BDO: Trading, Housing, Workers and More Sandboxing!

I spent a good deal of time playing Black Desert Online this weekend, though most of it was actually AFK fishing while I was running content in FFXIV. It’s really nice to be able to “play” two games at once. As long as you’re online, your workers keep gathering materials and you can keep fishing. I actually earned about a level and a half doing nothing but fishing, trading my fish in, and turning in fishing quests.

Here’s some things I learned this weekend.

Understanding the Map

I’ve come to a greater understanding that the map in BDO is the key to a lot of things. It may look overwhelming at first, but if you zoom in, you can see all kinds of little question mark icons.

Some of these icons indicate NPCs you’ve yet to meet. Sometimes these can unlock nodes, which are super important!

Some of these indicate enemy types that you haven’t reached a knowledge rank with. Some even indicate fish that you haven’t yet caught! So, anytime there’s a question mark on the map, hover over it to see what it is, and then go explore the unknown!

Quests! Quests Everywhere!

When I read other people mentioning the number of quests in BDO could get overwhelming, I thought I could handle it. Now that I’ve seen it firsthand, I’m not so sure. It seems like every day I log in, there’s new quests from NPCs that I know I finished just the other day! I don’t know if some of them are dailies in disguise, but I’m always bombarded with something to do.

I even returned to the starter village only to discover all sorts of quests I didn’t see before I left! I don’t know if I just missed them or if they didn’t appear until later.

I’m not complaining, though, it’s just quite different from the quest hub games where you clean out an area and then move on. It’s good to double back because a lot of the quests you might overlook the first time introduce key ideas such as trading, donkeys, housing, nodes, workers, etc.

I’ve read people grouching that the game doesn’t provide information about these systems, but I’ve found it does. The info isn’t extensive, and I usually have to go looking up outside resources on some things, but overall, it does try to nudge you in the right direction without doing all the heavy lifting for you.

Housing and Cooking

For example, one quest chain in the city of Veila looks like it just teaches you how to cook stuff. But, in reality, it teaches you how to purchase a residential house. You have to have a residence in order to put the cooking station down and use it, so strangely, the game bundles up buying a house and learning to cook.

Blue houses means you can purchase them. White means you own them. Grey means you haven’t met prerequests to buy it yet. That recycle sign means I was upgrading that particular house at the moment.

The housing system is pretty neat in that it requires Contribution points that you’ve earned from questing. You purchase personal housing, worker living areas, workshops, storage and all sorts of things through this system. I went ahead and upgraded some of mine to make a shipbuilding workshop, a tool workshop and a refinery.

However, the basic housing in BDO is somewhat… dark and dank. There’s really not another word for it. Luckily, I had my choice of three housing items from my pre-order pack, and picked up a chandelier. But even that hardly shed any light in my front room. I’m sure I’ll eventually get more lighting to help the situation.

Housing in BDO is interesting. It’s instanced, but it’s not instanced at the same time. When you purchase a house, you purchase the same house as everyone else does. You do have to walk up to the door, open it, and walk in. So it does exist in the world. But the moment you walk through the door, you’re in your own instanced home.

I think this works well – much better than ArcheAge’s land rushes and housing disappointments.

Nodes and Workers

The next thing I needed to learn about was connecting nodes to make a trade route, and hiring workers. The thing that tripped me up at first was that you couldn’t claim the nodes close to Olvia, the town you started in. Instead, you needed to start with the nodes closest to the bigger city, Veila and work out across the map.

You go to the node, select Node Management, then invest a Contribution Point into that node to make it part of your route. If there’s a resource there you want a worker to gather, you have to invest a second Contribution Point into that to unlock it. You can also level up the node by investing energy points into it.

You hire workers in a village or town, which becomes their home base. They will gather your assigned resources and take it back to the storage in the town you hired them in. This is actually useful, because it gives more storage. You just have to go to that town physically to pick up what they gathered if you want to use it.

