Friday, November 30, 2012

Pirate101: Test Realm Open! Go PvP'ing!

Well, the latest list of updates has been put up on KI's website and the list is a doozy!  If we follow how long the test realm was active before the last update, I would guess that the update will be implemented mid next week, just in time for the new episode of the show!  I'll hop on the test realm this evening to check out the PvP and see how it works so I can report back here.  In the mean time, here is the list of all the changes that were made to the game.  My comments are in blue.

The letter that they mention is from J Todd Coleman, VP, who let's us know the intent behind this incarnation of PvP.  It seems this is just to test the waters and get a jump start before the implementation of full PvP will all features.  We'll see how it goes!

Practice Player Versus Player (PvP)!

Pirate101 is proud to present our initial implementation of PvP! For 2012, we are introducing a "Practice Mode" PvP combat system that you can experience in both your housing and in open PvP areas on Skull Island!

The new Practice PVP system only showcases battleboard combat and currently does not feature a ladder, matchmaking, awards, or the introduction of "PvP Only" / "No PvP" flags for player gear. (This is just the beginning as a full implementation of PvP is still in the making.) Please read more about the philosophy behind our newest feature in this public announcement from J. Todd Coleman.

How Do I Get Started?

PvP totems and sigils have been added to the Pirate101 World in a couple of different areas:
  • Open 4 versus 4 PvP can be found on Skull Island. Look for the Brawlin' Hall and Spar Chamber behind and to the side of the Kraken Skulls Tavern.
  • 1 versus 1 PvP can be found in a couple of our Player houses: The Volcano Island from the exclusive (and no longer available) Boochbeard Bundle and the Castaway's Cove from the GameStop Cutthroat Bundle
To begin, approach the PvP sigils and press X. Next, select if you’d like to join the blue or red team. You must have at least one player for each side to begin a practice PvP session (you’ll know how many players can join a PvP match by the number of available sigil spots displayed). Once the sigil countdown has completed, you’ll then have a limited amount of time to choose the companions you’d like to bring into the fight (much like you would for an Epic Boss Battle).  Thank goodness you get to choose which companions join you.  There would be rioting in the streets if this was random!

Special Rules

  • Fleeing is allowed. Bummer.
  • The "Pirate" talent will be active. That should make the battles go a bit more quickly.
  • Player avatars cannot be charmed (or targeted) but Companions can be.
  • Players cannot eject someone from their house (via Friends menu) during PvP.
  • The Crown Shop is available during combat. Okay . . . .
  • (Known issue) Traps can be seen by opposing team.
  • (Known issue) Players using stealth abilities can still be seen by their opponents.

Combat Phases

After choosing your companions, each team will have their own Planning / Execution stage and the game will randomly choose which team enters combat first. That team will plan and execute their combat phase, followed by the second team. Finally, the pets/summoned creatures of first team will then get a turn followed by the pets/summoned creatures of the second team. Combat will continue in this order until one team is defeated.


At the end of combat, both teams will receive a notification of which side won the combat.

Bug Fixes Galore!

Over 1,500 bugs and changes were made in this update to the game. There are so many fixes that it’s simply impractical to list them all; however, here is a general overview of those changes with some of the Pirate101 community’s key topics highlighted for your review:


  • Several performance improvements and memory leaks have been addressed!


  • Fixed many minor art issues, including lighting, particles, mismatched portraits, and textures throughout the game.
  • Fixed weapons so they are now properly holstered while mounted.
  • Changed the “busy” icon above pirate’s heads from a spell book to a treasure map. That makes sense.  Always thought it was weird that they had this holdover from Wiz101
  • Added several interior maps that were missing from the game.
  • Added many missing map icons including the landing in Kaizoku Jima, Moo Manchu's Sanctum, Black Storm Raiders, Sun Pollen, and more!
  • Enemy Waponi Watermoles are now be more easily identifiable by their silver color.


  • Additional NPCs now have audio accompanying quest text. Also, several fixes were made where audio did not match the quest text.
  • Music has been added to several zones.
  • Added/tweaked sounds for many combat powers, broadside powers, and companion barks in combat.
    • Reduced the volume on the Kraken's Coils and Wind Spirit buffs.
  • Players will no longer hear a “sell” sound when trying to sell an equipped item that can’t be sold.


