It has been 100 days since Black Desert Mobile was released on February 28th; BDM placed 1st on the list of most popular apps on both Google Play and the App Store and still continues to remain high on the popularity chart.
There have been many changes within the game as well -- the map, which only had the areas up to the southwestern part of Calpheon, expanded to the southern part of Mediah, and Karanda, the 2nd World Boss, has been added to the game. Also, the Musa and Sorceress have been added to the first 5 classes while teasers for a new class, Dark Knight, have been released.
On June 7th, we were able to join the interview with Yeong Chul Ham and Yong Min Cho, the business director and chief producer at Pearl Abyss. Together, they spoke about the successful results of BDM’s release and the company’s plans for future development and services.
■ Black Desert Mobile Update Plan Summary
Dark Knight Release (June 14th)
This is the class that uses the Kriegsmesser and Ornamental Knot as weapons. After the pre-registration, which will be available from June 7th to 13th, she will be added along with the new server, Altinova, on the 14th. Players who sign for pre-registration will be given Valks’ Armor, a yellow armor.
World Boss Nouver (June 14th)
Nouver will be added as a new World boss that players can obtain boss secondary weapons from. The boss spawn time is yet to be revealed.
Altar of Ancient Artifact (June 14th)
This is a new building that will be added to the territories in-game. It will enhance a whole family by consuming Artifacts.
Complete Developing Southern Mediah. (Within July)
Finish developing the rest of Southern Mediah within July. We aim to finish developing Northern Mediah in the 3rd quarter.
Unlock All Class Skills (Within July)
This is a system that will unlock 3 types of skills through quests that go along with game lore for each class once a character reaches certain levels.
Integrated Arena & Marketplace for All Servers
We are preparing an arena and marketplace that players from all servers can use. There are many parts we have to work on internally but we are trying to finish it by July~August.
Add Family Dungeon (Within July~August)
A dungeon that characters within the same family can participate in.
Add World Management Content (Within July~August)
This will be a new feature where players will expand out into the world, riding wagons with villagers, and they will be able to connect it with guild territory and life skill content. At first, we will start out with the trade, and this world management content will be the base of the ocean content we will be adding afterward.
Plans for Other Updates
Add 1 more slot for Artifacts (June 14th)
Reveal T7 horse (By the end of June)
Develop Labyrinth of Ancient Man (By the end of June)
Personal Buffs Setting System (By the end of June~early July)
Add Ramones’ Battlefield and Server Transfer Coupon (Within August)
The Pre-Awakened Dark Knight was fairly specialized for close quarters combat then became a more mid-distance character after Awakening in Black Desert Online. What kinds of combat will she be specializing in within Black Desert Mobile?
Cho: The Dark Knight won’t be much different from the one in BDO. We don’t have anything we can give exact details on yet since the Awakening content for the Dark Knight won’t be released exactly the same as the one from BDO.
You said you will be adding world management content, and it seems that it will be the core of the life skill content as it includes trade. Could you please tell us how you will be connecting it with other content in-game?
Cho: We wanted to create experiences for players where they will be placed in strategic situations and can personally manage their own families or villagers, unlike previous RPGs. For example, you can use your villagers to attack your enemy guild’s Nodes, or, you might have to decide on how you will trade from your territory all the way to Calpheon. Furthermore, we are also considering adding ships to travel.
Ham: One of the plans from Black Desert Online was to add a management simulation system to the world map. We are trying to add content with the same concept in BDM.
There are certain items players tend to buy at the marketplace, and some of these high-valued items have been traded for real money in a shady fashion through designated trade. Also, player satisfaction tends to fall even if players were lucky enough to loot good items since they find it hard to sell them due to the fixed market price. What are your thoughts on this?
Cho: It will hard to get satisfaction when the value of the item you just looted is not high enough. That is why there are times we change the highest and lowest marketplace if needed in order to maintain that item’s value.
When it comes to the marketplace, we designed it to be quite strict in the PC version. On mobile, we left designated trade as a compromise for players who wish to give their items to their friends. However, it seems to have caused a side-effect. We are considering other alternatives such as the integrated marketplace that will be added in the future, but for now, I think we are stuck with this side-effect for some time.
The influence that attack damage has is fairly larger than control in PvP content. Many players have been expressing discontent regarding the issue; is there any way this might be improved in the future?
Cho: The matchmaking pool is important in the PvP content. If we try to limit that so that the matchmaking will be made with smaller gaps between players with similar attack damage, they won’t be able to start PvP quickly enough. So we had to make the matchmaking pool larger. I think it’s like a transitional period before the integrated arena is added. We are in the middle of preparing an integrated arena so please be patient.
There must have been much concern internally since players were consuming all the game content rather quickly.
Cho: Internally, we tried to think about what BDM lacks the most. First, there were many discussions about how BDM lacked content that players could participate in as a community, despite it being an MMORPG. We think that we should turn our attention to the community and make content where players could share experiences together. Of course, we won’t be slowing down the pace for developing other content.
Ham: We have lately been looking at personal streams. Among the ones we saw, the one where they had players stand in a line and then recruited them after some assessment was interesting. Likewise, we have been thinking about parts where players could interact with each other and make their own content.
The skill unlock seems to be some part of the Awakening content; could you please give us more details?
