Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pirate101 Subclass: Spending Practice Points

As I mentioned on this blog, I play a buccaneer in Pirate 101.  As soon as I got my first Practice point (the points that allow you to train abilities from other class trainers on your pirate, the first being awarded at level 8), I ran to the Privateer trainer and immediately got the ability to heal myself.  This seemed like a good idea at the time, but after a while, I started to wonder if, perhaps, there might be a better option.  I decided to see what I could find out, as I haven't read much discussion on this particular topic. 

After having looked at all 4 other classes and what abilities I could get with my 4 ability points (2 from leveling up and 2 from completing Prospector Zeke quests), I bought the first 4 abilities from the Witchdoctor class trainer (besides bonus to Staffy weapons).  The thought process was that I could turn what was essentially a paladin (healing tank) into a dark/death knight (black magic/poison tank).  Now, I'm only level 15 (going on 16), but this seems to work a lot better.  The Privateer ability that I had been using the most, an multi-target bomb drop, was replaced by a multi-target magic spell, the healing ability was replaced by a drain-style self heal, and the buffs I never used were replaced by direct damage spells and a debuff.  For my play style and level, this seems to be working out a lot better.  What I always hated about the healing spell was that it didn't heal for a whole lot, since as a buccaneer I don't have very high Will, and I didn't like wasting a turn with one of my heavy hitters in order to heal a companion.  This way, I can just heal myself while doing damage and the battle is over faster, so I don't take as much damage anyway.

It may be different at higher levels, but I don't see any downside to using the Witchdoctor skills.  Also, I couldn't see much advantage in subbing swashbuckler or musketeer.  If anyone has any compelling reason or awesome strategy that involves Bucc/Musk or Bucc/Swash, let me know!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pirate101: Monquista

So my pirate is currently lvl 14 and I'm working my way through Monquista.  I have finally reached a point in the game when my attention is divided and I'm not sure what I should be doing.  In Skull Island, I did every side quest I could find, but not that I've moved on to Monquista, I feel compelled to focus on the main story and come back for the side quests when I'm higher level and can just mow through them.

Part of this thought process has to do with my pirate's ship.  I'm currently using "my parent's" skiff, and, though I have all the best gear for it that gold can buy, a level 7 ship doesn't do very well against lvl 10-12 ships and I end up in hand-to-hand combat, which is fine, but I also like just blowing ships out of the air and not having to get into the nitty gritty.  At first I though the reason I was having trouble was because my Nautical Lvl was too low and that raising it would help with combat.  I don't think it does.  I think your nautical level effects what you can equip, but your ship stays the same level it was when you bought it.  In the case of the skiff, that's 7.  I could grind out some gold (or just buy it) but neither of those sounds like great options, given the fact that (I think) you are awarded a new Monquistan ship at the completion of that quest line.  If that's the case, I think I may just rush to the finish and then complete all the side quests in Monquista that I didn't do already once I can complete them with greater ease.

Well, I guess I figured out what I'm going to do.  Thanks for the help, blog!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Episode 1 Revised

I finally completed the new intro and outro for the Talkin' the Plank Podcast, so I went back and edited them into the initial episode for solidarity.

The new episode, which should be out Thursday, will feature a very special guest and, time allowing, a few more effects and bumpers.  Until then, enjoy Episode 1's new production value!

Pirate101: Crew Management vs Judge System

I received an email from Stephen of the Pieces of Eight Radio podcast, which can be found here asking what I thought about Pirate 101's strategy system versus the Judge system from Final Fantasy Tactics (Advance).  I ended up writing a lengthy email containing my thoughts on the issue and figured I would include it here, since I speant so much time writing it already!  It rambles a little bit, but there is some good stuff in there

Here it is:

