It was a bit of a bumpy ride due to the downtime from the attacks on Sony Online Entertainment, but as I wrap up my column, I'll give a rundown of my impressions of PotBS and touch on a few of my future plans in the game.
Avatar combat is OK, but the game really shines on the high seas. While I found dirty fighting to be a bit more enjoyable than Florentine, I found myself passing up the opportunity to board an enemy ship, instead opting to scavenge it. It's not so much that avatar combat is bad as it is the fact that ship combat is so much better.
Ship combat is slower than the typical hack-and-slash that I'm used to in fantasy MMOs. It's a lot more focused on positioning and tactics than on button-smashing and casting order. While I did have a hard time getting used to that at first, I grew to really enjoy the change of pace. Ships themselves are chock-full of stats, and it can be daunting trying to make sense of it all. The first time I examined a ship, I felt like I was looking at the back of one of my old baseball cards. But all those stats can make for some interesting choices when it comes to ships, and I enjoyed the fact that I could pick a ship that fit my playstyle.
I'm of two minds on this one. I've always been a fan of regional trade, going back to the days when I used to farm mesh armor and sell it all the way over in Qeynos. Part of me enjoys the minigame of cornering the market on a valuable commodity and selling it in a part of the world where it fetches a premium. But on the other hand, I did get frustrated a few times when I went to purchase basic things like ship ammunition or improved ship upgrades only to find that I'd have to travel across the map to pick it up. It's something that I had to adjust to, but I do appreciate the fact that it's part of the game, even though I preferred plundering ships to building warehouses.
A living world
In PotBS, players really do have the ability to change the world. I realized quickly that I need to be careful of where I sailed and that what was a safe port on one day might suddenly become an area of instability the next. I found myself constantly checking the map to see what sorts of unrest was occurring, and while I haven't reached the level cap yet, I am looking forward to participating in port battles down the road.
The port governor system is also a really nice concept that was added to the game. I had a "wow" moment when I was passing through town and bumped into a player who was a governor. But overseeing a port is more than just getting your name, and your society, some nice PR. The job comes with responsibility, and it's up to the governor to decide how to go about building infrastructure, setting tax rates, and properly defending the harbor. And of course, there's the ability to outfit yourself in special "governor's only" clothes. That's enough for anyone to want the job!
During my time in PotBS, I didn't have any issues with the game. It ran smoothly, and I didn't have any problems with crashing or lag. As I've mentioned before, towns felt very active, and the NPC voice overs were hilarious at times. And some of the instances for ship combat were beautiful. Setting sail to a clear sky with a pretty sunset can almost make you forget the danger that's approaching. I also enjoyed the little animations of my crewmen as they loaded the cannon and climbed the mast to adjust the sails.
Overall, I've had a lot of fun in Pirates of the Burning Sea. I'm going to continue my monthly subscription, and I'm looking forward to leveling up my pirate as well as checking out some of the other nations on my other accounts. Pirates tend to be the most popular choice, but I'd like to try out some of the lesser-played choices, like the Spanish and French. Update 2.5 has just arrived, and while that's brought some needed tweaks and game improvements, it means fishing is right around the corner with the next update, which I'm looking forward to checking out. But my immediate goal is to acquire a desperation raft, which isn't necessarily a good combat ship but just looks so darn cool.
Based on your feedback to last week's poll, there was plenty of interest in having a meet-and-greet in game. We'll set the date for June 22nd, starting at 8:30 p.m. EDT. I have a few ideas for the get-together, and I'll post details on the Massively forums as we approach the date. Now is actually a good time to log in if you're a former player because all accounts were given 800 Burning Sea points as part of the Make Good plan, and the free game time is still ongoing.
I'd like to once again thank those of you who voted on the polls and offered valuable advice and game tips. It's been a fun adventure overall. As one of my guildmates used to say, "Fair winds and following seas."
Join Karen on an adventure of your choosing! She's used to calling the shots, but in this Choose My Adventure, she's putty in your hands and ready to follow your whim. It's up to you to chart her course and join in on the fun! Follow Karen on Twitter for playtimes and updates, and come back each week to decide her fate.