Black Desert is an upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game by Pearl Abyss. The game runs on Pearl Abyss’ ‘Black Desert’ engine that is used for customized rendering of the world and large-scale castle sieges.
The game is based on the free-to-play model, however there are no details available how the developers plans to monetize it. GamingBolt got in touch with Do-Sung Go, the project manager at Pearl Abyss to everything about the upcoming MMORPG such as the several gameplay features, the technology behind the engine, PC requirements, PS4/Xbox One versions, DirectX 12 and more.
Rashid Sayed: To begin with, can you please introduce yourself and your company?
Hello! My name is Do-Sung Go, the project manager of Black Desert. It is a great pleasure for me to have this opportunity to introduce our game to Gamingbolt’s readers. The answers for this interview has been collected from the development team.
I hope this interview can clarify some of the questions you might have. Our company, The Pearl Abyss Corp. has been developing a MMORPG “Black Desert” since its establishment in Septemver 2010. The CEO of Pearl Abyss, Dae-il Kim and his crew have accumulated abundant experiences in producing MMO games by leading big hits such as “RYL, Risk your Life”, “R2, Reign of Revolution” and “C9, Continent of the Ninth,” and we are putting our best efforts to bring better gaming experience to western MMO players through “Black Desert.”
Rashid Sayed: Now let me begin the interview but asking a tough question! When do you plan to bring Black Desert to the western market and what challenges will you face in doing so?
Do-Sung Go: Nothing specific has been decided yet regarding the release of Black Desert in the western market. The current service order is set as Korea, Japan, and Russia and considering this line up, US/EU is most likely to be launched after this, approximately after 2016. More details will be notified after we select proper publishers for each region.
Rashid Sayed: The game looks absolutely phenomenal for a MMORPG. Can you tell us about the technical details about the custom engine you are using?
Do-Sung Go: Our engine is more focused on the accessibility for developers rather than particular technical features. It shortens the time laps between modifications and applications. With an effort of restraining third party tools, every bit of engine system is specifically customized to our use, so that we can exert optimized performance and functions in the game. By using the custom engine we are able to focus on where we want to. Also we are creating certain functions that suits the seamless open field MMORPG to the best.
"Many in-game weapons can be acquired through hunting, crafting, and relationship point. Dyeing feature for the customization will be added later on."
Rashid Sayed: What kind of PC requirements are we looking at to max out this game? Furthermore, how are you making sure that the game is scalable across multiple configurations?
Do-Sung Go: It varies depending on the screen resolution. But based on 1600X900, it runs at 30 frames most of the time at the highest graphical option with the PC specs below.
CPU Intel Core i5
GPU GTX 650, Radeon HD7770
Of course, considering the nature of its genre, frame might drop in crowded areas or during castle siege. But we also aim to run our game in low spec PCs by adjusting texture and graphic options.
Rashid Sayed: Will it be possible to list out the several graphical options that players can expect in the game?
Do-Sung Go: We have several options but we think providing too many of them is not always a good thing. So far there are 3 levels of texture options and 4 to 5 top level graphical options depending on players’ PC spec. Some of the features (camera shaking during the combat, depth of field, Anti-aliasing, etc) are also available.
Rashid Sayed: Tell us about the different classes and the skill tree each one of them will have?
Do-Sung Go: Currently there are 4 classes. Warrior, Ranger, Sorcerer and Giant.
Warrior is what you call a balanced character. Using sword and shield, the warrior is suitable for both offensive and defensive play. Combining sword skills and shield skills you can enjoy dominance in the dynamic battle scene.
Ranger is long-range dealer, specialized in single target attack. Rangers have many evasive moves and knockback skills that can put itself further from the enemy in order to compromise its lack of defense.
Sorcerer uses black magic, which can debuff enemies and able to perform evasive skills such as teleportation. Although they can unleash long-range skills, they are more apt at close-range combat.
High vitality, sturdy defense and using two-handed axes, Giant can overwhelm dozens of enemies single-handedly. This class has many powerful close-ranged skills with broad swings that can swipe wide area around itself.
Rashid Sayed: What kind of armor and weapon customization can players expect in the game?
Do-Sung Go: Many in-game weapons can be acquired through hunting, crafting, and relationship point. Dyeing feature for the customization will be added later on. Also there will be cash purchasable equipment, but we want to design this to affect the gameplay as less as possible.
"In order to participate in Castle siege, each guild has to build commanding posts before the siege starts. If there is only one commanding post left within the area, then the area will be considered as captured territory."
Rashid Sayed: How are you making sure that PVP is balanced for players who don’t like PVP?
Do-Sung Go: It’s still an on-going discussion matter. We aim to find balanced rules and penalties that will satisfy as many players as possible. We plan to make it as fair as it can be, so that you won’t get defeated by single or couple of blows. It won’t be a complete ‘Ready to Fight’ style but we’re trying to make it feel like one. The point here is to make a system that players can have full awareness about their PvP involvement and have less unpleasant experience even if they lose the battle.
Rashid Sayed: A CBT recently concluded. What was the biggest feature that players felt were missing and how do you plan to fix it?
Do-Sung Go: There are few things, which need some detailed touch, such as PvP character balance, PK rules & penalties, execution of Castle siege, high entry barrier for various game contents such as crafting, housing, cooking, alchemy, etc. We are still having internal discussion over the direction of the fix. Some features have been fixed through the discussions but most of the time we develop various versions, try them out, and then decide.