  • Fixed a lot of minor quest text issues.
  • Fixed a lot of Quest Helper bugs, both in the quest arrow and in the text below the Quest Helper.
  • Lowered the respawn time of several quest collection objects to support more players (including the Doom Shards in Avernus).
  • Added more Troggy Warriors to the Scurvy Dog dungeon.
  • Adjusted the difficulty of Senjo for the “This is the Pits” quest.
  • Ensured Brother Owl now disappears after completing his quest, “Stray Feathers.”
  • Ensured Sargent Shepard no longer assists players with Fin Dorsal after they have successfully completed the fight once before.
  • Ensured Skeletal Corsairs in the Ghost Town are now harder to avoid.
  • Improved the Cave Fish in the quest “True Love Triumphs?” They will drop the ring needed to complete the quest more reliably now.
  • Only Privateers will be prompted to visit the Old Chirp Place by Timmy for the quest “The Gang's All Here.”
  • Accommodated Count Brastillo de Brass who simply wanted to be known as “The Brass Monkey.” He also now sails a much higher level ship in the Vortex of Disruption.
  • Ensured Ordaz and his goons don’t stick around after they’ve been beaten in the Gortez encounter.
  • Players may now group up together to fight the Dread Droga for the side quest “Emperor Moo.”
  • Strengthened Brody so he can withstand shark attacks a bit better.
  • Added a 1,000 gold reward for completing “Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”  Better rewards are always welcome!
  • Players shouldn't have to repeat the Iron Monkey fight during Kan Po, Egg Shen, and Wing Chun's promotion quests.
  • Improved the loot drops for the Don Rodrigo line of quests.
  • Navigating between Holy Monquistan ships should now prove more manageable.
  • Isao Murasaki will no longer use the First Strike ability more than once.
  • Significantly revised the Buck Bronco encounter in Arroyo Grande.
  • Added several floors to the Inoshishi Pagoda encounter.
  • Added additional chambers to the Cave of Whispers.
  • The Shadow Fortress encounter is now longer and more challenging.
  • Masamune's last line of the quest “off duty” will be played only for Musketeers.
  • Removed the Mooshu level gear from Baron Cimitiere’s loot table.
  • Deacon’s barrage ability no longer hits hidden characters.
  • Fixed the Chapter 3 side quest badge so it will be properly awarded.
  • Marleybone ships in Port Regal will no longer spawn more officers than redcoats.


  • Made a lot of fixes for equipment name typos.
  • Gear with powers that have weapon equipment requirements will now display those requirements.  This is a big deal and I think is a necessary step to alleviating confusion.  Nothing worse than equipping a new piece of gear with an ability you can't use but you have no idea why.
  • Reduced the Nautical level requirement on the Pagoda Sails sold on the Hamamitsu docks from level 32 to level 26.
  • Added the missing Sneak Attack power on the level 40+ Tier of the Dread Pirate's Outfit.


  • Both a ship vendor and a parts vendor have taken up residence in St. Bonobos Abbey in Monquista.
  • More parts are now available from most ship part vendors.  Good.  The game is lacking a bit in things to buy with gold.  Until the bazaar is introduced, this will have to do.
  • Ned Cook has taken his leave from Jonah Town.
  • Fixed a number of errors in the Vendor interface.
  • Charlie Burrow now properly shows he’s a Boot Vendor.
  • Vendors now warn when selling will exceed max gold rather than preventing the sale, so the gold cap may be more easily reached.


  • Players can’t begin combat in the skyways with another player’s creature fight by flying through their ship while they’re in combat.
  • Ships will no longer occasionally be invisible when docking.
  • Ensured barrels created by player attacks on enemy ships can now be attacked and destroyed by players.
  • Nautical XP awarded now appears in the chat log.  Another convenience item.
  • Added a pop up that asks players if they really want to delete a ship if they try to put it in the trash.
  • Ensured other player ships will no longer show a red nameplate if they are higher level than you.
  • Passengers on ships will not be separated from the boat they were sailing on when the captain of the ship enters a new zone.
  • Added a rubber ducky pirate icon to indicate a ship is unsinkable (you can’t sink a rubber ducky after all).


  • Increased the number of housing items that can be placed in premium housing to 200 instead of 100. (Both on the inside and outside!)  People were clamoring for this.  Glad to see it implemented.
  • Wood Kabuiki Wallpaper no longer applies as flooring.
  • New players may use the “Go to Home” button as soon as they leave Avery’s office.
  • Ensured rugs can have housing items placed on top of them.
  • Housing items and more uncommon items have been added to enemies throughout The Spiral.

