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What is Contribution – A Beginner’s Guide to Trade, Housing, and Production

William Murphy Posted:
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Black Desert Online is a unique MMO in many ways. Pearl Abyss’ design team has taken a lot of the traditional MMORPG elements and seemingly turned them on their head to make a game of non-confirmative systems that feels like an experiment in a lot of ways. One such system is known as Contribution, and today we’ll take a look at the CP system, what it is, how it works, and why it’s key to your progression and enjoyment of the game.  It’s a complicated system made harder to grasp by the fact that the game wants you to figure it out on your own, rather than holding your hand through it all.

Luckily, we’re here to hold your hand! Yay MMORPG.com!

At its most basic, Contribution can be described as a measure of your character’s work for all the people in the world of BDO.  Your character’s level and general progression from completing quests and killing monsters has its own XP bar, and Contribution has its own.  But, whereas XP is static, Contribution Points act as a sort of currency. As you gain more, you can spend more, but you can always get them back by returning the items or benefits you spent them on. You receive contribution XP from one main sources: completing quests for the various NPCs across the game world.

The bottom bar is Contribution Points

What Can You Spend Contribution On?

There are three main things you’ll spend your CP on: housing, map nodes, and renting items from the various NPCs around the world.  Housing will actually open up for you pretty early, and you’ll get a quest in Velia that rewards you with more storage for purchasing your first home and converting it to a storage space.  As you get to know NPCs (stay tuned for our Amity Guide later on, which will explain how this is accomplished and why it’s important), you’ll be able to spend contribution points on special items that NPCs carry – from instruments to actual weapons and gear, NPCs often have items to help you fight and level. The last and possibly most important thing to spend CP on is Node Management.

What is Node Management?

Nodes are all the various points of interest across Black Desert’s massive open and seamless world.  You must invest your Contribution Points in them from the Map Screen (M Key, by default) in order to gain various benefits from them. Things like being able to send your workers to a mines or farm for crafting resources are all gated off by whether or not you’ve invested your contribution in the region.

The light orange lines shown above, indicated connected nodes.

In the example below, I’ve invested contribution in Loggia’s farm to unlock the ability to invest contribution in the potato fields so that I might send my worker there.  You can, of course, harvest your own crafting materials, but you’ll never be able to craft as much as you can if you hire and use your workers to their full potential.  You can also invest your energy (a resource that’s gained over time, and spent on various activities) to level nodes, thereby increasing their benefits.

It’s also worth noting that Guilds can invest in and fight for control over the game’s many nodes. In so doing, they’ll be able to place taxes on the land and gain benefits from their use by other players. Think, for instance, just how valuable the top-tier mining nodes may be down the road.

What Should I Spend My Early Contribution On?

That’s the question, isn’t it! It really depends on what you plan on doing, but there are several things we can suggest.  You can rend lots of items from the local townsfolk, but most of them are only mildly helpful. The real use of Contribution comes in the form of the game’s robust economy.  But before we get started on that, I’d highly suggest unlocking your first house/storage location in Velia or one of the other smaller beginner housing nodes (such as Loggia’s farm).

Your First House! – Houses can be used for a variety of things, not just for decorating and resting. You can make them a storehouse, or even a production house where your workers can turn resources into products.  For the purpose of trading across towns, and having a place to store goods, you’ll want to make your first house a storage facility. See the screen below.

Secure a Trade Route – Trade routes in BDO are the best and easiest way to make money. By investing in nodes that are connected (see screen below), you can take trade packs from one town and take them to another for a profit. Be careful though, unless the exploration nodes are connected via contribution, you will only be able to sell the item for 30% of the normal price.  Below is a picture of the map showing nodes that are connected.  Bahar, the Trader in Velia, can get you started with Trading. If you invest in, Velia, Loggia Farm, the Imp Cave, and the Western Guard Camp, your first trade route will be secured and your first profits will start to roll in as you complete trades.

Note that a horse, donkey, or cart is going to be very useful, or you’ll be walking very slowly for a long time to get from point A to B.  It’s also worth noting that just because the listing price of an item you’re going to sell in another town is low, doesn’t mean you have to sell it there. You can either take it elsewhere or try to bargain with the Trader to get an increase of price. You can also spend energy from the world Map and check the prices of goods before you set out, so be sure to do that as well.

By finishing the entire trade tutorial with Bahar, he’ll reward you with your first trade carriage.

As you level and explore more of the world, more important nodes will open, fights between rival guilds and factions will rage on, and you’ll find your own place in that conflict which serves as one of the unique selling points of Black Deserts elder game.

Self-Help Kind of Guy? Secure a Production Node!

The third and final thing I’d suggest spending Contribution on early in your Black Desert career is a Production Node. Like the Exploration Nodes previously discussed, you must invest your earned contribution in production nodes, after which you’ll be able to hire and assign workers to the area to collect materials for you and turn them into trade packs you don’t have to buy!  To run a production node, as Severo Loggia says there are three things to remember: Node Activation, Workplace Activation, and Collecting the products!  You activate the nodes in much the same way as the exploration and trade routes, only here once you have them invested, you must also hire a worker from a town like Velia, and then assign said worker to the production in that node. See the screen below.

Nothing like a Giant picking potatoes…

Now, all that said, there’s no better way to get a grasp for Contribution and its ins and outs than playing the dang game. When you’re finally seated butt firmly in your chair and face squarely planted in your monitor, eye-guzzling the wonders of Black Desert Online, we hope this little beginner’s guide to contribution will help you get started.


William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.