As far as the Judge system goes, it may be too complicated to adapt in that form to an MMO. In FFTA (I only played a dozen or so hours of FFT. Tough to go back to that one if you played and got used to hundreds of hours of the mobile versions!) I would often sit for a few minutes and carefully choose exactly which team member I wanted for even trivial battles because you'd have to consider the rules that have been placed on combat, what weapons you currently had equipped, what class all of your characters were and making sure you had a good balance as well as making sure you had the characters in there with abilities you were trying to train up. In a single player turn based strategy game, you have all the time in the world to decide what you'll do each turn as well as to prepare for each fight. Obviously, the situation changes when you turn that game play into an MMO. In certain ways, you have to "dumb down" the strategy, at least on the surface. In order to show the players what they need to know, you need a sort of visual shorthand. Whereas in FFT they would tell the player directly "No Ranged Attacks" or "No Magic Attacks", in Pirate, they tell you indirectly by just not having any ranged characters show up or any magic characters show up. The result is similar, but requires less planning as other players wait for you to pick through 30 crew members :-)
In MMO's, it has been my experience that most of the strategy takes place before you even leave your house, so to speak: you set your equipment up with the right enchantments/gems, make sure all the right stats are boosted, arrange your ability bar, go to trainers, get a pack full of potions, etc . . . Then , when you go out to fight, it's just a button mash if it's solo grinding or maybe a complicated dance routine if you're with a raid fighting a big boss battle. In Pirate 101, and the same could be said of Wizard 101, you at least have 30 to make decisions based on what has just occurred in the fight. It doesn't seem like a lot, but unless you got up to make sandwiches while all the battle animations took place, you're thinking what your next moves will be.
Granted: I am only lvl 14 in the game, didn't play in Alpha or Beta, so I haven't experienced anything at a higher level, so it may get more complicated further down the road. My opinion is solely based on what I've experienced up to Monquista. That being said, I haven't had any issues with the time limit. You only have, at most, 4 chess pieces to manage and, at least at this level, most of the abilities my crew has are reactionary, so it's more about hoping they get attacked in the right way :-) Your pirate is the most complicated, but also what you have spent the most time updating and what you are the most used to since they are in every single battle.
So, I haven't run into any issues with the time limit yet, but I do understand why they did it. I hate waiting for everyone else to decide what to do for another 15 seconds (especially if there is only 1 mob left. What's to decide?) and I can't imagine what it would be like if they increased that. Companion management is a huge part of the game strategy and I would like to see a bit more depth there (I like equipping everyone's gear. The more the merrier!), but other that a bit more out-of-combat depth, I don't see too many ways they could add more depth, but here are a few that don't require much explaination: terrain and direction. I think it's fun to flank an enemy, though I hate when it's done to me, but having what direction a character is facing when attacked matter is a good way to go. Also, multi-level playing fields or characters being having to move slower through snow, or fighting better on pavement could add a lot more depth to combat. The more stuff like this you add, the more time you need to really think things out. There's no easy answer and I think they've done a fine job coming up with a solution. The nice thing about MMO's is that if they think of something better, they can always add it later!

Pirate101 Quest XP Suggestion

There have been a lot of complaints on the Pirate 101 forums that it doesn't feel as though we level fast enough and that the quests don't give enough experience points.  The answer from the developers is that most of the xp you get is from the main story quest line and they aren't lying.  You will never level faster than when you just focus on the main quest.  However it can still feel like you aren't making any progress.

An example of this was, while playing last night, I had just completed every quest line I could find in the Skull Island Skyway and was finally set to move on to the next world of Monquista.  I looked in the quest log at the two quests I had left to do.  One was a side quest to go to the capitol of Monquista and see about a religious figure and rewarded 10xp.  The other was the main story quest to go to the same place and rewarded 350xp.  I look down at my xp bar and see that, being lvl 13, I am around 200xp away from getting lvl 14.  I think, "great.  I'll go turn in those two quests and take a break when I level up."  An hour later, I still hadn't received that 350xp.  This is because the game tells you what you will receive when you complete the quest line, but there may be 30 checkpoints and requirements between where you are now and when you get that sweet, sweet experience dump.  In this case, it said to go to the capitol and see the king about your prisoner, then, after going through that, they send you to a prison island to deliver the prisoner.  Next you have to free the prisoner and fight the guards.  Then you have to go to a third location and check in with the resistance.  Then you have to go see the deposed queen.  It is only when you have spoken with the deposed queen that you see any quest experience at all.

