A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Black Desert Online is a downloadable massively multiplayer online game where players create a character to adventure in a fantasy-based world with other players. Players progress through the world, completing quests, exploring, communicating, gathering knowledge, and fighting. The systems for managing resources and tasks are very deep and engaging, making it a game more about planning and completing tasks than outright combat and conquest. This also tends to increase the difficulty level significantly, which can challenge some players. There are references to alcohol and tobacco usage, as it is a crafted item players can make, assuming they have materials. Character models, armor, and outfits can be provocative in nature. Also keep in mind this is an online game that could pose serious privacy and safety concerns through the in-game chat system.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
In BLACK DESERT ONLINE, you are an adventurer who's been possessed with by a Black Spirit who will guide you along your journey to discover the true face of the ancient civilization that's lost in the Black Desert. You must find the source of the Black Stones, harnessing their power while trying to discover how they corrupted the minds of the ancients. As you progress through the world, you have to get to know the people of the world while also gaining their trust and knowledge. Along the way, you'll learn to manage resources and hire workers to help you develop your skills. As your knowledge grows, you'll unlock more and more of the truth surrounding the Black Spirit, the Black Stones, and the Black Death that decimated the population many years ago.
Is it any good?
This open-world sandbox MMO is absolutely stunning in its scope, its depth, and its customization. Black Desert Online's visual level of detail in the world and character models is simply breathtaking. What's more, the depth of the gameplay is staggering; learning how to play can be intimidating at first, but the level of complexity is actually what makes it so great. With varied activities such as fishing, boat building, or horse taming and breeding, there's no shortage of ways to play the game. While character customization can be a bit over the top, it does allow you to pretty much make your character look like anything or anyone you would like. This can allow for some overly exaggerated body parts, so fair warning that you could see all manner of characters.
Combat is a skilled-based system that requires position, choice of action, and response to situations for success. This keeps it fresh even when you're grinding mobs for money or experience. And yes, grinding is a key part for some aspects of the game, which can be a detractor for some, but the way it's done in Black Desert doesn't feel too tedious. The world's very large, allowing plenty of exploration, but there's no fast travel, so if you're not into walking, you'll definitely want to grab a horse, donkey, ship, or cart to make your way around. With the additions such as farming and home ownership, the world really draws you in and makes you feel like you're a part of it. Take your time to enjoy the sites, decorate your home, pick your best outfits, and immerse yourself in the expansive world that is Black Desert Online.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in games and how it affects them. Is the violence in this game much more dangerous because multiple players can partner to engage in the same act of killing monsters, or is it OK because the amount of in-game gore is significantly limited?
Talk about Internet safety in games such as Black Desert Online. How can you protect personal and account information from strangers? Do you know the difference between game chat and personal attacks?
Discuss responsible time limits on games. Why is it important to take time for real-world activities when the game provides so many avenues to keep you sitting in front of a computer all day?
- Platforms: Windows
- Price: $9.99
- Pricing structure: Paid (Black Desert Online costs $9.99. Deluxe versions with varying amounts of content ranges from $29.99 to $49.99.)
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Pearl Abyss
- Release date: March 3, 2016
- Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG)
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: NR for Not yet rated, contains Realistic Violence, Partial Nudity, Encouraged Alcohol and Tobacco Use.
- Last updated: January 14, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.