Black Desert Online – All Lifeskills (Professions) Explained

Life skills (professions) are one of the biggest money makers in BDO, but it's just impossible to do all of them! This guide will help you discover what works best for your gameplay.

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Lifeskills are a very important feature in Black Desert Online, and go far beyond the basic nature of professions in most MMOs. Even if you are new to BDO – it’s apparent that there’s just too much going on with lifeskills! This comprehensive guide aims to clear out any confusion, and help you decide if investing in lifeskills makes sense for your playstyle and your goals.

There’s a lot of people that focus almost all their efforts in lifeskilling (that’s me), and others who hate it. But even if it isn’t your cup of tea, I heavily suggest picking up at least 1 lifeskill – the extra money you can make is more than worth it!

Lifeskills have many forms, from full AFK, to semi-AFK, to full active gameplay. As expected, the more actively you have to participate in the lifeskill’s activities, the more rewards you can expect to receive. However, (if you have no respect for your electricity bill) AFK lifeskills can make you a lot of money by doing almost nothing, apart from leaving your PC open, and inputting a couple of commands.

All of the Lifeskills have a max level of 130, and break down in the following ranks:

  • Beginner 1-10 (Level 1-10)
  • Apprentice 1-10 (Level 11-20)
  • Skilled 1-10 (Level 21-30)
  • Professional 1-10 (Level 31-40)
  • Artisan 1-10 (Level 41-50)
  • Master 1-30 (Level 51-80)
  • Guru 1-50 (Level 81-130)

What’s more, apart from Lifeskill Levels there are also Lifeskill Masteries, which you can raise mainly with lifeskill gear. Their buffs depend on the lifeskill:

  • Gathering Mastery – Increases the acquisition chance & amount of Basic, Special and Rare resources.
  • Fishing Mastery – Increases the chance of catching Prize Fish.
  • Hunting Mastery – Increases the chance of getting more items from Butchering.
  • Cooking Mastery – Increases the chance of Mass Cooking, the chance & amount of getting more dishes and more rare dishes, as well as the Imperial Delivery profit percentage.
  • Alchemy Mastery – Increases the chance & amount of getting more elixirs and more rare elixirs, the chance of getting Regular, Special or Rare items while crafting, as well as the Imperial Delivery profit percentage.
  • Processing Mastery – Enables Mass Processing (when equipped with a Processing Stone), and increases the number of materials you can batch process.
  • Training Mastery – Increases the chance of capturing horses, the amount of Mount EXP, and the chance of getting higher tier horses from breeding.
  • Trading Mastery – It’s not implemented yet.
  • Farming Mastery – It’s not implemented yet.
  • Sailing Mastery – Increases your ship’s Acceleration, Speed, Turn and Brake.
  • Barter Mastery – It’s not implemented yet.

Let’s dive in, and break down all BDO lifeskills to their main benefits and requirements!

Alchemy

Alchemy is pretty similar with Cooking in the operating mechanics. You need to install an Alchemy Utensil in your Residence, input the right ingredients for your Elixir, and start crafting AFK! So what’s different? Well… everything!

While Cooking has a hard setup to get started, Alchemy will require constant attention and tweaking to your other BDO activities. Workers and nodes, Gathering, and Farming, will be essential tools to your success as an Alchemist.

You can’t just find one good recipe and go for it on a weekly basis here. The resources you can get are just too limited, so in order to make good profit, you will have to rotate a lot of recipes in a weekly basis, preferably around 7 different ones.

The same money making methods apply – you turn Elixirs into Medicine Boxes, which you then sell to the Imperial Delivery Manager for profit. But the extra reward from going with the “hard” choice, is that Elixirs sell very well on the Central Market.

There are countless Elixirs that provide super-important buffs for various BDO activities, so there’s always big demand and high prices – since few people bother to tackle with Alchemy.

If you’re excited so far, then we get each other. 😁 If you want to forget that Alchemy even exists… I can’t blame you! But remember, Alchemy Stones are also made with Alchemy!

Barter

Barter is a huge money-maker, but will also need some huge investments upfront. Definitely not a new player friendly activity, unless of course you don’t really care about your Combat Gear and PvP.

Bartering takes place exclusively in the Sea, and you trade items from island to island. You start by trading low-tier materials, that will then provide you with Special Bartering Items that go up in tiers. Then, you can exchange these for Silver and Sea Coins.

It’s actually a great activity you can do Semi-AFK, quite similar with Trading, but quite more rewarding in its own ways.

The more your ship can carry, and the faster it can go, the more you can make with Barter, so investing heavily in your equipment is a must here.

Cooking

Cooking is the most popular semi-AFK lifeskill in BDO, mainly due to how much money you can make, with little to no effort! Sure, it’s a pain to set it up at first, since you are going to need a lot of nodes and workers, but after the initial pains, it’s all gains! 😁

In order to cook, you need to have any Residence in any Town, and install a Cooking Utensil inside. Then, it’s as simple as inputting the right ingredients, and just letting your character do his thing until all your meals are ready.

