Best answer: Depending on your definition, Black Desert can be seen as pay-to-win. At the very least, it's definitely pay-to-progress.

What does pay-to-win mean?

Pay-to-win is exactly what it sounds like: a way for players to pay real money in order to gain in-game advantages that allow them to win. These come in the form of microtransactions.

How this definition is applied to specific games is a bit unclear and varies from person to person. Pay-to-win for some people means that you're paying for advantages over other players in multiplayer games. Others think the term applies to all microtransactions that give you an advantage, even in single-player games where you're not competing against other people.

What microtransactions does Black Desert offer on Xbox One?

Black Desert for Xbox One currently allows players to buy packs of Pearls which can be used at its in-game Pearl Shop that contains "cosmetic and convenience items." These can range from anything like outfits and furniture sets to inventory expansions and pets.

There are also currently two different versions of Black Desert you can buy. One is a basic edition, but the other is more expensive and comes with Pearls you can use in the shop, along with a pet.

But are these pay-to-win?

Its cosmetic outfits certainly don't fall under pay-to-win, but some of the "convenience items" do. Some of the items you purchase allow you to increase your carry weight limit, expand your inventory, buy pets that can pick up loot for you, buy outfits with stat boosts, and even increase the chances of your gear levelling up.

In Black Desert, there is a chance to "fail" at upgrading your gear, effectively regressing its stats instead of levelling up. Your chance of success increases after every failure. Through the use of an item called Valks' Cry, you can increase this "fail stack" and thus increase the chances of upgrading your gear. Though you can't purchase Valks' Cry outright, you can melt down cosmetic outfits from the shop to acquire it. This mechanic came to Black Desert Online for PC in 2018.

Basic package

Black Desert

None of the extras

This is just about as basic of a package as you can get without the MMO being free-to-play. For $10 you get access to the game itself, but with extra bonuses or in-game currency. Nothing fancy.


Black Desert Standard Edition

In-game bonuses

The Standard Edition of Black Desert comes with the game and a few bonuses like a 3-day Value Pack, a Snow Wolfdog Pet, and 500 Pearls to spend in it.

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