Here's my suggestion: split that xp up over a few more points.  You don't have to get xp at every single stop on the way, but who would object to 100xp for speaking to the king, 100xp for freeing the prisoner, and 150xp for talking with the deposed queen?  That way, you feel as though you are making progress, though the end result is the same.  It's curious that they designed it the way they did, in a way where most quest turn in's don't result in xp gain since they are just steps towards an end goal.  Since most of what keeps players playing an MMO is psychological, you would think they would turn the methadone of xp to a steady slow drip instead of sporadic bursts after long dry spells.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pirate101: Titles

Just a quick thing I discovered in my playtime this morning: the game has titles. I didn't realize. To set a title to your character, you simply go to the badges tab under the hook icon, pick the one you've earned that you would like to display, and click on like you would to select which quest you're working on. Don't make it to lvl 13 without realizing this exists like I did!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pirate101 - Ship Battles

I decided to finally buckle down and get my nautical level up a few points last night, so I went out to fight some ship combat.  I had both the worst time with it and the best time.  Since I was trying to quickly rack up nautical xp as well as complete a few quests, I was looking to down as many ships as I could as fast as I could.  I was fighting ships that were lvl 10 or 11 and was constantly getting boarded (i.e. getting knocked below 50% ship health and then taking out of ship combat for hand-to-hand, which is still fine, but takes a lot longer for what I think amounts to the same nautical xp).

Then, all of a sudden, there were a few other players in the same area as me attacking the same ships, so I followed them around.  This was much better.  It was exhilarating swooping down on the enemy ships in a fleet and destroying them in a fraction of the time.  I think I prefer this way of doing things!

After a while, I was high enough to go out on my own again and have some success.  The ship battles aren't terribly complex inasmuch as you only have 4 buttons to push that, for the most part, you'll just spam as soon as the cool down has expired.  Like many MMO's, most of the strategy is how you have set yourself up, what gear you have equipped, and ultimately how well you are prepared.  Ship battles here are no different.

Temporary conclusion: I look forward to fighting on the open seas (airs?) more down the line.  It is an excellent break from the normal combat and it's nice to have the extra complexity of managing your ship.

The Pirate101 Podcast

Now that I've had a chance to add it, new episodes of the Talkin' the Plank Podcast will be available here.  I will post links to new episodes on this blog as well.  I am submitting it to iTunes soon, so it should be available there as well.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pirate101 Podcast "Talkin' The Plank" now live

The podcast is done!  This is the first episode and it is a little rough.  In future episodes, I will polish up the intro and have effects for each of the segments, but for now, I just wanted to get this out there.  Please enjoy!  If you have any feedback or any suggestions for future topics, just leave a comment.

In this first episode:
I give an introduction to why I decided to make this podcast.
News from the Scoop Deck: Pirate 101 News
Riposte!: favorite posts from the Pirate 101 Message Boards
Lubber's Lane: I give tips to new players
Sail's Pitch: I propose an addition to the game

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pirate101: Last Night's Update Changes

Here are the changes from last night's maintenace:

  • Made additional improvements to the drop rate of the White Buffaloon Meat in Big Sky Skyway.
  • Made some internal game fixes to improve stability and reduce issues causing some players to lag or crash.

  • I see no issue with these, they both look like possitive changes.  I know that there had been great wailing and gnashing of teeth over the drop rate of white buffaloon meat, but I haven't gotten that far in the game yet, so I couldn't say one way or another.

    Pirate101: Downtime Means Podcast Almost Ready

    I have mentioned before that I have limited playtime.  That time usually happens between 11pm and 2am.  Last night, that put me right in the middle of some scheduled downtime that I didn't know about.  I logged out to take care of some chores and when I tried to log back in, I got the dreaded servers down for maintenance message that is the bane of any online game player.  This is where the biggest advantage of single player games really shines: the world on that SNES cartridge will never go away for a few hours when you were hoping to play.  That is quickly followed by the the advantage of online games: the world on that SNES cartridge will never change and you will never meet anyone there.  So I guess it's a toss up.  I love online games but hate not being able to play them sometimes.