Rashid Sayed: Given that the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have already launched in Korea, are there any plans to bring the game on them?
Do-Sung Go: We are still discussing about releasing Black Desert on new generation consoles but nothing is certain right now. In our opinion, the crucial aspect of platform is whether it has capability to support the frequent updates and patches for online gaming service.
Rashid Sayed: Developing and supporting an MMORPG is tough business and even well known brands can falter. How are you making sure that the game will be a success when it launches?
Do-Sung Go: We only do our best to develop the game we want to develop. Despite of rapid changes in the current games market, players who want to play high-quality MMORPG always exist and we will provide the game that can satisfy those players. Knowing that there aren’t many online MMORPG that provides same level of high quality graphics and dynamic battle system that consoles have, we believe that the Black Desert has its strength.
Rashid Sayed: Castle Siege is easily one of the game’s main features. Can you please describe it?
Do-Sung Go: Castle siege is divided into two sorts. Castle and land. The castle owners can collect predetermined portion of collected tax (0~50%) from each owners who conquered the land. Tax will be charged on various in-game activities (shops, trade, stable, transportation charges, auction markets, etc.)
In order to participate in Castle siege, each guild has to build commanding posts before the siege starts. If there is only one commanding post left within the area, then the area will be considered as captured territory. Within the on-going castle siege area, players with any level can join PK freely.
Rashid Sayed: Furthermore, besides Castle Siege, what else can players look forward to?
Do-Sung Go: There are diverse game contents that players can look forward to other than Castle Siege. You can trade or craft by using contribution points, which can be acquired from various types of quests. And also hire servants to build large-scale farmland or workshop. Also, there are some hidden contents that can be unlocked by building relationship with NPCs.We hope for players to explore around the world and find the content on their own rather than just following a single straight way.
"The most significant characteristic of the combat system is that it is a non-targeting system based on seamless-open field world so that players can manifest their unique combat tactics easily and precisely."
Rashid Sayed: Can you describe the parkour system? Furthermore how does the combat system differ from other MMOs out there?
Do-Sung Go: The parkour system gives players the ability to interact with objects such as walls, fences, cliffs, ruins etc. Almost every visible object can be climbed. We try to make this world as real as possible. Every wall, fence can be climbed and you can jump roof to roof freely. You can climb up to the top of the mountain. In this game, scenery is not just a pretty view painted on some invisible wall. You can actually explore it and see what awaits you there. Of course, going there or not going is completely on your decision.
The most significant characteristic of the combat system is that it is a non-targeting system based on seamless-open field world so that players can manifest their unique combat tactics easily and precisely. We believe that various follow-up skills and skill canceling can add some perfection to the action, so that players can execute their combat strategy smoothly. Additionally, using higher ground are also crucial to the flow of battle.
Rashid Sayed: How has the farming features evolved since the game’s original version?
Do-Sung Go: Right now, we’re planning to let the players mine and cultivate by setting up base (tent or type of excavator) for resource production.
Rashid Sayed: Will you be including microtransactions in the game? Or will it be a monthly subscription thing?
Do-Sung Go: We’re reviewing various charging models. After we select our publishers, we will discuss with them regarding this matter in detail.
Rashid Sayed: I understand that the game will have factions. But what about players who want to be neutral, will they have a place in Black Desert?
Do-Sung Go: There is no concept of factions in Black Desert. At this point, there is a possibility that US build will be different than Korean build. We fully acknowledge that each region has its own preference and play style for PK. If you reach certain level, you can PK anywhere except safe zone.
If you PK other players, the karma will decrease, turning character’s karma to evil, which makes you unprotected. Consequently, you might get attacked by guards or attacked by other players even at the safe zone in broad daylight. Getting evil propensity will cost you more experience & item losses when you get killed.
We are trying to make the world of Black Desert as big and colorful as possible. Even if you’re not assigned to any type of guild, there will be a lot of other things you can do. Of course some missions will be hard to join if you are not assigned, but we plan to make some other ways to enjoy them.
Rashid Sayed: Can you let us know what kind of anti-aliasing technique you are using?
Do-Sung Go: We use FXAA technics along with some tunings/improvements
Rashid Sayed: Will the game have a loot system in place? If yes, can you please share details about the same?
Do-Sung Go: The loot system can be decided by leader of the party. Currently there are 3 types of systems. Free(Finders Keepers),Random and Order.
Rashid Sayed: I am sure you must be aware that Microsoft announced DirectX 12. It will release in 2015. From a development perspective what kind of changes it can bring to games development? Furthermore do you see DX12 being utilized in Black Desert?
Do-Sung Go: Utilization of DX12 is also in our consideration. If the API improves, and developer’s accessibility towards graphic pipeline increases and more technical features can be applied. After all, it will add more richness to the screen
Rashid Sayed: If Black Desert is ever released on the PS4/Xbox One, which version has a better chance of being aesthetically and visually faithful to the PC version?
Do-Sung Go: If Black Desert is ever released on the next generation consoles, both of them won’t have any technical difficulties to fully present the visual quality and aesthetics that Black Desert has. We will also do our best in order to make that happen.
Rashid Sayed: How big is the world in the final version?
Do-Sung Go: The size of the world is expected to be 20km * 20km in the final version. For the comparison, the world size of 2nd CBT was 7km * 6km