Powers and Talents

  • Changed Talent cards so they have a different color background to help players identify they are different at first glance.
  • Clarified wording for the power “Walk in Shadows” to indicate all hidden sneak attacks do double damage, not just Backstab.  Clarification is always welcome, especially on some of the less straight forward abilities.
  • Changed the Mighty Strike power to “Mighty Charge” and the description has been updated.
  • Witchdoctors can now no longer train either Peaceful or Loud, and they have been removed as prerequisites for Witchdoctors training up the other class talent trees.
  • Swashbucklers will now be able to train Riposte at level 37.
  • The Witchdoctor second and third tier “Haste” powers now correctly add a First Strike/Riposte capability to melee companions and Quick Draw/Return Fire to ranged companions.


  • Fixed cases where zone overhead map didn’t match world, and added missing text to overhead map icons.
  • Added wisps to many zones that were lacking them.
  • Fixed many areas that were sometimes causing players to become stuck.
  • Added a little extra distance between ships and creature enemies in several skyways.
  • Added more enemies to Valley of Titans.
  • Affixed many Life Fountains to the ground so they won’t “float away” on players.
  • Made the grassy sidewalks in Yagizawa Village a bit safer to navigate.
  • Riding the blue wind lane coming from Hamamitsu Skyway into Subata Skyway will now allow players to continue along the wind lane’s path.


  • Made several fixes to chat system
    • Changed the chat icons next to players’ names so they now correctly display chat capability: Open chat players have no icon. Players with filtered chat have a chat bubble. Players with menu chat only show a chat bubble that is crossed out.
    • Menu chat players can see chat log by hitting enter.
    • Menu chatting players will now see a chat bubble with “…” above a chat-enabled player to know they are speaking.
  • Badges pages only show next available badge for defeating multiple creatures, not all the badges in the chain.
  • Ensured badge pages now show rewards.  This is good.  I wonder what was in there that we couldn't see . . .
  • Removed the Gift Button icon during combat.
  • Fixed the placement of many name tags and weapons.
  • Ignored player names will not show duplicates in the friend’s list.
  • True friend names will now always appear green.  That's helpful. I'm not the best at remembering my friend's in game names.
  • Mousing over your ship’s health globe will show both current and maximum health.
  • Fixed a bug causing the player’s ship action buttons to become unresponsive.
  • Players may now more easily left-mouse click sigils on docks to board ships.

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Pressing “End” on the keyboard will act the same as pressing the Life Fountain button on the interface.
  • Control+N will now open the Notification window.


  • Some shrunken companions were made bigger again.
  • Crown shop companions will no longer change names (including Unicorn Duelist Companion Ridolfo Capoferro).
  • Made multiple fixes for companion quests.
  • Companions now properly participate in important combats during their promotion quests.  Sounds like a "duh" but glad they did this.
  • Companion statistics will now update immediately when promoting (previously they didn’t update until players closed the window and reopened it, so it appeared as if promoting companions made their statistics worse).
  • Companions that were revived inside the Bison Sacred Cave will no longer appear defeated during combat.
  • Ensured Sarah Steele's Swachbuckler’s stab reduces defense as advertised.
  • Made notifications that you have gained new companion training points clickable so they open the companion management screen.
  • Corrected Bonnie Anne’s Scatterblast ability so it now functions even if the character targeted moves during the turn.


  • Rebalanced the Armadillo pet to be in line with other pets (it was incorrectly flagged as a much stronger henchman). A second talent, Relentless, was added to the Armadillo to still make it a unique and desired pet among players.
  • Removed the duplicate name “Cookie” from the Pet name list and changed it to “Rascal.”

Crown shop / Premium Areas

  • Changed wording on Premium Areas to indicate “Books” and “Chapters” instead of “Chapters” and “Parts.” (Badges previously awarded for completing “Chapters” are also now labeled “Books.”)
  • Ensured players can only purchase a Mojo Potion only if they have first completed the initial Mojo potion quest and do not already have full Mojo.
  • Passengers on ships will now auto-unbottle their own ships if they encounter a premium area instead of being teleported back to the last life fountain visited.


  • Fixed several instances of incorrect ‘0’ damage numbers with certain companion and boss attacks.
  • Made several minor grammatical changes to quest text throughout the game.
  • Players are no longer able to teleport to a friend while their friend is playing a minigame.
  • Loot tables have been adjusted globally.
Overall, I don't see anything negative in here.  Looks like mostly changes for the better.  The jury is still out on how well PvP will work, but I'll find out tonight and report back soon!

Pirate101: PvP in coming!

KingsIsle just announced that PvP is going to be part of the next update.  Here's the link.

Cursory glance shows that it will be arena based from special sigils, both 4v4 and 1v1 are mentioned, though 1v1 may be exclusive to some of the houses from bundles.

I will read through the info they provided and update this post, but for now, just wanted to draw your attention to this major announcement.

