GM Notes [GM Notes] Developmental Insight into Class Mechanics
Black Desert Nov 12, 2021, 00:00 (UTC)


Greetings Adventurers, this is the Black Desert Studio.

Last week in Black Desert Global Lab, we shared with you the varied feedback we received, as well as key topics that need to be considered as we continue with the Class Reboot.

Today, we would like to discuss the future direction of the Class Reboot, the key topics we are currently contemplating, and what we’re considering after the Reboot. Here are the key topics we mentioned on the Black Desert Global Lab:


- Grabs and Guards are overtuned

- Difference in PvE ability and summon damage for each class

- The number of defensive effects and debuffs/CCs for each class needs to be balanced

- Three-min buffs and basic passive effects

- Resistances

Some of these key topics were already addressed in the Black Desert Global Lab. By visiting our official Global Lab website, you can find all the latest Class Reboot news leading up to its release on the official live servers. We would also like to note that some of the topics require a long-term approach and require monitoring to consider the best way to address your concerns.

From here on, we will address each topic in detail.


First Topic: Grab and Guard Changes

▲ Grab is a CC effect that ignores the opponent’s defensive effects.

▲ Guard is a difficult skill to overcome.


Grab is a powerful CC effect that ignores the opponent’s defensive effects, while Guard is a powerful defensive skill that is difficult to overcome in PvP. These two topics have always been hotly discussed.


When we discussed them internally, we couldn’t only consider the implications to 1v1 PvP, but had to consider the bigger implications to large-scale PvP as well. Many Adventurers have voiced their concerns regarding grabs and Guard, but we were unable to make changes to these as they constituted a core feature of the classes that had them.

We do, however, agree that these mechanics need to be addressed along with the other changes coming with the Class Reboot. Therefore, we have decided to change them accordingly.

First off, grabs for all classes will be changed so that they no longer have any defensive effects during the grab attempt but will instead be given Super Armor during successful grab animations. Grab cooldowns will also be adjusted to 15 seconds or more, but this may vary for each of the grab skills depending on their strength.


As grab skills almost always allow Adventurers to CC their opponents, we increased the risk of using such powerful effects in order to balance their risk/reward factor. This may raise questions about Resistance, but this will be discussed as a separate topic below.

As for Guard, there are two main types: the basic Guard (Guard applied by pressing Q, i.e. the Q Guard) and the S-Block (Guard applied by walking backward). The S-Block was initially designed during the early phases of Black Desert to work in a similar manner to the blocks found in fighting games. As such, classes that had a Q Guard were given an S-Block to enable them to block naturally by walking backward. This was to create more intuitive and meaningful action-orientated combat. However, over the course of numerous updates, S-Block was also given to less effective classes and classes that didn’t have Q Guard. It seems we did not consider the full implications of these changes as they caused S-Block to become even more effective and made it even harder for classes that didn’t have S-Block.


▲ Difference in capabilities between classes that do and don’t have S-Block.


Therefore, we plan to weaken the effect of S-Block to create a disparity between Q Guard and S-Block, so the effect of Q Guard will be more prevalent.

We are also contemplating the merits of adding a system where the Guard Gauge does not recover for a short period of time after the Guard breaks.


This will force Adventurers to rely less on holding their ground with Guard and encourage them to disengage in order to recover their Guard Gauge. This in turn will create a necessity for these classes to manage their Guard Gauge and use Guard more strategically. As always, we would love to hear your feedback on the new direction we are taking with these changes.


Even though there will be a number of adjustments applied, we also understand that classes which center around their Guard shouldn’t lose this characteristic. We will do our best to maintain their uniqueness even though some of the mechanics may change. 


▲ Corsair’s skill that is effective in overcoming Guard.


Second Topic: Adjusting PvE performance and summons’ damage for each class

We have received a fair amount of feedback on PvE and would like to state our decision briefly before explaining it in more detail. In short, we plan to buff weaker classes rather than nerf stronger ones. Our intentions are to adjust the PvE performance of weaker classes, so they match those currently praised for their PvE performance (Sage, Awakening Nova, and the like).

The skill damage changes that have currently come to Global Lab as part of the reboot have only lightly addressed the issue of class PvE, but before we start adjusting skill damage further, we plan to iron out skill mechanics and their combos first. Additional PvP and PvE damage adjustments will come at a later date.

Furthermore, the system that determines the damage of summons will also be changed. Currently, summons’ damage (from Marg, Tett, Arne, Gorr, Heilang, Echo Spirits, etc.) does not benefit from a character’s gear, and instead has fixed AP of 100 to 120.
This will now be changed so that summons are affected by a character’s gear.


