After what seemed to be an eternity of Xbox Live outages over the weekend, I was finally able to log into Black Desert on Xbox. Recently a friend of mine had gone back home and we were looking for a game to play. I wanted to jump back into Pearl Abyss' MMORPG, but I would mainly play on Xbox - she was a PlayStation 4 fan.
Thankfully, Pearl Abyss back at the beginning of the month, added cross play to Black Desert, which gives console players the ability to play it's popular MMO together. How well does the experience hold up?
Immediately I had to remind myself that the Xbox version, while pretty, is nothing compared to the stability of my PC copy. That being said, I wasn't expecting the connection to feel so unstable, especially compared to the last time I played Black Desert on console. It's not immediately made apparent you are choosing a cross play server - a sinlge button prompt at the bottom of the screen lets you toggle between cross play and console-specific servers, but once you decide on a server you and your friends can easily join up.
However, the experience, especially at the outset, feels incredibly unstable, as if the server is struggling to load in everyone. Black Desert isn't the most stable game on Xbox, but this felt more unstable than normal. However, that's basically where the complaints end. Black Desert makes it incredibly easy to jump in with your friends on console, regardless of their platform.
This is handled through a separate friend list other than your console's. You can directly friend someone based on Family name - a name shared across an account's characters or based on their individual character name. Joining a party is simple too, it's handled right through the standard Black Desert interface. The cool thing too is when a character is in your party, you can easily see what platform they are playing on thanks to a cool little icon next to their name.
After that, it's Black Desert as usual. Its meandering story is nice, but there is something cool about romping through the world with your friends, killing wolves, imps or whatever might come your way. Cross play is becoming more and more the norm on consoles now as well, though not every cross-platform game - specifically MMOs.
Games like Neverwinter or Star Trek Online would be fantastic if they too could support this feature - imagine running around with your friends in Neverwinter regardless of platform. Additionally, games like The Elder Scrolls Online have feature parity on console - a single shared server would make perfect sense and it wouldn't disrupt the ecosystems of either console.
Black Desert feels ahead of its time in terms of what it's trying to do here. And sure, it's likely a move to boost server population, but quality of life things like this should be the norm with cross platform games now - especially MMORPGs. MMOs thrive on having as many players as possible, and other companies should follow the lead of all the titles on these platforms thriving on cross platform play now. Have you played Black Desert with cross play yet? How did you like it? Are there any other MMOs on console you think should get the same treatment? Let us know below!