    Anyway, since I had a few hours to sit there and not sleep, I was able to get most of the editing to the Pirate 101 podcast I'm working on done.  When I do post it in the next day or so, I'll leave a link here so that anyone interested can find it.  I'll go over news about the game, strategies and general thoughts and suggestions.  I also plan on submitting the podcast to KingsIsle to see if I can get it added to their official list of fan podcasts.  We'll see.

    So, just a little bit of production value to add before that goes live (I have to re-record the accordion music as I wasn't happy with what I got).

    Two thoughts on the bit of game I did get to play last night:
    1. I should have been doing more ship battles!  The main storyline requires me to attack certain ships that are much higher than my nautical level, so I end up being boarded and having to duke it out.  It's nice that this alternative exists so that if you don't like ship battles, you can just play a defensive hand-to-hand combat, but shooting a ship out of the sky is much faster if you just need 5 pieces of silk from the dogmen, or whatever, and I enjoy the ship battles.  I'll have to go back to an area where I can farm weaker ships for a while.
    2. STORY SPOILER AHEAD!!!  I did the Ratbeard promotion quest and was impressed that they brought back the fact that he poisoned his crew to take their share of the treasure.  The fact that the ghosts are mad at you for now teaming up with him when you promised to help them brought a neat layer of depth that I wasn't expecting (honestly, I had forgotten about his old crew altogether).  Good work, KI!

    See you in the Skyway!

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

    Pirate101: Starting Questions Answered (UPDATED!)

    UPDATED 11/21/12

    I am putting this chart in the first episode of the Pirate 101 podcast I'm working on (Talkin' the Plank), but since I had it handy, I thought I'd post this little cheat sheet about the initial questions asked when you create a Pirate 101 character and what the answers you give effect:

    Thanks to Adrian Silver at Pirate 101 Central for compiling this list!
    How’d You Lose Your Parents?

    This question determines which Companion later joins your crew. This companion will be your fourth in game and you find them while raiding The Presidio.

    Mutiny! = Dead Mike (Undead Pirate)
    Shipwrecked! = Jack Russell (Dog Pirate)
    Armada! = Gaspard de Vole (Guinea Pig Guard)
    Storm! = Milo Greytail (Rat Brigand)
    Squid Attack! = Birgus Latro (Crab Thug)

    Where’d Ye Grow Up?

    This question determines your natural talents in the game, which give you a specific permanent bonus to your Pirate.

    Mooshu, Born Warrior, +5% damage  (better for Privateers);
    Skull Island, Born Sneak, +5% dodge (better for Swashbucklers);
    Marleybone, Keen Eyes, +5% accuracy (better for Musketeers);
    Krokotopia, Naturally Spooky, Increased Power Effects (better for Witchdoctors);
    Grizzleheim, Naturally Tough, +5% health (somewhat useful for Buccaneers, but you're better off picking up dodge or damage as a Bucc).

    Pets in Pirate101 (Updated Again!)

    I saw that someone had been directed here while searching for an answer to where you can find pets in Pirate 101 so thought I'd write a quick post with an answer:

    Aside from buying pets in the crown shop (they cost around 2-3k crowns, I think) you can get one from the GameStop play time cards, the WalMart playtime cards, a few bundles that KingsIsle has promoted, but if you want to get them in game, the earliest two bosses I have heard you can farm for pet drops are Buster Crab in Skull Island (Ancient Tunnel, I think) and Fin Dorsal in Gullet (this is the 2nd time you encounter him).  They have a small chance to drop the Orchid Chameleon.

    I'd just buy one in the shop myself (and that is what I did) because I don't like farming bosses for drops (until end game, anyway), but if that's your thing, those two seem to be the first opportunity, that would be around lvl 7-9, if I remember correctly.  Happy hunting!

    KingsIsle developer Ratbeard just stated on the official forums that most bosses have a small chance of dropping a pet.  Developer confirms!  Enjoy!

