Over the weekend, I jumped back into Black Desert Online in order to check out the recently released Sage class. The caster-type class just dropped in Pearl Abyss’ MMO, and from the trailers and gameplay videos, it looks outrageously flashy – which is saying something considering every class in BDO has a certain amount of flash. However, after some initial hurdles getting into the class, I’m starting to find that the Sage just might be my favorite class in the MMO to date.
I’ll admit too it took me quite a bit to really get the hang of the Sage. My main character is on the Season servers, a Lahn, and the speed and mobility of the class has become something I’ve grown to love over the year. I love how nimble the Lahn is, and coupled with the incredible range of the class, it’s just about perfect for me.
So when I started to check out the Sage for this article, I wasn’t really feeling it at first. The Sage is everything the Lahn isn’t: it’s slower, the mobility, while it has some isn’t nearly as much as I’d love, and the skills don’t simply naturally flow into each other. It reminded me more of the tanky Nova class from late last year, and while I really enjoyed my time playing the Nova overall, I went back to the Lahn rather quickly.
The Sage is about positioning, at least for me. Setting up an attack instead of rushing in and spinning widlly isn’t going to work with the latest Black Desert class. Learning the timings of attacks has always been important as well with BDO’s combo-based combat system, but one thing I realized early on is how little the Sage naturally flows into combo attacks. You aren’t chaining one skill after another in a flurry of keystrokes designed to destroy everything in your path – the Sage’s raw power more than makes up for that in my experience. Instead you’re firing off skills, chaining the ones you can, but picking the best ways to position yourself in relation to the enemy in front of you to take out the mobs in front of you.
The Sages combat animations steal the show. Bursting in a kaleidoscope of color, the Sage’s cube-like Kyve weapon expands and contracts, distorting space-time around the device. You’ll collapse space onto the heads of your enemies, or summon a javelin to throw at an unsuspecting foe. Ator’s Fist devastates enemies in front of you, though the traversal skill, Rift Chain, is what really ties it all together.
I mentioned before that the Sage really isn’t a combo-er, at least not like the rest of the classes in Black Desert. However, that doesn’t mean combos can’t be created if you’re willing to work at it. Being able to chain and teleport cancel skills allows you to control your positioning on the battlefield. Starting the Spatial Collapse skill and then canceling into a Rift Chain teleport lets you quickly close the distance on a group of enemies, taking them out before they even know what hit them. You can take that a step further and Rift chain out of there, only to complete the combo by holding the default F key to perform the finishing touch. Other skills can be chained as well, and understanding how to build a rotation versus, again, just wildly spinning into action is changing how I approach Black Desert.
Combat in BDO for me was about dealing as much damage as I could by simply following the combo prompts on screen. It wasn’t hard, and it really didn’t require much brainpower once I got the combos down. It’s one thing I loved about the Lahn – I could essentially set my brain on autopilot and decimate large swathes of foes while I quested in BDO.
However, combat now, while it still has a modicum of just rushing in and destroying enemies in front of me with just basic attacks, now has a bit more complexity. I’m thinking more about the combos mainly because I don’t have anything on screen telling me what to press – I’m building and crafting them myself. I’m thinking about my positioning on screen and making sure when I use a large cast-time ability like Spatial Collapse or Ator’s Energy and its Flow variant, I’m making sure these skills can be used at their best. I’m making sure I’m not wasting a large AOE on a single foe (unless that foe is a boss, then Ator’s Energy to their face), but instead picking and choosing my combos based on the situation.
In other words, I feel like I’m truly starting to understand some of the nuances to Black Desert combat that just aren’t there if you’re not an end game PVPer or spending a ton of time crawling dungeons in the late game.
Moreover, I think one of the major reasons I’m enjoying the class is it feels utterly unique. Every other class feels like a copy of another one, with a few exceptions. However, the Sage feels unique to the game. As such, it’s something I’ve just never seen in the 5 years since BDO launched, and it’s fueling my desire to see it at its full potential.
We’ll see what the future holds for me in Black Desert with the Sage class. Right now it’s definitely keeping my attention as I make my way towards level 60. Whether it will permanently replace my Lahn, time will only tell.
Have you checked out the Sage yet? Have any thoughts on the new class? Let us know in the comments.