(Ready to vanquish with the press of a mighty red B button? ☺)
In Black Desert Online, combat is one part of the game, many players love. We can dive into a hoard of baddies and watch them fall en masse! Most BDO gaming is done via mouse and keyboard on PC. (And this is how the developers recommend we play. See their official Controller Support Page.) But when our mouse mover begins to cramp and stiffen, some might wonder about the wisdom of using a gamepad or controller in BDO.
Lately, I have been using an XBox controller on my PC. It can be a bit frustrating, but I think it’s worth it. The most frustrating part is not being able to turn with a look. When I play with my mouse, I can angle the camera quickly and shoot the next mob. Not so with a controller. Strafe right and strafe left are all you can do with your left joystick. What I need is move camera left or right for actual movement and aiming purposes on an archer. Move camera left and move camera right is accomplished with the right joystick, which takes some practice to get used to.
IMHO controllers are great for a break from the traditional play style and are allot of fun to experiment with, but I wouldn’t use them during intense battles like PVP. They do have their perks, but also a few drawbacks to keep in mind.
BDO Controller & Gamepad Tips
- BDO Compatibility: this is the most important consideration. BDO natively supports Microsoft brand XBOX One and Xbox 360 controllers. The controllers that have the Microsoft brand have a reputation for high quality and working well with Windows games, like Black Desert Online. Any other brand, you might be taking a chance. (See below for a few highly rated 3rd party brands.) Check to make sure your store offers a good return policy. (Every Prime eligible item on Amazon is backed by their excellent return policy, even if it’s a 3rd party seller/brand.)
- Price: Expect to pay around $20 for the cheapest controllers. If you decide to go with higher Microsoft quality over price, expect to pay around $50 and up for a Microsoft branded controller. There are many third party gamepads out there, but be careful that you can still return them if it doesn’t work with BDO. (All Prime eligible items have 30 days to return.)
- Ergonomics: I find the XBOX 360 controller to be the most comfortable and natural feeling for BDO. It keeps wrists and hands in natural alignment.
- Software: most controllers are Plug N Play and don’t require any set up. This is probably what you want. If all goes well, Windows 10 will automatically detect the gamepad and instantly install the correct driver. However, if there is a problem with Windows recognizing the controller, you may have to do some extra work, like digging on the internet to see if the manufacturer has a driver. See below for help fixing a BDO controller not working.
- Extra Buttons: who doesn’t love countless programmable buttons? But be careful choosing gamepads that have Auto or Macro buttons/switches built into the hardware. Macros are forbidden inside BDO.
- Macros: Look for macro features that automatically press multiple keyboard buttons for you at the same time or in a sequence. This can be accomplished via software and sometimes it’s an “auto” or “turbo” button built into the controller hardware. Using any form of gamepad macros inside BDO is against the Terms of Service. So be sure you don’t accidentally use this during play time or you may get your account banned. Read BDO Macro Policy Here.
- Wireless: Wireless is great, but expect to pay for the added benefit. Wireless controllers require an additional receiver/adapter. You will also need to power the controller: charging station and/or batteries
BDO Controller Hotkeys
|BDO Gamepad Labels Xbox Controller|
|1 Rstick||8 Start|
|2 DPad||9 RTrigger|
|3 Lstick||10 RightShoulder|
|4 Back||A (green button)|
|5 LeftShoulder||B (red button)|
|6 LTrigger||X (blue button)|
|7 Guide (can’t use)||Y (yellow button)|
When you use a controller for BDO, you are provided a default setup and Hotkey assignment. The Hotkeys set certain BDO actions to specific buttons on your controller. You may find the developer’s Hotkey layout not to your liking. But it’s very easy to change Hotkeys inside the BDO Settings interface.BDO Controller Hotkey Assignment How-To:
On the keyboard, press Esc ► Settings ► Interface ►
Turning on Gamepad Hotkeys:
Make sure the tab labeled “Gamepad Interface” is open. Select the option that says “Use Gamepad”. This should be highlighted yellow.
