Diaries From Velia: Fishing Black Desert (PS4)

(Disclaimer: I was provided a review copy of Black Desert on PS4. This has no bearing on my coverage.)

One thing I love about Black Desert is the sheer amount of stuff to do and the complicated nature of it. Let’s take fishing for example. You go into Velia which is one of the first major towns you’ll come across and find the dude at the wharf that sells fishing poles. Simple, you think. You equip the fishing pole and head down to the shore to see a big chunk of text appear in the corner that says “Abundant” or “Average” or “Depleted.” This tells you how well stocked that area is.

This is also the point where the game explains a couple other functions to you. You can press the X button to cast your line. Alternately you can hold down X to consume energy but have a higher chance at catching better fish. Alternately you can cast your line and just go do something else, after a couple of minutes the game will start automatically fishing for you. You can’t auto-fish forever though since every fish takes up its own space in your inventory.

Then you start catching fish and you might examine and notice some stuff in the information. You can cook the fish. Where? It doesn’t explain and you can spend an hour looking around town only to find that there are no cooking nodes that you might expect from other games. You’ll need to buy a residence in town and build a cooking utensil in your room. To do that you open the map, go to the town, enter the town, find the property locations, click on them, and invest the contribution points. So you do that and at this point you’re probably looking at the recipes in the cooking utensil. It’s very handy because the utensil lists the ingredients without telling you exactly what it makes. You figure out the name of the dish once you make it.

So…fried fish. One fish, three grain flour, two frying oil. Thankfully Velia has a building near the center of town with a chef and he has a lot of basic ingredients. He also has frying oil at very cheap prices. So now we need grain flour, and what the hell is that? Well you can make grain flour by processing a number of vegetables but you may notice there are no processing vessels in town. You can find vegetables at harvesting nodes, by renting a fence and farming them, hiring workers to produce them for you, honestly this itself opens up about a dozen features of the game. Then you process the veggies into flour by which you open the processing menu and oh my god the processing menu contains shaking, grinding, chopping, drying, filtering, heating, and more stuff I don’t understand right now. But I really just want to focus on the grain so you grind the flour and now you have the ingredients you need to make fried fish.

Oh and did I mention that you can hire workers? While looking through the property you may have noticed that Velia is surrounded by nodes and specifically one of those nodes has potato farming. Coolio Jones, but to make use of it you have to 1.) activate the node by investing contributions points, 2.) invest contribution into potato farming, and 3.) hire a worker and send them there. Well what are contribution points? I have them and I’m not sure how I got them. Contribution points are obtained for an area by completing their quests, turning in specific items to NPCs, and killing monsters attacking the towns at night. Contribution points are very important because you need them to invest in the town’s resources like our potato farmer and to obtain property.

During this whole process you might have taken a second look at the fish and noticed that they can be sold to the trade managers in each town. Cool, but there’s also a 24 hour price guarantee and a note about the current value being 100%. What does that mean? Astoundingly, fish rot in Black Desert and they do so fully after one day. After roughly two and a half hours, the value of the fish starts to decrease and loses more value over time. You can dry your fish (see processing) which loses a lot of the value but prevents the fish from rotting and makes it so you won’t lose the value entirely. You can also use this to automate more of your income, hiring workers to fish and then building a fish factory to turn that fish into dried fish which can then be sold. Does anyone else smell burnt toast?

Oh right, so you fry your inventory of fish and you may have noticed something during this whole process. Yea you end up with a lot of fried fish, but…now you have these other dishes in your inventory: Dish with more ingredients, dish with weird texture, taken out food, and strongly seasoned dish. The game says that these are byproducts of cooking and they can be taken to Heidel or the northern Wheat Plantation and be exchanged for stuff. The dish with more ingredients can be exchanged for beer, but why do you need beer (outside of the obvious)?

Beer is used to refresh the stamina of your workers and the more workers you have, the more beer you need. People love beer, especially hard working blue collar folks in Black Desert. It’s one of the easiest stamina-refreshing items that new players can cook up in Black Desert, and you can make that restocking easier by holding on to your cooking byproducts to get some more.

So by fishing, Black Desert kinda forces us to learn features like processing, drying, grinding, purchasing land, cooking, fish expiration, energy consumption, trade managers, contribution points, hiring workers, work nodes, recipes, fishing abundance, auto-fishing, stamina consumption, and dealing with weird transactions. It is utterly insane, and we haven’t even cracked the surface of what Black Desert has going on. And it is awesome.

Oh and I haven’t even gone into aspects of the game like renting rafts, going out and fishing in deeper waters, connecting fishing nodes, or upgrading your fishing rod. Let’s keep it light.

I will have more coverage on Black Desert once I start to wrap my head around it better.

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