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Black Desert Online Land Of The Morning Light Review In Progress

Anthony Lowry Updated: Posted:
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It’s finally here.

The Land of Morning Light is Black Desert’s newest region, spanning all of the northwest, across the vast sea. With it, comes brand new content, bosses, story, and much, much more. I was given the privilege to go hands on with the content, and give a quick rundown of what it all has to offer.

As a preface, if you’ve seen my content here, you’ll know that I’m a rather seasoned Black Desert veteran, having played off and on since about 2018. I’m currently about 690 gearscore on my main account, having done pretty much all the content I’m able to do. With said gearscore, I was an Awakening Nova main for about a year, then hovered around a few classes until settling on Succession Woosa and Succession Maegu. 

From the moment I stepped foot in the region, I was greeted by absolutely gorgeous scenery. Now, it’s pretty well known that Black Desert has simply awesome graphics, but they somehow managed to outdo themselves with the whole presentation and aesthetic here. Not a single bit of land is forgotten, not a single NPC left hanging. I felt more immersed than ever in an already incredibly captivating world. 

While Black Desert has always had some semblance of a story, there is a lot more emphasis on the story this time around. From the get-go, the story is primarily used as a means to build the world around you. All the dialogue and cutscenes I expected were present, but the plot begins very early and is quite impactful. Coming from someone who was never that much into the story, it’s quite decent. From the ordinary people, to the more important main characters. Everyone feels relevant. It didn’t blow me away, but it at least got me to not skip cutscenes (though I could do without the Magnus reminder).

My only complaint is that you still aren’t allowed to skip certain cutscenes, which is an annoyance that many players seem to share. I cannot stress enough just how detailed and elegant the whole design of the region is. I also feel that the lack of grind spots in the entire area adds greatly to the immersion. It’s not desolate, like, say, the Valencia region, but actually very lively. There are so many NPCs just wandering around, on foot, on horseback, doing tasks and random things. Some huntable wildlife will run around. It’s truly a very different vibe here compared to the rest of the open world, and one that I was completely taken aback by. Not many games make me stop for a second to just absorb the environment around me, but Land of the Morning Light knocked things out of the park in this department.

Continuing with the story, things take a very different turn here, with one of eight different paths you can choose from. Each of those paths lead to one of the region bosses you’re able to fight at the end. This is a direct tie in to the boss rush style of encounters that the Land of Morning Light introduces. If you’ve played games like Lost Ark or Warframe, you have an idea of what this entails.

For this playthrough, I chose Tale of the Songakshi, which was kind of your run of the mill horror-love story. As far as story lengths go, it takes about 1 hour of the usual fetch quests, talking a bunch, and a little bit of combat to get through each arc. Nothing terribly exciting with the in between matters, but you’ll surely get through them quickly if your goal is to just start your boss rush farming quickly. 

Land of the Morning Light

I was quite pleased with how I was able to just seamlessly begin a new story arc once I was done with my current one, and they make it very easy to check your progress via an icon on the bottom right of your UI. I wasn’t hard locked out of completing the story to my knowledge, but there is a weekly lockout for how many boss rushes you can complete for full rewards once you do start your boss rush at the end. I don’t particularly like this decision, as it’s kind of an antithesis of what Black Desert is about: endless grinding to your heart’s desire. I don’t really know what the alternative would be, or how things would be designed if there weren’t a limit, but the notion that I pretty much have to go back to the old grind spots once I do hit my limit feels pretty bad.

As for the boss rushes themselves, I had so much fun. They’re such a wildly different, but wholly welcome departure from the usual grind spots I’ve been used to for so many years. There are different mechanics for each one. For example, the Golden Pig King has innate frontal guard, and his attacks may force you to his front. I absolutely love the design of all of the bosses I’ve done thus far, and I expect the rest of them to follow suit. This kind of makes my previous point of the weekly limit even more sour for me, because of how great these fights are. I really don’t want to go back to Hexe Sanctuary or Gyfin Underground after doing these, but I basically have to if I want to progress my gear.

Outside of that, there really isn’t much more to say. The region itself is incredibly rich in presentation, design, and overall atmosphere. Every single area feels populated, busy, and dense. All of the stories are interesting at best, but the actual questlines are very much the same as you’re probably already used to if you’re experienced. I didn’t find a whole lot of interesting things to do outside of the story and questing, so I wound up with a familiar sense of monotony as I went through it.

The payoff for each one is very fun, but I can see how any reasonably geared player won’t find them to be too much of a challenge until the post story, where you’re able to raise the difficulty accordingly. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I can also see some gripes from long time players just wanting to get things over with and go forth to the content they want to do.

I very much enjoyed my time playing through the expansion, and for the first time, I was mildly interested in the dialogue. It’s a beautiful, wonderful world, with so much to look at and be immersed with. The “end game” of the region will be a pretty fun experience for many players that have clamored for something, anything different.

The beauty, however, appears to only be skin deep, as I’m definitely starting to feel the slog that the Black Desert story and progression can be known for. Being reminded of said slog when the fun is over for the week is also a moderate strike against it, but I remain optimistic about the rest of the region, and the content it has to offer.


VituLowry

Anthony Lowry

Anthony is an avid MMO gamer since childhood, with experience in all different kinds of games. From FFXIV as a Red Mage specialist, to Lost Ark as a Gunlancer, you can always find them (probably) getting way too greedy with mechanics and wondering how they wiped the group