Is Black Desert Online a Better MMORPG Than World of Warcraft?

Both games are absolutely incredible...

From the minds of Blizzard Entertainment and Pearl Abyss, which of these MMORPGs is the best?

When Black Desert Online finally had its worldwide release in 2016, many people pitted it against the timeless classic World of Warcraft. It’s become a standard now for new MMORPG games, as players ask – will this game be the one to kill of World of Warcraft for good? With the continued success of Black Desert almost a year after it took the world by storm, let’s compare them officially, and see just how well it comes up against the legend itself. 

1. Graphics 

Blizzard remind us just how awful the old Orcs were.

Let’s start with the most obvious difference between the two games – the graphics. When World of Warcraft released all the way back in 2004, the graphics it offered were the best we’d ever seen. Hopping off of games like Everquest, WoW gave us the most realistic world to date. However, these graphics have slowly gotten more updated as time has gone by, Blizzard even updated the player character models back in 2014 when the Warlords of Draenor expansion released. 

But even these look outdated, with games going further like Black Desert does. Realism is an insane thing to master – and Black Desert Online has it down. Hell, there’s even details that WoW will never have, like snow settling on your clothing. The most advancement WoW has given us is moving grass when we pass through. Wow, neat. 

Black Desert's graphics look amazing in Ultra. 

WoW? Not as much. 

World Of Warcraft graphics: 2/5

Black Desert Online graphics: 4/5

2. The World

Maybe this world is bigger to the small folk?

For both of these games, the world really makes them. Without a good world to host your game, you’re running on fumes. World of Warcraft’s world had been in the making since 1994, and was one of the largest worlds in gaming when it released. The zones were recognisable, wildly different, and vibrant, making Azeroth one of the most interesting places to adventure in. 

When you first get into Black Desert, a lot of the map is uncovered. The fact that you have to discover everywhere, and the time it can take you to travel on foot, make the world seem a lot bigger at first. A lot of the world is open water, and main cities and towns are a lot closer than the map makes them seem. In my opinion, WoW’s fast travel options like teleports make the world seem smaller, but in actuality, it’s a lot bigger than we know. 

Let’s take a look at the maps for both games, see the difference? 

Black Desert Online’s map is just one continent’s worth. 

These days, this isn’t even the full map WoW offers. 

World of Warcraft’s world: 4/5

Black Desert Online’s world: 3/5

3. Combat

Hit it very hard! 

There’s one thing that will always be different between these two games – the combat. World of Warcraft is the poster child for the simple MMO style, press 1, 2, 3, watch an animation, and that health bar magically starts to go down. Do it in the right order, and you’re pushing out the maximum DPS your class can do. Simple enough, right? 

Combat to knock your socks off.

Well, unless the animation for spells like Rain of Fire still knock your socks off, perhaps you’re looking for a more. Black Desert certainly offers a little more out of your combat, with hundreds of spells and even more unlockable at soft cap. With keybindings that focus on LMB and RMB, with a few Fs occasionally, Black Desert’s combat design puts a new spin on what you expect from MMOs, and keeps you interested from beginning to end.

Black Desert Online Combat: 5/5

World of Warcraft combat: 2/5

4. PvP 

We always lose this one…

When WoW released in 2004, PvP was only for the open world. World PvP reigned supreme, and if you were a newbie levelling in a contested zone, ganking wasn’t a new thing. Battlegrounds like Warsong Gulch and Alterac Valley were added in 2005, and since then, World PvP was on the decline. Blizzard tried to revive World PvP in 2014, with the 10th anniversary battleground Tarren Mill vs. Southshore, but it really wasn’t as good. I still have that sweet, sweet title, though.

Black Desert has always opted for an open world PvP style, with non-linear progression unlike what WoW provides today. Node Wars are the focus of PvP, with random gankings useless as you cannot attack players below the forced PvP level. Karma Points mirror what used to be WoW’s dishonorable kills, and have an impact on your standing with cities. Personally, I prefer the more linear model WoW has these days, but maybe that’s because I shake my fist at every ganker. 

World of Warcraft PVP: 4/5

Black Desert Online PVP : 3/5

5. Fun Factor

What should I do today?

When you think about it, the fun factor of a game depends on your own desires. In my opinion, this separates whether you’ll believe Black Desert really is better than World of Warcraft. Black Desert offers a huge array of things to do. From gathering  to breeding horses, if you’re a casual player or hardcore, you’ve got something interesting to do all day, every day. 

TheLazyPeon talks about a fraction of the content that made him return to BDO.

However, if you want to be the best of the best – World of Warcraft is your ticket to a great game. It’s incredibly difficult to achieve this in Black Desert, with RNG based upgrades and a soft cap to awakening, which means no level cap and endless numbers to build on. If you’re out to just enjoy the journey, Black Desert is just what you’re looking for. Whereas, for World of Warcraft, all of your progression is linear, and the endgame is just a gateway to enjoying everything and becoming better, and better, and better. 

Black Desert Online fun factor: 4/5

World of Warcraft fun factor: 3/5

Cities like Stormwind will always be beautiful.

At the end of the day, no matter how many people argue, the best game is the one you most enjoy playing. If you’re still riding the WoW hype, or you’re looking for a new place to call your home, both games are still incredible MMOs to have the pleasure playing. But what do you think? Which of these games is truly better? 

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Gamer Since: 2000
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: World of Warcraft, Black Desert Online, Diablo 3, Overwatch
Top 3 Favorite Games:World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, Borderlands 2, Tales from the Borderlands: A Telltale Game Series

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