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Pirates of the Burning Sea

The Perfect Ten: Pirates ahoy!

World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, City of Villains, Dungeons and Dragons Online, EVE Online, Lord of the Rings Online, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Pirates of the Caribbean Online, Warhammer Online, Humor, Free Realms, Runes of Magic, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

The Perfect Ten: Pirates
Fantasy pirates: Love 'em or hate 'em, they're deeply ingrained in geek culture to the point that they're almost impossible to dislodge. This past Monday was International Talk Like a Pirate Day, when everyone's inner pirate was encouraged to "Arr!" heartily, look for treasure in long-forgotten places, and embrace the fashion style of bandanas and eyepatches.

It seemed like a perfect week, therefore, to look at piratey life in MMOs. From entire games to mere outfits and from the token pirate union that has a chapter in each game to delusional madmen, this list aims to sate the swagger of keyboard swashbucklers. It's a testament to the pirate phenomenon that most developers can't help but include a buccaneer or two, even if the setting isn't always asking for it -- a phenomenon even the U.S. Navy has accepted.

Hit the jump to start, and sail straight on 'til morning!

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SOE's services disrupted by massive California blackout [Updated]

EverQuest, EverQuest II, Pirates of the Burning Sea, PlanetSide, Events (Real-World), Star Wars Galaxies, Vanguard, Free Realms, DC Universe Online, Miscellaneous

A massive power outage that is affecting southern California this evening has severely hampered Sony Online Entertainment's services. The outage, which began during the late afternoon, has cut power to millions in San Diego, southern Orange County, and Palm Springs, as well as sections of Mexico across the border.

Because of this interruption, some of SOE's MMOs and websites have gone offline, as SOE's servers are located in San Diego. The company sent a brief note over Twitter and Facebook saying that players might not want to hold their breath at regaining these services tonight: "The San Diego power outage could persist throughout the night affecting login servers, forums, and websites. We appreciate everyone's patience as the City attempts to restore power."

According to authorities, power is expected to be restored by Friday.

[Update: Some of SOE's services, such as EverQuest II, Pirates of the Burning Sea, and Clone Wars Adventures, appear to be back up and running.]

Update #2: SOE tweeted the following on Friday morning: "We appreciate everyone's patience during the recent power outage. Power has been restored and all services should be back online."]

[Source: Twitter]

SOE All Access pass goes live

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Star Wars Galaxies, Vanguard, Free Realms, DC Universe Online

Sony Online Entertainment has finally lowered its monthly all-you-can-eat MMORPG subscription plan. All Access (formerly known as the Station Pass) grants you unlimited time with all of SOE's titles for a single monthly fee of $19.99.

Games include DC Universe (sorry PS3 users, this is for the PC version only), EverQuest, EverQuest II, Vanguard, and Star Wars Galaxies. You also get premium access to free-to-play titles like EQ2X, Free Realms, and Pirates of the Burning Sea. The All Access service, which previously set you back $29.99 per month, returns to the price point enjoyed by SOE customers prior to the April 2007 rate hike.

The reduction follows the announcement that SWG will terminate services on December 15th and will be freely playable to recent subscribers beginning in the fall.

Sony Online Entertainment dropping the price for Station Access

EverQuest, EverQuest II, Pirates of the Burning Sea, PlanetSide, MMO Industry, News Items, Star Wars Galaxies, Free Realms, DC Universe Online, Miscellaneous

Whether or not you're a fan of Sony Online Entertainment, it's hard to deny that the company's Station Pass is a pretty good value for the money. For the price of two monthly subscriptions, you get access to everything from the original EverQuest to the recently launched DC Universe Online. But if the deal isn't quite good enough for you yet, SOE has just announced that the access price is dropping once again to $19.99 a month.

Needless to say, the chance to get nine games at once for only slightly more than the normal subscription fee is a pretty enticing deal for any gamer. While the announcement is not yet reflected in the official site, which is still advertising the previous price, the update will be coming "soon" according to the company's representatives at E3. Keep your eyes peeled for more information about precise dates for the change, which should be a boon to current and potential future customers.

