There are two quotes I frequently think about when playing Black Desert Online (BDO).
People need stories, more than bread, itself.
This first one I got from "Storyteller" by Secret Archives of the Vatican. Some minutes of research tell me that the quote is actually from Arabian Nights which in turn sourced it from One Thousand and One Nights.
This quote speaks to me because few of the several story lines in BDO are truly great - remind you, they don't need to be. BDO is not a story driven game. It has some story driven elements that are there to amuse you during endless stretches of slaying evil in whatever form it happens to manifest today. Emergent narrative is something that becomes important. And while I didn't believe in the concept of emergent narrative until revelation struck me when telling my girlfriend about a prolonged session of Stellaris I am now convinced that remarkable stories can form this way.
I become their eyes and feet.
This second quote is part of the description of the second-highest exploration title during the time of this writing, "Desert Guide". It speaks to me since I am very curious in terms of lore and exploring in games. I need to have seen every nook and cranny of even huge worlds - especially if they happen to be detailed as BDO happens to be. I especially like the allusion that you're doing the exploring for other people so you can tell of your adventures in faraway lands - it's the romantic thought that captures me.
Note: all images shown in this post are heavily scaled down. To see their originals, simply click them.
the case of fun over efficiency
There are a lot of PvP oriented players in BDO. I'm decidedly not one of them - I almost never enjoy PvP regardless of the game. I prefer to do things my way, the way it pleases me and allows me to have fun with the game instead of mindlessly grinding; only to rush through new content in order to mindlessly grind so you can stay on top of the stats oriented food chain.
Let me tell you about Nadzeya Saranictil. She's a woman, a craftswoman, a kunoichi, an avid reader, a trader, a hero and much more. But more than anything else, she's a curious explorer - eager to see what the world has to offer and with an endless thirst for knowledge. If there is something to be learned she must learn it. If there are sights to be seen, creatures to be discovered, dark caves to be ventured into - she will be there.
Until the recent discovery of new lands (read: the Magorian Seas expansion) she has travelled far and wide to see all of Balenos, Serendia, Calpheon, Mediah and Valencia. Before achieving enough fame in combat to be allowed a camel she travelled to Valencia City on foot, through the dangerous Northern canyons, always on the lookout for cutthroats going for her life. Sneaking past the Gahaz Bandit's Lair, marveling at the sights in Iris Canyon, dodging the lions at Ancado Coast to finally have a cool drink at Ancado Inner Harbor.
Nadzeya in particularly enjoys being the tour guide for other adventurers. She fondly remembers her trips. The memories of the following ones are that she looks back to in times of desperation to keep her head up. She's also excentric enough to only cook and craft with materials gathered herself if possible and never handing in items bought from the market place. She's usually found riding her adorable miniature elephant, Jade, wearing a desert suit with a turquoise sash and showing her long bright orange hair uncovered.
Desert & Sea
Nadzeya intended to go all the way by fishing boat from Ancado Inner Harbor to Arehaza, the easternmost settlement of Valencia (and the known regions so far). While she had stowed her boat in Ancado after sailing across the vast seas North of Calpheon, Balenos and finally Mediah in order to tour the canal with a certain adventurer, that one unfortunately never showed up.
However, she met a friendly sorceress who goes by the name of MorbidAngel and the two decided to take a long boat trip. After an exciting ride through the desert on MorbidAngel's horse they embarked the Yennefer in Ancado and sailed away. After some time and only a fraction of the journey completed they came across a beautiful beach and stopped there for some sightseeing. The vulcano there is a strange, vast landscape and it was only after some urging that the two left the small crater again to continue their journey.
Before setting course for their main destination, Arehaza, their way led further east to Hakoven Island, the only known island east of Valencia. There was time for one last quick stop at Gavinya Coastal Cliff before heading all the way South to Arehaza, where the boat landed and the tour ended at an amazing sandy beach only for Nadzeya to part ways with her fellow traveller sheltered from the heat under palm trees.
The Sights of Valencia
After getting to know one of her former guild members - LegendaryBrot - better, Nadzeya and her partner were often seen together, exploring Valencia. Nadzeya played the tour guide for the Northern part of Valencia to which she had been before and showed off the wonders of Iris Canyon and the safest route to Valencia through the cliffs. Nadzeya also remembers both the short visit to Crescent Shrine and the seemingly neverending search for the Oasis of Bless. She admits feeling a pang of nostalgia whenever thinking about travelling with LegendaryBrot for whom she held the greatest mutual respect.
The Depths of Mediah
However, Nadzeya and LegendaryBrot did not only explore vast amounts of desert territory together, oh no. On multiple occations have they been seen delving into the subterranean depths of Mediah. Once they ventured all the way down the mines in Helms Post to look for ancient secrets only to have to fight for every step forward against dangerous Helm Golems. To this day Nadzeya wonders how LegendaryBrot manipulated fate into rewarding him that many more Broken Golem's Cores.
Another time they sought to map the innards of Tungrad, the ruin below Hasrah Cliff. Fighting off hundreds of Ancient Weapons, they finally managed to wrestle some meager findings from the ruins, like a diamond mining node.
A Guide to the Oasis
It was only recently that Nadzeya heard a plea for help from one of the members of her current guild, Helena23 and responded since she was in the vicinity. Together the two fought valiantly in the Basilisk Den. After an exhausting battle they sought a bit of refreshment and rode their mounts North to the sea, stopping at the Abandoned Ferry in Shakatu and then heading for a swim and refreshments in the lush Shakatu, along with a swim amongst the local elephants. Having shown another adventurer the pleasures of travelling together, Nadzeya looks forward to more adventures in the future.
While there are certainly even more adventures worth mentioning, these are better told another time.
Should you want to take a tour someday, feel free to reach out in-game or otherwise. If however, you would prefer to read another amazing story instead, there's one over at Reddit by someone who crossed over to Port Ratt on a fishing boat.