To say that the world of Black Gold Online (BGO) brings together steampunk and fantasy would be a bit misleading. The two genres definitely play a large thematic role in Snail Games’ new MMORPG, but it’s not a collaborative one. BGO pits steampunk and fantasy against one another in a two-faction PvP conflict over a newly discovered mystical energy source: the eponymous Black Gold.
Regardless of your choice of faction, you’ll have a ton of options to choose from in creating your character. BGO will launch with six races and eighteen classes, and is built on FLEX, the same engine used to create Age of Wushu, offering even more customization options than Snail Games’ flagship MMO. BGO incorporates some sandbox elements but, unlike Age of Wushu, is considerably more structured, and offers an action combat system that differs considerably from their other MMO’s martial arts-based gameplay.
There are different control schemes in BGO, but the version I played during our E3 2014 preview felt pretty familiar as an action MMO with mouselook and a hotbar full of skills. After taking the reins of a ranged DPS steampunk class called the Spectromancer, I promptly started laying waste to any NPC within range. My tour guide informed me that you can equip six skills at any given time, and can switch them on the fly after a short cooldown, which is cool because it allows you to try out specific builds for different scenarios.
Although BGO is a PvP-focused MMO, there are a bunch of avenues for PvE gameplay, including questlines and starting areas for each race, adventures, instances, events, and open world dungeons called Chambers of Greed. Even if you plan to make the game’s PvP your main squeeze, you’ll still want to participate in its 5-, 10-, and 20-player instances to acquire high-level gear.
There are several different options for you to get your PvP on in BGO. At the most basic level, you can attack anyone from the opposing faction while you’re in “Peace” mode (ironic name notwithstanding), or switch to “Slaughter” mode to attack anyone at all, including your own faction’s players. There are also open world battles, battlegrounds, and a high-level guild competition based on Energy Wells, which incorporate persistent battles for territory control.
Perhaps most interestingly, in addition to your everyday exotic transport mounts, there are these things called Battle Carriers, which are essentially combat mounts that you can level up. There are five classes of these Battle Carriers - comprised of steampunk Battle Vehicles and fantastic War Beasts - and about 100 unique combat mounts in the game. You can deploy them anywhere, and some battlegrounds will have special rules involving their use. Furthermore, and in a turn reminding me of Age of Wushu’s combat system, Battle Carriers’ skills in combat utilize a rock-paper-scissors system to overcome one another.
If you’re ready to choose a faction and start representing steampunk or fantasy in the battle for Black Gold, you won’t have to wait too long, as Open Beta begins June 20, with full release scheduled for later this year.
Som Pourfarzaneh / Som has been hanging out with the MMORPG.com crew since 2011, and is an Associate Director & Lecturer in Media, Anthropology, and Religious Studies. He’s a former Community Manager for Neverwinter, the free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG from Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment, and is unreasonably good at Maze Craze for the Atari 2600. You can exchange puns and chat (European) football with him on Twitter @sominator.