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Black Desert Online (Korean: 검은사막) is a sandbox-oriented fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by Korean company Pearl Abyss and originally published for Microsoft Windows in 2015. It has been known as Black Desert Remastered since 2018. A mobile version titled Black Desert Mobile was released for the Android and iOS in 2018. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions, known simply as Black Desert, were released in 2019. The game is free-to-play in some parts of the world, but follows a buy-to-play business model in other editions, including the English-language ones.

Black Desert Online
Black Desert Online Logo (En).png
Developer(s)Pearl Abyss
Director(s)Kim Daeil
Artist(s)Seo Yongsu
Composer(s)Hui Man Ryu
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, iOS
ReleaseMicrosoft Windows
  • KOR: 14 July 2015
  • RU: 12 October 2015
  • NA: 3 March 2016
  • EU: 3 March 2016
  • TWN: January 2017
  • SA: 12 July 2017
  • MENA: 6 December 2017
  • SEA: 17 January 2018
Xbox One
  • WW: 4 March 2019
  • WW: August 22, 2019
  • WW: May24, 2017



The combat in Black Desert Online is action based, requiring manual aiming and free movement similar to those found in third-person shooters. The game offers housing, fishing, farming, and trading,[1] as well as large player versus player (PvP) siege events, and castle battles.[2] One of its noted aspects is a very advanced customization system for player characters.[3]

An active combat system requires precise manual aiming, dodging and using combos, unlike the tab-targeting system seen in most MMORPGs. Players are also able to engage in mounted combat.[4][5] Skills can be activated through use of combos for attacking, dodging or blocking. Mounts are acquired by taming in the wild and players are able to breed special mounts by mating certain types,[6] require feeding and care, cannot be stored in the inventory, and may be killed.[7]

The game includes a number of features to assist with immersion and the sandbox aspect. One is the dynamic, worldwide weather system includes large-scale events such as typhoons and will influence gameplay.[8] Localized weather will include events such as temporary fog which players may exploit to launch surprise attacks on rival guild structures.[9] There is also a dynamic day/night cycle with a gradual progression of lighting effects. During the night some non-player characters (NPCs) will become unavailable as they return home and the monsters will drop more loot. Different game content is available depending upon whether it is night or day.[10][11] Player housing is instanced and varies in size and location. Players are able to furnish and equip their housing by purchasing furniture through NPCs or through crafting.[12][13]


Black Desert Online takes place in a high fantasy setting and revolves around the conflict between two rival nations, the Republic of Calpheon and the Kingdom of Valencia.[14] Calpheon is very materialistic whereas Valencia is very spiritual.

Long ago, the four main areas, Calpheon, Serendia, Balenos, and Mediah, have been at peace. This all changed when the Black Death started spreading via merchants from Valencia, an area east of Mediah that controls trade. Many around the world die of the plague. Some who did not were expelled due to paranoia. Eventually, the three main areas made an alliance and began a war that lasted 30 years and Mediah profited the most by harvesting black stones and trading with everyone. After the war, the alliance slowly started to trade with Valencia again. Tensions rose again when the others discovered the importance of black stones. Desperate to gain wealth, the others started to search for black stones. Calpheon has no area that harbors the precious black stones and because of this they started to steal from others. This raises conflicts with Valencia due to Valencia's vast Black Desert that holds the black stones.[15]

Development and release historyEdit

Early PC development and releaseEdit

Original Korean logo

Black Desert Online has been in development since 2010. The Korean studio Pearl Abyss was founded in September 2010 by Kim Daeil,[16] previously a developer with Hangame and NHN Gaming, and began development of Black Desert Online shortly after.[17][18][19] The game uses Pearl Abyss' custom Black Desert game engine specifically created to handle the fast rendering required for its seamless world and large-scale castle sieges with a lot of characters.[17][14]

After agreeing a Japanese publishing deal with GameOn Japan on 8 September 2012 Pearl Abyss began releasing details of the game to the public.[17][20] In November 2012 the game was demonstrated at G-Star.[21] Black Desert Online was also showcased at gamescom 2013.[8][22]

Original international logo

Black Desert Online entered closed beta testing (CBT) in October 2013.[23][24] A second, three week long closed beta test begun in April 2014.[25][26] Open beta was launched in December 2014.[27]

