Having played Black Desert consistently over the past months since launch with a mega break somewhere in between I can honestly say Black Desert's is what an MMORPG should aim to be. While not perfect and not the greatest or the best of all time it certainly is good for me anyways and is very good for what is out there today. I'm sure some disagree, some wholeheartedly agree and some downright hate the game and others love it right up.
Since Valencia is coming soon and Node Wars is coming I figure I'd share this current experience if you're curious.
I'm somewhat/pretty biased since I like the game in general because of its concept since it's not one of those
"what's there to do endgame?"
"endgame only matters" MMOs.
But my reasons are that it's more MMO than the past half decade of MMOs I've played. Most are either rush to max level and hit a rotational mundane task of repeating the same content repeatedly with VERY LITTLE DEVIATION. The key thing here is that it's VERY LITTLE DEVIATION in those other games and your older areas that you started in or traversed through become obsolete.
It's an MMO, it's ingrained in me that there's going to be some form of grind. That's okay.
The problem is when that grind is the same kind of monster/type/boss/area/attacks/tactics repeatedly is what makes it ULTIMATELY BORING, if you wanted a full packaged experience without grinding or any of that honestly go play a singleplayer game. No MMO will be able to keep up in that much story driven content in a short amount of time and make it impactful. I feel like everyone should take on this kind of mindset of going into MMOs in general. It's not settling for something less it's just realistic. I don't gauge MMO stories/character development content the same way I do as singleplayer games, they're incomparable.
Black Desert doesn't have that mundane rotational/daily grind I've experienced in many other MMOs, or at least I can say I haven't experienced it yet or perhaps I have and that the rotation is just so large it doesn't really feel all that repetitive, you'll only face this problem is if you don't go looking for different areas to grind in or if you're repeatedly trying to KS ppl and they in response PK you for doing so. The world is massive, to narrow yourself into one area is "best for grind" is completely absurd when I've outlvled others for taking different routes. It can be best one day and worse the next day if you're fighting grinding spots with other people doing the same thing. There's many other details involved but that'll be for another time(killing speed, mobbing, party strategy in speeding it up buffs etc.)
Also Rush grinding to level 50 when you're new to the game(as in your first character with no experience in BDO) will make you severely ignorant about everything else in the game itself and ultimately grief you in the sense where you'll be doing tons of backtracking or 3rd party online searching to figure out systems or wasting your energy asking a bunch of questions that are answered in tutorial quests from 1-50
Black Desert has its grind set in multiple areas and aspects of the game, sure you can grind your character level as high as you'd like but that's all you'll have. Trust me. You'll be falling behind in all the other things the game has to offer but you wont' be 1st in all categories someone will be just as hardcore doing that singular category of character growth, and the biggest question is are those other things obsolete?
I can tell you they aren't when a quarter of the guild's members that I'm in is practically playing Black Desert like a Horse Simulator. They do Training which involves leveling up horses and selling them off for tens and twenties of millions to trade them and breed more in hopes of getting a higher tiered mount. It is pretty much an upgrade and will benefit in Node Wars coming up later on as well as lower your travel time overall if you train good skills or get good rolls on speed/accel/turn stats. There is no teleporting in the game(and there never will be) you have to run everywhere and when a horse can start sprinting it becomes quite fast to the point where I ran so far ahead of the game initiating content to be loaded on screen that my game temporarily freezes/crashes(lol, it happens rarely). Not only that there'll be further mounts of Camels later on that have benefits in the desert whereas horses have deficits and guild training which lets you raise Elephants(FOR WAR).
Then there's the other 10-20% of them playing the game like a Fishing Simulator, these people are aiming to just grab fish, and the higher level you go the shorter the time is and faster your catch becomes and probably more wealthy each catch is worth as you'll probably start hooking in larger fish/rare fish. Why fish? Because later on there's Hunting as well where you can go in the ocean and harpoon whales among other things and harvest them to make pretty high-end powered accessories for your character. It also provides a steady stream of Ancient Relic Shards, make 5 of them and you can have yourself a miniature triple boss summon that you can do with party members/friends/guildies which grant Memory Fragments which you'll need to edit your additional attack/defense skill effects when you reach beyond level 48. Those same fragments are also used to repair max durability on equipment. You can use it on any kind but it's best saved for boss armor super expensive equipment. The other option is using the same piece of equipment to max durability by 10. With fragments it only repairs 1 per fragment.
