WARNING: This is going to be a long salty post. I will include the good of the game too. TL;DR at the bottom
Background: I have something crazy like 3000-4000 hours played of course not all of those are active hours but I’ll get to that later. I was a level 61 Zerker, 60 Ninja, 60 Warrior. I had Full TET gear on my Zerker and TRI/TET on the other two when I ended up switching classes. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on shop items. So before anyone says I don’t know what I’m talking about, just know this game started to steal my life because I wanted to maintain the level I was at.
The Games Structure: I started playing this game when Ninja was fairly new up until Lahn was released with a few longer breaks in between, so I’m not sure if they have fixed anything at all regarding the structure or bones underneath the game. If you don’t know, Pearl Abyss is run by the overlord Korean company called Kakao aka Cashcow. To save money they relied on the cheapest server company they could buy. To get even more money they added “convenience items” to the cash shop which are borderline mandatory to get a good experience in the game. Korean MMO + Cheap Servers + Cash Shop = Red Flag central.
The Bad: These things aren’t necessarily game breaking, they are more annoying. To start, the enhancing system. Jesus Christ is it annoying. It is a huge HUGE part of the game and it seems to be the most complex part. The learning curve on fail stacking and being able to afford your fails on normal gear is so god damn punishing. It’s horrible when you are trying to get to +16 to +20 where sometimes you can get an insta pop and other times you spend weeks trying to get it up one only to knock it back down next time. It does feel satisfying when you finally get it, but it shouldn’t take weeks or even months to get something up one enhancement. Another bad thing is the variety in grinding. I’m not sure how much has changed with Kamsylvania but you basically spend all of your time at Sausans or Pirates until you are geared enough to go farm in the deepest parts of the desert where the reds can hunt you down. One of my least favorite things is the fact that the game almost deters you, yet forced you to party up. You get less XP if you aren’t at maximum efficiency but if you solo you get piled on. So it’s either take your chances or lose XP. The only solution is to bring only one, maybe two people with you who are similarly geared. Also lack of group activities in general.
The HORRIBLE: Okay this is where I might sound like I’m complaining like a child. JESUS CHRIST the desync and gear gap is ridiculous. Lower level/gear battles can get pretty intense if you’re on the same level because of how forgiving yet punishing it can be. Once you get slightly past someone in gear though, you can basically nuke them and they have to play DDR on their keyboard to be able to kill you. Even worse at high/end-game gear score you basically are playing “who nukes who first”. Not to mention during all of this you have to deal with desync. It’s frustrating when you grab someone and then they teleport behind you and you are dead. Another horrible is the cash shop. Now everyone is going to say “oh no p2w” but at what point do we draw the line. Buying artisans can save you millions and millions of silver(? I forgot) which can be weeks of grinding if you aren’t an efficient crafter/grinder. You have to buy pets and when they upped the cap you were incentivized to buy more of them and then try to breed them. WHICH ISNT GUARANTEED TO LEVEL. There goes another $10 to get the same tier pet. Not to mention XP boost on a costume. God forbid you don’t have the processing suit with maximum weight. The game screams “yeah you don’t have to buy anything…. if you wanna stay bottom tier struggling to advance”. The KARMA SYSTEM IS ABUSED. Being red used to be fun and risky. Ooh you can be targeted without penalty but you can go on a murder rampage… but now if you don’t surrender your rotation someone will take off their armor and attack you and because you attack them back you are penalized. You get shot down to negative hella quick and then the player calls his buddies to come kill you on sight to hopefully break your slots and gear. Awesome. Yeah there’s a “pvp server” but it’s filled with max geared players who 95% of the population can’t touch. The game requires you to sink too much time into it to be anywhere near the top and get into a good guild. World bosses can be a nightmare too if you don’t have a super pc. Hell, I remember when that stupid ass whale launched I was there for the first spawn and all of the servers crashed. They made a world boss that their own servers can’t handle. Now let’s talk classes. Wizard/Witch is always top tier. I don’t care what you say or how easy they are to kill, they shouldn’t be able to teleport and heal as much as they do. They will always shit on you. When Striker/Mystic/Lahn released they were all just so busted. Striker was too tanky with its 100% super armor up-time, mystic was almost the same problem, and Lahn had life steal? Like really? Life steal. The balancing in this game is so far apart that if you weren’t top tier class you had to be PERFECT with your class and your opponent could only be decent.
The Good: Okay there are some things I have to give the game credit for. The combat, putting the desync and gear gap aside, is the best around. It feels like a fast paced soul caliber or something. It’s fast paced and challenging with a lot of depth and can get intense and rewarding at times. The best part of this game is the crafting and worker management for me. I don’t know why I loved it so much. Building your huge empire and keeping it alive and making millions and millions. This game also lets you get serious. Trying to fight over large amounts of land to get tax money and get maxed out gear and grinding on the ungodly slow xp. Afk fishing and processing are a huge income compared to turning your computer off and not burning out your GPU (RIP my 970, hello 1080ti). Exploration is also pretty interesting because there’s a lot of beautiful scenery and riding a boat around is beautiful and relaxing. Can’t complain about active fishing. The housing is actually pretty decent. Of course mine was filled with stove tops, but you can seriously deck out another one as your “main home”. I also liked that you didn’t need to pvp in the sense that you could be a lonely lifeskiller at level 49 where no one can touch you. The grind can be relaxing at times.
Overall: If you want to play the game for just to experience the combat, then you should because it’s fun. If you want an MMO you can sink time into stay FAAAAAR AWAY from this game. The time sink isn’t worth it and the game is almost unplayable at times. The game is run by a greedy corporation who pulls people in with the face paced combat that is unbalanced and buggy and fancy graphics. For the casual player you won’t be able to enjoy it casually. You will get slaughtered. This game is either try it and quit it or sell your soul and spend $100+ while you basically sign up for a second job. Not to mention the community is toxic and bitter because they also deal with the some gripes and complaints.
Basically, do not recommend this game to anyone who is asking “what MMO should I play?”. We need to stop funneling money into this company that doesn’t listen to their western audience and barely gives a damn about their OWN audience. If someone is interested in BDO at least warn them that the game is toxic in nature and they will be going into a dark rabbit hole.
Disagree with me all you want. You can’t change what’s already true to justify your reason for playing it. If you have fun with it then play it. Just don’t ignore it’s game breaking flaws while you recommend it to someone.
TL;DR – The game is either all in or nothing, yet it doesn’t even reward you with its broken systems, unbalancing, and terrible server service. Do not funnel your money into Cashcow or recommend anyone into this money trap. Test the combat out for the experience of it and then leave.
Forgot to mention yes I quit when Lahn came out.
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