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Is Black Desert Online Pay-to-Win? What You Need to Know

Is Black Desert Online Pay-to-Win? What You Need to Know

Black Desert Online is perhaps one of the best MMORPGs that you can play right now. It has an incredibly fast and fluid combat system with tons of areas to explore. But it’s got a weird reputation for needing to spend money to get stronger in the game. So let us answer whether Black Desert Online is Pay-to-Win or not.

Black Desert Online is a Pay-for-Convenience game. There are several items such as cosmetics, gears, artisan memory, and others that can be bought from the store, but in terms of raw strength within the game, everyone has to grind and make an effort to win the highest achievements in the game.

MMORPGs are unlike traditional game genres, and Black Desert Online has a monetization system that not many people within this space are used to. Nonetheless, we believe it is important to know all the facts about the game before deeming it a Pay-to-Win game and vilifying it. So read on to find out more!

Is Black Desert Online Pay-to-Win?

In-game Screenshot of Black Desert Online
In-game Screenshot of Black Desert Online

In the modern gaming world, most Pay-to-win games are extremely frowned upon. This is because many people believe that being able to buy an advantage in games dilutes the skill and achievement people feel from playing these games.

For most people, pay-to-win means that you simply buy your way to having an undue advantage that a player should otherwise not have. In these sorts of games, players believe that someone with wealth and privilege in real life can grab an advantage without truly having to earn it and this creates several players to stay away from the game altogether.

However, Black Desert cannot be completely placed into this category. As there are several systems of the game cash shop, the premier marketplace where players can buy in-game items and cosmetics through real money only allows for convenience and is not a true advantage to other players that do not pay for those items.

So let us explore in detail the various systems that exist in Black Desert Online that make it a Pay-for-Convenience game and not a Pay-to-Win game.

Items on Offer in BDO Are Not Major Advantages

One of the most important points for anyone looking up the pay-to-win aspect of Black Desert Online is whether the in-game cash shop contains items that significantly increase the power of the character without requiring any amount of skill from the player.

Although there do exist certain items within the game that can raise the power of the player and improve the speed of progression, their items are not out of the reach of free players. Most, if not all, of the items bought in the in-game cash shop, are obtained through Black Pearls, these can be acquired by simply doing missions in the game as well.

This means that even if you do not spend money on the game, simply being dedicated and playing the game for an amount of time can get you the currency required to buy items that other players might be able to get by paying real money. Thus the aspect of money providing an unfair advantage is largely dispelled.

Finally, many veteran players will also highlight that the items on offer in the BDO cash shop are not necessary to progress through the game. They believe that these items are largely inconsequential when it comes to the overall progress that players are required to achieve and thus you should focus more on your skills to get better.

Better Items Can Be Obtained Through Questing

In-game Screenshot of Black Desert Online (Mobile Version)

Another major reason why many people believe that BDO is Pay-for-Convenience rather than Pay-to-Win is that the items you can obtain through Questing in the game are far superior to those obtained in the in-game cash shop.

Daily rewards, gaining loyalty points, and even trading with other players can be a significant boost to your player strength, and these can all be accomplished with next-to-zero interaction with the Black Desert Online cash shop. Further highlighting how unnecessary those items are for any, except for someone trying to speed up some aspects of acquisition and progress.

Finally, skipping missions is the bane of many players. A major contention for inexperienced players is that pets are not provided and need to be bought. However, BDO provides several pets throughout the game through missions, that most people skip and thus formulate an inappropriate conception of the monetization of the game.

You Cannot Advance Without Player Skill

Requiring player skill to do the endgame content in any MMORPG is the major factor for players believing that the game is not Pay-to-Win. And if this is your metric as well then you’d be happy to learn that Black Desert Online’s endgame, though not traditional, is completely dependent on your skill.

Without knowing the skills, without a thorough understanding of the item types and the in-game economy, a player cannot take advantage of the gear or weapons that they bought from the in-game cash shop. Even if that player had that boost, they would not be able to come near the outcome of a skilled player.

Moreover, better items and weapons can also be obtained through the player-driven market. Which requires an in-game understanding of the value of objects, and how to manipulate the market to one’s advantage. This once more does not have much to do with the in-game cash shop to build an advantage.

Related: Breath of the Wild Bosses Ranked by Difficulty

Only Cosmetics Are Obtainable Through The Cash Shop

Screenshot of the Black Desert Online Cash shop

Another misconception seen in spaces that discuss BDO is that it is only the in-game cash shop that sells cosmetics that people would like to wear, and that the in-game rewards are not sufficient. To a certain extent, this might be true, however, defeating world bosses within the world map and many Seasonal events within the game provide significant cosmetics.

Many free players despite being free players can develop a large storehouse of cosmetics that look gorgeous and frankly very cool. So we do not believe that it is only through one medium that you can look desirable in BDO.

Armor Advantage is Only Significant in PvP

I concede that in BDO, you can get some incredible armor from the In-game cash shop and that often in PvP the player that does buy their game might have a slight advantage. However, this advantage will only really be felt by players that are competing in PvP.

Player versus Player is not mandatory within the game and can be largely ignored. Many people do not engage with it throughout their entire play. And are more focused on Player versus Environment, or PvE elements of the game, which seem far more fun and engaging.

Ultimately, from what we’ve discussed it is apparent that a small advantage can be obtained through the game’s in-game cash shop. However, this advantage is largely circumvented by skilled players, questing, open-world rewards, and better game knowledge.

A small advantage simply does not stand a chance against the overwhelming amount of game knowledge and time investment you can put into BDO and reap massive rewards.

This is why we think BDO is not Pay-to-Win, but rather it is a game that has Pay-for-Convenience elements, yet ultimately is a fun and engaging game for everyone despite the amount of money they invest.