검은사막
October 03, 2015

In a previous post, I mentioned my interest in 검은사막 (AKA Black Desert Online), a popular MMO that will come to the US in 2016. After following this installation guide for foreigners looking to play on the Korean server, I've finally got it working. I didn't even have to do the shady nonsense to get around the requirement of a Korean ID number, since I live here and have one.

Since I don't really play PC games (except with a controller, turning them into honorary console games) and I've never played an MMO, I was expecting to have a rough time with 검은사막. Especially since the whole game is in Korean, and my Korean is...shall we say, lacking. Sure, there's a well-supported English patch, but I consider that cheating. So I tried things the hard way first.

Getting the game to run was the first hurdle. I had a few problems, which seemed to be caused by me trying to run the game launcher instead of clicking launch on the game's official website. I don't know why that was such a problem, but it was. But once I finally figured that out, I was off to the races!





Hurray for dual monitors! I knew 이름 meant name, and I figured this meant that the name was taken, but it's always good to be sure. Typing into Google translate is part of the point of this whole exercise, since I'll be doing it so often I will surely build typing speed, and if I'm lucky I'll pick up some vocabulary as well.

I dove into character creation, only briefly looking at an English language explanatory video of the process. Screw that, I want to do it in Korean! (Meaning, look everything up on Google translate/just click anything until something works.) I ended up with this:



I gave her little hearts for eyes! After spending about 30 minutes, some of which was on a character I deleted accidentally, I had my witch ready to go...Almost. A quick Google translate of an error message showed my character wasn't ready because I hadn't chosen a constellation for her. Once I selected that option (which I'm sure has a meaningful description explaining what it does) I was able to start!



I got a little cinematic of my witch waking up near some dudes, then I had to go talk to some guy. He said a bunch of stuff. I screenshotted most of it and will try to translate it later. It will be quite a little project, since tapping out even a few sentences in Korean is still quite a task for me. I was never a touch typist in English, and I'm now hunting and pecking very...very...slowly. Interestingly, writing Korean on a phone is MUCH easier, thanks to the intuitive predictive typing of SwiftKey, my mobile keyboard of choice for years now. I think I would use the translation app on my phone as much as web if it weren't for the whole point of this exercise being me improving my writing/typing.



Then I walked around and whacked some bugs with my staff. The game kept pointing me back to that guy, so I'm sure I haven't done what I'm supposed to do yet. It looks like I have my work cut out for me.

Looking at Youtube videos of character creation now, it looks like people get really, really into it. The level of detail is very impressive, going a bit beyond even the modded race menu options in Skyrim that I'm used to. Look at all the areas of the face you can change:



I do enjoy the fact that these violent fantasy games become Barbie simulators in which grown men spend hours trying to make the cutest one. In Skyrim I had this really beautiful dress mod, and these great tasteful high heels that I gave to my PC and all of her female followers. Whenever we walked through town, I wouldn't run, but just slowly, gracefully walk with my ladies behind me. The mansion in solitude was basically Barbie's dreamhouse. Skyrim is one of those games I pretty much forbid myself from playing now.



Wait, what were we talking about?

Overall, I'm very curious about whether or not playing 검은사막will actually improve the rate at which I learn Korean. I've been taking regular classes for a few months now, but I've realized that I need to do something more intensive soon. My daughter, who turned four a few days after we arrived this summer and is the only foreign child in her preschool, is starting to casually speak the language at home and I am WAY behind. I know it will only get worse from here. Will a Korean hobby like 검은사막 give me a fighting chance? (Spoiler: no, it won't and I'll probably be a loser and use the English patch at some point.)

Next episode: Germ finds a beach!

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