Friday, May 23, 2008

Alas, too late - Pirates of the Burning Sea

For the last week, since my new computer arrived, I have been wasting away the hours playing Pirates of the Burning Sea. This was my MMO of choice to replace WoW for some time and but for one piece of off-spec hardware on my laptop I could have been playing it for months. Sadly, the game looks to be in a state of ill-repair. The not-particularly ambitious 11 server launch has been crushed down to 4 (interestingly, the EU servers) and even then the server loads on each Nation are 'light' or 'moderate' - nowhere near the Nation Cap.

The game itself, at low level, takes a little getting used to. Whilst it shares all of the common tropes that I associate with MMOs, the ship-to-ship combat is very different and the crafting/production stuff is very different indeed. I think it's a game where you have to be willing to make some mistakes in order to learn correctly, but when you do, it opens up into a nice little distraction.

One thing that strikes me is that it is slow. Hand-to-hand combat has a lot of whiffle, with parry, block and dodge counted in. I've discovered buffing drinks but no pots and in most encounters, which are instanced, there is little chance of you being able to escape. You win or you die. Ship-to-Ship combat can take a long time, even if you are a 'get up close and blow the fuck out of them' player like me - 8-12 minutes for an encounter. Its all very apt for the genre and you really do feel like you are a Captain, having to deal with reloading guns, wind, boarding and such but to can be a little dragging.

It is, however, a game that I reckon would be fun to play, PVP, with some friends. You could become the scourge of the seas etc. However, it just doesn't seem to have anything that gives it that biting grasp that would hook people in - and thats a damned shame because it has some innovations which really work for the genre.

Alas poor Lieutenant Tomas Cochrane - newly promoted officer of the Bermuda Sloop 'The Sea Wolf' - you may have sailed your last voyage as my attention turns to being a Bear Shaman in the Age of Conan.


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