A couple of days ago I picked up Black Desert Online: Remastered on a Steam sale. Since World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth tanked in my affections so badly, I’ve been itching for some MMO gameplay, and BDO seems like it should fit the bill.

First of all – it’s a Korean-style endless grindfest, backed up with a notoriously aggressive cash shop and ever-present accusations of being pay-to-win. Based on my initial research, I’m not convinced it’s entirely P2W just yet, but I’ll admit I am jonesing for some more inventory and storage space already.

What really appeals to me is the game-play structure it provides. It’s very sandboxy – after a quick tutorial area, I seem to be free now to do as I please, with a single main storyline to pick up when I want. It’s also very grindy, with fast-paced, fluid combat against groups of monsters, and without the themepark hand-holding of storyline quests, you’re really just left to get on with it. Slaughtering droves out monsters seems to be the main source of money and XP.

Balancing that, there’s a fantastically complicated web of life skills, “contribution points” and a node investment system that lets you build up an empire of workers, resources and trade routes to earn resources and cash passively. It all reminds me of doing industry, planetary interaction and logisitics in EVE Online, which I love; I’ll happily trade Spreadsheets in Space for Spreadsheets in Fantasy Land. Plus, of course, fishing.