    UPDATE! (10/29/12)
    KingsIsle developer Ratbeard added the following to his previous statement:

    In the early Skull Island chapters, try farming Marcus, Fin Dorsal, and most of the Rat Pack bosses. (The Rat Pack side quest chain offers a ton of great boss farming opportunities!)

    In Cool Ranch, try Johnny Ringo, Monterrey Jack, El Guapo, or Santa Rana.

    Pirate101: First major story completed

    I had a great experience playing through and completing the Captain Gunn's Treasure quest line last night.  I had been doing all of the side quests as they came up, but last night I decided to finally focus and get the main story completed, then go back and continue working on all the other quests.  It was a blast!  The quest line was very engaging and, especially near the end, I found that I was becoming quite involved.  There were even a few twists that I didn't see coming as far as new crew members (I hadn't read ahead and I won't spoil it for you haven't gone through that yet.

    Specifically, though, I enjoyed the last portion of the quest where you go to the top of the volcano above the Waponi village.  Another player happened to be running it at the same time, so we teamed up for the trek to the summit.  This was the first time in maybe 10-15 hours of play that I have actually talked to someone in the game.  Weird, right?  I broke the ice with an observation of how funny the faces of the lava carp were when they were about to be critically hit, and we struck up a limited conversation.  It was a very pleasant experience.  I much prefer going along with someone to having someone randomly show up when your battle is almost completed.

    A few additional thoughts from last night's play session: combat is starting to become a bit more interesting now that I have a healing spell for my buccaneer and a few more power ups.  Also, it was fun to do the first promotion quest for a companion, Bonnie Anne, though I did forget to go in and assign her new talents before I did the Witch Doctor fight.  That might have been a tad easier if I had.

    Speaking of that fight, I would add a tip here for anyone who is new to the game: make sure you check the win conditions of the battle!  In the Witch Doctor fight, you only have to defeat the Witch Doctor, which is good because he keeps summoning minions after battle begins and you can get overwhelmed if you aren't careful.  Often times when the condition is to defeat only the boss, try to focus fire him, when possible, only taking out minions if you can't reach the boss.

    All in all, still very pleased with the game.  I haven't had the need to spend any more crowns (as I said before, I've bought a very fast mount, 3k gold, a Tropical Skysnake pet and have a subscription), so that's good.  I would say that with all I've spent it's about the equivalent of $15USD and I think I have certainly gotten my money's worth.  If I were to remove anything from that list, it would be the mount.  It's merely an item of convenience and doesn't have as much bearing on the game play for the price as having at least one pet does or opening all the zones with a subscription.  I may not have needed to buy the gold, but it wasn't too expensive and it made me now have to grind out money to buy new armor at a time when funds were very low.  Subsequent play throughs of the game should require anything but maybe a pet purchase.  We'll see!

    Until next time, stay afloat!

    Monday, October 22, 2012

    Pirate101: More Review

    I got a chance to play quite a bit over the weekend, so have a few more thoughts to share on the general game play and systems that I have experienced, so here goes!

    First of all, I like the strategic battles.  However, they can go on a bit long.  There's nothing that can be done about it, that's the nature of the medium.  I thought the same thing of the card battles in Wizard 101, but for some reason in Pirate, I am a bit more engaged.  I guess I just prefer strategy to card battle.  One annoying thing, however (besides having one of your characters miss a hit) is that any passing player can join the fight, adding a few new enemies.  This is a mixed bag to be sure.  If I am struggling to make headway, another, stronger pirate showing up is awesome.  If I'm just trying to finish one last battle before I go to work and I'm about to kill the last enemy when 2 other players join (adding 4 new enemies), I tend to just hit the flee button and log off.  I'm not ashamed to admit it!  It would be nice if there were a few more options as far as putting up a "Do Not Disturb" sign or "S.O.S." if you need help.  The S.O.S actually makes sense, nautically.  Now, I'm not saying that you should be able to block other players from joining, but you can at least give them some kind of indication of how the battle is going.  That way, if you're the player thinking of joining the battle, you know if you are welcome there of if you'll cause me to rage quit.

