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Black Desert Character (Representation) Request


84 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Simply being said, Black Desert as a game that offers a robust form of character creator, and a game set in a western setting, is not inclusive to those who are Black.

While the creator of Black Desert is praised for being one of the most 'robust' out there (famously starred in an article by Kotaku, which as garnered over 106k views since its making), the creator has been praised for being able to relatively easily make characters that resemble people from famous actors, to normal folk alike. This is not without being said that each of these articles and contests regarding lookalikes include any one Black person. Aside from there not being much demand overall.. there is little, if any support from the creator itself to allow it.

http://www.memecenter.com/fun/5872891/celebrities-in-amp-quot-black-desert-online-amp-quot-the-most-realistic-character-creation-in-a-mmorpg-part-2

http://kotaku.com/famous-celebrities-recreated-in-stunning-mmo-1671136546

coxxhf5jkwptsskhglsb.jpg

(image via Kotaku)

The character in itself arguably is, yes, robust. You're able to click and drag features to your liking and to a manner of which will suitably allow you to express yourself in many ways of which if you'd like, provided you are NOT of African American descent. This is noteworthy for a number of reasons. To begin, the setting of Black Desert is set in a time noticably inspired by Western themes which you would be led to think people of color will have a place at least as NPCs. Unfortunately, this is not the case and you are only bound to find at least 3 within the entire setting, as guards. It's slightly disheartening that a game set in a Western setting with no obvious connection to eastern/asian continents features more asian inspired characters than Black.

You will find medieval housing, knights, princesses and characters that are of noticeably European descent. Your cast of characters range from young, youthful (Asian) women who tame beasts to slicing throats with Katanas and majestic tumbles and twirls.. to European men clad in shining armor, and even hulking giants that dual wield huge axes and even old wizened men that shoot lightning bolts.

BlackDesert.jpg

But one thing is apparent throughout the game and even in the character creator itself: trying to express yourself as some one whos race is NOT marketed in a game whos setting arguably takes place on shores in a very setting where people of color had an influence in, is going to be very, very difficult. You simply are not marketed. And this is an issue because in a game in which the marketing of self is sold heavily, the degree of self is HEAVILY catered to a certain kind of people.

The setting even spans to a desert where you are (purportedly) to find people of darker color (but you seemingly don't, even in Valencia). It's a difference,but unfortunately as a player of color, it's sad that something as simple as requesting darker skin is community bound issue where it has to be requested from the NA community as part of westernization from the Korean shores.

Games such as Aion support off the bat a more inclusive creator, even if the game itself is not marketed towards those people at all. I honestly wouldn't even be able to recreate myself in Black Desert's creator and my looks aren't very outlandish in terms of features-- it's just outside of the game's parameters especially for male characters.

t149435.jpg

With ALL of this being said, if there could be further efforts to be a little more inclusive of those with an identity beyond Asian and White.. at least for a Western audience, that would be great for those of us who seek to express our identity in our characters. The skin color additions is a great start, but certain parameters in the facial features should definitely be further customized. This is in allowing certain parameters to be further enhanced (mouth and nose especially, it's very difficult if not impossible to get larger lips if the default face does not allow you to). This is also in representation through NPCs. While it's understood that certain regions like Valencia are not released yet, it would definitely be more inclusive to include darker NPCs as fitting as the region they are in. Representation exists beyond just stereotypical character/class depictions of gangster thugs and big booty women that the media likes to portray-- it's in the little things like my suggested additions as well.

 scr2.jpg

(Above -- Skyforge is a game designed by Russian developers, however, their localization in North America does NOT mean they are afraid of featuring some people of color within their promotions)

All in all, the argument of adding people of color seems to be a silent argument in itself. It's not a discussion many people like having (especially if you are not of color) but it is a discussion worth adding at all. In a game like Black Desert who seems to feature heavily Western themes and even have a centralized place taking place in a Desert (Valencia), the absence of darker people is questionable. There is often a discussion of lack of representation ESPECIALLY in games where classes are gender locked (ex "I don't feel comfortable playing a girl as my class! It just doesn't represent me!") when people who are NOT of color feel that they cannot find representation in a depiction of a different gender-- but at least there is still a platform for them to even be represented at all. 

Ultimately, as per the thread title, my request for change in the representation of player characters AND non player characters are...

