By Eline Stiekema, Onrpg writer
In Bounty Bay Online it’s the players that write history! Similar to the great explorers, buccaneers and pirates of old times, the players have to write the history of Bounty Bay Online.
Bounty Bay Online is a MMO which takes its players back to the 14th to 16th century, when many parts of the world were yet to be discovered. They can choose the role they want to play and thus become as rich and mighty as possible.
Bounty Bay Online is very diverse, which also makes it very complex. There are so many options that, as a newbie, you can easily get lost because you are being overloaded with such a lot of information and instructions that keep popping up on your screen.
But when you’re being a bit overwhelmed at the beginning, don’t give up! Just take some time to read all the ‘game infos’ on the website before you start. These provide some outlines of the game that will help you get the hang of it. On the website you can also read the ‘first steps’ but I recommend reading those after you’ve played the game a few times: when you have never played it, these ‘first steps’ are quite incomprehensible, because they only tell you what to do and not why. Instead, you can find an excellent newbie guide on the board, which is much more helpful. I even printed this out so I could use it while I was playing, and that was a great help.
Because there are so many options and ways to play the game, it was impossible for me to try everything. But the fact that you can fill in the game just as you like, was a big plus for me. You can play individually or team up. You can emphasize on fighting, trading or exploring, or combine all of this. You can play merely on land or on the open sea. And when you’re fed up with the way your character is going, you can always delete it and start from scratch again.
Bounty Bay Online can be played from two servers. The first is called Mary Read and is the Free 2 Play server: playing is free, but items for your character have to be bought in the itemshop with money you can put into an account. The second server is called William Bligh. For playing on this server, you have to pay a monthly fee, but the items are essentially free and only have to be achieved by good gameplay. I played the game on the Mary Read-server.
Playing Bounty Bay Online starts with creating a character. You can create two characters, but you can only play with one at a time. At first this might not seem logical, but when you start to understand the game a little better, you’ll see the benefits of it: the game is so diverse that you will only be too happy with the opportunity to play two different roles.
You can choose from four character archetypes, two guys and two girls, each with their own birthplace where you start the game. When you click a character, you can name it and determine what it will look like. When you’re done, you get some information on the character’s birthplace and then you can start the game.
You always start a new game with a short tutorial. If you’re not a novice anymore you can easily skip it, but the first time it really comes in handy. In this tutorial, just as in Bounty Bay Online as a whole, you get things done by clicking on certain people and starting a ‘conversation’ with them. They will tell you who to address and what to do or buy next. In the tutorial you get a short instruction to the game, a basic ship and some initial money by the Mystic Captain, you need to buy provisions from the Docker and cannonballs from the Shipyard Boss. After that, you can sail off and you learn how to attack pirates and how to sail to your first destination, which is always your birthplace. When you arrive, the actual tutorial part is over but you still need to get a lot of information by addressing the right non-player characters (NPC’s).
You can now choose what role you want to play: warrior, explorer, merchant or warship captain. Each has its own guild, to which you can apply. You can then do quests for the guild master, to earn some money. This money can be used to upgrade your ship. You can choose from three types of ships: the explorer ship, the merchant ship and the warship. Each ship has its own (dis)advantages. You should choose the ship that matches with the role you’re going to play.
From now on you can do whatever you like. You can learn and train all kinds of skills, you can try to make as much money as you can by trading all kinds of stuff, you can decide to become a pirate to attack other players and raid their ships, you can make teams or start your own guild with other players, you can sail around the world to discover new animals and plants or you can start to learn an actual profession, like shipbuilding or mining. And the fun part is: you can also combine all this!
Graphics and music
The graphics look very good and impressive, from the first moment on. Everything looks very realistic, which makes it even easier to become fully immersed in the game. The music is also very well chosen: it gives you an immediate ‘pirate-feeling’. When you’re playing it’s automatically turned low, so it stays in the background and doesn’t get annoying.
What I didn’t like was the inaccuracy of the spelling in the instruction pop-ups and on the website: I discovered a few misspelled words and in the pop-ups, words are often broken off at strange places, which is very irritating when you’re reading.
Although you have to take some time to figure this game out, I think it’s certainly worth a try. With Bounty Bay Online, a world has been created in which you can linger for hours at a time. Because the game is so diverse, I think I could play it for years and not get bored with it. There are so many places you can go and even more things you can do. I have played the game for some time, but I still have the feeling there is a lot I have yet to discover. I don’t mind… after all, I’m an explorer!
– Great diversity in ways to play the game
– Very nice-looking and realistic graphics
– You can vary with two separate roles to play
– Newbies can easily be overwhelmed by all the different aspects of the game
– Not everything is explained clearly and the ‘first steps’ I found rather incomprehensible
– Spelling is sometimes inaccurate