    I continue to enjoy ship based battles.  Usually, I don't board the ships when the get down below 50%, unless the quest I'm on says to do so, but typically, I'm just trying to farm Nautical XP (separate from regular Pirate XP) which I think is the same no matter which way you do it.  And while I do get annoyed when I'm sucked into a regular battle I didn't intend to join (got too close, let's say), I don't typically mind getting into an accidental ship battle.  That is, unless I am hopelessly outgunned.

    On a side note, I do recommend getting a pet.  My skysnake has saved my butt a few times.  Sometimes, just having another friendly that can strike at a weakened enemy means that you can complete things just that much faster.

    I haven't gotten involved much with player housing or the offered mini-games yet.  I played one that was a more or less typical "match 3" game.  The games will give you rewards you can use (I got a decent pendant when I was first starting out) but I don't see a reason at the moment to spend my precious playtime trying to tackle them yet!  More on both these subjects when I get around to ancillary time wasters.

    That's about all I can think of for now.  More thoughts as I continue to play through.  As it stands now, I continue to recommend the game.  See you at sea!

    Friday, October 19, 2012

    Pirate101: Review Continued

    I had a few more hours to play last night and wanted to relate my experiences.  Full disclosure: I ended up using a few more crowns to buy a pet and 3k gold, more for convenience than anything else.  Also, I wanted to see how pets work!

    I have to say, I like the way that pets work in Pirate 101 more than Wizard 101.  In Wiz, they were a separate game entirely.  In Pirate, they have a chance (in the case of my sky snake, 55%) of showing up in combat and fighting along side you.  You cannot control their actions, but they will be in your favor.  You're pet won't go rogue, as near as I can tell.

    I got a chance to try out some more ship based combat.  The only other MMO experience I have with ship based combat is Star Trek Online and, to a lesser extent, Puzzle Pirates.  This version of it favours the STO model more than the Puzzle Pirates model, where you get into combat with another ship and have hot buttons to press to activate your abilities.  Unlike STO, however, it doesn't seem to matter what position you are in.  I think only range matters, but I'll have to look into this further.  It's a good idea to have two possible victory conditions: sink the ship by cannoning it to death OR when it hits 50% health or so, you can board it and fight the crew.  In this way, you have a few more strategic options inasmuch as fighting the crew takes a bit longer, but gives better rewards, but if you aren't strong enough to last through the fight, you can just sink the ship and move on to the next.

    It's also nice that you have two separate xp gains for regular pirating and ship combat.  More details on what the benefits are of each as I progress.

    The quests so far have been decent to good, though not as varied as I would like.  A lot of it is typical MMO fare (kill this many bad guys, kill these things to make them drop this stuff, collect this many nodes of that, etc. . .) but they do have some pretty decent voice acting, which makes it a bit more compelling somehow.  We'll see if they can keep this varied enough to remain interesting.

    All in all, still enjoying the game and look forward to seeing what else is in store!

    Thursday, October 18, 2012

    Pirate101 Review: Initial Reactions

    So now that I have spent a few more hours with the game, I thought I would write down some of my impressions.  This is obviously not a full review as I have only played a total of 3 or 4 hours worth (partly due to servers being down last night until I checked back at 1:30am), but rather just my thoughts on what I have seen so far.

    First of all, I like the idea of the combat at this point a bit more than the combat itself.  I imagine part of this is due to the fact that I can only move and attack.  From what I can tell, each special move can only be used once during each combat and at this level (lvl 4 Buccaneer) I only have one special move.  That is a bit annoying and doesn't lead to a great variety of strategic choices.  I would imagine that once I and my companions get more options and also once the buccaneer class starts to feel like a class instead of default warrior (i.e. lvl 5 i am able to upgrade to light armor from, well, no armor?  I'll get back about this one once I see it in action).  Anyway, jury's out on this aspect.  It has a lot of potential, but seems to have a slightly bigger learning curve than most MMO's.  It's not "tough" but it is a bit more complicated than things usually are at this low a level.  Maybe I'm over thinking it.