BDO Controller Hotkeys: Other Gamepad Interface Options
You will notice the “Gamepad Interface” tab under “Interface Settings” has several other options as well.
- Controller Vibration: you can turn on controller vibration and feel the excitement of your controller coming to life as you battle! To activate this feature, select “Activate Game Pad Vibration.” Note: some controllers don’t come with this feature. Also, it is a common problem for many generic controllers. See below on how to help a BDO gamepad that doesn’t work properly.
- Invert Gamepad Horizontally: This controls what happens to the camera when you press the Right Joystick to the Left or the Right. When this is turned on, the camera will swing to the Right when you press the joystick to the right. The camera will move to the left when the joystick is moved to the left side.
- Invert Gamepad Vertically: This controls what happens to the camera when you press the Right Joystick to Up or Down. When this BDO Gamepad option is turned on, the camera will swing Upward to the sky, when you press the joystick UP away from you. The camera will move down to the ground when the joystick is moved toward you or downward.
- Gamepad Horizontal or Vertical Sensitivity: This determines how fast the camera moves when you press the Right Joystick.
Sensitivity 100: fast camera movement.
Sensitivity 0: slow camera movement
BDO Controller Hotkeys: Action Hotkeys
The “Action Hotkeys” tab in the “Interface Settings” section is responsible for character movement and repetitive actions like Jump, Sprint, Evade, and common interactions in the environment. Most of them are easy to understand, but I will go over a few that might cause confusion.
Action Hotkeys Explained:
- Combined Key 1: (Func1) This is the same as what the gamepad interface labels “Func1”. It is a Function key, that when pressed with an additional button on the gamepad calls a new action. It enables you to “combine” two button presses at the same time to enable a separate action.
- Combined Key 2: (Func2) This is the same as what the gamepad interface labels “Func2”. It is a secondary Function key, that when pressed with an additional button on the gamepad calls a new action.
- Character Interactions: (R) This is the same as pressing the “R” key. Used for picking up loot, talking to NPCs, cycling through chat windows, interacting with objects, etc.
- Interaction 1-5: (F5-F9) This is the same as pressing F5 through F9, when you are facing an NPC, mount, etc. The actions of these change depending up what you are interacting with. F5 is frequently used to “Greet” NPCs for Amity, for example. But if used before a horse, F5 would “Give Mount Rest.”
- Special Action 1: (Q) Combat Maneuver or Sit
- Special Action 2: (E) Combat Maneuver
- Special Action 3: (F) Combat Manuever or Max Quantity
BDO Controller Hotkeys: UI Hotkeys
The “UI Hotkeys” tab in the “Interface Settings” section is responsible for User Interface controls like Inventory, World Map, and Show/Hide Cursor. These will probably not be used too often as you are playing, so you might want to save these for the more complex Hotkey combos.
BDO Controller Hotkeys: Quick Slot Hotkeys
The “Quick Slot Hotkeys” tab in the “Interface Settings” section is responsible for pressing Quick Slots that are normally number keys of 0 through 9 on the keyboard. Default location of Quick Slot is visible on the bottom of the player’s main window. This is a good time to check and make sure you have something quick slotted to regenerate health, mana, etc.
The Quick Slots can be used for your main combat moves, however, I don’t recommend this, unless you need simple button presses. When you use the Quick Slots, it can make playing BDO with a controller somewhat limiting, as some skills are unable to be put into Quick Slot. Also, using Quick Slots actually increases the cost to use the skill. There are a maximum of 20 Quick Slots.
BDO Controller Hotkeys: Misc Hotkeys
The “Misc Hotkeys” tab in the “Interface Settings” section is responsible for different User Interface actions like camera position. You have no choice, but to leave the camera movement (looking left and right) up to the Right analog joystick. The camera options here are for the fixed camera position of the aiming reticule over your character.
