Pirates of the Burning Sea Review: Original and tactical!



By Rick Charbs, Onrpg writer

Pirates of the Burning Sea is an MMORPG set in the Caribbean, 1729, developed by Flying Lab Software. It introduces a tactical ship combat, in combination with an interesting swashbuckling combat? a relatively unique style. Being in development ever since 2002, one could recognize the long path they have come through to make the game what it is today. As such, Flying Lab Software doubled their staff during first two years of the production of this game, and the community began anticipating its release with impatience? which was expected, to say the least. The beta testing for the game began three years later, on December 14th 2005, and was finally drawn to a close the first of January 2008. Known as one of the largest beta tests in MMORPG history, this game sure has improved. Of course, this path was not meant for every developer. The official release of the game was on January 22nd, 2008.

General Gameplay

Pirates of the Burning Sea packs a lot of action and politics, in its essence, into the game. Many aspects of the game revolve around the player-driven economy, and the tactical ship combat and travel. It is easily assumed that the game would include a vast amount of pirate-inspired features and settings, as the main idea for the game was to create something unique that would appeal to followers of the pirate-craze of the time (not that it has diminished).
Firstly, when you create your character, you will be given the choice of a career. You will also be able to decide to play as a National or a Pirate. As a National, you can choose to be a naval officer, a privateer, or a freetrader, and as a Pirate, you can choose to be a cutthroat, or a buccaneer. Every career has special advantages and disadvantages, and they each carry their own skill arsenal, with a total of 45 skills per career. Be weary, as you cannot change your career once you have chosen. Players can create up to 6 characters per server, which is more than enough to try every career, so go ahead!
Swashbuckling, otherwise known as land-combat, is your average click to attack combat style; however is more of a hidden-turn-based style. There is little skill involved, though there are many different skill combos you can use to take down an enemy very quickly. The actual combat mode is a little complicated, involving ones “parrying skill” and “attacking skill” in the form of a balance meter. Each player has a balance meter located on their interface that determines how capable they are versus an opponent. I will not explain this any further, but I will justify that the learning curve for this method of combat is very small. Lastly, there are three modes of combat one can choose from whilst swashbuckling: dirty fighting, fencing, or Florentine. Dirty fighting is fighting with the use of a cutlass, fencing is fighting with the use of a rapier, and Florentine is fighting with the use of a short sword.
PvP is a very concentrated aspect in Pirates of the Burning Sea. With various modes such as the Pirate PvP Zone (a concentrated area allocated for PvP battles), the Open PvP zone (a vast area open for players to hunt other players without barriers), Contention (an event that happens when a port is taken under control by an enemy nation), and Ship battles (tactical battles at sea), a player who enjoys fighting others will undoubtedly be interested in this title! Patience is needed to fully enjoy the game’s PvP aspect, though.
The last aspect of the gameplay I will address is highly considered the most important one. Ships are an incredibly large aspect of this game, as everything revolves around how the nations get along and go to war, by means of the sea. What better use of a cannon-ready ship than to bring it to war with a vast amount off pirates at your disposal? Currently, there is an approximate 55 ships that players can choose to sail. Some are used for economic purposes (merchant ships), and some, for combat (battle ships). Players can disperse their shops throughout the game by carrying them out on ship. Considering the game’s economy is player-driven, many ships set sail with the goal of making profit. With very realistic measures, the larger your ship is, the harder it will be to manoeuvre. A player can own up to 5 ships at a time, and every ship has a specific amount of durability that will determine how long it will be of use to you. Don’t worry, ever since an earlier patch to the game, you can buy insurance for your ships!

Graphics and Sound

With Pirate of the Burning Sea withstanding so many years in constant development, graphics and sound were aspects whom were given a great deal of attention. The graphics do, however, seem a tiny bit out-dated in comparison with the new gen MMORPGS, but the reason for that is the engine used for the game was developed before 2002, and the graphics are generally pretty old as well. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t any quality involved. I was amazed by most of the textures (especially the water). The settings and characters very well represent the pirate theme this game conveys to the MMORPG community; the historic value is present. The sound is an aspect I was actually very pleased about. Many hours of original game sounds and music was created by artists employed by the company. There are even a few live musician tracks, but the majority of the games music was digitally composed. I enjoyed the music enough not to change it with my windows media player? that’s a lot to say! It really immerses you into the game.

Personal Recommendation

First of all, I would have to say I was very surprised with this MMO. I was honestly not expecting a game of this style, and I had absolutely no idea it was in development for so long. I must have been living under a rock. One can really tell that countless effort has been put into the game so far, and it keeps growing. The pirate style was genuine and flawlessly followed what I had known of the real historical aspects pertaining to piracy. Set in the 1700s, the game’s background was truly interesting in my eyes, and should most-likely be of interest to anyone who enjoys history and, of course, pirates! The customization value of the game was mediocre, however, but it wasn’t that bad. I would have liked to see even more uniqueness in terms of character development, but there isn’t much to complain about. The game did lag for me, as my computer isn’t very powerful, but any decent machine should run it very well at a great frame rate. The combat didn’t appeal to me at first, but it grew on my gradually.

Furthermore, the tactical ship aspect of this game is very elaborate and is a must try for strategy game players. This pirate-themed MMO should definitely keep you entertained! It is a must try for anyone who loves pirates and is able to pay for the monthly subscription, or simply give the 14-day trial a try!

Pros
- unique
- appeals to many types of gamers
- great sounds and graphics
- Uhm… pirates! Need I say more?
- Great community

Cons
- Monthly subscription
- Somewhat complex combat system

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