▲ Now, you will be able to experience your summons growing stronger with you.


Third Topic: Adjusting the number of defensive effects and debuffs/CCs for each class and their Succession/Awakening

Out of all the topics here, defensive effects received the most feedback. To recap: "this skill must have a defensive effect to be used in PvP," “there is a gap in Super Armor up time,” “this defense effect is required to continue the combo," and even conversely, "the number of defensive effects just keep rising. This is concerning as we are becoming even more reliant on these effects to fight."

Defensive effects in PvP are supposed to be an important tactical aspect of fights. It’s what creates those openings Adventurers can skillfully exploit to their advantage. It‘s a major point of appeal for many Black Desert Adventurers.

This was a great point of concern for us as we moved forward with the Class Reboot. Many Adventurers have asked us to add more defensive effects to certain skills, however, the reason why we cannot go ahead and add the effects to all of them is because we want to keep the aspects of Black Desert combat that emphasize strategy and skill.

However, Adventurers felt certain classes didn’t have enough defensive effects or debuffs/CCs to appear threatening or these defensive effects were on infrequently used skills which put them at a disadvantage when compared to other classes.

Therefore, we plan to move the defensive effects and debuffs/CCs from skills that aren’t being utilized to more commonly used skills, and add defensive effects and debuffs/CCs to commonly used skills for classes with relatively fewer ones through the Class Reboot. However, we plan to adjust classes with skills that have Invincibility and Super Armor while dealing immense damage simultaneously, such as Corsair.

Still, as these are extremely important aspects of PvP, we may continue to change them on the Black Desert Global Lab and even after they go live on our official servers. Of course, we will continue to monitor our official live servers once the changes go live to ensure there aren’t any major balance issues. Once we have the data, we will continue to balance classes that appear to perform better than others.

These changes will be applied to the rest of the classes in the future as well. Each of the classes will be balanced to make their specialized characteristics more prominent instead of simply increasing their raw strength.


Fourth Topic: Reworking the three-minute buffs and passive effects


▲ Hashashin’s three-minute buff that is somewhat lackluster in PvE.


We are also planning to rework three-minute buffs and passive effects. In the case of three-minute buffs, these changes will specifically target classes whose buffs are lacking when compared to other classes. As for passives, we are checking for effects that are inefficient or only geared toward a specific path.

We are also considering other options. These options include sorting classes into “groups” that would have a selection of passive effects to choose from specific to that group, or just simply focusing on passive skills that enhance each class’s unique characteristics.


Fifth Topic: Resistance

And last but not least, Resistance. Resistance was a system that was added with Black Desert’s combat system and large-scale Conquest War in mind. It serves to stop characters from being bombarded by constant CC and debuffs during combat.


Nevertheless, many Adventurers have expressed their frustration with the system in small-scale fights and 1v1 situations as it caused combos to break due to the opponent’s Resistance (for example, resisting knock-down even while they are stunned). We empathize with this feedback and have decided to make some changes while keeping the main framework of the Resistance system.


Now, the Ignore Resistance effect will be applied to the maximum applicable PvP Resistance rather than the overall Resistance (max 100%). The previous Ignore Resistance system was deemed ineffective, but with this change, it will feel much more impactful.


Since it is possible to obtain up to a maximum of 50% Ignore Resistance with existing gear and buffs, we will also be increasing the maximum Resistance value from 60% to 80%. With 50% Ignore Resistance, this will leave the opponent with a maximum Resistance of 30%.


Furthermore, we plan to increase options to ignore an opponent’s resistance and increase the character’s resistance. This is to ensure we don’t have resistance builds that are best for all but rather optimal build unique to each class. Of course, we will also be constantly analyzing how this update affects both small- and large-scale battles and make the necessary changes to items and buff effects to enable a variety of strategic options.


▲ The Ignore Resistance value that can be obtained through gear and buffs


In conclusion 

Black Desert Studio is aware of the high expectations Adventurers have for the reboot of their beloved classes.


In order to meet those expectations, we are working on this Class Reboot meticulously, carefully, and with a great sense of responsibility. Black Desert Studio will do its best to deliver an enjoyable adventure, so we hope for your continued interest and engagement.


Thank you.

