A Chat with Pearl Abyss and Daum Games
Black Desert Online is the newest darling in the MMORPG industry. Players are eager to learn what's next for the game, and what content they can expect over the coming months to catch the EU/NA client up to the KR one. We chatted with Daum Games EU and Pearl Abyss about just that, and have loads of info to share...
MMORPG: With the success of the game in the west, why is it you think NA and EU MMO gamers have taken to BDO so well?
Daum Games and Pearl Abyss: Even though it may not seem that way, especially for those who aren’t familiar with the original Korean version, we applied a lot of changes based on your (the community) feedback. And we are still open minded about any sort of feedback and we are doing our best to address those needs.
We asked our community to give us time to grow our own version of Black Desert Online. Localizing a game from the Eastern to the Western market, especially in such a unique environment (altering from f2p to b2p) has proven to be quite challenging for us as a publisher. We believe however that we have showed our determination to tailor the game to the Western market, taking our community’s wishes and suggestions into account.
MMORPG: Are there any plans to remove the restrictions on trading between players?
DGPA: Black Desert supports transactions among general public via Marketplace, and certain items can be directly traded between players. Direct P2P transaction is an essential feature in terms of the degree of freedom, one of the core values an MMORPG should pursue. However, contrary to the positive connotation associated with the word “freedom,” most MMORPGs are full of item sweatshop operations and auto-players, which result from the ease of item monetization.
This will eventually undermine the significance of actions a player takes. To minimize such abuse, Pearl Abyss concluded that a controlled transaction system might be the best solution for Black Desert. Since the transaction system in Black Desert is different from that of other games, we understand that there might be heated discussions over it. Please continue observing how the system is working out, and if you have any suggestions that could work with our system, do not hesitate to contact us.
MMORPG: Any plans to introduce more "traditional" MMO dungeons, or group activities for PVE fans?
DGPA: Instance dungeons are mainly PVE content more befitting an MORPG or a console game. It can effectively deliver the experience as intended by the developers to a limited number of players in a set space, but players must follow certain rules, and it is almost impossible to prevent repeated experiences. This will be the same for any forthcoming dungeons. We have considered instance dungeons to add diversity and provide planned experiences to PVE in MMORPG, but please understand that the current standing of Black Desert in terms of PVE content is to pursue unpredictable competitions and cooperation with random players on a seamless map.
We will not rule out the unique fun that instance dungeons give. For example, field bosses are appearing, which is different from the Korean and Japanese versions, and we are also trying to give a specific role to certain monsters in the field. The direction of future development will lean toward expanding the map to enrich the PVE experience and improving the gameplay to offset the absence of instance dungeons, but we will be open to the possibility.
MMORPG: What are your plans to make the game’s UI and in-game systems more user-friendly, or to sort of improve general “quality of life” when it comes to managing the game’s many systems and options?
DGPA: Maintaining user-friendliness and intuitiveness in the UI is always a difficult task. Especially so for a game like Black Desert, which contains and deals with loads of information. It may not be perfect, but we are constantly improving it every update. This is the part where we absolutely have to rely on player feedback. Your suggestions are always welcomed. We are preparing a feature that lets players adjust the factors including the size and color. After many requests from players, we are recently working on an option to help the colorblind.
MMORPG: On that line, do you have any plans to allow UI mods?
MMORPG: A mobile app for managing workers, trade, and stuff like that seems like a winner. Is that sort of thing even possible with BDO, and have you thought about it?
DGPA: We have thought about this, but a companion app is not under consideration for the time being.
MMORPG: Random one I hope for… any plans to introduce a male Ranger, ever? If so, how would he differ from the female counterpart?
DGPA: Design wise, Pearl Abyss has always thrived to make each class feel unique. All classes have individual animation patterns, combat moves and skills. This would be very difficult to achieve when the classes’ gender would be interchangeable. Hence that some classes may look alike and have similar skills, like the Musa / Maehwa and Wizard / Witch, they still feel unique due to their individual appearance, move set and animation routines. We know that many of you might remember the male ranger from the early trailer. In the case of a male ranger, we have been considering various play patterns since it overlaps so much with the forthcoming Elf class, but unfortunately, we couldn't find a solution so far.
MMORPG: How do you feel about the current availability of different cosmetic looks for players in terms of armor and weapons? A lot of players feel that there aren’t enough outside of the Pearl Store.
DGPA: We are aware of that the in-game costumes are not sufficient to meet the players’ needs. We are constantly working on to diversify in-game costumes. First of all, various costumes worn by NPCs will be available as DIY (craftable) costumes. As you may already know, players can already produce certain NPC costumes such as Calpheon Noble Dress, and we plan to intensify this feature to improve visual diversity in costumes that can be obtained in-game.
MMORPG: When Sieges and node control are enabled, do you plan on running some sort of tutorial to walk people through how they’ll work or how to participate?
DGPA: We have plans to run a rehearsal phase for the Siege War which will be based on Season 4 (KR version). This phase will run approximately 2~3 weeks. Additionally we are currently looking into possibilities to educate players about the upcoming Season 4 Siege rules in a convenient way to make it simple to comprehend, as they are quite complex.