Last Update: 19.09.2018
For me, BDO is "the MMO that could have
Let's hit some of the many good things about it: beautiful combat animations, no tab-targets, stunning visuals, sandbox (i.e, not a WoW theme park), intricate and engaging crafting system, horse-catching and training, the sublime joy of watching rain fall on your armor, innovative fishing minigame ... there are surely more.
So why did I stop playing? Several things bothered me, once I got over my initial enthusiasm for all the good stuff above.
Combat: although exciting, fluid and beautiful, it's not quite realistic, because it strongly favors AoE-style fighting; in other words, you're absurdly overpowered against single targets. The graphics, although stunning in their beauty, suffer from the worst case of "pop-in" I've ever seen. And then there's character creation, which BDO hypes as more featured than any and, if you judge solely by the sheer number of options you have in the creator, they're correct. The problem is that the base character model is the same for each class. Look at my warrior above -- that's the face you get as a warrior -- you have lots of things you can change on it, but they're all trivial and not noticeably different than the base model you see above. To add insult to injury, some of the classes are gender locked!
Finally, the European distributor of BDO, "Daum", has some things to learn about MMO admin. Their prime directive is to prevent bots and gold-sellers and they put more effort into this than I've ever seen in an MMO. They have a name-parser that prevents the random generation of a silly name -- that's great. They don't allow player trades -- bad. The auction house only allows you to set your price within a narrow min/max range -- Soviet-style Command Economy, anyone? To summarize: Daum's noble efforts to stamp out bots has a high cost in stifled player interaction -- and still doesn't prevent bots.
I see the potential of BDO and I don't rule out returning one day, subject to the resolution of the issues I note above.
As of early SEP 2018, BDO is P2W (pay-to-win). Because of this, the game now polls at "mostly negative" on Steam.
In my personal code of game ethics, there is never an excuse for P2W and I will play no game -- no matter how good -- that adheres to that business model. Pearl Abyss has always been shameless with their cash shoppe, but up to now, they've merely offered cosmetic improvements to your character. Korean BDO has been P2W for some time, but PA assured the server communities outside Korea that BDO would not become so for them.
In light of these developments, BDO is not a game option for me. Not now. Not ever. Shame on you, Pearl Abyss.