Unfortunately, Black Desert is invite-only and in beta, and so far I haven't been allowed in.
Blade & Soul, so I did. And as I said, my graphics card isn't great, so all the characters look like they're finely crafted in Fimo and misted in olive oil, but I can still appreciate the environment.
But as with any new MMO reinventing the wheel, there's only so much playing skill I can bring to the game. Everything after that is a different way of fixing weapons, a different way of upgrading equipment, etc., and it's not very intuitive to engage with. And then even if you can find an online forum that's talking about these things, the official FAQ is written in broken English and the Stateside forums are stocked by native speakers who struggle with constructing coherent sentences.
This, then, is the sum of my own research, framed in a way that makes sense to me.
This is the weapon of choice for my character. Her class is Destroyer and she's strong in immediate-area physical attacks.
This axe has been upgraded once, and there's a status indicator that shows me it's not done evolving. It also shows two empty sockets for items that will amplify its power.
I can fix this weapon: you walk up to a fire and tap F to begin repairs. I have used an Element of Training (see below). As for "advancing" the weapon, it only asks for "Evolution Material", and I don't know if that's a class of material or an actual object, since these things are so weirdly named.
|Locked Stalker Weapon|
I won this from a kind of lottery. I need either a Key or a Brilliant Viridian Key to open it. I have eleven keys, but that'll just release a lower-grade object. If I can find a viridian key, that'll release something better.
That's my theory, anyway. Does this mean it'll give me a weapon or a really good weapon?
|Element of Training|
This is what I used to upgrade my axe: a screen opened up that asked for some kind of reinforcing material, and most items in my inventory were grayed-out, leaving only the eligible components. I used this and transformed my weapon.
You need one of these to upgrade your weapon at all (and you receive a set amount of experience for this), but once you start the process of "evolving" your weapon with this, you get options to add other ingredients (see below).
Another crafting material of unclear purpose. Under "Use" it lists people and techniques that require viridian poison, so it seems to have multiple applications.
What does it do? This is not apparent. Maybe it adds a poisonous edge to my axe?
Why would you use this charm to unseal something? What needs unsealing? It says various equipment may be sealed, so I guess I have to wait to find something that says "Sealed" in its description (as opposed to "Locked", which requires a key).
When I was evolving my weapon, and after I applied the Element of Training (see above), I was given the choice to apply any other materials to the process (see below). This item was indicated, so I incorporated it. My weapon evolved from level 4 to level 5, so it's closer but not up to Breakthrough level yet. I suspect I can use the viridian poison, if I can find another Element of Training.
These offer stat bonuses, they fit together like pieces of a puzzle, and they work in sets of three, five and eight.
These are very clear to interpret. What I don't get is how to set up two at a time, in order to switch between two completed shields as circumstances require. The game totally suggested this was possible.
You can see here I've selected Manage Equipment on my unequipped axe, and am upgrading it. I had an amplifier, the Element of Training, which was highlighted as available in my inventory. Once I placed it, another slot opened asking for "additional ingredients". In my inventory, the Hongmoon Fortune Charm was highlighted (none of the other Fortune Charms were), so I selected that.
The axe evolved successfully and moved up to level 5, and now I have to hope to find another Element of Training or its equivalent, if any.
After more gameplay: When you have a gem that can go into a weapon socket, you can right-click the gem to install it immediately into your equipped weapon. You can't install two same-colored gems in the same piece of equipment. You can remove the gem (say, to use it on another item) by left-clicking your weapon, selecting Manage Equipment, clicking on the Preview tab at top, then right-clicking the socketed gem, which goes right back into your inventory. That sounds simple enough.
Further, it seems you can't use a weapon in your inventory if it's Sealed; you have to unseal it for use. But if you want to trade it, you have to reseal it. Not sure why this extra step was necessary for the game, unless the creators were afraid of some form of abuse brought on by rampant equipment trading and just had to make it a little trickier.
You can, however, use Sealed weapons (even those not for your class) as additional ingredients to evolve your own weapon, after starting with the appropriate amplifying gemstone.
Important: Please note that when you're awarded your Element of Training during your first dozen levels, you are given two sets of two gems. Break them up! Use one at a time when evolving your weapon, and if you can, wait until you have additional ingredients, to maximize the potential for your weapon.