Choose My Adventure: Sailing to port

Pirates of the Burning Sea, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Choose My Adventure

This week is my last entry in Choose My Adventure. After sailing the high seas for the past few weeks, my ship is returning to port, and I'll be turning the column over to our own Eliot Lefebvre. But even though I won't be writing about Pirates of the Burning Sea, I will continue to play it. There's a lot that I didn't get to see, and I'm particularly curious about the endgame, which seems to be where PotBS really shines.

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.

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Choose My Adventure: Dirty fightin' and treasure huntin'

Fantasy, Historical, Polls, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Choose My Adventure

My pirate life continued this past week in Pirates of the Burning Sea, and thanks to your feedback, I took on some new swashbuckling skills. Based on the poll results, Dirty Fighting came out as the winning choice, and I happily retrained at my port.

I also popped over to Treasure Aisle, the in-game cash shop. I had some Station Cash burning a hole in my pirate chest, and since I had so much fun on my last treasure hunt, I decided to purchase a new map case and try my luck once more at finding the giant red X.

In this week's Choose My Adventure, I'll tell you how my respec went and whether I found any treasure. In addition, I'll give you a sneak peek at some new bling for my pirate ship!

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Choose My Adventure: Out of drydock!

Historical, Polls, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure

It was a happy return to the high seas for Arienne Sauvage. You might have noticed that Choose My Adventure went dark for a couple of weeks, and that's because of the unexpected downtime from the attack on Sony Online Entertainment. Now that things are back up and running, I'm ready to set sail for the last few entries of my adventure in Pirates of the Burning Sea.

Join me this week as I evaluate the Welcome Back rewards, polish up my ship combat skills, and search for buried treasure!

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Choose My Adventure: High society

Fantasy, Historical, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Economy, Free-to-Play, Choose My Adventure

With my busy week last week on the road (school vacation) and now the interrupted service to all Sony Online Entertainment games, I didn't have as much time as I would have liked to jump in and play Pirates of the Burning Sea.

I did, however, continue my adventures a bit as Arienne Sauvage, Woman of Incredible Wealth and Taste (OK, so incredible isn't really in the title, but in my mind, it's definitely there!). I also started up a British Freetrader on one of my other Station accounts (two-boxing finally pays off!).

But the real question is, did I turn on my PvP flag? Read on for that answer as well as a closer look at societies and your choices if you decide to upgrade your free-to-play account.

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Choose My Adventure: Sink or swim!

Fantasy, Historical, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Opinion, Free-to-Play, First Impressions, Choose My Adventure

Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in!

I really thought you all would choose one of the nations to play in my last poll, but no, you clearly signaled that I should stick with playing a pirate! As a result, I fitted my ship and went out to sea as Arienne Sauvage, Woman of Wealth and Taste. (Although that's up for debate)

Read on for a recap of my week in Pirates of the Burning Sea, including ship combat, the community, and some pirate humor!

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Choose My Adventure: A pirate's life for me!

Historical, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure

Ahoy, mateys! Welcome to the start of my swashbuckling adventures on the high seas. The votes are in, the polls have closed, and the winner for Choose My Adventure is Pirates of the Burning Sea. It was the runner-up last time, so it's nice to see that it's finally the belle of the ball.

For my introductory column this week, I'll take a closer look at the poll results (which were extremely close!) and then set off on the dangerous seas. Read on for a look at my first moments in game, and then pick my path for next week!

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Angling coming to Pirates of the Burning Sea

Fantasy, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play

"Teach an avatar to fish," the saying goes, "and he'll flood the auction house with smelly seafood." These words were never so true nor relevant than they are today, as Flying Lab announced that the ancient art of angling is making its way into Pirates of the Burning Sea with patch 2.6.

Scallywags, landlubbers, and buccaneers will be invited to take up a rod and pull slimy gold out of the sea when this hobby hits the game. Designed as a fun way to pass the time, fishing will add a new challenge to PotBS. It makes sense, too, considering just how much, y'know, water is present in the Caribbean.

Expert anglers will need to know and master the different types of fishing lines and lures while criss-crossing the ocean in pursuit of rare and unique species. Haul up a good catch and the local fishmonger will be happy to exchange your chickens of the sea for practical goods. The studio even hinted at a grand prize -- the region-exclusive trophy fish -- but did not elaborate.

Players are welcome to give this time-treasured sport a try on the test server once 2.5 hits.

