July 20, 2017

Black Desert Online: The Valencia Desert

After my detour into the ocean of Black Desert Online (Steam), my next destination was the desert city of Valencia. The Valencia expansion currently offers the highest level content available, plus two series of main quests. Part 1, the East Sands Kingdom Story, and Part 2, Treasure of Valencia, both reward relatively powerful rings for newer players. I wanted to grab the rings when I could so I could save resources for other, more pressing gear upgrades like weapons and armor.

The city of Valencia is across a long expanse of desert, and it is not an easy trek. Horses move slower in the desert, so you need a camel instead. Sunstroke by day and hypothermia by night drain your health but can be (temporarily) cured with stockpiles of water and tea. Even navigating the desert is a struggle; you cannot see your position on the map without a special three-part compass, and auto-pathing is disabled.

Standing at the Sand Grain Bazaar, a small settlement at the edge of the desert, all I could see was sand. Rather than following a road to the next easily located node on the map, I had to rely on manual exploration. Pilgrim's Haven, a small burial ground (and popular mining spot for players), was the first stop on the way to Valencia. Ibellab Oasis was the next and last stop before the city, and it was a long walk from there. Finally reaching the safety of the city, where the map and navigation worked again, was a big relief.

Compass or no compass, crossing the desert takes time, effort, and resources. I didn't see very many players during my time in Valencia. The journey may not seem worth it for many players (especially lower levels) when there are easier gains to be made elsewhere. There are benefits of course; higher level enemies equal more experience and better loot, or at least that's the idea. There are also villas you can buy weeklong access to for powerful buffs and vendors for convenience. The desert also includes the only two dungeons in the game, for high-level players.

As I was just passing through for the quests, I was probably at the bare minimum to be in Valencia. There was actually very little required combat so I didn't have too much trouble. I spent much of my time simply exploring the desert, meeting new NPCs, digging in the sand, and gathering new items. One side quest chain even took me in a long circle around the entire desert simply talking to people.

Despite the difficult travel, I actually enjoyed the desert more than the ocean. The quests were straightforward and the rewards worthwhile. I got a good preview of Valencia for when I progress forward and can deal with the stronger enemies. The desert was very different from the rest of the game, and the exploration felt more rewarding because of the effort required. I look forward to coming back, especially if it becomes more lucrative to travel there.

For more on my travels in Black Desert Online, see my previous posts on my exploration of the ocean and how I got started.

Part 1: Casually Exploring Black Desert Online 
Part 2: Journey to Port Ratt