With my last Elsword character at the level cap and the complete inability of most MMORPGs to create a passable endgame, it's likely that I'll be looking for a new game soon. I've got several games on my list to try, but am currently leaning toward Black Desert because:
a) It's the only one on my list that has the potential to be really great, as opposed to merely pretty good, and
b) It has got a lot of non-combat activities, making it considerably different from the almost pure combat Elsword that I'd be coming from.
But the game only launched earlier this year, and a lot of games are a disastrous mess at launch but largely get fixed later. I generally like to wait until such games are fixed before picking them up. So my basic question is:
1) Is Black Desert ready to go now, or is it likely to be a far superior game several months from now to what it is today?
This isn't asking if you like the game on an absolute scale; I'd have to decide that for myself. It's asking if they're still in the process of delivering major fixes with some yet to come obviously on the horizon, or whether the game is unlikely to be much better several months from now than it is today.
Some other questions:
2) Has hacking been fixed entirely, or at least to the point that it's no worse than most other MMORPGs?
I saw news that there was a patch that broke hacks a while back, after the game had previously had severe problems with hackers. But there's a difference between changing random things that temporarily break hacks until they come back a week or two later, versus adding server-side verification to make entire classes of hacks permanently impossible. So are the hackers back, or does it seem fixed?
3) How "pay to win" is the game?
I have no problem with paying a moderate amount for a game that I like. I have no problem with players who pay $10 or $20 per month having huge advantages over people who pay absolutely nothing. But if someone who pays $50/month has no hope of competing with someone who pays $100/month, that's a problem. So where does Black Desert land on this scale?
4) Is it easy to transfer money, goods, etc. between alts?
I tend to play a lot of alts in most MMORPGs, unless game mechanics let one character readily do everything. There are a variety of ways to do the latter, from no classes at all as in Spiral Knights to FFXIV's armory system, but it sure looks like Black Desert doesn't. So can I freely transfer things back and forth among alts (e.g., mail or shared bank), or is it a pain or even categorically impossible?
5) Just how non-consensual is the PVP?
I've seen that beyond level 45, it's open PVP. Does that mean that past level 45, you can expect to constantly be ganked? Or is it pretty restrictive so that you'll virtually never get attacked if you don't want to be? For example, in Uncharted Waters Online, about half the world is open PVP, but there are such severe penalties to attacking people that I lost in PVP exactly three times in about two years, and all three were because I was careless.
6) How grindy does the game feel?
I gather that Black Desert has pretty slow leveling. But there's a huge difference between having a huge amount of varied content to go through to level up versus having to kill 1000 of the same thing to level up. So does Black Desert feel grindy, or is there plenty to do on the way? Or does it start feeling grindy at some particular level?