Improvements as stated would simply be adding more NPCs of color where fit (there's more Asian than there is Black... and the game takes place in a heavily medieval setting.. to a desert) and even allowing players further customization (lips/nose/other facial features) to cater to a different crowd. While I may never play a character in this game who has an identity that is actually of color from default, it would certainly help to add features to encourage further customization. Afterall.. there's so many contests and even internal player discussion about recreating different looks and faces, but none of these contests even seem to include people of color for lack of obvious reasons beyond the creator doesn't even allow it. 

Overall:

*adding more NPCs of color where fit (and these NPCs do not need to be interactable, as noted, there are many NPCs who simply add to the environment and you do not need to speak to them, but their presence is still there)

* allowing players further customization (lips/nose/other facial features) beyond the given parameters will still fitting a natural look

Edited by MAERZ
Inflammatory Topic Name
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Posted (edited)

There are white people who say the same about white people in Black desert online, hence the custom face templates that were added to appease people(and some are still not satisfied). There are white people who said the same about Archeage. I think this argument would have more legs if the game was western made. However it is not.

You actually have a better chance of making a good looking person of color in this than you do in western created products.

Aion had an exceptional character creator, I agree. I still feel I created my favorite looking colored girl with freckles :) However with a bit of tweaking you can make a character you would enjoy looking at in BDO. They may not be African, but you could make an "African-American" or Black moors inspired character if you wanted. (and you might even pull off African if that is your goal, I haven't tried).

Look at Korea, and how big it is. Look at the range of people who live there. Look at what you can do with the character creator. I don't fault them in the slightest. 

The game itself does have people of color mixed into the world. Just like Elves or Shai and what have you. You can see this when you run around in game and not just the EU/NA version. It's in the other versions.

BDO is far more inclusive than any Tolkien work. (from what I can tell anyways *chuckle*)

This is in allowing certain parameters to be further enhanced (mouth and nose especially, it's very difficult if not impossible to get larger lips if the default face does not allow you to).

You can flatten and widen noses for all the female templates I used with no issues. You can adjust the mouth as you need as well. Wider, Fuller, lower...whatever you need actually. Might take a bit more time than the templates but it is doable. 

none of these contests even seem to include people of color for lack of obvious reasons beyond the creator doesn't even allow it.

A few reasons for this. People are kinda lazy. And it's certainly going to take more time to do certain changes. Secondly white people are more populous(in certain circles...). Third, even people of color favor white people and Asians...Not going to fight over this(at least compared to the opposite...). It's been proven with numbers time and again. As someone who as been an artist for nearly two decades I can tell you many artists of color predominately work with white subjects. Makes money. Is more popular. More likely to win a contest. From personal experience I can sadly say this is the case. If you want to win a contest, your odds are higher with a white or Asian lead.

Edited by Luciferia
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Posted (edited)

While I understand the need for a more diverse range of races and people in black desert because of its lore and setting you have to appreciate where the game is made, a country that is very non-western. Korea is not a place where people of colour can live freely without some kind of negative attention brought upon the for one reason or another. I believe not having any significant NPC's of colour was simply an oversight; a reflection of the still very inclusive and introspective Korean set of values.

While I may not be a person of colour I am a descendant and I have appreciation for equality it's clear to see that the lack of coloured people representation is not racist in any manner so I don't think painting in such a light is worthwhile. We can also turn our attention to how we can now create people of colour with the new character customisation settings, players are now freely able to make characters with a plethora of skin colours and features. Side note, while Aion did from the get go allow you to make darker skin colours there wasn't a single character in game that was of an African American identity, some asmodians were purple but ...humans aren't purple are they.

While I appreciate what is available in Black Desert NPC diversity is something that can always be improved I will give you that.

Edited by TheEntelexia

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Posted

I made my berserker look like lebron james.... last time I've checked, he was pretty black

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Posted

There are white people who say the same about white people in Black desert online, hence the custom face templates that were added to appease people(and some are still not satisfied). There are white people who said the same about Archeage. I think this argument would have more legs if the game was western made. However it is not.

You actually have a better chance of making a good looking person of color in this than you do in western created products.

Aion had an exceptional character creator, I agree. I still feel I created my favorite looking colored girl with freckles :) However with a bit of tweaking you can make a character you would enjoy looking at in BDO. They may not be African, but you could make an "African-American" or Black moors inspired character if you wanted. (and you might even pull off African if that is your goal, I haven't tried).

Look at Korea, and how big it is. Look at the range of people who live there. Look at what you can do with the character creator. I don't fault them in the slightest. 

