At Gamescom 2013 in Cologne I had a chance to have a chat about the beautiful upcoming MMORPG Black Desert Online with Pearl Abyss CFO Brian Oh and COO Jaemin Youn about a variety of topics. They also gave me a nice sneak peek on a few extremely interesting features like the world map, the weather system, the NPC intimacy system and the character creation, most of which were never caught on film before (at least to my knowledge). We even got a glimpse of the development tools used to build the game.
Unfortunately Pearl Abyss’ booth was in a very noisy area with a lot of small booths with just a thin wooden panel separating them from the rest, so there’s a lot of background noise. In order to help you understand what was said, here’s a summary of the relevant points we discussed:
- The game is based on action combat, and similar to TERA in that aspect, but Black Desert Online is more focused on PvP and castle sieges.
- Pearl Abyss is using a proprietary engine for Black Desert Online.
- There’s a night and day cycle and dynamic weather.
- There are typhoons wandering the world map. At the moment they don’t touch the landmass, but in the future they will, and they’ll affect combat and movement. The world map (which is one of the best I’ve seen for a MMORPG) has also a very stylish way to show the time of the day.
- There are ships traveling the rivers, but they’re just NPC-driven methods of transportation. They can’t be controlled by players.
- The game has free for all PvP, but the team is still discussing penalties and balance in order to minimize stress for users. At the current stage you can engage in PvP only after level 40, but that might change in the future.
- Pearl Abyss is still in the process of finding a publisher for the west, and they’re discussing it with many parties, but they still didn’t sign a deal. They are determined to bring the game to the western audience.
- The upcoming beta will be limited only to Korean citizens, and blocked by IP.
- The team is considering bringing the game to PS4 and Xbox One, but before that they need to have the PC version stable and working. They already had a meeting about this with Sony about a console version, while they didn’t yet meet with Microsoft (they did meet with the Windows publishing team, but not with the Xbox One team).
- The game features a “NPC Intimacy System” displayed by the UI. The system measures the relationship between a player and every NPC. Players will acquire knowledge on several areas and topics during gameplay and NPCs are interested in receiving that information. By providing it, players can increase their intimacy level with the NPCs and receive special items and rewards in exchange.
- You can siege castles, but you can’t completely destroy them. You can just tear down some sections.
- The game has fashion slots that allow you to purchase fashion items in the cash shop that will change the appearance of your equipment. Fashion items grant a small increase in stats (just one or two points).
- Character creation is limited at the moment, because the game is still in alpha. More options will be provided as development progresses.
- Classes will have a male and a female version. Male and female classes will have different features.
- The team is looking into implementing female giants, but they will only do so if they manage to find the right design.
Below you can enjoy the video of the interview and the gameplay footage. And yes, when character creation was shown, models flashed completely naked for a second. Interestingly enough, the female model had fully modeled and textured nipples, even if it’s very unlikely that the final game will feature any nudity, so don’t get your hopes up. In order to comply with Youtube’s guidelines I had to slightly censor the video, and I’ll carry the uncensored version to my tomb with me.