I recently got a chance to try out Flying Lab Software’s new pirate-themed MMO, Pirates of the Burning Sea. I had been waiting patiently for about a year now to get a stab at this game, so, with a parrot on my shoulder I installed and updated.
First off you have to create your character, and this where you see just how many choices there are to make yourself really different. Each item has several color options to choose from, and some have trim as well that you can color as you wish. My only gripe is with the face models, they look off and some are just plain odd.
Once I finished my character I jumped right into the game. The graphics are cartoony, but not quite World of Warcraft cartoony. They work well, and don’t detract whatsoever from the game. My first quest had me learning how to sail my ship, and attack other ships. Ship combat is slow, and depends heavily on which way the wind is blowing. While realistic this detracts from the game, especially when you are sailing in the open sea from port to port and a ten minute ride takes 13 or more minutes because the wind isn’t blowing in the right direction. Later on as you play and gain ranks (levels) you can buy new ships that are faster, but still, once you get used to the new speed and end up being slowed down by wind it can still be frustrating.
Ship combat, while slow, does employ a lot of strategy and can be somewhat fun at first. You need to factor in wind direction as well as which direction you and your enemy are facing. Cannon ammo is also important; you need to decide if you want to mainly damage the ship and sink it, take out the masts or if you want to take out all the people on board. Your decision influences what treasure you get, and, if you are a pirate you can take possession of the ship. During combat you can board enemy vessels and engage the crew, possibly taking the ship out that way. During melee combat you have the option to fight the whole crew or just engage the captain, and once you defeat him everyone else surrenders. It is evident right off the bat that the developers did not put much effort into combat. It is stale, and consists of spamming your abilities over and over… and what I have seen as far as abilities were not very exciting.
As I ran around town I noticed there was a lot of rubber banding going on. This is where you are running down the street and are yanked back a few feet or more from where you were just running. I only noticed this in town and not in the open sea or when in a quest instance. For an open beta / stress test this is to be expected, and hopefully they’ll have this tightened up before it goes live.
I’m not going to go into PvP as I didn’t have time to check it out, but it does consist of groups vying for control of certain ports. Not all ports are open for contention and this allows those not wishing to partake in PvP to avoid it.
All in all Pirates of the Burning Sea seems to be pretty void of content at this stage. While there seems to be a large selection of quests to do, there isn’t a whole lot else. And, while there is an auction house and crafting, you can’t go out to sea and just get off your ship and run around on land killing stuff and exploring. You are limited to your ship and the towns. So at this point I don’t see PotBS as delivering enough to keep content-hungry players happy over the long term. As I see it PotBS right is hovering at the end of the plank and only time can tell if it will take the dive or return safely to the ship.