Black Desert for PlayStation 4: Everything you need to know

PlayStation 4 already has a few popular MMOs in the west with The Elder Scrolls Online and Final Fantasy XIV, and developer Pearl Abyss will soon be bringing Black Desert into the fold. Players will be able to meticulously create their own characters and go on a harrowing fantasy adventure with one another.

What is Black Desert?

I previewed Black Desert shortly before its release on Xbox One earlier this year, and much of it is expected to remain the same on PlayStation 4. At its core, it's a sprawling high fantasy MMO that gives players the freedom to do almost anything they want. Pursue its questline and vanquish evil? You got it. Want to settle down and build a farm? You can do that too. If you really want to you can even just hone your skills and became the best blacksmith across the lands. Like I mentioned in my preview, Black Desert is essentially a medieval life simulator, albeit with more fantastical elements.

Black Desert Is it different from Black Desert Online?

When Black Desert Online came to consoles, it dropped the 'Online' portion of its name. Despite this, it is still very much an MMO. The major differences between the console and PC versions are that the console version lacks a few content updates (which will slowly be added over time) and Pearl Abyss worked to optimize the controls and menu layouts for a controller instead of mouse and keyboard inputs.

"Our team has been working diligently to make 'Black Desert' the best that it can be, and we're finally ready to reward our patient player base," said KwangSam Kim, the game's lead producer. "If you've been looking for an open-world action MMORPG on the PS4 with deep personalization to fit your gameplay experience, we encourage you to pre-order this July."

Kim also spoke to Variety and mentioned that making the game control more similarly to an action game than an RPG that required mouse and keyboard was no small feat, and the studio had to experiment a lot to get the feeling right.

Black Desert Character creator

Black Desert's character creator was arguably its claim to fame when it first released on PC in 2015. To put it mildly, the amount of customization it affords you is extensive. You could spend several hours in it and not even scratch the surface of character possibilities. This can be said for a lot of character creators, but it is doubly true in Black Desert. You can finely adjust even the smallest facial features, right down to certain sections of your character's lips or jaw.

And after you're done molding your character's looks, you can choose from six playable classes depending on your preferred playstyle: Warrior, Ranger, Sorceress, Berserker, Wizard, and Witch. You even have the chance to choose a horoscope for your character dictating their inherent personality type.

Black Desert Gameplay

Combat is similar to The Elder Scrolls Online in that it is from a 3rd-person over-the-shoulder perspective. You can primarily focus on close quarters or ranged combat depending on which class you choose, or a mixture of each. The combat itself doesn't always have a ton of depth to it, but Black Desert shines outside of combat.

Like I mentioned before, Black Desert is a bit of a medieval life simulator. You'll have a life skill statistics page that keeps track of your progress in a variety of activities. These range from anything like fishing and harpooning to lumbering and farming. There's not a lot you can't do. And the entire world is free for you to explore.

Aside from its PvE elements, Black Desert also has several PvP activities. These mainly take the form of Node and Conquest Wars. It is during these activities that guilds will wage battle for control over a territory or single node. The benefit of winning is that the victorious guild can then collect on in-game taxes for that area.

Black Desert Story

Black Desert's story revolves around conflicts between rivaling nations. A previous period of peace was ended after a plague began to spread and kick-started a war. Much of this war was funded through the harvesting of magical black stones which could be sold for a high price. Once other nations began to realize the power of the black stones, they waged a new war against the territory of Valencia, a place which harbors the titular Black Desert and with it a bountiful source of black stones.

Black Desert Is it pay-to-win?

The answer to this depends on your definition of pay-to-win, so it's easier to just say "sort of."

Its cosmetic microtransactions certainly don't fall under pay-to-win, but some of the "convenience items" do. Some of the items you can purchase allow you to increase your carry weight limit, expand your inventory, buy pets that can pick up loot for you, buy outfits with stat boosts, and even increase the chances of your gear leveling up.In Black Desert, there is a chance to "fail" at upgrading your gear, effectively regressing its stats instead of leveling up. Your chance of success increases after every failure. Through the use of an item called Valks' Cry, you can increase this "fail stack" and thus increase the chances of upgrading your gear. Though you can't purchase Valks' Cry outright, you can melt down cosmetic outfits from the shop to acquire it. This mechanic came to Black Desert Online for PC in 2018.

Black Desert When can I play it?

Black Desert released for PlayStation 4 on August 22, 2019 and is now available. You must have an active PlayStation Plus subscription in order to play it.

Updated August 2019: We've updated this article to reflect that Black Desert is now available on PS4.

Jennifer Locke
Games Editor - PlayStation, Android, VR

Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.