BDO Closed Beta Two Ignites the Community
There is no question that closed beta two has ignited the Black Desert Online community in a variety of ways. On the one hand, there are those who have found a game they can see themselves playing for a good long while. On the other, there are those bemoaning the fact that BDO seems not to have fulfilled the dream of "the next great MMO". On the united front, the BDO Cash Shop and Daum itself have come under fire from all sides. The community is on fire, but rather than a single all-encompassing blaze, there are a number of smaller flames erupting within.
An interactive world without an end game
There is no question that Black Desert Online is a game that features a highly interactive world. There are seemingly thousands of things to do that can cater to players of all types. Even from the first steps with an astonishingly fantastic character creation feature, players will find a lot to do in BDO: Crafting, questing, adventuring, fishing, special in-game events. There are lots of different ways to progress and players can determine their own path through the game.
People, however, like to have an end game in mind. In most MMOs, it's dungeons and raids that fill the time once the elder game levels have been achieved. In BDO, the end game is largely PvP -- both open world and guild sieges -- but flavored with the requirement to be out and about in the world, something the hardcore crowd isn't very keen on. Those who like PvE experiences for end game can find them, but they are less apparent than in most other MMOs.
Complex integrated systems & grind
From combat to crafting to PvP to horse breeding, there are a ton of fun and interesting things to do. Guilds will require players with intimate crafting knowledge to be competitive in PvP and in sieges. BDO is clearly a game that appeals to players who love the intricacies and complexities that are offered.
However, with every system that gives players tons to do, there is a huge layer of grind, not that that is unexpected in an MMO. Players are 'forced' to grind to fill the spaces when quests run out at any given level and when they begin to reappear to limp on to the next and so on. Every system seems to have its own level of grind all leading up to the PvP gear grind that, at least at the moment, is the embodiment of "end game".
A community divided
The BDO community is wildly divided. As mentioned in the introduction, some players love the game while others do not. Not much of a surprise, is it? When was the last time any game wasn't polarizing? Just a cursory look at any forum specific to BDO, our own MMORPG.com forum included, and it's clear that the community is split in its assessment of the game.
The thing is that MMO players are looking for "the next great thing", the game that will finally propel the genre forward past the current era that lays in the shadow of World of Warcraft. Every game coming down the pipe is hyped to such a degree that it's been impossible to measure up to the expectations of a starving community. As a result, the community splits, fractures, whines and bickers about every nuance of the game. Black Desert is not immune to this and it shows.
Does this mean BDO fails in what it is attempting to be? Not at all. Those who love the game will keep loving it and extract every dollar's worth of value (and more!) out of it over their time playing. Those who do not care for it will move on to the "next big thing" in the hope that it will be "THE ONE".
The cash shop
The single most talked about feature and the one that crosses the Love It - Hate It line in CBT 2 has been the in-game cash shop. Over this past weekend during the beta, much furor has arisen among players about the cash shop and its prices. Players seem to universally agree that the prices are much higher than expected particularly with a buy-to-play title. The controversy is raging on Reddit, on the official forums, our own forums and anywhere else that one of the most anticipated titles for 2016 is being discussed.
A thread that offers a player's perspective cropped up on the Black Desert Online forum:
"Look around the community and most people're talking about the same things: Costumes, Dyes.
The Dye System, Costume prices, are all symptoms stemming from the same issue. The core of the problem, in general, is that Black Desert is currently using a B2P model, while employing F2P policies. This is why your market is pissed, and honestly? Rightly so. Many people (myself included) have been burned repeatedly by companies trying to get into the MMO Genre. The "Free-To-Play" model has been beat to absolute death, but has shown that it's good at raising money. There is absolutely nothing that reflects or rewards us for our initial B2P investment, outside of Beta access and other miscellaneous trinkets in game."
And the face-palming list of inexplicable choices goes on. Dyes are not account bound; costumes can run as high as $32; pets and items come with stats that, to many, smacks of pay to win; and the list goes on.
Luckily, Daum is aware of its community's shock at the pricing and has indicated that no pricing in the cash shop is final:
"We are closely monitoring the Closed Beta to ensure that each member of our community has a fair experience with Black Desert Online. This begins with gameplay mechanics and reaches as far as our new monetization systems.
When we decided on a "Buy to Play" model for Black Desert Online, it was with the players in mind. At Daum Games, we put players first and it's our mission to ensure that players are given the value they expect when playing our games.
We will continue to monitor and analyze the response from the community and thank you all for your participation and feedback."
With the close of CBT2, it will remain to be seen what the next week brings in terms of the cash shop. The question is whether or not too many players have been "turned off" by pricing to actually hurt the player base when BDO officially launches.
What did you think of CBT 2? Did your experience, or those that you have read about, change your mind about playing? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.