Desert Oasis: The best Black Desert quality-of-life changes


I wasn’t there at launch, but I’ve played Black Desert long enough to see some major changes in the game. And since the game just celebrated its fifth birthday in the NA/EU regions, what better time to go over them? For this edition of Desert Oasis, I’ll talk about the quality-of-life changes that I’ve enjoyed the most in the game.

For those unfamiliar with what those kinds of changes are, quality-of-life (or QoL) changes in games refer to the small adjustments made in a game that turn into huge timesavers. A great example comes from the original Guild Wars, where players could save skill and attribute point templates via a template code. Players can then share these codes via the in-game chat or on the internet for easy access. Another good one is from Final Fantasy XIV, where raiders enjoy their skill cooldowns getting a reset after a full party wipe. It’s a major timesaver.

It’s also nice to see that full controller support are available in the PC version

Of all the changes Black Desert Online experienced, the QoL changes have to be my favorite ones. It goes back to making the game much more digestible for those that play on the NA/EU servers. And while it feels like the enchantment system probably won’t be going anywhere, it has had its fair share of changes over the years.

A more transparent and streamlined enhancement system

Some BDO players are probably rolling their eyes after reading that. “What is he talking about? It’s still a major pain in the butt.” And it is. The difference is that the game has made it much easier to gain failstacks and also clearly communicates the chances of a successful tap. A failstack is basically a number that gets higher and higher the more times a player fails an enchantment. It’s linked to the character, and a major part of enchanting is forcing failure to get this number higher. More on this later.

People will get pretty upset if you tell them you spent 105 failstacks just to get your item to TET (IV).

These days, the percentage of a successful proc is clearly communicated. But before, players had a ballpark number based on data created by the community. And while the community was pretty much spot on with the proc chances, it’s a great thing to just have the exact number available to the player. While there are many opinions and there’s an ideal percentage for players to try to get their weapons to certain enhance levels, at the end of the day, it’s the player trying to enhance who should decide. I just like how it’s right in front of me. I don’t have to ask the community the min/maxed value, and there’s no guesswork. It’s just so much easier to decide.

A clear enhance chance was great, but you know what I’m really happy about? An alternative to death failstacking. I don’t remember what it was called, but to understand it, we need to understand how players traditionally built failstacks. Players bought a piece of gear called Reblath armor and enchant it to +12, +13, or +14. The percentage success was low, and repairs on it were cheap, so players continually failed enhancing it to build failstacks. But sometimes it succeeded, which is something we didn’t want to happen and so players had a useless +15 piece of gear (and 0 failstacks since it succeeded). Today, players need only go to an NPC and pay a sum to bring the item back to +14. But before PA added him, here’s how it went down:

  1. Kill wild horses (or other players) until your reputation is a negative value.
  2. Walk into town and get killed by a guard while wearing the +15 armor.
  3. Hope it goes down to +14.

Players with a negative reputation (and not in the desert) run the risk of getting their gear going down a level. So players exploited this mechanic to get their Reblath down to +14. You know, I’m generally against killing defenseless horses, and while I keep my suspension of disbelief high for a game like BDO, turning to a life of crime for the sole purpose of getting killed by low-level guards while wearing a helmet just for it to get weaker seems dumb. I’m so glad Pearl Abyss added an alternative way to do this. It was breaking immersion. I can ignore building a snowman in the desert. I can find an explanation why monsters keep respawning. But this? This I couldn’t ignore. And I’m so glad PA added an alternative.

Black Spirit’s Adventure is also a nice source of failstacks.

And even if players don’t ever want to stop their gameplay to failstack and prepare for an enhancing session, it’s even better now. Because of season servers and the regular rotation of events, I’ve got hundreds of enhance scrolls that +10 failstacks to +150. And all of those are from simply playing the game. That’s even better. So players who just want to play the game and have as little to do with enhancing as possible still have ways to get stronger. And for those who absolutely will not touch the enhancing system, we’ve got…

The improved marketboard

I don’t like thinking about how the marketboard used to be. It was painful. I absolutely loathed it. It was so difficult to buy high-demand items from it. Before its revamp, the marketboard listed items immediately and sold to the first person who made the offer. (At least that’s how I remember it. Like I said, I hate to think about it.) If a player needed to buy a best-in-slot mainhand weapon (or heaven forbid, a Dim Tree Armor), it wasn’t uncommon to literally just sit in town with the marketplace window open, money in hand and ready to buy the item as soon as it goes up on the marketplace.

Players actually would log on at 3 a.m., on Wednesdays, right when the game went back up from regular maintenance to get the item they needed without much competition. It sucked.

I’d rather be killing mobs at the Tshira ruins at 3AM

The new marketboard solved this issue, and I’m glad PA did it. Those familiar with how Guild Wars 2 handles its auction house will recognize it immediately. Players post the item they’d like to sell by setting the value they’d like to sell at. The max price is set by the game. It clearly communicates how many of the same item are listed at that price, but it also shows the prices with which players have ordered the item for. So now the seller can choose to sell it off immediately (usually at a lower price) or sell it at a higher price and wait a while.

This was so much better for buyers as well. Now players who absolutely had to have the item can place a bid for the highest possible bid (which is controlled by the game, not the players) and just wait for the order to complete. Players can move on with their game, with no need to camp the marketboard, and just focus on making more money.

There are so many more changes this game has gone through. But these are the most memorable. I’m glad Pearl Abyss made these changes when they did because while I put up with them at the time, I’m pretty sure they would’ve started bleeding more players (including me) had they not made these changes.

And now I turn it to you, BDO players. What was your favorite change in Black Desert Online? Leave a comment!

The Great Valencian Black Desert is a dangerous place, but thankfully there’s always a chance for respite. Join Massively OP’s Carlo Lacsina every other week for just that in Desert Oasis, our Black Desert column! Got questions or comments? Send him a message or drop by his Twitch channel to hang out while he’s streaming the game!
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