“I hate it. Absolutely bloody hate it.” said my brother. He was talking about the fact that enemies in Black Desert Online reveal nothing about themselves until you’ve killed multiple. Such a system is certainly different from the ‘norm’ and does take some getting used to. The first encounter I had with an enemy, I assumed the game was bugged for failing to reveal its health or deterioration as I peppered the creature with arrows. As I quickly discovered, you have to learn about the creatures out in the wild before you can understand things such as their health. It works well and although the depth of “learning” is shallow, it does its job of creating an aspect of trepidation before you attack a creature out in the wild. Clearly my brother dislikes it a great deal and this lead to us discussing what we both love and dislike about Black Desert Online.
Massively multiplayer games always have a laundry list of complaints from all players and Black Desert Online is no exception. It might sound negative to discuss a game's faults, but as far as the genre is concerned, I think it’s healthy and productive. I’ve always found it fascinating to discover what bothers some over others and what takes priority for players. Complaints across any MMO are often varied and while there always tends to be one issue that stands above other, there’s such a wide spectrum that dissecting them as a community often results in some super interesting suggestions: the Guild Wars 2 community are particularly exceptional at this (even if ArenaNet don’t always listen).
Onto the subject of what I personally dislike the most about Black Desert Online, it still has to be the pop-in. It’s unsightly, disruptive, breaks immersion and I still can’t fathom why it exists (the entirely black NPC’s are the worst). There’s no questioning Black Desert Online is beautiful - in fact, it’s probably the best looking MMO on the market. I would argue however that much of Black Desert Online’s beauty stems from its lighting rather than its abundance of NPC’s or texture work. While there is a high quantity of AI controlled characters who do look good, they certainly aren’t pushing the boundaries of modern graphical capabilities (but perhaps are for a massively multiplayer game). Despite that and what frustrates me so much about the pop-in is the fact that Daum provide nothing for the player to deal with it.
I don’t pretend to be technically minded when it comes to net-code, strain on servers or the demands of running an MMO with thousands of players. All I do know is that many other MMO’s I play, while looking different to Black Desert Online, don’t suffer such issues. What makes a difference however is that most other MMO’s also provide a method of controlling things such as draw distance and rendering. If I want to see my computer slump to a crawl because I’ve maximized the draw distance, so be it. If I want to only see a few meters in front of my character before the game brings everything into view, so be it. Having this flexibility and customization given to the player is incredibly important, I can only assume Daum are stifling such flexibility for monetary reasons.
My issue with the pop-in - outside of the lack of customization Daum provide - really does hinge on the fact my immersion is constantly broken. To see a tree appear, or an NPC materialize in front of me without textures of features, is so discouraging that it often takes me time to find myself again. I enjoy Black Desert Online the most when I’m in woodland or in areas that are sparse of content so the likelihood of encountering such pop-in is reduced: that’s also a sad way to play the game.
Based on the fact the issue of pop-in has been ongoing since the game launched (and during its early development) the likelihood of it ever being fixed is almost non-existent. At times I wish I took my brothers approach and found issue with something so minor, at least then I could look past what is arguably the biggest thorn in Black Desert Online’s side.
With that in mind and regardless of how big or small, what do you dislike the most about Black Desert Online? Could what you dislike be fixed and if so, how would you go about it? Let me know.