SOE offers bonus Station Cash for using game cards

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super-hero, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Pirates of the Burning Sea, PlanetSide, News Items, Star Wars Galaxies, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Free Realms, Kids, DC Universe Online, Giveaways, EverQuest Next

Paying for subscriptions with a credit card is definitely fast and easy, but if you're a regular Sony Online Entertainment game subscriber, you might want to consider switching to a game time card this month! As a way of rewarding players for picking up and paying with universal game cards, Sony Online Entertainment is giving players $10 worth of Station Cash (1,000 SC) just for redeeming a $15 universal game card. The nice thing about these cards? They can be redeemed for either a month's subscription to an SOE game or 1,500 Station Cash. However, to get the bonus cash, you'll have to redeem your card between 3:10 a.m. EDT (12:10 a.m. PDT) on March 17th and 2:59 a.m. on March 21st (11:59 p.m. PDT on March 20th).

Along with getting an extra Station Cash reward for using a universal game card during those days, players will be entered into SOE's Luck of the Irish sweepstakes, the details of which should be out sometime this week. We'd also note that SOE's disclaimer indicates that the promotion is only available to gamers in the United States/District of Columbia and excludes Puerto Rico and other outlying territories. Keep your eye on the forums or the SOE Facebook account for all the sweepstakes information and official rules.

Plundering the free seas: Pirates of the Burning Sea dev talks about F2P

Historical, Pirates of the Burning Sea, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Humor, Dev Diaries

Curious about how a subscription-based MMO makes the transition to a free-to-play model? It's not as easy as one might assume, and Pirates of the Burning Sea was no exception. In a recent devlog, PotBS's Misha takes us behind the stage to look at the logistical details and hurdles that had to be taken for this jump between business models.

While the team had been mulling over a microtransaction model from the beginning, it was only after a lot of discussion with SOE that the publisher showed the team a way this could be implemented. Following that, the team had to tackle several tricky issues, such as expired trial accounts, boxes still in the stores and all of the subscription types it had in place.

Next, the team ran the system through quite a bit of testing to iron out the snags. "Those who helped us test F2P in the early days will recall pets on their own little boats in the midst of battle, trying desperately to help out. You could zoom in and see a pig or chicken standing in a commanding position overlooking their hardworking crews. This bug is one of my favorite ever, and I'm still a little sad that we fixed it."

It wasn't just the software that needed to be tested but also the physical setup. At one point, Misha writes, "For whatever reason, we were suffering hardware failure after hardware failure."

While the F2P transition was slated for Thanksgiving 2010, it failed to hit the date. "We hit a major issue on our side and SOE hit a major snag on their side. So, no Thanksgiving F2P. On the one hand, we were really discouraged that we hadn't met our target. On the other hand, we were incredibly glad we had tackled these issues before we went live," she writes. Eventually Pirates of the Burning Sea "soldiered through it all" and made it to the live servers, much to the team's delight.

For a full rundown of this saga and the true tale of commanding pigs, head on over to Pirates of the Burning Sea.

PotBS devs share some cake with Massively

Historical, Real-Life, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Business Models, Culture, Interviews, PvP, Free-to-Play, Interviews (Massively's)

How did you celebrate your third birthday party? We imagine that the Pirates of the Burning Sea developers celebrated it a lot like you might have: with pirates, talking birds and the occasional PvP fight. Of course, you probably didn't choose to participate in an interview with the best MMO website in existence, mainly because it more than likely didn't exist back then.

Our trusty eyepatches in place, we waylaid Russell "Rusty" Williams (Flying Lab's CEO) and Jason "Mr Nutty" Gettel (Lead Designer), who answered some of our "burning" questions. So sit back, put your bib on, blow out your candles, and click past the cut to see what they had to say on this special anniversary!

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Pirates of the Burning Sea: The third anniversary

Historical, Real-Life, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Patches, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play

Pirates of the Burning Sea just turned three years old, so we decided to take a look back at some of the history, controversy and changes that happened along the way. How do you sum up the history of an MMO, no matter how short? Do you simply make a timeline, establishing landmark events? What about the players -- how do they feel after sailing around the sea for all this time?

Well, we decided to do a little bit of each. What we found was a game that is still rich in its content, still varied in its playerbase, and still moving forward. The game has had its issues like any other, so on this anniversary we decided to showcase how the game has affected people with a series of mini-interviews with the players themselves.

Click past the cut to see what treasures we dug up!

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