We’ll be running a series of brief interviews over the next few weeks focused on the games and companies of the MMO world, and what 2017 will bring. We’ve reached out to many, and the first one back to us with their answers was Black Desert Online and Kakao Games’ Rick Van Beem. Read on to see what they team learned from 2016, and what’s in store for 2017.
MMORPG: 2016 was launch for you all in NA and EU. It was not without its speedbumps, but by and large Black Desert seems to have found a rather large audience. Looking back on the year, what was the most difficult thing you all faced?
Black Desert Online has proved to be an amazing success and we are very thankful for the continued support of our community. Launching this game was very challenging indeed and although it was not the smoothest of launches I do believe we did a pretty decent job. Secondly, I have to say that planning our game event attendance, while also operating and planning updates for the game was difficult at times. In the end, we attended Paris Games Week, E3, First Look Festival and had a major presence at last year’s Gamescom to promote the game, while sticking to a rigorous update regime to stay as close as possible to our Korean counterparts. I am very thankful to our friends at Pearl Abyss and our HQ in Korea for all the support we had in our first year of operation to pull off all these feats.
MMORPG: What was your favorite update of 2016?
For me personally it has to be the Warrior Awakening. I really like that my chosen class has gained more offensive abilities.
MMORPG: In the spirit of new year's resolutions - what does Kakao resolve to do better this year than they did in 2016?
We have already increased our staff considerably since launch to provide better customer support, technical support and we are continuously improving service levels across the board to service our players. Furthermore, we hired a dedicated in-house team to improve the game’s localization.
MMORPG: On that note, what all can we expect from BDO in the year ahead?
On January 25th, the Margoria expansion will launch and I am pretty excited for this. It adds an immense ocean and new territory to the game, while introducing new quests and gameplay features such as naval warfare, sea monster hunting and naval trading. It will feature the new port Ratt that connects to the Kingdom of Haso and you can setup lucrative trade routes between this area and the main landmass. Unique to the MMO landscape is Margoria’s beautiful underwater world that is filled with gorgeous flora and fauna that can be explored by players who are willing to get their feet wet. Everything is rounded off with improved life skills. There are new fish to be caught, ingredients to be harvested and recipes to cook.
Furthermore, we will soon welcome the Dark Knight class that combines powerful two-handed swordplay with fast magic attacks, and early this year we will launch the Kamasylvia expansion which will take you to a new area south of Calpheon that is inhabited by elves.
MMORPG: What sorts of new holidays are on tap?
In March, we celebrate our first year of service and although I will not spoil anything, we are sure to plan something special that will benefit our players.
MMORPG: Finally, we know Kakao signed a deal with Bluehole Studios - any idea when we'll learn more about the new MMORPG?
We are very excited to be publishing Bluehole’s latest MMORPG, but unfortunately I cannot disclose anything about the project at this stage.