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Black Desert Online: What to do When You Reach Level 56

Black Desert Online is a few years old now. After an initial 2014 Korean release, it was then launched in North America and Europe in 2016. Since then, the game has continued to develop, grow, and expand. As a means of encouraging new users to stick with the game and make it to higher-level content, developers Pearl Abyss introduced a lot of buffs and boosts to make leveling from 1-56 a relatively quick and easy experience.


We already covered this process in our Black Desert Online leveling guide. One of the things that we noted was that rushing to level 56 on your first character is a bit counter-intuitive. These early levels can serve as a tutorial for some of the more advanced mechanics of the game. However, regardless of how long it takes you to reach awakening, the game changes quite considerably when you get there.


Not only do you have to learn a new skillset, but you’ll also notice that enemies become tougher. The game still gives you direction in terms of quests from the Black Spirit, but eventually, you’ll need to reach higher levels to be able to complete them. Furthermore, it’s unlikely you’ll have uncovered the majority of the map. So, you may be wondering what to do when you reach level 56 in Black Desert Online. In this guide, we’ll give some suggestions and guidance as to how you can progress in the game and start enjoying the various mechanics on offer.  

Learn Your New Skills

Beginners to Black Desert Online may find the process of learning their basic skills a little troublesome. The game doesn’t always do the best job of explaining which skills you should link together. It does give some prompts early on as to how to use newly acquired abilities, but by the time you reach the mid-50s, you’ll have a wide array of them. This all changes once again when you hit 56 and complete the awakening questline. Your awakening abilities and weapon totally change the dynamics of your class. The Ninja, for example, goes from a speedy, shortsword-wielding class to a more methodical katana-based one.


Your awakening skillset will bring a different playstyle to your character.


It’s important to learn your new skillset before you proceed with the game. Without it, you’ll soon find yourself faltering against the more powerful enemies you’re going to encounter. If you can, use the item ‘Armstrong’s Skill Guide’ to give you the ability to re-learn abilities as much as you want for an entire day. This flexibility allows you to experiment with your new skills to find a build that works for you and your play style. Focus on what combinations work together and what effects they produce, and be sure to start off with easier enemies while you familiarize yourself with your abilities.


Explore the Map

The BDO map is vast. There’s been a good deal of content added to it over the years, making it even bigger. However, if you follow the Black Spirit questline to reach level 56, you’ll find that you’ve not explored very much of it at all. You’ve likely made it as far west as Altinova, across a fairly narrow path from Calpheon. As a result, a great deal of the game world will still be covered by the fog of war. When you hit 56, it’s the perfect time to start exploring some more, not least of all because high-level enemies can net you a lot of experience points.

The BDO Map is big. Really big. Exploring helps you lift the fog of war.


A good place to start is by visiting Port Epheria to the north-east of Calpheon. This coastal town acts as a gateway to the Kuit Islands. You may already have a questline for here with the Black Spirit, but level 56 is perhaps the best time to do it. Players can take a ferry from Port Epheria, or built a boat and do the journey themselves. Kuit Islands are full of pirates, which drop a reasonable amount of loot and are one of the best places for grinding experience once you have your awakening. The enemies can be a little challenging depending on your gear, but it’s perhaps the most logical place to go when your level is in the mid-50s.


While on the subject of boats, having your own to explore the many islands north of Velia is a lot of fun. We’ll discuss further on what you need in order to build your first fishing boat, but once you have it, you can set off on your own seafaring adventure. Stop off at as many islands as you can and speak to the Node Manager. There are many Nodes available, and discovering them increases your knowledge. This, in turn, yields more energy points, which you can spend in various ways. Discover and exploration is a big part of Black Desert Online, and it’s a whole lot of fun.


Gear Up

You’ll notice that the BDO map gives details of suggested levels for enemies in certain areas. This level guidance stops once you reach the higher levels. Instead, it provides a recommended AP level which ranges from 90-100 AP at Helm’s Post, to Above 250 AP at Gyfin Rhasia Temple. That’s a huge gulf in numbers, particularly as you’ll barely be at 90 AP by the time you hit 56. Your DP also matters, as otherwise, you’re going to get cut down in seconds by tougher enemies. Furthermore, in order to be competitive in PVP, you’ll need to have the best gear possible. Below are some ideas on how to improve your gear.



We wrote a guide to enhancement in Black Desert Online recently, detailing the full process. For that reason, we’ll keep it brief here. Enhancement is how you raise the stats of your armor and weapons. It is carried out through the Black Spirit and requires a lot of Black Stones, patience, and luck. There are 20 levels of quality when it comes to most equipment and several tiers as well. To start exploring the ‘main’ game once you’re awakened, you’ll want to get the majority of your gear to at least +15. Depending on your class and the type of equipment you have, this will probably get you to around 90AP/110DP.