Buy BDO Controllers: Top Rated (2019)
I did some research and found some good BDO controllers available for purchase on Amazon.com. I chose these gamepads because they all have a generous amount of positive reviews. Some of these top rated controllers are pretty cheap. Note that the cheaper controllers are not manufactured and branded by Microsoft. I added them anyway, in case you need a very cheap controller. 3rd party and generic controllers may require a bit more setup or may encounter more problems natively integrating with Microsoft Windows games. (Vibration issues seem to be the most common.) I try to include highly tested and reviewed 3rd party controllers that can be returned within 30 days, if they don’t fully work inside BDO.
If you buy one of the controllers or gaming gear on this page through the affiliate links, I will get an ad fee on qualifying purchases that are within 24 hours of your first click. Thanks!
|Wireless BDO Controllers||Wired BDO Controllers||Chatpad|
|Distance||30 ft||32 ft||6.5 ft||6.5 ft||9 ft|
|30 Day Return||☑||☑||☑||☑||☑||☑|
|Warranty||90 day||18 mo.||?||?||90 day||90 day|
BDO Controller Not Working
Techthon has never seen so many disgraceful controllers in his 30 years of expert blacksmithing! He wants to protect his fellow Heidelians from controllers that don’t vibrate and joysticks that don’t stick! Techthon encourages you to look carefully at the original manufacturer, and discover if they stand behind their product with a solid warranty. He admonishes you to keep an eye out for vendor return policies!
USB Controller Driver Basics
Controllers require driver software in order to communicate with your PC. Windows should automatically detect your USB controller and will automatically search for a driver and select the driver it thinks best matches. Sometimes this driver isn’t the right one, especially if you’re using a non-Microsoft controller. If your controller isn’t working after you plug it in, controller software is the most common reason. Check to see if the gamepad came with a software disk or instructions on where to download a driver. If there isn’t any help there, then search Google for the brand name, gamepad model, and the words “driver download.”
Checking Controller Drivers
You can see if Windows correctly recognized your device as a USB controller by typing “Device” into Cortana. Click on “Device Manager.”
Update, Disable, or Uninstall Controller Drivers
If you see anything that says “Unknown Device”, then it could be related to Windows not properly installing the controller driver. From here you can do many things to try and fix a bad driver. Try having Windows search for and update the controller driver first. If that doesn’t work, you will need to find a driver that will work with your gamepad.
Update Controller Driver
When you choose “Update Driver”, you have the option of manually installing a driver you obtained from the manufacturer or a third party. Or you can have Windows search the internet for you and decide which one is best.
Uninstall or Disable Controller Driver
Disabling or Uninstalling the device will require that you restart your computer. Then you can try plugging in the controller again to have Windows reinstall the controller’s software.
BDO Controller During Sailing
The video below gives a detailed look into how to use an Xbox 360 controller for sailing. Note: this video was made before the T+W+Q and mouse movement disablement updates detailed in the Sailing Guide.Controller Mapping for Sailing & Sea Monster Hunting:
- Set Ram Skill Button: This can be mapped under “Action Hotkeys” section. It is the one labeled “Sitting”, which corresponds to “Q” on the keyboard.
- Lower Horizontal & Vertical Sensitivity: This can be changed under “Gamepad Interface” section. Move the slider far over to the left side, to create a very low sensitivity (1 to 3).
- FPS: Turn down display settings until you are not loosing frames per second.
- R (Character Interactions): This can be mapped under “Action Hotkeys” section. Used for instant stop.
- T (Auto Run): This can be mapped under “Action Hotkeys” section. Used for instant stop.
- Full Screen: Sail in Full Screen mode with a gamepad. Display Settings ► Game Window
Game Controller Accessories
If you’re considering Xbox 360 controllers, you might also want to check out these related gaming items. All are highly rated and popular choices on Amazon.