If you‘re curious about Black Desert Online (BDO), the popular fantasy MMORPG, you can try it out with their 14-day free trial. Keep reading as I‘ll explain exactly how the BDO free trial works and provide a detailed overview as your friend and gaming advisor.
Getting Started with the 14-Day BDO Free Trial
BDO offers new players a 14-day free trial which you can sign up for on their official website. Look for the "14-Day Free Trial" button and you can create an account.
After registering, download the desktop client to start exploring the game. One tip – BDO is around a 39GB install, so make sure you have enough SSD or HDD space free before downloading.
During the 14 days, you‘ll have full access to the majority of BDO‘s content to level up a character to 50 and see if you enjoy the core gameplay loop. A few social restrictions exist, but you can participate in most activities.
Once your 14 days are up, you‘ll need to purchase BDO to continue playing that character. But no worries – your progress is saved in case you decide to buy later on!
Evaluating BDO as a Potential New Player
While your free trial will let you get hands-on with BDO to gauge things yourself, here is some high-level insight as you consider diving in:
Where BDO Shines
Incredibly deep and complex combat system – some of the most polished and visceral mechanics found in an MMO.
Beautiful open world with tons of areas and vistas to explore. The environments are stunning.
Robust character creator and customization options – make a unique hero to represent you.
Complex progression systems will have you constantly striving for new gear and upgrades.
regular content updates and expansions keeping things fresh.
Very high learning curve due to so many intricate systems. Expect a steep onboarding phase.
Grinding for resources and silver will test your patience. Progressing gear takes major time investment.
Group content is limited unless you join an active guild. Solo play is common.
Open world PVP exists – you risk being griefed or harassed by others.
Ideal For: Gamers who enjoy complex systems, beautiful worlds to explore, and challenging progression. People seeking an immersive RPG sandbox.
Not Ideal For: Extremely casual gamers looking to play solo. Those who don‘t enjoy repetitious grinding. Players who want tons of structured group content.
Now let‘s get into the details of what sets BDO apart in terms of features, monetization, and how it compares to leading MMOs.
BDO‘s Core Features and Progression
BDO doesn‘t hold your hand – you‘re thrown into a massive open world to make your own adventure. Here are some key features and systems to be aware of:
Expansive Open World – 17 unique regions to explore with hidden secrets and vistas. Seamless world with no loading screens.
Combat System – Fast, impactful combat mixed with combos, cancels, and grabs for depth. Each class feels completely distinct.
Life Skills – Activities like gathering, farming, fishing, horse training, sailing, crafting, and more. Non-combat paths.
Gear Progression – Challenging grind to upgrade weapons and armor. Enhancement system adds RNG excitement and risk.
Player Housing – Customize your own home and display trophies. Invest in furniture crafting for income.
Sea/Land Vehicles – Ships allow exploration and sea monster hunting. Horse breeding and training for transport on land.
Node Investment – Contribute resources to nodes to expand options for gear enhancement, life skills, trade routes, and more.
With so many options, you can pursue whatever style of play you prefer – fighting monsters, PVP, crafting, economic domination, or just casual enjoyment.
How is BDO Monetized?
BDO utilizes a "buy-to-play" model – you purchase the base game ($9.99 – $49.99 for various versions) and then own it permanently with no subscription needed.
Beyond the base game, here are the primary monetization methods:
Value Pack – Optional monthly subscription for $14.99/month providing inventory, XP, loot buffs, and more. Most dedicated players utilize this.
Cosmetics – Skins, costumes, pets, furniture on the Pearl Shop cash store. Purely decorative items.
Convenience – Inventory expansion, weight limit increases, maids – time and inventory savers.
Artisan‘s Memory – Cash shop item to double gear enhancement durability recovery speed. Significant for progression.
Overall the monetization remains reasonable compared to many other MMOs. Spending money accelerates progression but is not completely mandatory. You can play 100% free beyond the initial purchase if desired.
How Does BDO Compare to Top MMORPGs?
Let‘s see how BDO stacks up to some other heavy hitters in the MMO space:
Vs. World of Warcraft:
BDO has faster, more action-oriented combat. Open world is far larger and expansive to explore. More crafting/life skill depth. Greater gearing complexity.
WOW has more instanced dungeons and structured endgame PVE. More narrative focus and questing. Far easier to pick up and learn. More balanced and organized PVP options.
Vs. Final Fantasy XIV:
BDO‘s world feels more alive and immersive. Combat and progression offer greater challenges. Deeper crafting systems tied to resources.
FFXIV provides orchestrated storytelling and cinematic questing. More user-friendly for new players. Better structure for group play. Higher polish in production value.
Vs. Elder Scrolls Online:
BDO‘s progression and gear enhancement draws you into the core loop. Deeper and more lifelike immersion into a character.
ESO offers better questing, lore, story focus for solo play. More group dungeons. Overall more welcoming to casual gamers.
For players seeking complex immersed gameplay and sandbox freedom, BDO shines. But it lacks the polish and structure of theme park experiences like FFXIV or ESO. It‘s a tradeoff.
Gauging BDO‘s Current Popularity and Playerbase
BDO first launched in 2014 in the East, before coming to the Americas and Europe in 2016. It has maintained a steady popularity thanks to regular content expansions.
Here are some estimates for BDO‘s current player population and activity:
234,836 daily active players globally based on August 2022 data from MMO Population.
26 servers globally combine all languages and regions. Each server holds 5,000 – 15,000+ concurrent players.
1.5 million followers on Facebook and 340,000 followers on Twitter show an engaged fan base.
~51,000 average monthly Google searches related to "Black Desert Online" indicate ongoing interest.
Top 15 most played MMO in the West according to RankedBoost‘s August 2022 list.
While not as massive as gaming titans like WOW or FFXIV, BDO maintains a vibrant core playerbase thanks to regular content updates and unique sandbox gameplay.
The Southeast Asia publisher recently acquired the rights to publish BDO globally, so we should expect continued support.
Should You Try BDO‘s 14-Day Free Trial?
After reading all about BDO‘s features, comparisons to other MMOs, and its current player population, would I recommend giving the free trial a shot if you‘re searching for a new MMORPG?
My suggestion: Download that free trial and dive in to see for yourself!
You have nothing to lose and 14 days to experience the immersive combat and progression without spending money. Reach level 50 and see if it gets its hooks in you.
Joining a friendly guild ASAP is my biggest tip – having supportive allies makes the BDO journey much more enjoyable. The community can help guide you through the complex systems.
While not for extremely casual gamers, if you want meaningful challenges and sandbox freedom, BDO is an excellent option in the market. Hopefully this overview from a fellow gamer has prepped you to make the most of the 14-day free trial ahead of your adventure! Enjoy and feel free to reach out if you have any other questions.