    I also got to try out ship based combat a bit, but didn't really get a good sense of what was going on.  This is in part because I have, essentially, a raft, but also because the only ship battle I have been in (outside of the tutorial) there was a glitch with the HUD and I couldn't see my abilities or any info about my ship.  Then I was boarded by the enemy vessel and would have been wiped out if another higher level player hadn't show up and killed them all for me, more or less.  More later on this aspect as well.

    Haven't seen much of the social aspect of this game, but if it's anything like Wizard 101, communicating will be difficult given all the restrictions Kingsisle put on interaction in attempts to keep the game family friendly.  I have no problem with that, but it does make it tough to get anything across when seemingly innocuous words are censored.

    The story of the game so far has been pretty strong.  At the least, not boring and at best kinda funny.  I did laugh when I realized who Fin Dorsal was supposed to be.  Again, haven't seen too much of this yet, but it looks promising.  I already like it more than the story to Wizard 101.  Much more engaging, even at this early stage.

    I signed up for a subscription at $7 a month because I hate seeing pay-gates in a game (the lower rate was because I had forgotten to cancel my Wizard 101 sub when I stopped playing and you can get a multi-game rate).  Since I still had around 26k crowns from Wizard 101 and they are good for both games, I used them to buy a lobster "very fast" mount.  My play time is limited, so I try to only buy things that help me get more done in the time I have.  I don't like paying for weapons with real money, but we'll see if it becomes necessary or not.  The in game bazaar has not been set up yet, so no way to test that, and there is no direct player trading and, according to what I read on KI's site, there won't ever be.  I spent a fair amount of time gearing up from vendors, but we'll see how this goes.  If there is anything else I may spend real money on, it would be a better ship or maybe a pet, as I understand pets have a chance to join you in combat.  Again, more on this when I know more!

    So far, so good.  As I discover more of what the game has to offer, I'll post it here, not always in full review format, but if I have enough to say or feel I can make a better evaluation, I'll do another review that will be a bit more comprehensive than this one was.  At this point I can see that the game has a lot of potential and I look forward to finding out if it lives up to that potential.

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

    MMO Suggestion Realized?

    So, if you have read this blog in the past, which I don't think many people have, you may have seen one of the posts I wrote about MMO ideas which suggested an MMO based on turn-based strategy.  It seemed like a good idea at the time and still seems like a good idea.  Well, I had played an MMO called Wizard 101 maybe 6 months ago and had a good time, but the lengthy card-based battles started to wear on me so I stopped playing.  It seems I was still on their mailing list, though, and I received an invitation to try their newest game, just released this week, Pirate 101.  I decided I would give it a try, since I had enjoyed Wizard 101, and see if they had fixed any of the issues I had with Wizard in this new incarnation.

    After I had created my pirate character, I headed towards the deck of the ship in the tutorial, wondering what was in store, combat-wise, as I had not done my homework.  To my surprise, it was turn-based strategy!  Essentially, the same as the idea I'd had (which, to be fair, just combined other people's good ideas into one game).

    The battle system works by walking up to your foes, at which point, you enter a battle map (though you are still visible to other players who can join the fight by walking into the battle area).  You have a certain amount of time to select moves for both your main character and your companion character(s), then when the time runs out, your moves are executed as are the moves of your enemies.  Then, back to the move selection screen and so on until the objective is complete.

    The rest of the game seems to be similar to Wizard 101 as far as what you can get for free and what you have to pay for as well as player housing, pets, mounts, furniture, etc.  I will post here as I get further in the game with more impressions.  My character is named Cynical Lucy Andrews (there is a drop down menu for character names, so you get what you get) and she is a buccaneer (tank/warrior) which seemed like the most fun for me of the 5 classes available.  If this is similar to Wizard 101 (and I think it is in this respect as well) I should be able to hybridize some healing abilities in there from the Privateer tree and end up with a sort-of paladin.

    So, for all of you who think dreams don't come true, they usually don't.  But every so often, something that was in your head appears in the real world and you get to take it for a test run.  I'll keep you posted on how it goes.  See you in game!