After much anticipation, the latest expansion for Black Desert Online was released earlier this month. The Eternal Winter update added both a new class and an entirely new region. While fans of the MMORPG always look forward to a new class, the bigger attraction of this release should be the Mountain of Eternal Winter, which promises an interesting story and new monster farming zones. Did it live up to the hype? let’s find out
A step in the right direction
Let’s face it, Black Desert Online has never had the best storytelling. There is a lot of in-game content and lore, but most of the quests are pretty superficial. They simply exist to introduce a new region or mechanic and get the player from point A to point B. There are a few interesting storylines and even some challenging puzzles scattered throughout the massive game, but these are few and far between.
That being said, Eternal Winter has by far one of the best narratives in the game. Right at the start, the game introduces a brand new character, the fox dealer Lando, who brings a bit of comical relief and lightheartedness to the game. While Lando may appear two-dimensional from the start, he has quite a bit of character development throughout the story.
Alongside Lando, players quickly reunite with an old enemy, Jordine Ducas, who is said to want to use the mountain’s power to erase the memories of his past misdeeds so he can spend the rest of his life as a hermit with Jarette. You need to find out if he has ulterior motives or not.
Once players reach the Mountain of Eternal Winter, they will find that things have gone wrong and many of the tribes need some form of help. Most quests involve talking to NPCs, completing some minor tasks, and solving puzzles. Surprisingly, very little content involves killing monsters, which is what Black Desert is typically known for. There are maybe 5 or 6 out of dozens of quests that involve combat, and none of them will be particularly challenging, regardless of your class, level, or abilities.
The entire story takes around 5 hours depending on how much you actually read and whether or not you complete side quests along the way. Despite the lack of combat, the quality of the dialogue, voice acting, and cutscenes are vastly improved compared to previous Black Desert content. There’s a decent amount of character development for both Lando and Jordine, and while the cutscenes aren’t anything genre-shattering, they offer a nice break from spamming “R” to continue with the dialogue.
Aside from increasing production value, the questline gets a few other things right. First, it unlocks a new starting area for the first time and ties it into the rest of the game. While there are no grinding zones for new players, the story will take characters to 56 and then take them to other regions.
Additionally, it actually introduces all the gathering skills and ties them into the story rather than making them convoluted side quests. Finally, an often-overlooked reward is the free Bronte’s Bolt Earring, which offers 12 Attack Power and 28 Accuracy. While not the strongest earring in the game, it comes very close to the TET Dawn Earring used in accuracy-based builds, which costs nearly 12 billion silver.
While the story might be a step in the right direction, the entire zone wasn’t executed that well. There are a handful of new monster zones, but there’s only one incentive to actually farm them: Embers of Frost.
One hundred Embers of Frost are required to craft the Flame of Frost. By exchanging a Flame of Frost and a PEN Boss or Blackstar Helm, players can obtain the new Helm of Labreska. Now the strongest helm in the game with the highest innate defense, this combines the health bonus of Giaths with the resistance of the Griffon Helm.
As you’d expect, high-end gear is required to farm these areas, but there’s not much value after getting Flame of Frost’s materials. On the positive side, however, these zones will no longer be overcrowded and will allow new players to farm their Labreska Helm without having to constantly fight for space.
Another side effect of the lackluster farming spots is that the new worker nodes aren’t as valuable. Eternal Mountain gives players a debuff similar to Desert that must be dispelled with Lemon Tea or prevented with Well Brewed Misima Tea. Well, when there aren’t many people struggling to farm on the mountain, there isn’t much demand for tea and material prices remain low. There are some new trade crates that keep Snowfield Cedar Timber’s price moderate, but we’ll have to see how these hold up over the long term.
Black Desert’s newest class, the Drakania is both flashy and stylish, featuring a two-handed (Slayer) and dagger (Shard) combo. Their weapons are said to be forged from the lusts and scales of slain dragons, and their aesthetic represents this well. Most of her attacks look quite dramatic and powerful, crashing or slamming across the screen with lightning bolts.
The Drakania is more of a bruiser class, being able to deal a punishing amount of damage at close range while still being able to take a beating. This is mainly due to a few of their passive gimmicks.
On the defensive side, she has a passive that increases her defense points and another that allows her to regenerate health while charging up certain abilities. Additionally, Markthanan Scale’s ability reduces damage taken by up to 50% while restoring HP, making it invincible for a short time on a 40 second cooldown.
Offensively, the Drakania has a passive increase in both AP and Critical Hit Damage, and Prime: Bloodthirst allows her to store ions used by certain abilities unleashed during her more powerful attacks; This can result in some absolutely devastating combos.
While the class looks pretty strong on paper, things look a little different in real scenarios. One of the biggest issues right now is that the Drakania is slow. Although Dragonwalk offers a side or back dash with Super Armor, it’s not very fast and doesn’t have much distance. Markthanan’s Wing is probably her best movement ability, as it can be used to charge forward a significant distance while charging up other attack abilities, but having to use it constantly can be cumbersome when other classes are consistently gaining more ground through normal sprints can return.
Additionally, almost all of her attacks either require charging or have incredibly long build-up times. This makes it easy to anticipate with a block or dodge. Finally, a pre-release nerf drastically increased her WP (mana) consumption, causing her to gulp down potions or dramatically decrease her monster clearing speed. Between the slow attack and movement speed and the enormous mana consumption, this makes them one of the worst classes currently available for PvE.
Despite her recent damage reductions, the Drakania can still do a lot of damage in PvP with the right gear. Both Brimbolt Strike and Markthanan’s Flourish, particularly the 100% Black Spirit version, can decimate groups of enemy players. This makes medium sized skirmishes like Red Battlefield and lower tier Node Wars an ideal spot for the class.
However, their slow movement and attack speed, lack of a super armor block, and lack of a grapple ability make them one of the weaker 1vs1 classes. She’s also not nearly as resilient as certain other melee classes like the Warrior and Valkyrie, making her more vulnerable to being caught in large-scale combat like castle sieges.
Overall, the Drakania is a fun class with a unique aesthetic, but it suffers in some very important areas in both PvE and PvP. However, she still lacks her awakening weapon, which could drastically change the way the class plays and its power in general. Hopefully Pearl Abyss will continue to keep an eye on it and provide buffs and/or nerfs where appropriate to keep it relevant as it’s a cool class to see in action.
https://www.mmorpg.com/editorials/black-desert-eternal-winter-goes-big-falls-short-of-expectations-2000124877 Black Desert’s eternal winter is growing tall; Live up to expectations