The game itself does have people of color mixed into the world. Just like Elves or Shai and what have you. You can see this when you run around in game and not just the EU/NA version. It's in the other versions.

BDO is far more inclusive than any Tolkien work. 

You can flatten and widen noses for all the female templates I used with no issues. You can adjust the mouth as you need as well. Wider, Fuller, lower...whatever you need actually. Might take a bit more time than the templates but it is doable. 

And you are very true in regards to where the game was made-- I just felt like in some ways many Korean developers still manage to incorporate a darker person into their cast of characters.. and it'd only make sense in a game like BD's. Dragon Nest had Kali, Aion had (purple) Asmodians (even if they were represented as a more misunderstood race), Blade and Soul had the Gon, Tera had the Aman (even Castanics arguably), and most of these games didn't even have a desert setting. Just seems a bit like an oversight or like it just wasn't sellable. 

With that being said, BDO does seem much more inclusive than Tolkien works and I would agree. My basis is just the game is sold as being flexible in what you can do with it and in some cases.. it just isn't the case. If the degree I'd like to do so is just not known to me or I haven't been able to push it as I should've, its definitely something I should further explore.

Being said, I don't necessarily think it's a matter of racism. But I do feel like there is a degree of 'these (peoples) weren't very noteworthy to include in any percentage of our character representation in this game beyond maybe 1% of NPCs'.

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Posted (edited)

I mean, I haven't attempted to make a black character so I can't say much, but I did actually see quite a few very convincing black characters ingame, facial features included. Either you haven't tried hard enough or I guess some classes just aren't meant to look that way.

Edited by Artanis

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Ayyyyy que nooo,

I wasn't expecting this at all. Black desert is one of the few games that I have been happy with as far as color options and facial features. Granted it is a Korean based MMO so many facial features are rather locked. But that fact that they have darker skinned NPCs is like...astonishing for me because it is rare to see in any game. And so many of them. At least to me its many (3 in a city is like crazy) when in every other game there is literally none. So if anything, keep up the good work BDO. You could always add more and totally implement major NPCs with darker skin tones, but I am relatively happy. Hopefully other games will follow suit in their western releases as well.

 

VkSRNpv.jpgxgCARTM.jpglq5s8VF.jpgLE4v5Nh.jpgGkHi5Mo.jpg7QBwX1a.jpgw0kpLT5.jpgspN8lPl.jpg

 

Side note:

In Aion you were purple..not at all like dark skinned melanin producing people. Here you can actually make a person look like a normal dark skinned individual. Only thing I wasn't happy about, which I mention in the surveys was the fact that they implemented a perma blush, which looks great on lighter skin tones but terrible on really dark ones. That certainly needs to go, or they need to add cooler colors.

 

Now as for that Black Desert player community..that is another story. But one step at a time, eh?

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Posted (edited)

Being said, I don't necessarily think it's a matter of racism. But I do feel like there is a degree of 'these (peoples) weren't very noteworthy to include in any percentage of our character representation in this game beyond maybe 1% of NPCs'.

I didn't do any math. I saw some dark skinned folk mixed in the world.  Sure, lots were fighter types. But I saw lots of those in general, so it kinda makes sense. If their vision of this part of the world didn't have many people from a place that had darker skinned people I don't really have an issue. There doesn't seem to be any equivalent to Africa in their world yet. I can't fault them for that...

To be honest, most players don't care about the NPC that much. But I saw lots of dark skinned PLAYERS in beta. Lots. I was happy :)

I mean I can't expect an ArenaNet from Pearl Abyss :) 

Now as for that Black Desert player community..that is another story. But one step at a time, eh?

Thanks for sharing all these! And yeah on the perma blush....

 

Here is my offering, she was a quickie. I plan to spend more time in CBT2 tweaking features.(and i dont really plan to play tamer...but the fact she doesn't look like she's made of bark already makes her way nicer looking than some games I have played)

BlackDesert64 2015-12-19 22-48-01-64.jpg

Edited by Luciferia

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Posted

As a (half) Black person myself, I do agree that there certainly needs to be more representation in many forms of media.  However, I've actually found Black Desert to be a breath of fresh air in this regard, and was quite impressed that a Korean developer went to the lengths they did to include people of many different ancestral backgrounds as appearance inspirations.

There are many Black npcs in Black Desert, a lot of them in different roles in different societies.  One is the head of a merchant's guild in the story, for instance.  Others are instructors of Sorcerers and Sorceresses, others are warriors, some are guards, some are farmers.  I saw an interracial couple of a Black Man and a White Woman in Velia and it made me smile so hard to see!  If anything, I am very happy about the amount of Black NPCs in-game, all things considered.  My largest black-related criticism, however, is that there are not any Black female NPCs I have seen, I have only seen Black men walking around.