Cho: It’s something different from the Awakening. By unlocking skills, you will be changing the purpose or element of the skills that your class was using. You could see it as enhancing the skills you previously used.
Players have been voluntarily holding PvP tournaments by themselves. Do you have any plans to support these tournaments?
Ham: PlayX4 is an event we participated in while aiming for many things. First of all, it was the first event we joined under the name of ‘Black Desert Mobile’ and we sold BDM goods. There also was this event match between Producer Cho and a streamer, which was quite fun for those who were watching. It will be hard to do so since we have been busy lately with the major updates, but we do have plans to support the tournaments after we are past the busiest period.
Can you tell us what kind of game and future vision Black Desert Mobile aims for?
Ham: We are aiming for a game that it is most like an MMORPG but maintains the best contemporary graphics and sounds with a lot of entertainment to enjoy. This doesn’t have anything to with other titles we are competing against but is solely the goal BDM aims for.
You said you will be starting the global launch for certain with the start of the launch in Taiwan in the 3rd quarter of the year. Can you tell us about the plan in detail?
Ham: As previously mentioned, we are aiming to launch in Taiwan in the 3rd quarter of the year. We have a branch office in Taiwan, and I recently went there to prepare for marketing. After Taiwan, we will be launching the game in areas like Southeastern Asia, Japan, North America, Russia, etc. and we expect that period to be the first half of next year.
What do you think is the force behind BDM’s success?
Ham: We can’t overlook the power of the IP, but I think it was because there were many entertainment things to do even though BDM stayed loyal to the basic gaming principals, and also managed to present its own charming aspects through its steady balance patches.
Cho: I think how the gameplay feels and its quality did contribute to some extent. Internally, we gained much experience by servicing a multi-platform game.
The developers would often say they aren’t truly exhausted. They want our game to be more fun to play, and they hope the newly-recruited developers think that way too.
What kind of strategic decisions were there behind the release of the Dark Knight?
Cho: It was from the development perspective rather than business. The Tamer, which many players expected as the new class, can summon a beast, but making beasts on mobile is a rather tough work. These beasts use actions similar to a character, so it creates a major burden for the server if the number of Tamers increases. We discussed whether we should release the Tamer without her beasts internally, but we then thought that what makes the Tamer a Tamer is her beast, so we’re putting more effort in the development.
Apart from this, we also wanted to prepare the classes that are popular in the PC version, so we ended up choosing the Dark Knight.
Ham: There would be players who are disappointed if mages didn’t come as one of the basic classes in a RPG. We added the Witch in the first 5 classes for these players. You could see the addition of the Dark Knight as something similar.
New World Bosses will be added; how will you solve the problem regarding their spawn times?
Cho: Nouver will soon be added, but there were many concerns internally since there has been a lot of feedback saying that it is hard to participate in the Karanda raid that spawns around lunch time. We plan to mix the spawn time for World Bosses for that. For example, Kzarka could spawn at lunchtime while Karanda spawns during the evening, and players could enjoy raiding all World Bosses on the weekend. We are almost done discussing it and think that we will be able to reveal more in new updates soon.
It’s hard to think that the content from the early period like the Labyrinth and Conquest can stay the same. How will you be improving them?
Cho: The Conquest went through improvements several times now. The feature where players can exchange only the entrance tickets for certain bosses has been added, and recently, the first Conquest reward has been added as well. However, I think there is a need to change the previous repetitive combat. For example, something like causing players to play manually by making even more powerful bosses spawn in a hell mode.
The Labyrinth is a feature the developers wanted. They wanted to keep the ‘defense’, the combat method, and cooperative parts where players had to help each other. However, it has just ended up being a repetitive combat feature now. We have been considering several methods to add more fun, such as raiding the boss manually by having bosses spawn separately. Of course, we are preparing so that the number of plays can be reduced.
The Family Dignity, which was updated today, became an issue among players. How did you come to add it?
Cho: The Family Dignity can be seen as part of the preparation for the Family-related content that will be added in the future. We think that players won’t be able to truly enjoy Family-related content like the Family Dungeon if they don’t have a high enough number of characters. We are planning to help increase player attack damage through things like having the Black Spirit’s level the same across all characters in a Family; things like this will be part of the preparation for future content.
There are bosses in Nightmare mode, but since the top guilds monopolize them, they ended up being game content only for the top guilds. Is this similar to what you actually planned originally?
Cho: You could say the Nightmare modes are where you don’t have to hold back. There are brawls taking place due to the boss spawn and free PvP, which seems to attract many top guilds. However, situations like this happen naturally in MMORPGs. We are looking forward to lower guilds coming together to fight against the top guilds, and I don’t think it’s great to give too much influence to the top guilds.
Ham: You cannot leave out the combat and the scaling aspect in MMORPGs. It may be very peaceful if you don’t join any guilds in BDM but the game will become quite boring. I think the Nightmare mode is something that will satisfy players from that perspective.
Is there anything you would like to add as a final note?
Ham: It has been 100 days since the release of Black Desert Mobile. I would like to be able to come to places like this again by steadily providing good service. We will try hard so that we can provide even more entertaining content for the players.
Cho: I would like to show my gratitude to the players who have been with us for the past 100 days. Following these 100 days, we hope BDM will become a game that will last longer than 1000 days, or even longer.