You need to raise your AP and DP as much as possible. Enhancing your items can help.


It’s important to know how enhancing works to make this process as straightforward and inexpensive as possible. You can safely enhance weapons to +7 and armor to +5 without failing in your attempts. Black Stones are consumed while doing so. Beyond that, your chance of failure increases with every level you gain. If you fail, your item loses some of its maximum durability. This degradation is why you need to know how to failstack. Essentially, each time you fail, you are given points towards your next success. The more fails you stack, the higher your chances of succeeding on your next attempt. You should failstack on items you don’t care about so that your main gear doesn’t lose its durability. Don’t forget that once you reach +17 (DUO/II) failing on your attempt to +18 (TRI/III) can result in that item going down a level.



There is a well-established player base in BDO. This means that the marketplace is never short on items. Whether it’s for PRI weapons, boss gear, or Ultimate armor, it’s always possible to find pieces that add to your stats. Sadly, it’s not very cheap. The best pieces are going to set you back a lot of silver, in the tens of millions at least. Hopefully, you’ve been saving throughout your early progression (there’s not much need to spend silver early on in the game), and you can splurge on a few items to set you on your way. Don’t forget that each city has its own storage, so your funds will be split across multiple places. Try and reconcile them to your central hub city; it’ll make purchasing marketplace items a lot easier.

The marketplace has a lot of items for sale, but it’s not cheap.


Work on Your Life Skills

There aren’t many opportunities during the main story and Black Spirit questlines to work on your life skills (in the game, we mean). This lack of focus means that by the time you reach awakening, you may find that you’re still level 1 on most of these skills. Thankfully, there’s plenty you can do to level up your life skills in a productive and profitable way, as we covered in our crafting guide. For many players, skilling is one of the main endgame activities in Black Desert.


Below are some tips for increasing some of your most profitable life skills:



If you haven’t been doing so already, AFK fishing is one of the easiest ways to improve the skill and earn money. Start by emptying as much bag space as you can, then head to one of the popular fishing areas such as Velia shore. Your character will continue to auto-fish as long as you’re AFK, providing you have the space in your bag and enough durability on your rod. You can easily obtain quite a bit of money for a few hours AFK time, particularly if you then transport your catch to a far-off but connected Node. You should also invest in the Node on Iliya Island; it’s one of the places you can craft a fishing boat from.



Cooking can be considered a semi-AFK skill. You should aim to stack as many ingredients as possible and have some high-quality cooking utensils in your house. Once you’ve set up the process, you can go off and do something else while your character cooks their way to a high skill level. Beer, as we’ve mentioned in multiple guides, is one of the best things you can make. It gives a fair amount of experience early on, produces dishes you can exchange for Contribution Points (CP) and cooking experience, and most importantly it feeds your workers to keep their stamina up.



Another semi-AFK skill you can quickly improve on is Processing. This ability is particularly relevant when you have a production/node/trade empire set up (see below). There are various processing methods within the skill. The quickest to gain experience in are chopping and heating if you have workers on ore and timber nodes. Again, you’ll want to clear some bag weight if you’re going to process a lot of materials at a time.



One of the more active skills is gathering. Despite being quite time-intensive, the rewards can be great. Empty your bag and set off to an area with a lot of resources, taking with you plenty of tools such as axes and hoes. Try to focus on materials that you might need, such as those to build a fishing boat.


Improving your skill rank takes a lot of time but it has many benefits.


Although it may seem like a chore leveling some of these up at times, don’t forget that there are plenty of quests you can do to gain more experience and knowledge. Open the quest menu (default ‘O’) and select all of the quests that are relevant to your interests on the bar below. There are also ‘Suggested Quests’ that are linked to areas such as Gathering and Cooking that you should follow.


Start an Alt

Having worked hard to level up to 56, you may be confused by the advice to start a new character. However, there are many benefits that doing so brings. Because the amount of time it takes to get to the higher levels, particularly from 1-50, is so low, you can breeze through on multiple characters. It’s always advisable to follow the main questline on your first run through, but aside from that there are numerous benefits that alternate characters can bring, as demonstrated below:


CP and Energy

Your Contribution and Energy points are bound to your account. This familial nature means that all of your characters share the same pool of resources in this respect. However, they can all contribute too, meaning it’s possible for you to grow your CP and energy with every additional character you add. This additional resource is ideal for when you’re expanding your Node empire, as it gives you access to more CP for buying nodes and housing.