Valencia and Mediah has many more Black NPCs (percentage-wise) than the "Western" portions of the game, and it's of no surprise that they have a stronger influence.  It is likely tied to a specific ancestry in game, and because of this we are less likely to see them where the game started out.  Much like games like Guild Wars 1, where they eventually added "Nightfall", an entire African-inspired continent.  I, as well as others, have hopes that they will take a similar route into consideration.

Valencia and Mediah are clearly is not the "homeland" of the black characters in the sense that that is not where their traits developed, though many call it their home.  The people of Valencia have a more clear MENA ancestral inspiration, and most of those individuals don't have a lot of Sub-Saharan ancestry like we do.  And yet, they're still there in large numbers, which says to me that they come from someplace that clearly has some connection to Valencia.  If not through direct land contact, then by culture, religion, trade, or something else.

9d35359c5cd18ba58048d6ab06ab5bc8.thumb.p14592534d975d4aa272b26952771e038.thumb.pd984d32a33d5e849474df634e5a38735_(1).thu

These were taken in Tariff alone, all different NPCs.  If you want, I could explore Altinova (the Mediah capital) and get more, but they're everywhere there.  I also saw a lot of them in Velia, and interestingly enough around the Behr/Trent region as well (a more Germanic-inspired area, though they were wearing the clothes and clearly a part of the culture there!)

You can also make Black characters fairly easily, though it would certainly be nice to get some faces that are intended to be "Black" and include our features in the preset, instead of having to morph a more "White" face to have our features.

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Posted (edited)

snip

 

 

 

I definitely did want to quote you guys as I appreciate your perspectives on the matter-- and I certainly would agree that the play base itself has brought in a good amount of darker skinned players/peoples. While it's not an explicit acknowledgement from the devs of being more inclusive of Black NPCs, they are definitely littered around the map (though the most prevalent to me are the guards). It is definitely a breath of fresh air in that the players are placing more in there, and taking a quick look at the 'show off your characters!' thread shows many off the bat. Even PM_Belsazar's avatar is black and it'd be interesting to see his take in regards to further localization in the game and this matter.

Keeping in mind Maevynn's post, it's great to here there IS further inclusion in the other maps. I don't think the inclusions is something that has to be explicitly stated (Hey, we've included Black people!) but the passive approach to including them as with including any other NPC is the way to go.. and I do hope the developers continue on a route for diversity. Attached is some images of my own characters and others as noted within my journey. As stated by some of your posts, the class you play can have a distinct difference as it'd obviously be harder as a Wizard to alter his face.

 

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2015-12-19_22611931[-198_5_-1207].JPG

2015-12-20_35510031.JPG

2015-12-20_35019893.JPG

Edited by MAERZ

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Posted

They gonna get arrested for blocking that trade route

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@MAERZ One thing to keep in mind with noses, is the control point outside the nose influences the outer nose. So if you can't get the nose as wide as you want, you can move the area immediately outside of it to help a lot. (MOVE not scale. Move it out and it will stretch the nose a bit)

Same goes for the mouth. This may help you a bit with overcoming that concern.

And I think your characters are a great start. Seriously I still have bad memories of certain RPG where we complained to devs and they basically said "Not part of lore, not important, not going to change".

We aren't limited like we used to be.

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Posted

As a (half) Black person myself, I do agree that there certainly needs to be more representation in many forms of media.  However, I've actually found Black Desert to be a breath of fresh air in this regard, and was quite impressed that a Korean developer went to the lengths they did to include people of many different ancestral backgrounds as appearance inspirations.

There are many Black npcs in Black Desert, a lot of them in different roles in different societies.  One is the head of a merchant's guild in the story, for instance.  Others are instructors of Sorcerers and Sorceresses, others are warriors, some are guards, some are farmers.  I saw an interracial couple of a Black Man and a White Woman in Velia and it made me smile so hard to see!  If anything, I am very happy about the amount of Black NPCs in-game, all things considered.  My largest black-related criticism, however, is that there are not any Black female NPCs I have seen, I have only seen Black men walking around.

I totally agree with this, I think there needs to be more darker skinned female NPCs in game. It would make a very nice impression.

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Posted (edited)

I totally agree with this, I think there needs to be more darker skinned female NPCs in game. It would make a very nice impression.

