very confusing. By now I got a little grasp on how to upgrade my gear and how crafting works, reading item descriptions helps.

Like I said, it's a bit much and I'm not sure if this is different if you start the proper way instead of jumping into the current expansion. But being constantly bombarded with many, many materials, currencies, and temporary buffs is bewildering. But more on that next time.

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Black Desert Online in 2023 is Intriguing and Confusing

At this point, I'm actually looking forward to reading this back in a couple of weeks, once we do a proper “In 2023” review. Currently, I'm stuck between being into it and too confused to continue playing. I like what I'm doing, it is just that I constantly feel like I'm not getting something. That's why I plan to do some required reading/video watching in a bit.

I'm looking forward to digging deeper into the combat since I have barely scratched the surface of that. The same is with the crafting and gathering the game is so infamous for.

The Land of the Morning Light is gorgeous by the way, even if the constant pop-in is a bit distracting. I love how this game emphasizes the sheer scale and sense of place of its vast fields and mountain ranges. At times its scenery reminds me of The Witcher 3, in atmosphere mind you not wind-haunted trees easter Europeans.

We're gonna have a full Review in 2023 up here very soon, once I hit the endgame and understand what I'm doing. So don't miss that here on ESTNN

Black Desert Online in 2023 First Impressions
Timo Reinecke
Has once claimed that FSH is the only job in FFXIV worth playing and stands by that firmly. Top Guy, Smart Guy, Educated Speaker. (sometimes) Writer of all things FFXIV, FGC, News, Reviews and More