Black Desert Online is a complicated game and because of that, there’s many things that aren’t immediately apparent when you first log in. With a lot of systems and few tutorials, it’s difficult to know the subtler things when you first start. Here is a list of things I wish I had known when I began playing that you should find useful.

Alt Characters Are A Good Thing

I really didn’t want to have an alternative character in Black Desert Online because maintaining them in other MMO's is often a headache. Fortunately for anyone who enjoys having alt characters, the game is very generous and tries to encourage them. In Black Desert Online alternative characters share the same maximum cap for Energy and Contribution Points (two valuable resources) and they also share the same maximum values for Contribution Points. In addition to this, there is a quick-switch interface that allows you to swap from one character to an another, by bypassing the logout/login sequence. Finally, all characters on your account share the same map and quest history as well as mini-pets, mounts (horses and carts), nodes, houses, and all warehouses. It's well worth taking the time to make an alt.

It’s OK To AFK

Many activities such as leveling your stamina or fishing can be completed while AFK because the game not only supports it, but adds systems such as auto pathing for you to do it (this was disabled in CBT2 but should be arriving with launch or soon after). Improving your horse riding or setting your workers to do tasks while you quickly run to the shops or go out with friends is very possible, and should be done as much as possible.

Inventory Quests Are A Must

The default inventory size in Black Desert Online is pretty poor and while you can purchase space from the in game store, there are lots of quests that you can complete in order to maximise your inventory size without spending a penny. You should seek them out and complete them as quickly as possible. 

Questing Doesn’t Give Experience Points - Monsters Do

Perhaps strange for many players who have played other MMOs, but Black Desert Online doesn’t reward “level” experience for completing quests. Leveling up only comes from killing enemies. Fortunately for you, the experience gain is quick and grinding is fast and far from boring (the combat system and mini-pet looting certainly helps).

You Need To Kill Monsters To Learn About Them

Knowledge is an important part of Black Desert Online and is based from you having killed enemies. Unlike other MMOs, the first time you attack an enemy here you won’t see its health deplete and your loot won’t be great. The more you kill, the more you’ll learn and gain benefits as a result. Knowledge against enemies and creatures is marked from C, B, A and S. S is the highest and if you have such Knowledge against a monster, you’ll be in a position to obtain the best loot from them.

Energy Governs A Lot Of Things

Your Energy bar in Black Desert Online, to the upper left of the UI (indicated by a flexing arm) determines all sorts of things and increases as you talk to NPC’s and go about your business. Undertaking tasks however utilises this Energy and it can only be replenished over a period of time. Talking with NPC’s that have an exclamation above their heads will also increase your maximum Energy. It’s in your best interests to improve your Energy as this is used heavily throughout the game for a variety of things. Talking to every NPC in each location doesn’t take long, but is well worth doing and doing any of the following activities consumes the resource:

Black Desert Online Energy

Contracting Workers



Learning from an NPC

Story Exchange


Proof of Defense

Node Management

World Chat

Try to acquire as much maximum Energy as possible so that you can undertake these tasks (I think I've covered them all!)

Gear Is Not Locked To A Character 

Perhaps what makes Black Desert Online unique is the fact that its armor system is shareable, with you able to swap any gear between any of your characters. With no level requirements on your gear, you can change as you wish without the need to get a whole new armor set. All you have to do is take it off, place it in storage and swap to your alt. The only catch is you will likely need a new weapon - unless your alt can use the same weapon type - but they’re fairly easy to find (thanks sid_ over on Reddit).

Items Don’t Have A Level Requirement

As noted above, the lack of level requirements on items means that even at level 1 you can quite easily obtain an awesome weapon, equip it and then cut through enemies due to its power. This is intentional by Pearl Abyss and makes leveling easy but also reduces the grind. Find a good weapon as soon as you can.

Being In A Guild Gives You Money

Being part of a guild in Black Desert Online means you have to sign a contract. When you sign a contract, you’ll actually be paid by your guild for being a member. In my case, my guild pays me 7,000 silver a day so it’s a nice gentle earner for doing very little. Try to find a guild as quickly as possible. 

Don’t Just Spend Your Skill Points

Skill Points are harder to obtain the more you level up. You really shouldn’t spend them on any random skill because their gain pretty much grinds to a halt at the highest levels. Planning out how you spend your Skill Points is important and I’d recommend you use a calculator to do it.

Run Everywhere To Level Your Stamina

Running around the world map increases your stamina whilst riding a horse bypasses this. Although you don’t have to increase your stamina, it certainly helps. As tempting as it is to tame a horse straight away and never use your feet again, try to resist. It’ll help you in the long run.

Grinding Is The Quickest Way To Level

As I hinted at earlier, grinding is incredibly quick in Black Desert Online and very satisfying. It’s very easy to group enemies together and burn them down. So much so that you can reach level 50 in a day if you wish. There are lots of grinding hot spots and as far as I’m aware, there’s no diminishing returns for using them. It doesn’t mean you have to grind to reach level 50, but it’s fairly painless and provides a good dose of loot along the way.

Community Tips

1. Each mount has inventory. A cart is the best at transporting loot when you don't wanna have to run to the city to sell your goods (Veerlo)

2. Leave your mount on the roads otherwise they'll be attacked and you may have to walk back in the city. Roads aren't always safe, but for the most part they are. Better still, you'll be informed if your horse comes under attack. You should have time to run back to it. (Veerlo and Zamanza)

3. Always invest Contribution Points into nodes when you can afford it. If you need more Contribution Points you can always get them back from a node. (Veerlo)

4. Purchasing skills from a skill trainer, rather than when you're out in the game world will save your Energy. It's worth a trip back to town. (Lilyeb)

Think we've missed something important? Let us know in the comments below and we'll add it to the list!

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Last Updated: May 24, 2016

About The Author

Lewis is a long standing journalist, who freelances to a variety of outlets.