Black Desert interview with Brian Oh – Exclusive
After the great success with Neverwinter, we have another exclusive session of Q&A. This time, it’s a Black Desert interview Brian Oh, Director of Business Development at Pearl Abyss. This new South Korean software house is developing the fantasy MMORPG that has already garnered attention thanks to the amazing graphics and intriguing features. Together with Brian, we learn a bit more on the game.
First of all, welcome to our network and please, explain to our readers what kind of the game you set to produce with Black Desert.
First of all, it’s very nice to introduce our title Black Desert to you. Black Desert is the next generation MMORPG that tries to incorporate the realistic action combat and the various kinds of looping contents. In order to give users totally different experience from existing MMORPG, we added many exciting contents such as housing, exploration, trade, NPC hiring, large-scale castle siege and crafting etc.
I know that the founder of your company produced Continent of the Ninth, which recently released in the West. What are the main differences in gameplay between C9 and Black Desert?
C9 is an action oriented MORPG that features a maximized reality in action combat. And its primary gameplay is involved with hunting monsters in many different types of instanced dungeons. However, the users in Black Desert are able to enjoy a variety of gameplays I’ve mentioned in a seamless open world.
You said that the main focus in development has been to produce a realistic action combat, with attack, dodge and block all occurring manually. However, I’m wondering if there is some sort of stamina system that adds another level of complexity, requiring players to only use the right action at the right time.
We are pursuing the realistic action combat on a non-targeting basis with which users can actively handle the keyboard and the mouse control. Moreover, we added a few command keys for attack and defense by pressing some keys like Q, E, F. By combining conventional hot keys and command keys, we provide users more diverse experiences in terms of an action combat.
As you indicated, with the limitation of stamina in certain skills, some users might feel a bit of difficulty in handling their characters.
However, we set the range of hitting and attacking quite so loose that users won’t feel stressful when they attack and dodge. The action combat system in Black Desert doesn’t require to users a perfect reaction at the perfect timing.
In addition, there is a stamina restriction to only a few skills so that there won’t be a considerable increase in the complexity.
From the previous games we developed, we realized that we should manage the users’ level of tiresome and complexity when it comes to an action combat. Accordingly we provide users “only mouse click mode” for their convenience with which they don’t get easily tired despite of hours of gameplay.
Another cool announced feature is mounted combat. As of now there are no MMORPGs which have reproduced mounted combat in a way that is satisfactory to players; what’s your design to address common issues with mounted combat in other games?
Black desert will be the first game that realizes the mounted combat meeting the needs and wants of MMORPG users in a satisfactory way. We invested long time in mounted combat to give users unique and differentiated experiences.
Users can shoot monsters with arrows on their mount as you can see in our first official trailer. Warrior classes are able to swing a sword or a halberd on his horse. Moreover they can throw their sphere to monsters as well.
These mounted combat will be really useful to destroy the barricade of opponents and to scatter the enemies when the castle siege takes place. Quick movement of horse forces allows users to conduct a sudden attack of the enemies.
Also, will it be possible to specialize a character for mounted combat over combat on the ground?
Specializing a character for mounted combat is possible given that users spend enough time to train their characters. If they are enough skillful to handle their mount, they can get the special advantage from mounted combat. While you ride on your mount you can give more hitting damages to enemies and sometimes even you can knock down them.
We’ve read that you will be a using a class system, but how deep will the player customization be in terms of gameplay choices? Can you talk about possible talents/perks etc.?
This question is a little bit difficult to answer by now. We have many things remained to decide on this issue. In this regard, I’ll tell you about this later on. Sorry for that.
In one of the videos, a siege was displayed. How will territory control be handled in Black Desert? Some games use predetermined factions and other let player guilds conquer castles/towns to their benefits. What’s your take on this?
The synopsis of Black Desert revolves around the two countries that fights each other for the essential energy source called “Black stone”. But this is only a background story. The combat taking place in Black Desert is not based on the predetermined factions. Each player should fight for freedom and for being the strongest hero in the game. In order to conquer the world and rule the territory, users have to organize strong guilds and these guilds will fight each other to occupy castles which give considerable benefits to their owners.
In the interview with Steparu.com, you have detailed a NPC system which almost sounds like companions. You mentioned that not only will NPCs offer access to special quests, items and areas, but they might even offer assistance in the player’s journeys. How will this work, when compared for example with SWTOR’s companion system? Can they aid you in combat?
Like a real world, when you enter an unknown village, there’s no one you know there. So you have to network among NPCs one by one. If you get close to an NPC, he can introduce you to other NPCs. One thing you have to remember is there are various relations among NPCs. Some are very close to each other, some doesn’t get along with each other. So you have to make a strategic choice when you want to approach a certain NPC.
After you build a strong relationship with some NPCs, they can sell to you a special item that can’t be acquired in general shops. In addition a certain NPC might give you special right to enter the exclusive instanced dungeon.
In the NPC labor market you can hire special NPCs that would assist you in many ways. They can plant crops, sell the product, transport your goods to neighboring villages and even fight with you as brave mercenaries.
Another interesting feature is certainly the housing system. We’ve read that players will have to win the “contract” for the house in an Auction House bidding system, but how affordable will an average house be for players? Also, will there be the chance for players to resell their house directly to other players?
We will provide 1,000 ~ 2,000 houses to users in one server as a result only 20~30% of total users can own their house through an auction system. Users without houses have to set up temporary tents in a permitted zone of field. The ownership of houses will be valid for 3 months and when it expires users can participate in the house auction bid again. The policy on reselling of the houses within 3 months hasn’t been decided yet.
Ultimately, I understand that the game is still somewhat far away, but can you give us a rough estimate of when we’ll able to see it in the West? Is 2014 even possible, or do we have to wait even more?
BO: We expect our title to go into CBT in Korea during July and to have OBT at the end of this year. In Europe, the title should be released around 2015.