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Black Desert Online developers, Pearl Abyss, announced a big change coming to the Black Desert Online’s in-game market that has caused something of a consumer revolt within the game itself. The developers are taking items that were once only available in the Pearl Shop (the games marketplace for exclusive items only available through real money transactions) and placing them into the normal marketplace to be sold for in-game currency. This change doesn’t sit well with a sizable portion of the players, so they have taken to the virtual streets to protest the change, complete with in-game picket signs.

Black Desert Online Protest

Protest Images taken from PC Gamer.

Pearl Abyss said that change was made in an effort to let players, who otherwise would not or could not use the Pearl Shop, access the Pearl Shop exclusive content. A statement on the Black Desert Online forums originally stated that “They are open to the community’s feedback and ask you to share your thoughts and concerns about this change.” Now, after the protests, the post has been changed ending with “We are open to the community’s feedback and we encourage you to share your thoughts and concerns in a constructive manner on this change.” Another change to the post is a new stipulation about how selling Pearl Shop items on the regular marketplace would work, setting a five item limit per week for each player. 

The main concern among players is that this new change will allow those players who spend real money on Pearl Shop items to sell those exclusive items for in-game Silver, arguably the most important form of currency in the game, which would basically translate to those players paying real money for loads of Silver without having to actually play the game to obtain it. Black Desert Online is no stranger to pay-to-win criticisms due to the Pearl Shop, but this new change takes things a bit too far for some players. Some guilds have gone so far as to change their insignia to feature anti-pay-to-win images, and on Reddit some are calling for a total North American server blackout from 8/10 through 8/12.

What are your thoughts on Black Desert Online’s new item policies? Is this an example of Pay 2 Win creeping into an established game? Let us know in the comments below!


Kyle Downey

Staff Writer

Staff Writer looking to keep you both informed and entertained. Favorite games include: Pokemon, Overwatch, Golden Sun, Portal, and Elder Scrolls.



  • ironexe

    I got this game at release, played for about 2 weeks. Biggest buyer’s remorse for a game.

  • giygas

    Pay-2-win microtransactions and Skinner Box mechanics creeping into every goddamn multiplayer game is one of the main reasons why I don’t play online games anymore.

  • InevitableMrPanda

    They are actively purging anything on the official forums negative or against this that compares them to Trion(Archeage’s devs) or dare talking about refunds. They’ve also hit the subreddit with a “don’t let them post anything else except in this one thread” bullshit while multiple accounts who only have a history of posting as of this event go out to tell people it’s not that bad, you can’t ask for a refund and all this other crap.

    Regardless of them saying multiple times in interviews that p2w would never be a feature in a western release and they have repeatedly claimed any hint of it actually happening was either a error, or a holdover from the Korean version and would not come to the Western game it’s been happening.

    The entire market has a tab for selling pearl purchased dyes, this was called just a hold over from the KR version. It’s now in the game.

    We used to get a little pop up on collecting money from the market that we’d get more if we had a value pack due to the packs reduction of the market tax. This was called a error, and it wouldn’t be coming here. It’s now in the game.

    When opening costumes boxes from the pearl shop it’d tell you that if you did you couldn’t put them up on market. Another error. And now coming to game.

    Valk’s cry is a item they’ve said is also never coming to this game. It’s a item that you obtain when buying pearls that allows for increased success for enhancing gear. Of course in the enchantment window it’s labeled that valk’s cry can be used and it’s translated just fine. Just another error they say.

    Can you imagine why people are jumping ship?

    “Nothing that relates to a pay to win model in the cash shop” is a direct quote from Rock Van Beem of the marketing team. And now with these changes, it’s going to be easy for anyone to essentially buy pets, costumes, outfits, and sell them for massive silver amounts and then use that silver to buy the best in slot gear from a night vendor or the market itself. Does that sound like not p2w to anyone who isn’t working for daum?

  • DukeMagus

    It’s complicated. Guild Wars 2 has a full gold-to-gems conversion system and the economy still works, since most of the game rewards cooperation in any way and hardly punishes if someone “jumps in the middle of the business”.

    The PVP is also a separate mode from the normal map…

  • fire lion

    Looks like someone had a shareholder meeting.

  • Hey Arnold

    Some in the chat ingame were defending this change saying it wasn’t pay to win, but if you can only get these items by paying real money or a ridiculous amount of silver (this is gonna cause the market to inflate like crazy) and are not able to get them in game, then I see it as p2w.

  • overwatch doesn’t have those

  • Jumanji Joe

    Overwatch isn’t worth playing anyways.

  • A Hyena

    You know, for a long time I used to always find gold sinks annoying, but when mentioned in this context I can actually see their usefulness now if it’s not an absurd amount of gold sinks

  • Smoky_the_Bear

    Yeah to be honest this change has just made the game full on pay to win.
    When I was playing it I didn’t consider it pay to win even though people still complained about the Ghille suit and things that were quite minor.
    However this reeks of dishonestly from the start. They have made the game buy to play with promises that it wouldn’t be pay to win to get more players to buy into it. Now they have made their money from that they have flipped the switch to send it full on power-buying nonsense so they can now cash in harder from “whales” after already making as much money from the original game sales as they could.

    It’s hard to not see this as them intentionally trying to have it both ways.

  • Smoky_the_Bear

    It’s blatantly pay to win. I mean I’m pretty certain nobody would have had fully maxed out gear yet even after months of regular playing, now they will not only let people skip all that “grind” but as you say, potential inflation will make it more and more impossible for people to compete without buying silver.

  • Smoky_the_Bear

    Yeah the thing is, apart from Legendary weapons, top level gear in GW2 is not hard to obtain (Not sure about the ascended stuff they added to the game though). In BDO all of your gear comes from an upgrade system which requires silver. Lots of silver.
    When I hit max level in GW2 I was quickly running around in similar gear to everybody else. This doesn’t happen in BDO where upgrades require RNG style gambling, lots of wasted resources through the “failstacks” system, and generally takes a long time. So long that I doubt anybody is running around in max gear at this point.
    GW2 is far more PvE oriented too and as you say, Structured PvP is a completely separate system where nobody has a gear advantage.

    BDO has a non-optional open world PvP system above level 45, and the best grinding spots are heavily contested, if someone has better gear than you they can simply kill you or even just deny you farm because if they do more damage to mobs they get the kill credit and the loot. None of this is a factor in GW2, you can’t just flag yourself and kill others while they are trying to do things. Drops are automatically shared among all participants. So IMO it’s very different to how it works in GW2.

  • DukeMagus

    point taken

    Pity, though… having a cash shop doesn’t need to be game breaking, it just needs some love and care when balancing it