You will make the most money, by processing your meals into Cooking Boxes, which you can sell to an Imperial Delivery Manager, for a big amount of Silver! There is a limited amount of boxes you can sell every day (half of your Contribution Points), but the profit you get is “the most must-have money in BDO”. You simply can’t overlook it, and by investing in your Cooking Gear, Level and Mastery, you can easily make 100 million silver per day, 200, or even more!

Cooking is all about planning your recipes, so I heavily suggest to take a look at our BDO Cooking guide for more details, as well as using our in-depth recipe calculator. If you’re not a fan of lifeskilling, definitely put all your efforts in Cooking. The reward is just too good!

BDO Cooking Guide

Farming

Farming in BDO is quite similar with farming in mobile games! You plant your seeds, and after several hours of in-game time (counts only when logged in), they will grow up to vegetables, plants, mushrooms etc.

The location, weather, as well as your skill and equipment will influence the time and amount of harvest, so there’s a lot of research waiting for the aspiring farmers!

It’s essential to use farms if you are serious about Cooking and / or Alchemy, since it will supply you with a big and steady amount of precious resources for your recipes. Similarly, if you don’t care about processing your haul further, you can make a respectable amount of daily silver by simply selling your crops into the Central Market.

It’s usually more efficient to have a separate alt character to tend your farm and always be in the spot so you don’t have to run back and forth, so do consider that.

Fishing

Fishing is the only lifeskill, that everyone in Black Desert takes part in! It’s a full AFK activity (but you can also actively fish in various rewarding ways), and more often than not there are active events that make Fishing a no-brainer, since you get so much free Silver from it!

All you need to fish is a Rod, and any kind of water source. There are hundreds of different species you can catch around BDO’s world, so if you enjoyed fishing in other MMOs, you’ll enjoy it even more here!

Shortly after you cast your Rod, fish will bite. You either have the option to use 1-10 Energy (the more energy, the more chances for rare fish), and play a quick mini-game to catch it, or simply leave the game AFK. If you take no action, your character will catch the fish by himself, without the need for energy, extra inputs, or a chance to miss. The “catch”, is that he’ll wait around 3 minutes (the time depends on your auto-fishing time) before pulling it it, therefore it’s only worth doing when you are away from the game.

Keep in mind that each fish you catch, takes its own inventory slot. That means the bigger your inventory, the more time you can spend AFK fishing before being full and stopping. That’s not too big of a problem though, as you can choose to discard lower-quality fish, which is bad money either way.

The most money you’ll make from fishing, is getting Ancient Relic Crystal Shards as extra drops, and Trading the fish you catch to the Imperial Delivery and Trade Manager. It’s not too much, but if you invest in it, and do it consistently, you will have a big amount of extra Silver to spend anywhere you want!

Gathering

Gathering is one of the most active and grindy lifeskills in BDO, but also the biggest money maker – especially when considering the low amount of investment you need, and the amount of money you can make from it.

Every time you gather something, you use 1 energy, and you also have a chance to not use any energy at all (the higher your Gathering level, the more chances you won’t use energy when gathering). Therefore the amount of gathering you can do is greatly limited by your energy cap, as well as your Gathering level and equipment.

There are 6 types of Gathering, each one using its own tools, and its own resources:

  • Meat Gathering from Animals with Butcher Knife (used in Cooking)
  • Wood Gathering from Trees with Lumbering Axe (used in Processing & Workshops)
  • Sap Gathering from Trees or Blood Gathering from Animals with Fluid Collector (used in Alchemy)
  • Ore Gathering from Ores with Pickaxe (used in Processing & Workshops)
  • Hide Gathering from Animals with Tanning Knife (used in Processing & Workshops)
  • Fruit Gathering from Herbs with Hoe (used in Alchemy)

You will want to focus in just one – especially when starting out – since gear will have a big impact on the silver / hour you can make with Gathering.

Most people stick to Meat, as it’s used in massive numbers by Cooks, and can provide a predictable and sustainable form of income. Ambitious alchemists will want to focus on Blood, Sap and Fruits, so the variety is quite bigger – but you need less from each type.

Any type of Ore or Tree you gather, apart from its own type’s materials, will always provide you with Stone and Log respectively. Both of these are extremely in demand, as you will soon discover they are needed in an enormous amount of recipes. I suggest you keep them for yourself, as selling them on the Central Market is hardly profitable compared to their value.

Hunting

Hunting is sadly one of the most underworked lifeskills in BDO. That means it’s far less rewarding, and there’s far less you can do with it, than the most popular lifeskills. It’s definitely fun, and quite unique in contrast to the “standard” MMO professions we all expect to find.

In order to hunt, you need to have a Matchlock (or a Sniper). When equipping it, you will be able to attack the “special” hunting animals (they look like a deer instead of a dot on your minimap). After killing them, you have to use a Butcher Knife on their carcass, in order to receive a big amount of meat, hide and blood, along with Hunting XP (you can’t level your Hunting Level if you don’t butcher the corpses).

