July 2016

I logged onto Black Desert the other day after downloading a mega-patch, and after getting seriously creamed by a bunch of mobs I realized that my skills had all been reset back to zero. Dear God almighty. So I opened up the skill tree and tried to figure out what I had before. Eventually of course, I jumped online and found a ranger guide and reworked my skills but it still took me a bit more effort as it wasn’t the same guide as the last time I did this, to be honest this guide was a bit naff, so I had to look for another guide and, do you get the freaking picture here?

And it hit me – why do we still have skill trees? They are an anachronism from the past. From a former time when MMOs were fresh and young and vibrant. From a time when we actually cared about smelling the roses.

Well, that time has gone. Nobody experiments with the skill tree. Hardly anybody experimented with the skill tree back in the day either. You had your cookie-cutter build and that was it. If you didn’t have that you were an enormous n00b and death shall be rained down upon you, (if not much mocking). But it was also simpler. In Vanilla WoW, where I began this whole caper, it was pretty straight forward. You had three builds and in order to get a skill you had to have one from the line above it with the pointy line that ended at your new skill. That’s not hard.

Well, you try and figure out fucking Black Desert’s skill tree. You need a PHD in skill tree to work out what’s going on there. And so much of it is redundant. Why do they do this? Just do away with the skill tree all together. It makes no sense. We all want to have the same skill trees in a pvp game, isn’t that obvious? The best one! The best will be worked out within milliseconds of the game launching and then that is that. So just make the best one the skill tree and then take away the skill tree. Guess what? You just get the skill! Radical fucking idea, I know, but why not? It sure would save a bunch of time when skills get inexplicably reset.

Then of course, in BDO, you have the hidden attacks. Geez these really shit me. They really really shit me to tears. Don’t tell me that they’re “secret” and that you need to “discover” them. Nobody fucking discovers them in game. They go on the internet and use this radical bit of kit that was just invented yesterday called a search engine and they find a list of them and there you go. You’ll get a video of them on youtube and you study that for a while until your eyes bleed and then spend inordinate amounts of time in-game trying to torture your hand into hideous positions that would make a Japanese contortionist weep.

I discovered a skill in BDO once. I did – true story. I was fighting all these mobs and my fingers must have mashed the keyboard the wrong way and suddenly everything around me died. Just like that. I was like, no fucking way, man. What the fuck was that?? So I tried to do it again. And I tried. And I tried some more. And then I went online. I searched for, “BDO Ranger hidden skill everything fucking dies”.

Nothing. I got zip. How can you discover a hidden skill? It’s not possible. And don’t start telling me that some other gamers discovered the ones that I learnt from youtube because those guys got them from the Korean version of the game. Those are the motherfuckers who discovered all the hidden moves, the Koreans. Those guys aren’t even human when it comes to MMOs. They’re like the Chinese with badminton, or the Russians with drinking alcohol, or Australians with lying around and complaining about video games. They’re on another freaking planet.

So do me a favor, future MMO that I am yet to discover. Just drop the skill tree. Drop it like Suzy Peterson dropped me in 4th grade, (the fucking mole). It’s past its time. Like so many things in this world.

I had a little break from Black Desert due to my computer not liking the new Valencia patch. For some reason it wouldn’t download it. After ten days I finally managed to resolve the issue and I was in!

Except I wasn’t in a guild anymore. For fucks sake …

So I called up my gaming buddy and he gave me the lowdown, and then we both logged on and he invited me to the new guild. This is the fifth guild that I’ve been in since BDO started. Or is it the sixth? I don’t know; so many guilds, so little time. I’ve been doing this guild-shopping with a core group of about ten other players from Australia and New Zealand. Alliances form and dissolve in BDO like personal relationships between 14 year olds. It’s so hard to keep up. But here’s the thing:

Apart from my core gaming buddies, I don’t know anyone else from these guilds. Sure, I hear them speak in Teamspeak. Mostly fart jokes and boasting about how they’re going to “rape” this person or that person. But it’s all a big load of whatever. I don’t make any effort to get to know them because due to the nature of the game I know it’s all going to be over again in a couple of weeks. Last night one of my main guildies said that they were negotiating an alliance with another big guild. There are some downsides so he asked me what I thought about the deal.

“I have no opinion,” I said.

“That’s not like you,” he replied.

There were other ribald comments in Teamspeak at this point, mostly along the lines of “fucking Noisy”.

“No really,” I said. “I don’t give a shit. You could negotiate that we have to dress up as cows and yodel for all I care. It makes no difference. It will all be changed again in a few weeks.”

They didn’t like that attitude much. But what else am I going to say? It got me thinking. Years ago now, it must have been back some time in 2010, Blizzard introduced the LFG feature and a bunch of us said that it was the beginning of the end – that this would lead to a total social breakdown where nobody gave a shit about anyone else in the game. And we were right.

But have we reached a similar point with guilds? Are guilds now so completely interchangeable that we don’t make any real effort to get to know the other players? I’d like to think that this is a feature of BDO but then I think back to Elder Scrolls and the guilds I was in there. Nothing. Nada. Crickets. I can’t remember a single thing about anyone that I played with. But WoW in 2010? I can remember people’s names, what we did, who we fucked over, the dramas, I can remember it all.

So here I am – a stranger in a strange guild.

CIV VI is looking better all the time.