Black Desert Online is a sandbox MMO, which is very different from most MMOs, such as World of Warcraft. There are no set endgame goals and there is no need to hit max level to see the best content in the game. There are main story quests along the way, but you decide what you want to do.
This is great because there is so much to do in this game, it can be tough to decide what you want to do while also trying to level up.
The combat is fast and feels more like an action-adventure game than an MMO. It also has a very deep trade system, as well as plenty of other crafts and gathering mechanics that will take time to understand.
I’m going to go over the basics of the game and give tips every player should know when they start the game. This is not your typical MMO, so even veteran players of the genre will want to take a look.
This guide will go over everything you need to know to get started in Black Desert Online including:
- Basic Controls and Combat – How to play the game and how the combat system works.
- Quests and Leveling – The different kinds of quests you can find in the game and how to level.
- Gear System – How gear works in this game.
- Nodes and the Trade System – What nodes do and how the Trade System works.
- Crafting, Gathering, and Workers – The different things you can craft, gather, and what to do with workers.
- World Map – All the info that the world map has for you and how to use it to your advantage.
- Beginner Tips – Things that every player should know when starting the game.
Basic Controls and Combat
You can move around with the standard WASD keys, but the mouse freely controls your camera without the need to hold down any buttons.
You can hold Shift while moving to run, but it takes Energy to do it. You can also hold shift and push a direction to evade in that direction. Other things, like certain conversations, gathering, and even talking in Channel chat requires Energy. You recover 1 energy every 3 minutes.
When you have a quest selected, you can press T or press CTRL to bring up the cursor and click on the person icon to auto-run to the location. You can also press M to bring up the map and right-click any area to mark a path for auto-run.
Combat is done mostly with the mouse. Your main attacks are left and right mouse button. You can set skills to the hotbar, but there are many of them and it is usually easier to use the button combinations.
For example, you can press Left mouse button for one attack, and left mouse button and S for a different attack. Some attacks are bound to keys such as F and don’t need the mouse button. You can view any skills you have or will get by opening the skill tree with K.
When you hover over a skill, whether it is on your hotbar at the bottom of your screen or in the skill tree, you will see an animation of the skill. You will also see the button combination needed to perform the skill.
Skills require skill points, which you get from fighting and doing certain quests. Each character has many skills, so it is a good idea to look ahead at what you might want and not buy every skill that is available.
There are some skills you can only get by completing certain quests and getting them from a Skill Instructor. All other skills can be learned at any time and place as long as you meet the level and skill point requirements.
Quests and Leveling
Unlike most games, you don’t level your character by doing quests. You level only by defeating enemies. Quests are still very important because they give you things like Contribution points, skill experience, extra inventory slots, and more.
Contribution points are used to do many things in the game, such as buy houses and set Nodes. Even though you may want to level fast by defeating enemies, it is a good idea to frequently complete quests.
When you talk to a quest giver, you can view the rewards before accepting to see if it is a quest you want to complete.
Gear in Black Desert Online does not have a required level. You will not replace your gear as often as you do in most games, but you will still progress.
Every character has a main weapon, sub-weapon, helmet, top, gloves, belt, boots, necklace, 2 slots for earrings, and 2 slots for rings.
Once you get in the 10-20 range, you will start getting gear that has extra effects on them. This is what matter when determining what gear you will pick. You can enhance early gear and use it as your “end game” gear if it has the effects you want.
Check my guides on How to Enchant Gear for more info on gear.
Each area has a Node that you can unlock with Contribution points. This is important for the Trade system in the game.
- You can unlock a Node by going to the Node Management NPC and selecting Node Management.
- Click on Contribution invest to unlock the node.
There are two types of Nodes: Adventure and Production. You must unlock Adventure Nodes by talking to the Node Management NPC before you can unlock Production Nodes.
Production Nodes allow you to assign a worker to the area to collect resources for you. More on workers in a bit.
There are Trade items you can buy from Trade Manager NPCs. These items don’t do anything and are only used to sell to other Trade Managers.
When you buy them, you can see if the price is higher or lower than normal. When you sell, you can see how much profit or loss you will get for selling to that NPC. You get a penalty for not establishing Nodes in the area you trade in.
The idea is to buy a trade item from one person, then sell it to another who will give you more than what you paid for it. If you are walking with a trade item, you move very slowly and cannot do anything but walk and sprint.
If you have a wagon, you can place trade items in the wagon and take them to the Trade Managers. Bandits can attack while you are carrying trade items, so be careful.
Production, Gathering, and Workers
The crafting in this game is called Production and there are many things you can do with it.
- Shaking – Mix different materials to make new items.
- Grinding – Makes powder and juice items by grinding materials into powder form.
- Chop – Use firewood you get from chopping trees to produce other items.
- Dry – Dries items in the sun, such as fish, to produce or preserve items.
- Thinning – This is used to thin powder ingredients to receive any items that may be hidden.
- Heating – Heats and melts items to produce new ones.
- Cooking – Makes food by combining ingredients.
- Alchemy – Makes potions and other items by combing ingredients.
You can also craft gear, but you need to hire NPCs to do it for you after you’ve gathered the materials.
You can buy a house in a town by spending Contribution Points. If you get a house, you can buy cooking and alchemy tools for advanced cooking and alchemy.
You will get a series of quests in Veila that go through many of the gathering and production function in the game.
- Press O to open up quests and make sure you click all next to Prefer so that you’ll see the Production quests.
You can gather in the world by pressing R on what you want to gather. It costs Energy to gather anything. Herbs and other similar items can be gathered at any time.
Other gathering, such as fishing, chopping trees, and gathering meat from animals, requires a gathering tool. You can only equip one gathering tool at a time, but can hold as many as you have space for.
Tools cannot be repaired, so you’ll have to buy a new one when it breaks.
You can get workers from quests or towns. Workers can be sent to production nodes to gather materials for you while you play. The materials are automatically sent to the Storage NPC that is closest to the node.
The world map in Black Desert Online has a lot of helpful info. It will show where your current quests are located, icons for NPCs, quests, Nodes, trade, transportation, fishing, and other icons such as where bandits will strike.
You can also view the temperature, water deposits, and humidity of a region to know if it is an ideal place for planting crops.
- Do quests
- You may not level, but the rewards you get benefit you greatly in the long run.
- Make sure to do the inventory expansion quests ASAP.
- Set up nodes early on
- Establishing nodes will make trading much easier when you begin to do that.
- Make extra characters
- Make the maximum amount of characters you can, even if you don’t plan on playing them.
- Most things are shared on all characters on your account, so you can log onto an alt to get things done faster or easier for your main character.
- You can also make character just to farm groups of enemies to get items and one that you plan for PvP.
- Run everywhere
- Make sure you run everywhere and sprint, because that will raise your Stamina. Even when you get a mount early on, continue to run for a while.
- Check the Skill Tree when you first make your character
- There are skills you start with that are not explained in the tutorial, so check the skill tree for everything available to you.
- Fight at night
- You can fight at any time, but you get bonus experience for fighting enemies at night.
- The enemies are also harder, so keep that in mind.
- Talk to NPCs
- If there is an NPC you haven’t talked to, do it! You gain knowledge and unlock several quests by becoming familiar with people.
That’s it for my Black Desert Online Beginner Tips and Tricks. There is so much in the game, but this will help you get started. There will be more detailed guides on each subject and things you have yet to see in the game.
Let me know if have any questions about anything!