Dear Pearl Abyss, here is some feedback for todays changes:
1) Grab changes seem relatively ok in global lab after todays global lab patch (12.11.2021). 15 second cooldown and having to be right in front of a target AND facing it to grab it is a great improvement
2) The suggested block changes are TRASH and only prove that you have absolutely no idea what the problem with blocks is. Nerfing S-block and adding a no-regen timer when block breaks to all classes will only worsen the problem. People have a problem with classes
that have SUPER ARMOR on Q-block. People DO NOT have problems with S-blocking!!! Non-grab classes are literally helpless against high gear SA Q-block classes (warr, valk, guardian, succ nova) because they not only have SA Q block, but also a full SA skill
rotation without any gaps, making them protected all the time.
What is more, if you make block have a regen cooldown timer when it breaks, this will make things worse for all "squishy" classes, because they don't have any DR passives/skill buffs which translates to "lower hp" block, which means that once their tiny block
is gone in the first 0.2 seconds of a fight, they won't be able to recharge it at all.

3) PET damage for each class. Since global lab damage is not trustworthy, I don't feel comfortable commenting on this. (tho I have a suspicion tamer and witch pets will be a bit too strong, take it with a grain of salt)
4) reowrking e-buffs and passives - nothing done so far, nothing to say...
5) Resists. For now I would say the change is fine, but it will require more testing.
Nov 12, 2021, 10:05 (UTC) 17
@Martoyo I share the same opinion with Martoyo and just want to emphasize the point 2).
The Guard effect is not the problem for me, my problem is when you combine the Guard effect with the Super-Armor effect.
This combination is very powerful, because it leaves non-grab classes with only 1 option, which is to destroy the Guard. However this is not very easy to do when you do not have very high amounts of AP, that leads the player to do many of the combo skills and
some unprotected skills to break the Guard, even if you have successfully break the Guard, most of the times, you have no skills to kill the player afterwards and sometimes you just get caught while trying to break their Guard. This is not fun, since the other
player had almost nothing to do except sitting in their Super-Armor Guard watching carefully what the opponent is doing, while you had to keep observing and doing multiple skills to try to break the block, so you can make the target start to move.
This combination of Guard plus Super-Armor is not present in all classes and it should not be. Some people might think this combination isn't as powerful as it actually is, because they have a grab that can surpass this. However, with the changes to grabs that
you have implemented (which I'm in favor for) classes with grabs will start to have a harder time with Super-Armor Guards, because they will not have as many grabs as they would before to be able to surpass this problem.
In my opinion, the Guard should stay as it was before and the only thing you should address is the Guard plus Super-Armor skill that Warrior, Valkyrie, Guardian and Succession Nova have.
Nov 12, 2021, 10:53 (UTC) 9
There are too many CC status effects, where 3 would be enought (stiff, grab and knockdown). All classess should have implementation of each.

SA, Guard and CC effects should be separated accross skills - you're talking about combos and trading. There's no trading if you rush in with SA and apply knockdowns all over the place, laughing your ass off sorc that can not deal with that play with any stuff.

I don't get the point of the guard changes here - you argument it with S blocking as a thing? What?

With that change to resistance, getting any will be worthless.
Nov 12, 2021, 11:31 (UTC) 0
At first I was really disappointed that Archer got only 1 line of changes in this Glab update, but reading this. It sounds like your focus was centered in tackling some of the biggest concerns in the PvP scheme. I am actually pleasantly surprised at all
the work you guys are doing.
I keep waiting patiently for the height issue in Archer Skills.
I've had a couple of people downvote this feedback on the Archer Discord but nobody has given told me why they disagree with it so please consider it:
Nov 12, 2021, 14:02 (UTC) 2
@Pretzelicious Because PA don't know what to do with Archer. Archer was best class in game. After multiple nerfs it became completely unplayable for end game and pvp. Almost zero CC, slow skills without protection. Forcing to use both weapons simultaneously,
even though it is ineffective.
Nov 12, 2021, 15:27 (UTC) 1
Maybe increase the grab animation, so there's more time before it connects?
Nov 12, 2021, 15:23 (UTC) 2
The guard changes are genuinely baffling. What is nerfing S-block going to achieve? Players have been complaining for ages about Q-SA Block and instead you want to nerf S-Block. I would love to see the thought process behind this cuz it legitimately makes
no sense.
Nov 12, 2021, 18:07 (UTC) 5
So much wall of text for so little... we already know that there are weak E buffs, we don't need an image of it (lol) everyone knows there are weak ones since years, we need SOLUTION.

Also dfq is that gif of the S walking animation? like who even cares about it? We need abilities with both SA+FG removed, noone cares about S walk lol...
Nov 12, 2021, 18:30 (UTC) 5
The only issue with block in the game has to do with the classes that have Super Armour blocks because some classes don’t get grabs
Nov 12, 2021, 18:46 (UTC) 1
If SA block is gone from a class like awake guardian. It is essentially a dead class considering she is suppose to be viable large scale. A guardian that cannot guard will be real funny.