Bag Space

Unless you’re willing to spend quite a bit of real life money on the game, bag and storage space is at a premium in BDO. Additional characters all have their own bag space. What’s more, you can expand their slots by questing, meaning you can use them for storage if nothing else.



Above, we mentioned how vital failstacking is for enhancing your gear. However, sometimes you might accumulate more stacks than is necessary to enhance an item. The benefit of failstacking is capped for each successive level. For example, if you’re attempting a PRI to DUO enhancement, anything above 35 failstacks won’t increase your chance of success. So, rather than wasting a higher number than this for the same result, you can switch to another character and save your high number of accumulated failstacks for when you try for DUO to TRI.


If nothing else, starting additional characters gives you the chance to experience how different classes play. There are fourteen to choose from, so there are plenty of options. The one that suits your playstyle most isn’t necessarily the first one you pick.


Start a Production Empire

Another topic that has received an in-depth look is Nodes and Production. There are many reasons to start a production empire, and level 56 is the time to do it, if not before. Many of the benefits it brings will feed directly into other aspects we’ve covered already. With the CP that you’ve gained from questing, cooking, and creating alternate characters, you should have at least 130CP. This is more than enough to start buying up Nodes across the map and starting your empire.


Below are some of the reasons you’d want to do this:


It Can Make You Money

If you spend a lot of time AFK with the game running, you workers will continue to gather resources for you. If you have Giant Workers, they have high amounts of stamina and can continue for hours without needed intervention. Goblin Workers need a more hands-on approach. Regardless, after a while, you’ll have a lot of produce accumulated in your storage. Much of this can be crafted into trade crates and sold for large amounts, or even sold without processing. Either way, there’s plenty of silver to be made, which is ideal if you’re saving for new equipment.

Workers will bring in resources as long as you’re logged in to the game. Perfect for passive income.


You Can Level Your Life Skills

When your production empire is in full swing, you’ll have more materials than you know what to do with. As we’ve said previously, this is ideal for leveling up some of your life skills. Whether it’s cooking, processing, or trading, you can soon take advantage of the system. The higher level of life skill you reach, there more you can craft, and the more money you can make. Leveling up these skills is a popular way of passive income and using time spent away from the game.


It Connects the Map

Part of any successful production empire is an array of trade routes than spans across the world. Because of this need, it encourages players to explore more of the world. The longer your trade routes are, the more money you can make. Not only this, but it means that you will get to see many different areas and pick up quests along the way.


Work Towards Level 60

Some of the points we’ve covered so far are adequate ways to enjoy your new skills and time. For some players, that’s enough. They’re happy to reach level 56 across multiple characters and spend time exploring many of the game’s mechanics. However, others like to pursue the higher levels. One of the interesting aspects of Black Desert Online is that there’s no hard level cap. You can keep gaining experience at every level. That being said, the amount of experience required after level 60 is enormous. So much so that only one player had reached level 63 by November 2017, and that took them four months of solid grinding from level 62 to do so.


Get Some Better Gear

We are going to cover levels 56-60 in more detail soon. However, we can impart some wisdom here. The first thing you’re going to need to do is gear up, which we covered above. To grind in the best areas, you’re going to need some pretty good equipment to see you through. For example, to reach level 58, you’ll ideally want around 180AP/220DP to farm the best areas for experience. To reach 60, you should aim for 220AP/260DP. These numbers are for guidelines only, as in reality, you could grind in a lower level area; the process would just take longer. You don’t have to make these huge jumps at once though; if you have both a passive and active income, you should be able to save for new equipment as you go. Don’t forget you can also enhance your items to progress too.

Certain areas have high AP requirements, so improving your gear is mandatory.


Start the Grind

We’ve used the word ‘grind’ a lot. You’re going to do a lot of it to reach level 60. The experience you receive reduces dramatically beyond level 56, so don’t expect to go at the same rate as before that. It’s advisable to start your grinding sessions with an empty bag, and a boat or horse that you can use for storage too. This means you can maximize the amount of time you’re killing monsters before you need to sell stuff.


Do Some Questing

There are plenty of quests in BDO, whether they’re main story, area, or daily quests. Try and break up your grinding sessions by doing some of these (or combine the two). It will mean you’re still making progress with other stats, like CP and energy, while you level up. There are plenty of nice rewards too, so it’s more than worthwhile.


Final Thoughts

This list is not an exhaustive one. There are so many aspects to this game that we could go on forever. However, what we have listed are things that have worked for us so far. We didn’t even mention PVP for example, as that’s not been a focus yet. However, it’s evident that reaching level 56 is only really finishing the tutorial of the game. Most of the content is focused on what you do once you reach there. Good luck and have fun.


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