This is a worldwide issue and not a BDO issue. But I can hear where you are coming form. Not going to touch it here cause it's too real for these forums.

Edited by Luciferia
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Posted

I'm actually surprised, and glad, this thread didn't turn into some uncivilised argument about random topics like 90% of other threads. Maybe the Christmas spirit is stopping people from getting their knickers in a twist. 

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I'm actually surprised, and glad, this thread didn't turn into some uncivilised argument about random topics like 90% of other threads. Maybe the Christmas spirit is stopping people from getting their knickers in a twist. 

Hehe, I am actually very happy to see so many culturally aware individuals and super ecstatic to even be able to have this type of conversation without reaching for a Kleenex. For better or for worst, I take a little bit of pride seeing people create dark skinned characters.

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I have noticed that people tend to be a lot more cooperative during the beginning (alpha/beta) period, The GM's here seem really active and actually listen to the community here as well so maybe we can get lucky and they'll slip it into an update just for us later because they care.

Merry Christmas btw ♥

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I'm actually surprised, and glad, this thread didn't turn into some uncivilised argument about random topics like 90% of other threads. Maybe the Christmas spirit is stopping people from getting their knickers in a twist. 

Well, part of it is just wording your/my argument as to avoid arguments. Often times threads like these turn into flamewars because the underlying argument points fingers, accuses and demeans instead of highlighting an issue and bringing it to attention in a way that allows proper discussion.

With all that being said, I'd imagine the chance of them adding a darker character just being very slim. It may have been brought up conceptually, but as far as execution their development plans seem unpredictable in that regard.

 

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Well, part of it is just wording your/my argument as to avoid arguments. Often times threads like these turn into flamewars because the underlying argument points fingers, accuses and demeans instead of highlighting an issue and bringing it to attention in a way that allows proper discussion.

With all that being said, I'd imagine the chance of them adding a darker character just being very slim. It may have been brought up conceptually, but as far as execution their development plans seem unpredictable in that regard.

 

I would honestly agree that we are unlikely to see any changes in this department but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to encourage Daum to pass on information from its player base for future consideration. It is pretty clear why there isn't perfect racial equality in this game, Korean values and perspectives ect, so we must also remind ourselves of the limitations of that. I highly doubt they will want to be running to very separate builds across NA/EU and KR so any changes in this area would most likely need considered for the original build (KR build) making the likelihood of seeing a higher level of integrated racial diversity a little slim. Fingers crossed though. 

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I might be taking this post a bit too seriously but don't think this is something to be made fun of. I'm not a PoC myself, but representation is very, very important and there's absolutely nothing wrong with people from a certain ethnicity wanting more of it. No reason to mock anyone.

I think they were/are being pretty harmless. I'm sure they're intelligent enough to recognise that this is an important issue to consider and recognise but they're just trying their hand at a bit of, maybe ill-timed, humour. 

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Simply being said, Black Desert as a game that offers a robust form of character creator, and a game set in a western setting, is not inclusive to those who are Black.

 

Blackies are from Africa! And you wont see alot of them in medieval!

 

But I can agree some ppl like black men or woman! But just not my preference but if someone will be happy with it why not?! The more the merrier!

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Blackies are from Africa! And you wont see alot of them in medieval!

 

But I can agree some ppl like black men or woman! But just not my preference but if someone will be happy with it why not?! The more the merrier!

There's no such thing as Africa/Europe/Asia in BDO, so... They could have easily come from somewhere else.

Even if you were to go by that logic though, this isn't "Medieval" based so much as Renaissance.  When there were a lot of Moors in Europe.

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You... do realize there are plenty of Black characters in-game, right?  Even in the story questline?

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You... do realize there are plenty of Black characters in-game, right?  Even in the story questline?

It's insanity to argue with the dumb. I would just ignore and move on. They have issues, not worth enlightening them. They are scared and ignorant. Can't be helped via the internet. 

 

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Make click bait thread title calling the creators racist to black people is acceptable for  forums, yea no. Nothing constructive was going to come from such a logically flaws topic. Should just lock this joke of a thread..

While I do agree it could have been worded better in the title, good discussion for the most part has come from it.

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 Nothing constructive was going to come from such a logically flaws topic. Should just lock this joke of a thread..

The goal of posters like yourself is to be the reason the thread is locked. As you can see others are going about peacefully and then *poof* someone had to show up to make things toxic.  The thread is fine, you however are not.

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