Review: Is Black Desert free to play?
Iceiyumi 2018-11-13 12:12
581 3 4 0
# 1
Edit Date : 2018-11-18

Review: Is Black Desert free to play?

The short answer is NO. (You have pathetic low silver/profit per hour.)

But strictly speaking, the answer is YES. (Cashing is optional.)


The important items in the cash shop that determines whether Black Desert is free to play.

• Pet +15% auto loot* ( *Personal unreliable estimation )

• Value Pack +30% marketplace profit. - $10 (USD) per month

• You can have up to 4 pets, which is +60% auto loot. - $10 per pet. (You have 1 starting pet.)


You can increase to higher tier pets, by exchanging two pets with lower tier to one pet of higher tier. (RNG)

Tier 2 and tier 3 pet is rumored to be insignificant improvement, but we will assume they improve by a basic margin

and that Tier 4 pet gives a +25% auto loot.


So everything listed above and even more items in cash shop are optional purchases, so why do i say Black Desert

is not free to play?

If you google Jealous monkey experiment, you can see that when animals are treated differently by the same owner, they get angry,

they get stressful, you will become like the helpless monkey in the video in Black Desert if you choose not to buy the cash items.

But some might say, "If the cash shop boosts are not that big, then it is not a problem.", but the thing is the cash shop boosts are 

inherently BIG.


Difference between average casher and free to play player in Black Desert.

Free to play player.

- Gets free acount by Black Desert temporary event by reaching level 56.

- 1 Starting pet +15% auto loot.

Total silver per hour: 15%


Average Casher

- 1 Starting pet +15% auto loot

- buys 3 pets +45% auto loot, $45

- Value pack +30% marketplace profit, $10 per month.

Total silver per hour: 60% x 130% = 78%


Silver per hour ratio,

Free to play player: Average Casher

15:78 or 5:26 or 1:~5


So if you cash, your 1 hour grind gives you +400% profit than your free to play couterparts.

Lets say we just cash after all, an average casher spends

3 x $10 + $10 = $30 + $10 = $40

$40 for the first month and $10 for every month after that.


That said, there is a key thing that differentiates Black Desert to other Cash to play MMORPG.

In Black Desert, cashing only affects your auto loot or profit, in other MMORPG, if you do not cash,

you cannot 'enhance' your weapons resulting in you being unable to kill monsters or players which is 

definitely more frustrating than less profit per hour.


Basically most free to play MMORPG is a delicious wine until you drink it and realize it is a poison.


ULTRA-MAX Casher (For fun purposes, I will show the maximum casher benefits.)

- buys 4 tier 4 pets +100% auto loot, $320 ($10 x2 x2 x2 =$80 x 4 pets)

- Value pack + 30% marketplace profit, $10 per month.

- K Blessing + 20% loot drop, $20 per month

Total profit: 120% x 130% = 156%


Silver per hour ratio

Free to play player: Average Casher: ULTRA-MAX Casher

15:78:156 or 5:26:52 or 1:~5:~10


So if you ULTRA-MAX cash, your 1 hour grind gives you +900% profit than your free to play couterparts

or +100% profit than the average casher. (+100% = Double profit)

Lets say we just ULTRA-MAX cash after all, an average ULTRA-MAX casher spends

4 x $80 + $10 + $20 = $320 + $10 + $20 = $350

$350 for the first month and $30 for every month after that.


P.S. Note that ULTRA-MAX is actually not the maximum cap of spendings you can do,

there are maid storages, weight increases and possibly other stuffs that increases your profit per hour indirectly but generally

they are for sultan only. And how they affects your profit per hour varies according to your gear status, your grinding spot

and your nearby town or storage. So i will not be posting SULTAN-MAX casher.


Edited: Price per month. (Thanks SoraneeToh.)

Character Name Iceiyumi
Main Character Ranger
Lv 59
# 2
Edit Date : 2018-11-13

Well, it's buy to play anyway so it's not supposed to be free to play but I think you're trying to say it's pay to win maybe?


Anyway, there's a lot you're missing, in my opinion. For starters, there's a LOT of free shit given out for events. I have never bought  VP (I've been playing for half a year) and I've almost always had a value pack active. I've maybe not had one for a week in total. I also have a tier 3 pet I got for free from login rewards. And quite a bit of weight. And a maid. And 89 inventory slots.


Next, the value of a lot of the things you mention are quite overstated. T4 pets are obviously great but after a point, the gain per dollar is so low people don't bother upgrading pets. For me, personally, after you have a full set of pets at least two of which are T2+, you're good. Will more pets make it better? Is it necessary or even recommended - no.


Then, your annual values are misleading (unintentionally of course) by being annual. Convert it to monthly and it starts to make more sense. An average casher according to you would put in $12 a month and an ULTRA-MAX casher would throw 70. Again, a good percentage of this comes from value packs, which like I said, I've never bought.


Moving on, oddly enough, you're missign actual important purchases an average player would actually need to make to be sustainable in the game. Weight and maids are what come to mind first and are much, MUCH more important things to drop money on than even value packs (in the case of weight especially).


Now, to contradict myself, BDO advertises itself as a B2P game for the purchase price. It's disingenous for it to require we buy ANYTHING for a comfortable experience and that's pretty sad. You didn't mention it but another big point to be made for this case is Artisan's Memory, which make it much much easier for paying players to move forward than those who would rather hold on to their money. Also, though I mention events giving out a lot of shit, the general principle should be one that doesn't require it at all. I will give you credit for pointing out that shelling money is necessary and that it shouldn't be. 


