Black Desert Online (BDO) has been a well-known Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) game since its global release in 2016, but that all it was for almost seven years – well-known, not widely played. However, beginning in the early summer of 2023, BDO Developers, Pearl Abyss, had an incredibly successful marketing campaign paired with some huge in-game events that have made BDO into one of the most popular MMOs on the market. It started with spotlights on the newest BDO expansion, Land of the Morning Light, being featured in multiple Summer Game Showcases that millions of people tuned into, and it turned into dozens of large streamers picking up BDO and becoming full-time players of the game. Here is a breakdown of what BDO is like and why players from all walks of life are getting into it.

What is BDO?

While BDO is just one of many MMOs on the market, it has by far the most unique gameplay out of any other MMO game currently available. Unlike other basically every other live-operated game, there is no core gameplay loop where players get on every day, do the same thing for an hour, then get off because they have finished that day’s worth of gameplay. Instead, BDO has a lot of things players could choose to do during their daily playtime, but none of it is mandatory for progression. Whether players want to kill monsters for a few hours, explore the expansive and ever-growing map, or make potions through the alchemy system, there is literally something for everyone in BDO, and anything that is not to players liking does not have to be done. There are thousands of quests that can be done, two dozen character classes to try, training horses to make a Unicorn, fighting world bosses, slaying sea monsters, clan verse clan wars, creating a worker empire, fishing, and cooking – just to name some of the activities that can be done daily, there are many more not mentioned as well.

To be completely honest, there is so much to do in BDO that it is overwhelming. Most players feel the need to try everything within their first few months of playing the game, but due to the nature of the game, there is absolutely no need to try everything. Veteran players have found a few things they like to do and only do those things for all their gameplay. This conundrum is what has kept BDO from becoming a top MMO sooner than the summer of 2023. That being said, this summer has been so successful for BDO because they have streamlined the new player experience very well. New players have minute-one access to all the character classes in the game with seasonal mechanics that make leveling and gearing very easy and understandable, free access of Dream horses (Unicorn, Pegasus, or Doom) which make it very easy to get around the map, and dozens of in-game events that give away free stuff to progress characters in any way the player would like. If there is any time to try BDO, it is right now.

Why are players sticking with BDO for the long haul?

Long story short, there are a lot of reasons players are staying with BDO for the long haul. One of the main reasons is the combat is extremely unique and interactive compared to other MMOs. Instead of having one button on the keyboard that corresponds to an ability, it is key combinations that correspond to a single ability (ex., Shift + S + Right Click = one specific ability for a class).

BDO is also a one-time purchase game – once purchased for the first time, all the current and future DLC, classes, and other content are unlocked permanently; it is also frequently for sale on Steam or through the Pearl Abyss website. Microtransactions are available, some of which could be considered pay-to-win, but none of them are mandatory, and players are periodically given these items for free through in-game events.

New content is steadily released, the Land of the Morning Light (LotML) being the newest big content. It brought with it new monsters to fight and an entirely new zone of the map to explore. Also released with LotML was the very popular solo boss battles with seven different bosses that each have seven difficulties, with a region leaderboard to keep track of who is beating what difficulty of the boss and how fast. There are also several new events that effect all the content in BDO that go live on a weekly basis – making it one of the better live-operated games on the market right now.

Finally, the BDO Developers are very responsive to the community. Many of the things players have asked for have been implemented into the game in some capacity. The new player experience being more intuitive, rewarding, and streamlined, is a great example of this. It is stuff like this that has brought thousands of new players and dozens of big streamers into the game this summer. Streamers like Stoopz, KanonOX, and even a top 10 streamer in Asmongold have all begun their BDO journey, which has helped the game become much more prosperous.