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Shooting Stuff with the Black Desert Online Archer

William Murphy Posted:
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To my dismay, Black Desert Online hasn’t quite evolved into the group PVE direction I wanted when I reviewed the game years ago. But that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on Pearl Abyss’ wonderfully complex and gorgeous MMO. I still go back every so often, but it’s been several months since my last visit. This time, my return was brought on by the Legolas-But-Not-Really Archer, the new male ranger class that was added this week.

I don’t know nearly as much about BDO’s late game as our resident experts here, as my highest character is around 52. And even that was only done on the XP-boosted welcome back servers. I’ve played still over a few hundred hours of BDO, and that doesn’t include all the AFK activities. What I like the most about the game has always been its combat and world exploration. There’s a lot of world here, and while BDO always winds up feeling too time-intensive to get truly involved in the economy, I’ve always adored being able to log in, slay some things, get some loot, level some characters, and see the sights.

The very first character I started leveling was a Ranger, the female precursor to this week’s Archer, so I was curious to see just how different the Archer is compared to his forebear. The most obvious thing after about 2 hours toying with him is that he seems similar, but deadlier than the Ranger, especially after you upgrade a weapon a few times and raise that AP. The Archer uses a left-arm mounted crossbow as his main weapon and a magical glove that lets him toss poisons as his off-hand weapon. Interestingly, pressing Q can also shift the Archer to using a longbow, which seems to be a bit of a preview of his awakening weapon in the great bow.

He’s the kiting king now, with some crazy super-armor combos, slides to chase people, and a skill that lets you jump over, while shooting, and then spin and jump shoot when you land. It’s crazy mobile. There’s also a good few knock-downs and down-smash skills. But they do have casting times, just not crazy long, and their cooldowns are relatively short as well. He even has a sort of sawed-off “shotgun” with the crossbow that sprays out at a short distance, knocks them back, and pushes you back. Helps to create distance between you and your enemy.

What’s interesting about the Archer is that though he’s a glass cannon (he will get beat by melee players that get in range), he still has some solid damage in melee range and with melee combos. If you’ve nearly got a melee player down, and he’s closing in on you, you could probably finish him off. Just be ready to run and evade out if you’ve got more than one on you. At his core, the Archer is still a back-line DPS.

There is one skill, from what I’ve seen from friends and reports on forums, that’s a spammable knock-back and knockdown that will absolutely get nerfed soon. It’s super abusable in 1v1, and will most likely be a hot topic if this is true.

In essence, the Archer seems to me to be the new king of kiting in BDO. The Ranger was and is finally in a pretty good place, but I’m betting that more than a few Ranger players will be tempted to try out the Archer this week. Who can blame them with the crazy damage output, mobility, and the promise of sniping people with the great bow when awakened.


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.