I noticed that workers level up over time. They also require beer (really?) to refresh themselves and keep working. I need to brew a bunch today because my workers are dry, and refusing to work at this point. XD

I was amazed that you can actually see your workers as they make their rounds in real time! I was out working on a gathering quest when I stumbled upon my own worker out gathering in the forest…

Unfolding Story

So, the story in BDO continues to be odd. But I’m also starting to get interested in it, mostly because I don’t know why this Black Spirit (I call him my Buddy) is hanging around me, and if I might be a force of destruction waiting to happen in this world.

It’s obvious from the NPC responses that black energy is not considered normal or a good thing. They don’t seem to blame me for the connection it has with me, but they are quite alarmed, especially when my Buddy consumes energy and starts taking on a more corporal (disturbing) form!

Buddy, you’re scaring me.

In fact, there’s a scene where NPCs panic at the realization of the black energy in me, while the Spirit keeps intercepting and demanding me to not listen – that removing our connection would mean my death. At this point, I’m staring to wonder who is telling the truth…

Especially when the Buddy starts trying to encourage me to do bad things now. For example, I ran across a cowardly trader who wanted me to act as hired protection to escort his donkey. Instantly, the Buddy wanted my attention. He called the trader a coward and said that means we have the right to swipe his goods and go sell them to make a profit of our own.

I was confused. Up until now, my Buddy had lead me right and taught me how to navigate the world. I accepted the quests he gave me without question. But now, I was questioning. And I discovered this was considered a “Crossroads Quest,” which I could actually turn down. If you turn it down, you can return to the original quest without penalty.

I quickly made it a point to escort the donkey as I promised, taking the goods where they belonged. When the trade manager heard the story, he indicated that our cowardly friend would get the boot for not doing the job himself.

I’m escorting the donkey like a good hired hand. Maybe my good example will rub off on Buddy.

Hmmm. I like the idea that things may not be what they seem. I wonder what would have happened if I’d followed my Buddy’s advice and taken the goods for my own profit?

Trading and Boating

Another thing I started messing with was trading. I picked up a donkey from a quest (and almost drown him several times – darn game dismounts you when you hit water!). I also picked up some trade quests in Veila and Olvia. But since a million people are running these trade routes, I realized I wouldn’t get any money from running back and forth between the two.

Not knowing there’s yet another city over the mountains, I noticed there’s a boat that travels out of Veila. In ArcheAge, riding airships was one way to get great trading prices, so I hopped on with my donkey and experienced real-time boat travel in this game for the first time.

I’m the only dummy riding a donkey on the boat.

However, when I got to the other shore, the trader wouldn’t trade with me, and I spent 10 minutes freaking out about having a stuck donkey up under the docks (we fell out in the water when I tried to get off the boat… both times!). That’s when I learned there’s a mount icon you can click to call/summon your mount when they get stuck like that. Thankfully, this worked and I was the only drowning casualty in the situation (I got stuck up under someone’s boat and died of drowning).

Needless to say, I don’t think I’m taking a mount on a boat again in the near future. I’m assuming mounts are like workers, and you can stable multiple mounts in different areas of the world. (?)

A Pet Peeve

Can I talk about one thing that really bugs me in this game? It’s so minor, but it totally gets on my nerves. It’s the character and NPC collision.

When you run into another character or NPC, there’s a moment where you bump shoulders, like if you were shoving past someone on the streets, and then you continue on your way. So, there’s collision, but nothing that keeps you from moving. But it seems super rude to me! Not only that, but every time you bump into someone, your character pauses a moment in their forward progress, making this stop-go-stop-go thing the whole time.

Now, my peeve is, when you auto-path to quests, you’re always running into NPCs and other players who are taking the same paths. Not to mention, for some crazy reason, every road in the starter area has a constant stream of NPCs walking down the road that you’re hitting every few seconds.

So auto-running is a test of my patience. Bump! Run. Bump! Run. Bump! Run!

Ugh! Enough!

Overall, I still have a lot to learn and explore. I’ve sunk over 24 hours of time into the game, still hovering around level 15 (thanks to fishing), and haven’t even come close to finishing the first two towns. I have a bunch of quests to complete, and treasure map to find!

Have you been playing BDO?