It's also really profitable if you get boats or wagons and stuff and fill them up or fish on islands and unpopulated areas since those are hard areas to reach.
But get this, I'm playing it like it's Harvest Moon with farmlands and growing flowers, seeds and various other things while I run around town crafting elixirs and food prepping myself for grinding again. Food itself is extremely beneficial but you can only consume one every 30 minutes. The buff can last anywhere from 30minutes to 90 minutes. After 30 minutes pass, you can chug another one down and gain another set of buffs so if you eat 3 food things with 90 minute duration eventually you can have a mass of buffs that make your char have a freakishly power leap in terms of strength. Or you can also sell that same food for $$$ since so many people grinding constantly don't want to make those things there's always a demand. As you craft more and more you also start making multiples instead of singles or higher rarity types of food that last longer or give more buffs allowing further stacking.
But enough about that. If you're going into Black Desert I 'll answer a simple repeated question I see a lot "What's there to do endgame?"
End game starts at level 1. I made an alt gave it a +15 weapon that my main char made, and it leveled to level 25 in about an hour. The rate at which it was growing I swear could be level 50 in as little as 6-8 hours or less. The real grind starts at 50+. Once you've hit 50 welcome to the beginning of the the grind. Just the grind.
Leveling from 50-51 is about as slow as going from level 1-50. Leveling from 51-52 is about as slow as going from level 1-51, 52-53 is about the same as 51-52 imo. 53-54 Was Pretty darn slow and 54-55 was "I can't believe I made 55" when I got there.
The trick is setting yourself small goals at that point or I mean you could have other ways to deal with a tremendous grind. From 1-50 if you think exp was slow(which I can't believe people wanted to make that grind longer... idiots) wait until you reach 55 when you get 0.003% per kill on monsters SAME LEVEL AS YOU. While those who don't like grinding complain about this brickwall of "progression" they're forgetting the fact that the person above you is only 1-2 levels higher. Their strength in power isn't exactly mounds and leaps beyond you it's just a level... until level 56 Awakening then it's just levels and another style of weapon tactics. Not only that but the game has a billion other things to do. If you decided to ignore that content because you dont' want to do it that's on you not the game. None of it so far has amounted to being obsolete as described further below the benefits in each particular life craft.
You can be level 50 and be geared as a god if you wanted/have the resources to be. The only edge a higher leveled person will have over you is probably a surplus of skillpoints and their attacks/abilities hit slightly harder than yours or have more accuracy/evasiond ue to level differences and a few extra unlocks. Definitely more combat-ready than you. There are no level requirements to gear, hence why I don't know what this "endgame" questioning is.
Currently my "endgame" consists of gathering, node managing, investing energy into proper areas I'm going to grind at(which is at least 7 different locations), cooking, crafting, alchemy production, farming, npc chatting, knowledge resetting, world boss chasing, red battlefield(20v20 pvp), boss scrolls, questing(still have so many to do...) and a few other things I'm sure I'm forgetting since I always log in and get paralyzed by the amount of things I can do in the game than just grind. These activities in its general sense was no different than what I was doing at level 1, just that they've expanded a lot more in variety and the world itself grew bigger in each particular content section. (I mean in every other MMO I've played of recent it's just go kill stuff, doing anything else was really detrimental whereas in Black Desert it isn't).
Ships/Boats, something I mentioned earlier and something I think the game will lend itself to is Naval warfare in the future. The ocean is vast. I spent 3-4 hours the other day with a guildmate sailing the sea just discovering islands and looking for the Pirate Island for the game's current Mediah & Pirate expansion content and event hand in. I found it, the mobs there are red to me and I was level 54 during discovery meaning the mobs are anywhere from level 56-57. Another area to grind... and another area where people will contest over each other via openworld PvP/PK or party up and work together.
