Last played: 2014
I already said a bunch of (mostly negative) things about Black Gold Online in my preview article on MMOBomb. The tl;dr is that it’s an Asian grinder with awful localization and a steampunk flair. The latter shouldn’t be enough to get you to play it, but hey, people will play Age of Wushu or Swordsman Online because they claim to love Chinese martial arts, even though the only wuxia-inspired movie they’ve ever seen is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Dubbed.
But I’m going to do something unusual here. I’m going to say nice things about Black Gold‘s loot system.
If you’re not familiar with it, the quick explanation is that every hour you play, you get a loot capsule that’s graded by color based on how much stuff you did. You can open two of your capsules every day for free and have to pay to open any others. You can, however, sell excess capsules, so they’re not completely useless. That’s pretty much the only way to get loot, or at least it was in the 15 levels or so that I played; quests didn’t give any out, they just increased your “score” for that hour.
In truth, it’s probably not awful. It’s not like you’ll miss a super-rare loot drop because you refuse to pay; just claim the best of your loot at the end of your play session. Unless you’ve been wrecking shop for three-plus hours straight, the worst you’ll miss out on is some crummy loot you’d just vendor for a few silver anyway.
What it is, though, is very different. There’s simply no way this can fly in the West. Hell, I’d be amazed if it worked anywhere.
But what if it did work? OK, maybe this exact implementation won’t work, but what if some other game came over with another crazy-sounding system, whether it be about loot, leveling, raiding, combat, whatever? And what if that system, looney tunes as it sounds, actually turned out to be really popular? I know I tend to be hard on MMOs that haven’t launched based on what I hear about their systems, but that’s usually because they’re doing the same thing and trying to pass it off as different, not because they’re doing something actually different.
This is why I can’t get too upset about Black Gold Online‘s loot system. (The rest of the game, on the other hand…) Chances are, it’ll just fall on the scrap heap of other bad Asian-imported MMOs and we’ll forget it even existed within a year. On the other hand, major MMO companies are so risk-averse that we almost have to lean on the “little guys” to innovate. And every now and then, one of them will get it right and we’ll have something new and interesting to try out.