Wednesday, January 1, 2020

New Year, New Me and Some Thoughts About Black Desert Mobile

New Year, New Me

No not really. I have survived the holidays as tired and grumpy as I always am. Overall, a good time was had in between two brutal 20 hour car rides. Major props to Everdog, who handled all that traveling with minimal complaint. She's earned all her treats for the year.

I have no interest in doing a year retrospective or even New Years resolutions. I've read enough of those in the past two weeks and I suspect so have you.

My MMO play was limited over the holidays to Black Desert Mobile. I had written before the break that I found BDM surprisingly enjoyable on my desktop. Granted, that wasn't as a full-fledged distraction, but as something to click on in the background while doing other digital chores.

I found playing on the cell phone to be a similar experience. The game proved to be a nice thing to do with my hands during the downtime between lunches and diners and trips to the mall. There is always something to do; a fact that I found to be both a plus and a minus. There are just systems packed on systems and progression interwoven with progression that it all becomes very overwhelming. The game does fill your screen with alerts on what you can be doing, but after a while it feels like you are just blindly following prompts and watching various numbers go up.

There's also limited combat gameplay. Questing and battling in BDM can be automated and I found that the only viable way to play on my phone. I'm simply too clumsy or ogre-handed to reliably deal with the controls on touch device games. So my gameplay experience is mostly of a management sim. Handle my character's camp with its upgradeable buildings and workers who can be sent out to gather or other various tasks. Redeem all of my "Boss Rush" stamps and have the game clearing those. Keep you inventory from overflowing by discarding unused equipment to upgrading your familiar. Use your black stones and skill books to constantly upgrade your gear and abilities. And try to get some overworld leveling done in between all of that.

I'd argue that it plays closer to a Tycoon game than a hotbar MMO. At the end of the day, BDM serves it's purpose. It's a casual distraction. It has a niche in my life for now but I think I'll continue to rely on Everquest 2 for scratching that traditional MMO itch.

On a final, non-MMO note. My family introduced me to an arcade that had recently popped up in their area. It took over the first floor of the old Sears in the local mall. It had the carnival games to earn tickets like the basketball hoops and skee-ball. It also had dedicated fighting game systems, racing games, and lots of rhythm games. Playing an Initial D machine co-op with Mrs. Everwake was a very enjoyable time. She got to try a legit Miku Hatsune arcade game out in the wild.

More importantly, I got to relive the high school days with a Dance Dance Revolution machine that I was able to squeeze 13 or so songs on in a row. I would have done more but I literally didn't have the stamina to continue on. Now I'm shopping for a USB DDR-pad online. If anybody has any leads to reliable controllers that are compatible with Step Mania please let me know.

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