I was able to spend some time last Sunday playing Black Desert Online. Instead of leveling, I wanted to investigate spells for the Witch, connecting Nodes and player housing. I’m happy to report that I accomplished all three. I’ve already posted about my first encounter with BDO player housing here. On to the other two.
Nodes are an important element in BDO. In addition to gating your ability to send workers to gather resources in an area, they’re necessary for establishing trade routes, impact the mob loot tables AND reduce the fees you pay to use the auction house. With out the exploration node invested in for that area, your listing price for items you sell is on the auction house is reduced by 33%. OUCH!! Consequently, even if you’re not going to participate in trade runs or crafting, you want nodes established to maximize your loot drops. Here’s the guide that finally made sense of it for me and explained why I couldn’t connect nodes even though I was desperately trying.
Once I fixed one problematic node, the information being displayed in the game was much clearer. They’re trying to tell you the missing requirement but it’s not at all clear. The node manager's name displayed above the error “must connect preceding node” is the missing node you need to proceed. With that knowledge in hand, I traveled around connecting nodes from previous questing zones.
I consumed my available contribution points to connect the earlier zones I’d played through and moved on to level appropriate areas. It was then that I noticed an icon upper left with an red X across it, indicating that I was playing in a zone/node I hadn’t connected. Oh well, I didn’t have any points available but at least the interface was starting to make more sense. The one downside I've now encountered related to my decision not to quest as much is that quests reward the contribution points you need for nodes and housing. Grrr! I'm going to have to find a compromise level I can deal with and still enjoy the game.
Conquering Witch Spell Combinations
This is the first game I’ve played where spells are blocked from being placed on your hotbar by design. There’s only one hotbar allowed and the game has predetermined which skills can be placed there. This means that the vast majority of your spells as key combinations must be memorized.
My go-to Witch Spells For Now
I don’t mind that there’s a limit to the number of spells active on the hotbar. That’s not new or novel. Guild Wars does the same thing. I simply would have preferred choosing the few that can be placed on the hotbar myself, instead of the gaming deciding that for me. Playing casually, I’m not looking to min/max my character. I want an effective and pleasant leveling experience. And part of that for me, is feeling at ease with the class.
Right now there are a few combinations that don't suit me and I was curious if I could get away without using the those spells. I’m not here to play memory games. I want to use the best skills from my repertoire and ignore the rest. I started checking build to see what other Witches were using most. I didn’t find much. Most all of the conversations were about racing to level 50 and worrying about a build at that point. Not very helpful when you’re level 19. So I changed strategy.
This isn’t a game where you’re given new spells every x levels. You gain skill points and must decide when and where to allocated the points. And with no easy way to reset, you could go way wrong very early. I noted all the skills that I had picked, their key combinations and combo options. I went out and did some combat, paying close attention to which spells I used the most and appeared to do the most damage. While this sequence kept mobs at bay longer this other one had them dead sooner. Things like that.
I noticed that I was using everything I’d purchased except for two skills. One is a commonly used skill. I've seen it in videos but for me, the forced keybind/combo is an awkward reach that requires me to take my fingers off the movement keys. Unless I cast it first, it’s not at all fluid and causes me to mess up what I’m trying to do next. The other can be on the hotbar and I had it there but thus far I don’t do massive pulls while soloing. I can definitely see the value if there's a tank there and I can stand still for a long time and drop meteors on a half dozen or more mobs. However, solo, I tend to keep it to 3 in a pull. I only end up with 4 if something wanders in range.
I wish I could get those 2 points back. I am going to see if that’s possible. Ultimately, I decided that for now, I want to go deep with the spells I already have versus investing in new spells and more combinations to memorize. In other words, get to higher levels for the skills I use most instead of gaining new abilities. After coming to that decision, I was more mindful of the spells I use most often and think it will be a good tactic for me - less is more. Even if there are more effective combinations I don’t really care. I’m not having any issues killing mobs and I’m not even paying attention to gear yet.
I can already see an improvement from this exercise. Having decided to focus and give up on combos that aren’t my “go to” offensive spells, I’ve been able to start mastering the defensive abilities which are primarily key combinations only. Adding those into the mix, I’m healing myself less during combat and afterward. Win-win change.