It’s hard to get into hunting without a guide, so I suggest for starters checking out the “Suggested” hunting questline in your Quest window, so that you can get started, and meet the main hunting areas available to you.

Hunting can turn out to be quite rewarding if you have the patience it demands, and you can also take part in Hunting groups, that go out for Whale hunting or similar activities. These monsters provide ludicrous and unique materials you can’t find elsewhere, so don’t overlook it – especially if you are a Gatherer, due to the synergy of the two lifeskills.

Processing

Processing is BDO Lifeskills 101. More often than not it’s the first thing new players will need to do, since there are just so many things you will need Processing for, even if your gameplay is 0% based on lifeskilling.

Bullet points speak better than words, so these are the main things you can use Processing for (by accessing the Processing window with L):

  • Shaking – Mainly used for Cooking & Alchemy material refining.
  • Grinding – Mainly used for Cooking & Ore materials.
  • Chopping – Mainly used for Wood processing.
  • Drying – Mainly used for Cooking materials and Fish.
  • Filtering – Mainly used for Purifying Water.
  • Heating – Mainly used to melt Ores & Equipment, as well as creating various Enhancing materials.
  • Simple Alchemy – Mainly used for combining Event Items & creating Draughts.
  • Simple Cooking – Mainly used for combining Event Items & creating top-tier meals.
  • Imperial Cuisine – Mainly used to process meals into Cooking Boxes for Imperial Trading.
  • Imperial Alchemy – Mainly used to process elixirs into Medicine Boxes for Imperial Trading.
  • Guild Processing – Mainly used to process materials needed for crafting Guild Items and Mounts.
  • Manufacture – Mainly used to combine special types of Equipment.

As you see, there are essential Processing actions in the day to day, so you will level it up no matter what you do in the game.

You will also need to do a big amount of processing to help with your other lifeskills, or you can even do it by itself as an alternative to AFK fishing. You will have to do more calculations in order to make Processing more efficient than Fishing, but it’s definitely worth it if you’re after a good AFK activity in BDO.

BDO Processing Guide

Sailing

Sailing is a very promising lifeskill, that’s still lying more in the “promise” part. The “only” thing it can offer you, is the ability to use more skills with your ships, as well as sail faster.

It’s not unimportant, as all these play a big role in Barter, as well as Sea Monster Hunting (which is a very profitable solo or group activity), but there are no “direct” money gains you can get from Sailing itself.

What’s more, leveling Sailing is a huge pain. The only way you can level it is by sailing in uncharted waters (you can’t see where you are on the map or the minimap), without using a compass.

Many calculations have been made, and you would need decades (yes, talking about IRL decades here) in order to level Sailing to the max level.

Trading

Trading is yet another great addition to BDO’s open & player-driven economy, as well as an amazing failsafe to protect the world’s economy in times of big market fluctuations.

There are various ways you can Trade items in BDO, and the distance you travel to trade will reflect on your profits (the nodes you trade from and to, must be connected):

  • You can literally pack your character as a mule, and carry neutral items from town to town with the speed of… a snail. This will also build up your character’s Strength stat, and also provide a great amount of Trading XP. I definitely suggest starting your Trading journey this way.
  • You can pack a horse – or even better a wagon – with various tradeable crates, which you can make out of almost any item imaginable (fish, wood, ore etc.), and then carry them over to distant towns.
  • You can even have a specialized ship for trading overseas!

Trading is extremely long-term, and it will take quite some time before you are pulling in good profit. But I definitely suggest you take a look at any leftover materials you can’t really make use of. You can turn them to crates and trade them for some first-hand experience and profit.

If you don’t want to spend much time on this, I also suggest taking a look at Calpheon Timber Crates (or similar high-end wood crates), since it’s a nice way to make passive income while focusing on other things.

Training

Training is another unique lifeskill in BDO, and a really exciting idea that we haven’t seen implemented elsewhere! I literally know people that spend 100% of their playtime on catching, training and breeding horses, and that’s the magic! Almost every lifeskill is so deep, that you can actually just focus on it and nothing else!

As you may have guessed, Training is a long-term investment, and a lengthy procedure. You have to tame horses out in the wild, then train and breed them, in order to sell them, get back even better horses, that you can train and sell. 😄

You don’t have to take part in all the stages of course if you don’t want to. You can focus on just taming, training or breeding, but a real horse whisperer can’t compromise with just one!

Keep in mind that sadly Training leans into the P2W side of BDO, but if you are careful and patient you won’t need any. After all, we can’t count Training’s profitability if P2W is used, and it’s quite profitable without real money (but indeed a quite long-term reward, you can’t have quick gains).

BDO Training Guide T9 & T10 Dream Horse Guide

Disclosure: We may sometimes use affiliate links to reputable retailers like Amazon.

Babalon, Mother of Abominations
Babalon, Mother of Abominations
16-hours / day in front of the screen entrepreneur, of which 6+ are spent on gaming. MMOs, CCGs, RPGs and many more, Steam-addict & achievement-w***e. Currently wasting life on BDO & Gacha Games.

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