That said, it's fairly well known that to play comfortably (not monkey?) you have to shell out about $15-$20 a month without considering events. This isn't crazy high. BDO's quality is so high in comparison to other subscription model MMOs and even just MMOs in general that if they made it a subscription system and got rid of all this Pay4Convenience stuff, I'd still buy and play it. 



Character Name SoraneeToh
Main Character Tamer
Lv 60
# 3
Edit Date : 2018-11-21

You probably played from the start of Black Desert online sea.

I actually played 23 days ago, but to other readers, do not entirely disregard my review as rant

although it kinda is.


My AP: 184 Awakening AP: 159 DP: 213


I am showing my stats to show that i am not a brand new player, i am at least an average player.


Free to play

I got Black Desert Online for free through the event by reaching level 56 in seven days, hence

the topic of Free to play. I speculate more free to play events to happen like maybe once every year.

I just realized from you that my whole topic makes more sense when it is titled as Review: Is Black Desert pay to win?

But i am not changing it because I want to look from the perspective of free to play players.


Value Pack

It sounds pretty cool that you have no needs to buy Value pack because they give them out from login events,

and it boosts my confidence in this game.



I have four pets now, 1 tier 2 pet, 3 tier 1 pets, all level 10, but they still did not loot finish all drops although they were a big improvement over 3 tier 1 pets, I am expecting to buy tier 4 pet not anytime soon, just so I could retrieve all my drops.


Weight and Maids

I got Weight from Loyalty points +50 LT and waiting for the +100LT Loyalty weight.

I have Hercules half set +150 LT.

Other players uses mounts to store weight, I just do not like horses yet...maybe in the future.

I got a maid from quest, I still have not gotten used to it, maybe it works better when you have many maids.

The important purchases i listed was actually based from many google searches, just to explain why i listed them as such.


Artisan's Memory

I definitely do not have any boss set so I do not appreciate the usefulness of Artisan's Memory yet.


Should i continue play?

Your corrections have clarified my thoughts, I was obviously making a lot of mistakes especially the math part (Price per month).

This review was actually done to justify whether i should continue to play the game, I have spent $60 on this game (All pets.) and i am getting cold feet.

Time is spent to write the review to analyse the cash shop aspects of the game, since I know that I would feel very uncomfortable playing if there is some hidden paywall that hampers my progress in game.

Character Name Iceiyumi
Main Character Ranger
Lv 59
# 4
Edit Date : 2018-11-14

Ah, your reply clarifies a lot of things. I'll tackle them one at a time and hopefully it'll be some useful advice for you too!




Right off the bat, I don't mean to pull you down or anything but 23 days is very, very little time. A good saying that I've heard before and rings very true is, "BDO isn't a race, it's a marathon". This is very true.


Your AP/DP may make it easy to make the mistake of feeling like you're pretty well along but increasing those stats to what you have now doesn't take too long and it's only after you start getting boss gear that you hit the brakes on progression in terms of pure AP/DP. All in all, I guess the point I'm making is that 23 days is nowhere near what you need to become an average player at BDO.


It's a long, long game with SO much content in it that that's just not enough time for it.




The F2P point is fair, although since it IS an event, I still don't think it's right to call BDO a F2P game. 




Regarding pets, four tier 4 pets won't be able to pick up all the loot when you're at a properly efficient grind spot. When I was level 58, I was grinding at Desert Nagas with 170AP. I had a tier 4, two tier 3s and a tier 2 - they were able to pick up maybe 60% of the loot I would see dropped.


To add to this, people on NA have five pet slots (instead of four like us) and even then they report not all loot can be picked up if your grind is fast.


The key is to realise that you should always look to kill as fast as possible, not to loot as much as possible. Slow your grind and while more loot will be picked up per pack of monsters, your overall loot per hour will go down.




The Hercules set is great for sure and definitely helps wth weight but they're ultimately green gear and will eventually be replaced by boss gear and so are more or less very temporary solutions. Look into horses, it's much more reliable and will last you the whole game.




I, too, spent around $50-60 when I started playing but I can safely say I haven't really spent any money for things I need lately. I did spend money recently but that was on something very unnecessary that I've wanted to get for a while.


After the initial investment into pets, weight and maids, there's not much you have to spend on. You can, it might help but the gains for the money you spend will be relatively low and it's generally adviced against if you're trying to save as much as you can.


Now, if the cost is worth it depends on how long you play. Having played as long as I have, it's definitely been worth it. I've spent maybe (with all my costume purchases and overspending on pets and all sorts of nonsense) $25 a month, which is perfectly okay for me. If you spend all that I have and quit within a month, then obviously it isn't worth it. 




As for a paywall, there really isn't one beyond what you already seem to know somewhat and what I've mentioned. Technically speaking, there's no paywall at all. You can live without spending a single cent but it'll suck quite a bit.


That said, there are games out there that are so pay to win that there are definite paywalls and this isn't one of those. There are games where you literally cannot progress past a point without buying something (DLC or subscription or something) and this isn't one of those either.


Everything here is genuinely pay for convenience. It may be a lot of convenience but it's definitely not a paywall. And again, after those initial investments, there's not much to buy and there's honestly no paywall, even percieved.



Character Name SoraneeToh
Main Character Tamer
Lv 60
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