A few weeks ago I was chatting with a friend about my desire to find a game to play which has a social aspect to it but is more or less free of the kind of negativity, stress, and sense of obligation I have experienced in the other MMOs I’ve dabbled in (Age of Conan, EQII, and most particularly, EVE Online). I wanted something I could have fun with but not feel chained to if I didn’t log in for a while. She recommended Black Desert Online (BDO) as an alternative and gave me a guest pass.

BDO is described on Wikipedia as “a sandbox-oriented massively multiplayer online role-playing game by Korean video game developer Pearl Abyss”. It’s had a staggered world-wide release: Korea in 2014; Japan and Russia in 2015; North America and Europe just this year. In NA and EU it’s buy-to-play while the other markets are free-to-play.

I like that it doesn’t have a subscription model. I don’t mind that there’s a cash shop for stuff that can then be sold by players on the in-game market to earn them in-game money. So far to me it feels more like a solo-player game that has other people in it who I can play with if I choose to. I like that I’m protected from PVP encounters until I’m higher level and more familiar with the game.

I spent five days playing quite heavily on the pass, then took a week off my PC to go camping. When I got back I bought the game. Here are my first impressions and early experiences!