The game was released in Korea, Japan and Russia in 2015, in North America and Europe on 3 March 2016,[28] in South America, Turkey, Middle-East North Africa (MENA) in 2017 and South East Asia in 2018. Black Desert Online uses a free-to-play model in Korea, Japan and Russia,[29][30][31] while in Taiwan, South East Asia, Europe, North America and South America the game uses a buy-to-play model.[32]

Post-launch PC developmentEdit

Promotion at gamescom 2016

The Mediah Expansion was released in the North American / European version on 30 March 2016.[33] Mediah Part 2 was released on 4 May 2016.[34] The new classes called the Musa, the Maehwa, the Kunoichi and the Ninja were released for play in 2016,[35] followed by the Dark Knight[36] and the Striker[37] in 2017, the Lahn in 2018,[38] and the Shai in 2019.[39] The Valencia I Expansion was released in the North American / European version on 29 June 2016.[40] All expansions and class additions have been free of charge in the buy-to-play model, with no plans of charging for additional future content stated. An updated PC version retitled Black Desert Remastered, featuring new visuals and new audio, was released on 22 August 2018.[41]

In October 2015, Black Desert Online was published and localized in Russia by Cypriot publisher GameNet. This contract expired on October 12, 2018 without an agreement as to account information, including character data. Pearl Abyss has apologized to Russian players and announced they would self-publish in Russia when their own localization efforts were completed.[42] In April 2018, Pearl Abyss announced that it would be changing service providers on North American servers to improve stability.[43] In February 2019, changes were made to the Marketplace to create the new Central Market, which features more user friendly ways to buy and sell items from the Marketplace.[44]

Console versionsEdit

At the Taipei Games Show in January 2017, Pearl Abyss stated Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of the game are in development, and was confirmed again by Pearl Abyss in March.[45][46] The Xbox One version, simply titled Black Desert, was revealed during Microsoft's E3 2017 press conference. It was launched live in North America and Europe on 4 March 2019,[47] following its multiple beta releases since 2018. Content-wise, however, the Xbox version of game was about three years behind the PC version upon its release.[48] The Striker, Dark Knight, Lahn, and Musa classes were made available for the Xbox One players in April 2019.[49]

The PlayStation 4 version was released on 22 August 2019.[50]

Mobile versionsEdit

In August 2017, Pearl Abyss has released an official teaser for Black Desert Mobile.[51] It was released for the Android and iOS in February 2018,[52] initially only in Korea, Japan and Taiwan, with the English version announced to arrive in 2019.[53]


Aggregate score
MetacriticPC: 73/100[54]
XONE: 75/100[55]
Review scores

Black Desert beta has been well received.[29][58] The full game has received mixed or average reviews from critics, currently holding a score of 73/100 on Metacritic.[54]

In April 2016, the publisher Kakao Games announced that Black Desert Online had achieved sales of 400,000 copies in its first month on the European and North American markets, and was showing an average of 100,000 concurrent users.[59][60] By March 2017, Black Desert had 3.4 million registered players in North America and Europe.[61] By May 2018, more than 1.2 million copies of the game have sold on Steam in Europe and North America.[62] As of September 2018, the game had over 10 million registered users worldwide.[63] By April 2019, the game has had over 18 million players and its total revenue has passed $1 billion.[64]


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  2. ^ "Top 6 Modern MMOs to Play". GamingRespawn. 11 April 2017.
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  4. ^ "BLACK DESERT, INTERVISTA ESCLUSIVA". Worldsfactory. 18 April 2013. Archived from the original on 29 April 2013.
  5. ^ Lefebvre, Eliot (18 April 2013). "Black Desert interview talks active combat and the big picture". Massively. Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
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  11. ^ Lefebvre, Eliot (8 October 2012). "Black Desert shows off time transitions". Massively. Archived from the original on 16 April 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
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  15. ^ "Story | Black Desert Fansite". Retrieved 2017-07-15.
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  32. ^ "Press Release: Black Desert West will be B2P - Black Desert Action Fantasy MMORPG".
  33. ^ "[Ended] Regular Maintenance".
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  40. ^ "Valencia Part One Expansion Out".
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  42. ^ "Information on future plans for the development of the Black Desert Russia service". 13 October 2018.
  43. ^ "Announcement: Server Provider Change". 5 April 2018.
  44. ^ "Patch Notes - 20th February 2019". Retrieved 2019-03-11.
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External linksEdit