This Monday been was a magical day. One of those all too rare days in adult life, with no place to be and no responsibilities to worry about. Public holiday. Kids both at their friend’s — youngest for a sleepover even! Just… Glorious. Wife and I had plans to do dinner and a movie that night, but over the course of the day had time to spend as we pleased.

I don’t mean to brag. I just wanted to set the scene for what follows. Although now that I have- I can’t help but to bask in the memory of it again a little.

Ahhh.

…Anyway. As you might imagine, for me this meant jumping into Black Desert Online. I think I had plans to somewhat evenly split my time between BDO and Dragon Age: Inquisition; but that never happened. I just didn’t leave.

Perhaps not hard to see why — BDO is a beautiful game to visit.

While perhaps not terribly surprising that I didn’t end up shifting game; I think that the way I played that day is. It might’ve been a product of the feelings generated by the day, or it might just have been something about BDO itself.

But whatever the reason… I didn’t just rush toward the ‘finish’ line, trying to level my character as much as possible. Efficiency was the last thing on my mind.

More than anything, I was just letting myself… be. I was going to say ‘be in the moment’, and I think that’s true too — but it was more than that too.

I think the best way I could summarise this is that I played in the way that I imagine Bhagpuss plays, from reading his posts. This wasn’t a conscious choice. I didn’t even make this connection until after the fact. But now, yep, I’m pretty sure this was the Bhagpuss approach to gaming.

And you know what?

I really enjoyed it.

I don’t know that it’s ‘me’ all the time. I don’t even think I could actively choose to pursue sustained enjoyment out of this style if I wanted to. I think it was simply some nebulous, wispy, space that can’t be captured with intent. Not by me at least. I’ve tried.

So I’m not sure I can articulate it any better than this. So I’ll leave it at that and move on.

What I Actually Did in Velia

Well- To be fair, I did venture further afield than just the literal area of Velia. But I mean to say my quests and activities all started from and were orientated around Velia.

One of the quest chains I went on had me visiting a number of sight-seeing locations around the world. And while they started out all being nearby — some sent me quite far afield.

And also into literal fields! This was the farmland on the outskirts of Calpheon. A place my level 20-something Musa had no real business being just yet.

BDO has a number of quest types. By default you’ll just have the ‘Combat’ quests enabled which is your somewhat typical MMO-leveling experience style quests. But you can also turn on ‘Life’ quests, which is a whole other story and set of activities based around the various crafting, gathering or generally non-combat quests. There are other types too for Trade, and I think one for Hunting specifically, but I haven’t (yet) jumped into these.

If I was following my typical pattern, it would’ve been to blast through the combat quests as rapidly as possible and move on. And in fact, given the XP buffs for playing a Seasonal character already putting my level well above what Velia requires — it’s likely I would’ve skipped all side quests and done just the bare minimum to make the Main Questline move me onto the next town.

And the next. And the next- until I was all caught up and working on the late game gear grind.

But I didn’t do that. I kept to the side quests. I did that sight-seeing / exploration quest noted above. I helped the families of the vicinity with their various woes. I learnt to fish. I learnt to gather from the land. I even started to learn to cook.

And once I’d started that– well; I had to finish the winter season event questline which had me milking cows (yes, really, there is even a mini-game for it) and then learning to make some high quality pet food.

Cron Castle, which overlooks Velia from a nearby cliffside.

But to make the pet food I had to reach at least level of Apprentice cook before the recipe would work. But thankfully Beer could be made as a beginner and I had a quest for Beer too and Beer is good for replenishing the energy of your workers and– *takes a breath* — so a plan started coming together.

Beer needs potatoes. Lots of beer requires LOTS of potatoes. So! I would invest some of the Contribution Points I’d earned by doing all this questing in a nearby farming node which produced potatoes. I’d then send a worker to gather said potatoes, while I also picked potatoes by hand from a nearby public access farm plot.

I’d turn the lots of potatoes into lots of beer and raise my cooking skill in the process in order to make the pet food, all for one seasonal side quest. I never do seasonal quests. To my mind the rewards are almost never commensurate with the effort required. I don’t really expect this case to be any different.

But it didn’t matter. I was having a ball. Or perhaps more accurately– I was satisfied with what I was doing. Deeply satisfied.

I kept thinking I was just about ready to move on, but then I found something else. And so the cycle went until game time was over for the day.

I did make it to Heidel, where my next adventure will start.

But I haven’t yet jumped back in to see whether this Monday magic will be recaptured, or if I gravitate to my more natural style of play. The coming Monday is a public holiday too and some more primal, superstitious side of me wants to wait until then before I pickup BDO again.

If nothing else, it might give me some time to jump back into Dragon Age: Inquisition again around raiding in WoW and that would be a win. :)

Approaching Heidel at last, where I know I’ll start learning the way of horse taming, amongst other things.