Valencia is the next major content expansion coming to Black Desert Online soon, and in anticipation we spoke to Daum Games about the laundry list of new content, changes, and of course... sieges!
MMORPG: The cadence of these updates to the North American and EU servers has been really fast. How close are we to catching up to the KR client?
Daum: Pearl Abyss is developing at a high pace new content as previously introduced in their conference in Seoul. Because of this and the requirement to localize the game into our three offered languages English, German and French, we expect to always be behind the Korean service by a few months. This also helps us to refine the content that arrives on EU/NA services more in detail.
MMORPG: What level is the Valencia content intended for?
Daum: Valencia is the harshest region yet, with powerful monsters and extreme weather that will test even the most powerful of players, with that in mind Valencia is tuned for level 55 characters to begin their progression to level 60. But Valencia offers of course also many interesting new places to discover, trading routes and features that can not only be entertained by high level players, but others alike.
MMORPG: Node and Castle Sieges will be beginning on June 15th. Can you explain how this will work for players, and what it will entail at the start? Basically, why is it important to Guilds, and how can they partake?
Daum: Sieges are at the core of Black Desert, bringing friends together as a guild to prepare and compete for valuable areas of land, both small and large. Sieges are designed with all guild sizes in mind; smaller guilds can siege for Nodes that are ranked 1-3 based on their value while large guilds can work their way up to competing for control of entire regions such as Velia of Calpheon.
The smaller of the sieges, called Node Wars, will happen 6 days, while the Castle Siege will be once a week. The basic concept is a guild pools their resources and use their workers together to build a siege tower prior to a siege, then on the day of they engage in full warfare with the last guild standing being the winner.
Sidenote: A guild can only occupy 2 nodes at a time. This means that you can cover the full scale of Siege Warfare (including Castle Siege) within 2-3 evenings a week.
Whichever guild claims the node or region will be the recipient of a hefty sum of silver in the guild bank as a reward for the efforts on the battlefield. This money can be dispersed to the guild members and used for preparation for the next siege. Preparation is key as the winning guild is required to defend their claim the next week unless they are willing to lose it.
This is a very brief overview of the system, but players will have a steady flow of PvP entertainment in store for them once the sieges start. As we are beginning directly with the Season 4 Siege mode, which has many changes to the previous versions, we decided to prepare a very extensive manual and a tutorial on our website. On top of that, we will run a 2 to 3-week rehearsal period starting on the 15th of June, to give everyone the time to understand the new mechanics.
MMORPG: The new desert environment coming with Valencia involves staying hydrated, and keeping warm. How will players manage these two extremes between day and night?
Daum: Nothing about the Valencian Desert should be taken lightly, that even includes the weather. Before venturing into the desert players will need to prepare for the extreme environment. To stave of the extreme heat of the days and the frigid temperatures of the night players will need to prepare two different drinks to sustain them on their adventures. Water can be purified by heating it, this will be used to keep the player hydrated and prevent heat exhaustion, then at night players can drink a type of hot tea made with leaves native to the desert to keep them warm. As an additional survival element, players may also be caught in sandstorms that will limit their view and deal damage unless they have a tent to use for shelter.
MMORPG: Camels and War Elephants seem like an epic new way to get around the world of BDO. What are their advantages and disadvantages, and can they only be ridden in the desert climes?
Daum: Camels are the go-to form of transportation in the desert since they are not hindered by the sand like horses, donkeys, and wagons are. While they are not as fast as horses outside of the desert, they boast an expanded inventory providing players with enough room to bring survival supplies and to help transport the valuable loot earned from the new Valencian monsters.
Elephants are unlike any other mount in the game, they are not the sole property of a single player, instead they belong to the entire guild and require a guild house to be trained. Players will be able to find them in the desert and tame them with peanuts, after this they need time to be trained. Once an elephant reaches maturity the guild who owns the elephant will have their very own Siege Mount. Elephants are unique in the fact they seat three players and are specifically designed to be rode into battle, they come equipped with powerful attacks meant to deal a substantial amount of damage to siege structures such as towers.
Both of these mounts were designed with the desert in mind, but nothing prevents you from taking them with you anywhere in the world, whether you just want to try them out as you get used to them or you want to show off your new mount, expect to see people riding in style once this patch hits the EN Region.
MMORPG: The enhancement system will allow upgrades to +20 with this update. How do you think this will affect the difference between base endgame players, and folks who have a lot more time to grind and devote to upgrading their gear?
Daum: Advanced Enchanting has been an ongoing discussion for our players for a long time now, with special concern about how it would impact the balance between players. Taking their feedback into consideration we have been working with Pearl Abyss to address this matter and as such our new enchantment system provides a method for players to safely enchant their equipment up to +17.
MMORPG: What sorts of quality of life changes can we expect with the update?
Daum: In preparation for this patch and sieges we have been working diligently to improve our server structure in order to provide a stable platform for our players to compete for nodes and regions.
We are also debut the new marketplace feature that will allow players to place purchase orders for items, which means no more hours of camping the marketplace in order to get that rare weapon, or the perfect gem for your equipment.
Another features players have been requesting will be added with this patch: the Duel System. Players will also get to try out the new Duel system, for both 1vs1, 1vs Party, and Party vs Party.
And last but not least, we will add more different horse types for the Tier 7 horses to the game, which will offer a bigger variety of horse colors.
MMORPG: Finally, and perhaps most importantly: how goes the fight against the hackers and item duping evil-doers?
Daum: As you know the war against hackers and cheaters is never ending, but we have been diligently pursuing players who have to use such methods to survive in Black Desert, and have no plans of relenting. While working with Pearl Abyss to improve the built-in mechanics to stop such foul play we have also launched a player driven initiative where players directly report illicit gameplay to us. The results of this Hacker Hunting Initiative have been very positive and the support our community has shown us proves how dedicated they are to making sure Black Desert is place for legit players and not a haven for those who can make it on their own.