Mountain of Eternal Winter is the latest expansion to Black Desert SEA, which will be going live 6 April 2022. As unwelcoming as the “Mountain of Eternal Winter” sounds, it is the first new player starting zone available in the long running, open world MMORPG since launch. Thusly, I find myself at the foot of the mountain, and having absolutely no idea of what to expect.
“O warrior who shall rise above the six witch trials to stand atop the frosty peaks, come to the Haven of Slumbering Origin at the Mountain of Eternal Winter…”
Let’s get this out of the way: I have basically zero knowledge of Black Desert. However, a new player CAN choose to start in the expansion zone, so consider me an experiment in how clear the tool tips and story reflections are in easing a newbie to the larger world. Spoiler: I feel it’s more of a miss. Armed with a fresh character in the MMORPG’s newest class, Drakania, everything really is New New. I’ll elaborate a little more on my experience with the class further below.
First off, coming off from Guild Wars 2, I feel like Black Desert‘s controls feel far more “floaty”, which I think is both a matter of preference and needing time to adjust to. The feeling only intensifies when I see my horse glide across the ground when I try to strafe… what I do like is appreciate the auto-mantling as I jump around raised areas, for le parkour.
The world does look gorgeous, just slightly marred by the camera that can get real jank in enclosed areas. From the settlement at the foot of the mountain, the ground gradually gets more blanketed in snow, and there’s further yet to climb in your quest. At certain points between the quests, you get some cinematic cutscenes too. I admit I find it a little jarring since, at this point, the lip syncing isn’t all there, but the voice acting is alright. I mostly played it in English, for the record.
Still, it’s a staggering task to try and condense years of story to give enough context to the newbies, which ties into my next point.
Try as they might in making things easier on newer players, the sheer amount of Things there are to simply run into is just simply overwhelming. I can walk up to NPCs and talk to them, and it adds to my Knowledge. I can hit a button to gesture at them, which seems to both raise and lower parameters. There’s the multitude of subsections in the menu, and the default hotkeys are not ones I’m used to, so I’m not sure where to really begin except using the convenient auto-run to the quest marker to shuttle myself along.
As such, I’m not fully understanding the narrative, so I won’t be making too many comments on it. Do experience the snow-capped mountains on my behalf.
DAVIANNA, DRAGON KNIGHT
If the name hadn’t given you the hint, the Drakania class has this draconic theme: her fairly imposing stature complemented with vivid red details, horned helm, big sword, and her skills having striking blue and orange lightning effects. That sounds well and good, so how did I feel playing her?
My impressions of her is that she’s a decently tanky class thanks to passives raising her HP and guard skills. Her moveset and attacks feel quite slow and heavy, featuring large sweeping arcs, forward thrusts, or exploding the ground at her feet. As you continue through the skill tree, her damage potential can definitely go to ridiculous levels, whether for annihilating single targets or quite literally, sweeping out the trash. It’s somewhat odd to me how I’d complain about general movement feeling slippery while the attacks look and feel appropriately weighty. The power of visual effects, one supposes.
You’d basically like to chain the skills into various sweeping combos. Once again, I do believe it’s due to my lack of experience with the action combat of Black Desert as while I assume Drakania’s arcs are meant to be slow, they feel too slow for me. They do look stylish, with appropriately draconic effects.
It’s unfortunate that a lot of this experience is lost on me that immersion becomes difficult. It won’t stop me from enjoying the sights of the Mountain of Eternal Winter, and laughing at the pop culture references sprinkled in the dialogue.
I’ll simply leave it to more seasoned Adventurers to give much better evaluations than I.