After 3-4 hours at sea I didnt' even uncover all the islands, still missing a portion of the East section near Mediah and Balenos. Pirate Island is accessible by boat only... or you could swim just that you'll have to chug pots repeatedly have a low inventory capacity/overweight if you're going to grind there for a period of time rather than make multiple trips back and forth, very inefficient and overtime you'd probably lose out on hours of downtime just making resupply trips.
The gear your horse wears and ships equipment can be upgraded/enhanced to +10.
Alchemy Stones are mega pricey and something super lategame that you'll want to acquire which can only be gained through alchemy crafting.
The enhancement system works on failstacking so if you want to upgrade your accessories which is more dangerous than upgrading your gear...upgrade your gear first. Do accessories later, do alchemy stones last or in between. Accessories get destroyed if they fail and requires the same type of equipment to enhance it. Goes up to 5 tiers. When you have a stack of 15-25 failures in enhancement don't waste that on something simple like going from +14-+15 on your gear, make an alt pass it to your alt and have your alt attempt to +14-+15 instead and use that 15-25 fail stack on enhancing an accessory. (Just so you know a 15-25 fail stack equates to about 3-5 million in silver it takes you ~200k per attempt assuming your equip has the durability which raising the max durability can also cost you more silver.)
Enhancing is very lenient I find in Black Desert, try your chances and build failstacks or succeed or you can force the enchantment with a price in durability loss and a larger quantity of stones being consumed. Generally the durability loss costs a hefty amount of silver to rebuild it back to 100 durability. So you're not completely at the mercy of RNG except for Accessories.
Following the last bit there, alts(alternate characters) also have a purpose, you can have them AFK read books(requires bookshelf in your house) while you play your main and gain knowledge, or sit them in a town to help you reset knowledge when you need to(Calpheon Library).
you can also use them to enhance your gear so you can save big failstacks to enhance more pricey stuff. Once you have +15 gear building failstacks becomes the next "f**k EVERYTHING IS SUCCEEDING I NEED FAILSTACKS" because most people don't want to risk 2 Ogre Rings without a 25-40 stack and fail and lose 180 mil as an example.(Ogre rings go up in +5 AP per enhance and it's an ACCESSORY, it goes up in stats higher than a WEAPON upgrading, failure means bidding farewell to your 2 Ogre Rings whereas weapon it just loses durability which is only like a 20-30k loss for a big success chance that you could've burned on something more risky).
Energy capacity is shared across your account as well as contribution points so make use of your alts and have them transport stuff around too if need be or just use the storage transporter. Energy usage is seperate per char so you can have alts be other crafts too in town if you plan to never take them out to fight, doing any of the crafts/gathering/processing/alchemy/training/trading/fishing/hunting(later on) grants your character level exp. Grinding of course is the fastest way but isn't the only way and powering up the life activities help speed up your grind later on by a lot. Also while you're doing the life activities you can also toss energy into an area where you'll plan to grind eventually so when you do go you also get a higher drop rate than others who didn't.
But that's about it this is only the experience leading up to Mediah's content, there's more to go on but this is a gist of what stuck with me in memory so far being a PvE oriented player, there is a lot of PvP content which I assume is coming in Valencia. With Valencia there comes a desert... where dehydration comes into play from what I've read(ohoho) and camel mounts that work better there than horses. Along with hunting musket rifles and things and enhancement levels +16-20(requires different kinds of materials compared to 1-15) and of course... Node Wars. The game I find goes great in large scale PvP having been in a few guild wars and red battlefield fights, this game really wasn't built for dueling, if you're gauging your class in duel format (1v1) it's grossly way out of balance, and if you're playing anything like Red Battlefield you'll know 1v1 rarely ever happens unless you're just standing away from your allies which is really bad.
Rather intense and only slightly behind the KR version in content and updates which I find is impressive.
As always comments are welcome! Please keep it civil among each other is all I ask thanks!