Also, don't understand why gm note is about s block. S block is already breakable by corsairs, rangers and even turos lol.
Nov 13, 2021, 09:42 (UTC) 1
This is like a huge buff to the already op Q block SA classes...
Protection wise the only things that need a nerf are Q Block SA's and Iframes. Iframe should only prevent damage and should allow CC's through. Not sure how you expect people to deal with corsairs and sorc with the grab nerf, but okay.
Nov 13, 2021, 12:26 (UTC) 0
A large number of most popular real life 1v1 fighting of this era put emphasis on defense and how to overcome defense of your opponent.

I think a lot could be done by removing grab and s-block completely. Doesn't make much sense that you can ignore any protection with a button press or having guard by backpedal without Q guard skill.
Of course this means to have class protection uptime rebalanced according to such change.
Nov 13, 2021, 19:46 (UTC) 0
I wonder if those changes are good. I smell the ranged __meta coming back. It throws out the important tactical aspect of fights.
Nov 15, 2021, 07:50 (UTC) 0
sometimes it feels like you forget that all types of ranged damage classes have a huge advantage that they can damage while they are ranged and most of them can teleport fly and shit like that. Feels like a game of ranged classes only.
Nov 15, 2021, 09:34 (UTC) 0
I will only give my feedback on the blocks. I feel the combination of sa+block should be adjusted per class. For example, guardian should have sa+block, she has very low mobility. Warrior has a ton of mobility and should have fg only on block. Nova awake
should not have sa on block, if you go succ nova, you should gain sa on block for just standing stil most of the time. This will still fit the class for feeling tanky and immobile, but mobile shielded classes should have a down side to their block, And be
only fg. The more options the class has to maneuver with the qblock (mobility and iframes) should not have sa on qblock. SA+QBlock should be strictly for very slow/immobile classes.
Nov 16, 2021, 23:51 (UTC) 0
Please also keep in mind that if you give multiple classes guard break you need to change how succ nova works as we have no movement in large scale when block is under a certain %.... And so you handicap us in large scale, you say here that we're not supposed
to just tank it tell me where can we go if we can't get our block back and can't move? Please remove the silly debuff that makes nova unable to move under a certain % and it's fixed ... Cause it will just become a bombing fiesta then on the succ nova's that
can't go anywhere cause well ... no guard.
Dec 1, 2021, 15:47 (UTC) 0
I imagine that this post only receiving 16 comments should itself serve as a wake-up call of sorts. It's a shame that these sincere efforts to work on class balance issues are only coming five years in.

Probably the thing that most bothers me here is that a fundamental aspect of balance appears to remain completely and fundamentally misunderstood. Saying that the plan is to balance the "NUMBER of defensive effects" is essentially to reiterate that the same
philosophy that inspired the original, failed gutting of PvP in the major rework of 2018 remains in full effect. That philosophy was to trivially count the number of protected skills and CC skills and to make them all equal for each class, regardless of every
other factor (protection type, CC type, damage, melee vs. range, etc) and assume that this would magically balance classes. The absurdity of such an assumption is clear when acknowledging that INV is qualitatively superior to SA and SA is qualitatively superior
to FG, with comparable differences in kind for CCs.

The larger problem here, even if all of this was addressed, is that balancing by NUMBER of defensive skills completely ignores the duration of each skill and its cooldown, which together determine its uptime. It appeared at some point that this had indeed been
recognized, when the long standing justification for overbuffing staffs (that their skills "were slow and fixed them in place" was actually an advantage because having lots of long SA skills conferred effectively 100% uptime for SA.

One straight forward solution (and I would happily send you a concise ~10 page proposal outlining all of the ways in which this is true) would be to look at others who have done an excellent job balancing a class-based game. For a lot of reasons I will omit
here, I think Dota is a great guide for developing a balancing philosophy. One key take-home from their philosophy is that UPTIME, defined as the duration of an effect divided by its cooldown, is the only relevant metric to consider. In this case, a class's
uptime for protection is a summation over skills of individual uptimes. Obviously, a lot of very basic aspects of balance completely break down when a class can approach 100% uptime, particularly for the strongest protection INV, over an extended period of
time. This having been true for two specific classes (more recently three) in particular has been at the root of balance problems that have plagued BDO from 2018-2021, in conjunction with a lack of balance with respect to melee vs. range and single target
vs. AoE.
Dec 3, 2021, 21:59 (UTC) 0
This post has been deleted.

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