Black Desert Online (Korean: 검은사막) is a sandbox-oriented fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by Korean video game developer Pearl Abyss and originally published for Microsoft Windows in 2015. A mobile version titled Black Desert Mobile was initially released in Asia by early 2019, and worldwide in December 2019. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions, known simply as Black Desert, were released in 2019. The game is free-to-play in some parts of the world, but follows a buy-to-play business model in other editions, including the English-language editions.
In 2018, Pearl Abyss began work on a prequel to the timeline of Black Desert, titled Crimson Desert, but during development it became a separate, stand alone IP with a different storyline and new characters. The combat in Black Desert Online is action based, requiring manual aiming and free movement similar to those found in third-person shooters. The game offers housing, fishing, farming, and trading, as well as large player versus player siege events, and castle battles. It is well regarded for its advanced and in-depth character customization.
An active combat system requires precise manual aiming, dodging and using combos, unlike the tab-targeting system seen in most MMORPGs. Skills can be activated through use of combos for attacking, dodging or blocking. Players are also able to engage in mounted combat. Mounts are acquired by taming in the wild, and players are able to breed special mounts by mating certain types. Mounts require feeding and care, cannot be stored in the inventory, and may be killed.
The game includes a number of features to assist with immersion and the sandbox aspect. The dynamic, worldwide weather system includes large-scale events such as typhoons and will influence gameplay. Localized weather will include events such as temporary fog, which players may exploit to launch surprise attacks on rival guild structures. There is also a dynamic day/night cycle with a gradual progression of lighting effects. During the night some non-player characters (NPCs) will become unavailable as they return home and the monsters will drop more loot. Different game content is available depending upon whether it is night or day. Player housing is instanced and varies in size and location. Players are able to furnish and equip their housing by purchasing furniture through NPCs or through crafting.