BDO: First Impressions

I know I’ve heard a few folks comment that they want to see some of my impressions of the game before making a decision about picking it up (I’m honored!). However, all I can offer today are my first impressions. I didn’t play during beta and only had a few hours with the game (mostly learning movement and battle), so my posts are going to be slow and steady, just like my playstyle.

I’ll have a LOT more time with the game tonight and tomorrow, so hopefully I can bring back more impressions as I go along.

Last night, I rolled my Tamer, Aywren Sojourn, on the Orwen server, Calpheon 2 channel. Orwen was the chosen server of fellow bloggers/Twitter folks, and also the chosen RP server of NA. I heard Calpheon 2 was chosen to be the official RP channel as well, so that’s where I settled.

One thing I was most impressed with, even though the servers were at high and the channel was marked as overflowing in population, I never once saw a queue. I was always able to log right in, no matter the time of night! It’s already making a better impression on me than AA did at launch.

Better Than Expected

I’d heard a lot of impressions about the bland voice acting, the lack of story and sub-par questing. So, I went in with very low expectations of these things. While the localization and voice acting won’t win any awards, I’ve played a LOT worse imported MMOs *cough*Dragon’sProphet*cough*.

Sure, it’s lacking the charm and character of big name story-driven games like FFXIV and GW2. But it’s certainly a few leaps up from someone just running Korean through Google translate. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its mistakes…

But for the amount of text in the game (every creature, every NPC, and every town has background information!), I’ve found it far and in between.

So the story. I can see where people could feel it’s disjointed and confusing.

They pulled the amnesia trope (don’t click, it leads to TV Tropes), where the game alludes to the fact that you used to be someone powerful and important, but you don’t seem to remember it, and neither does anyone else. Therefore, you have a reason to relearn all the knowledge about your world and your abilities.

I guess I can’t knock it because FFXIV did the same thing with their Warrior of Light story. Though, theirs was a bit more complex with a better reason than “just cuz.”

Anyhow, you’ve got this black spirit buddy following you around, who has somehow attuned to you, which makes you special (though the spirit doesn’t say why). The spirit seems to know enough to walk you through a tutorial, but not enough to tell you what the lowdown is in this world.

It speaks in a childlike way, being a strange spirit, which I saw as a tone choice on purpose and not bad translation. It’s even quite amusing sometimes, but I could see how it could be confusing.

I’m going out on a limb to hope that the story is disjointed and vague on purpose, because it’s following the story of you, who knows nothing, and must unfold as your character grows in knowledge. It’s befuddling because you’d be confused in this situation. And I think that’s just fine considering I’m as new to this world as my character is.

Well, just as long as the story does unfold later. I’m patient about this.

Quests are standard fare so far. Voice acting is also pretty standard hit-and-miss, but not the worst I’ve ever seen. Though, those goblins sounding like little children creep me out.

Things I Like So Far

Overall, I actually have a pretty positive outlook for this game.

I really like the knowledge system! 

Every NPC you meet has a background story that you learn when you speak to them for the first time. Every creature you fight has similar information.

One thing I thought was neat was the fact that when you first attack an enemy, you have no knowledge of them, therefore, you can’t see their HP bar in battle! As you fight more of the same kind of enemy, you gain knowledge until you level that knowledge up and then you can see things such as an HP bar!

I don’t know why, but that’s a neat touch, and it doesn’t feel at all tedious. It gives me a reason to want to beat things up because I feel like I’m leveling up in my knowledge of the world, which is more important to me than just normal XP.

You also can’t strike up major conversations with NPCs until you’ve increased your knowledge of other NPCs in the area (talked to them), so I’m really curious what conversations are locked away and who else I need to meet!

This world is huge!

I mean, even the tutorial area just feels really really expansive. Like there’s so much to discover… and the game keeps nudging you to do just that.

Not to mention how beautiful the world is in general. I could really get lost in this game and not even care. It’s an explorer’s dream.

Quest Auto-Run

One neat feature is the quest auto-run. Because the world is so large, and it’s so easy to get lost, the game will guide you to the next quest point if you click the auto-run option. I’d like to stress that this is an option, so if you want to find things on your own, that’s fine too. For those who want a hint or just don’t want to spend time hunting stuff down, the auto-run feature will take you where you want to go.

Screen Shot Love

When you choose to hide the UI (Ctrl + U), the game automatically goes into this nice screenshot mode with lovely depth of field effects and blurred background. If you happen to go AFK, when you come back, you’ll notice that the game has gone into a screensaver mode – similar to FFXIV’s idle camera feature – which gives you different shots of the area around you and your character with the depth of field effect on.

This game is so pretty and it takes screens so nicely!

That RTS Feeling 

I haven’t gotten far enough to understand the whole node/worker system yet. All I know is that you unlock nodes by talking to NPCs, and that connects cities and nodes together for future gathering and trade. The overworld map has a very RTS feel to it, which is something that excites me. I want to learn all about how this stuff works!

AFK and Alts Are Encouraged

I haven’t rolled an alt yet, but I can already see from the logout screen that the game heavily encourages them.

I also haven’t gotten to the point where AFK has been encouraged, but I have seen where the game will minimize itself by default rather than close down instantly. This is due to the fact that AFK activity is encouraged.

One example is fishing. I’ve heard if you set yourself up with a pole and cast anywhere, your character will continue to just fish without the need for you to reel anything in. This means you can just AFK fish, do something else, like play another MMO, then come back in an hour to reap your rewards. All that time, you earn skill points and money!

Of course, you can only fish for so long before you need to replace your pole, but still, this further supports my hope to make this game a side MMO. I’m already downloading it on my laptop for those AFK activities while I run content in FFXIV on my main machine.

Dat Combat

A lot of folks will say combat is fun in BDO. For me, I think it’s pretty good, but really a recipe for me to just start button mashing all over the place. I mean, the black spirit tried to teach me combos and tactics and stuff. But the moment I see an enemy, that flies out of my head and the only things I remember is to press W+RightMouseButton or W+LeftMouseButton.

So combat is action-based and has a lot of keyboard+mouse combo pressing. It reminds me a lot of Dragon’s Prophet… but because so few have actually played that game, let me liken it a bit more to something like Neverwinter. No tab targeting, you use your mouse to target an enemy, then let loose the fury of button mashing, which often satisfyingly destroys multiple enemies at once.

Other Thoughts

Last night, I wasn’t even trying to level, and I still hit level 10. Granted, they did host a bonus EX event during some of the time I was playing. But, still, I felt I was moving along at a pretty good pace. I already saw some people in chat asking for level 40+ leveling groups, which is mind boggling.

Guilds sure seem to like to declare war on each other. Like… constantly.

The vigor points system doesn’t seem anywhere as bad as ArcheAge’s labor points. Heck, I couldn’t even fish in AA without using up labor. Here, it seems that you can set workers to mine or do things like AFK fishing without spending vigor… which I like. I noticed that you can unlock knowledge at one NPC by spending vigor, but other than that, I haven’t seen myself spending them yet. Of course, I haven’t hit the sandboxy stuff yet, either.

So… I think that’s about it for my first impressions. I’ll have more for you tomorrow once I’ve put some hours into the game tonight!

If you’re on Orwen, please send me a friend invite! 😀