Pirate101: New Pre-paid Cards Available

KingsIsle has just updated their website with a new list of all the different pre-paid game time cards that are now available.  In addition to the bundles we already new about, the following new pets are available on various cards:

Seaweed Spirit Pet (like an Ebon Spectre, from Best Buy $20 card)
Rouged Puffer (puffer fish pet, from CVS $20 card)
Durango Buffaloon (brown buffaloon, from Speedway $20 card)
Emerald Budgie (green bird, as the name suggests, from Target $20 card)
North Win Lion (oriental lion pet, from Toys R Us $10 card)
Golden Sky Rattler (brown skysnake, from Toys R Us $20 card)
Dreamy Blue Turtle (looks like the turtles that fly around in Mooshu, from Walmart $10 card)
Vermillion Dragon (oriental pink/purple dragon, from Walmart $20 card)

If I were to pick just one of these pets to get, it would be the turtle, as I am partial to turtles (it's the symbol on my Buck's sail, anyway), but runner up would be a three way tie between the dragon, lion and puffer.  I suppose I'll have to see them in action before I make that call.

Also, there is another big announcement coming from KingsIsle later today.   As soon as I can, I'll post it here!

Pirate101: Best Bosses to Farm for Pet Drops UPDATED!

UPDATED! 12/3/12

This will be another post that I will update regularly as new reports come in.  This will be a list of bosses that not only have the best chance to drop a pet, but regularly drop other nice, class specific gear as well so, even if you don't get your pet, you at least have something to show for your trouble.

Skull Island  [Orchid Chameleon]
Fin Dorsal (Jonah Town, Gullet)

Cool Ranch [Armadillo Verde, Golden Stingtail, Tropical Skysnake]
Johnny Ringo (Cooper's Roost, Cool Ranch)
El Guapo (Banditoad Gulch, Santo Pollo)
Santa Rana (Santa Rana's Palace, Santo Pollo)
Duck of Death (Boot Hill, Cool Ranch)

Mooshu [Ebon Spectre, Tawny Turtle]
Kung Po (Tempest, Khotan Skyway)

Also, the White-Tailed Jackalope is awarded for completing the Frontier Drifter Badge in Cool Ranch, which you earn by visiting 21 important areas.  If you do all the main story quest, you'll probably be close to getting this one.

I think there is a similar quest in Mooshu for a Celestial Dragon Pet, but I couldn't find the particulars.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Post 100! Episode 6 of Talkin' the Plank is Live!

The latest episode of Talkin' the Plank is live, so be sure to check it out!  This week, Brandon and I discuss a little bit of Presidio strategy, as I'm currently working on a guide for that portion of the game, and end up with a change to last week's contest winners.  Stay tuned!

Also, this is my 100th post on this blog.  Whoop-de-doo.  :-)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pirate101: Sale in the Crown Store Until Nov 29th!

The in game crown shop is having a half off sale on certain items until midnight tomorrow.  The official announcement (if you don't believe me!) is here.

The items that are half off are as follows:

  • Captain Gunn's Wheel
  • Mojo Potion
  • Livsey's Ring
  • 25,000 Gold
  • Corsair's Frigate
  • De Bonzo Galleon
  • Prancing Pony (Very Fast - Permanent)
  • Golden Stingtail Pet
  • Buccaneer's Den
  • 1,000 Gold
  • Mojo Pendant
  • Ebon Spectre Pet

  • Given the sale, I bought the Buccaneer's den for 5,000c.  If I remember correctly, that just saved me 75,000g, if I were to buy it in game.  Also, I have been sorely tempted to buy that 25,000g which I think was going for 6,750c, but have been able to resist so far.  For some reason, buying gold in any game still has a bit of a stigma to me.  I would be more likely to do it if I could trade it with other characters on my account.  Oh well.  I'd probably burn through it pretty quickly anyway and I tend to only buy things from the shop that I will use for a long time.  My lobster mount is still being used and my Skysnake pet lasted 35 or so levels until I got the Jackalope.  The house will last until I quit the game, I'd imagine, so a good purchase!

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

    Pirate101: Buccaneer weakness

    My Buccaneer is now level 40 and in Mooshu.  Having played the class thus far, I have noticed a glaring exception: no area of effect abilities.  The closest the Bucc comes to attacking multiple targets is if you can pull off a Bladestorm and are stand by a second enemy.  It's seems like a real issue.  Bucc's don't get all that many direct abilities anyway.  The get (by lvl 40) two def buffs, 2 str buffs and 3 direct attacks.  Two of those 4 buffs you won't use as they are lower tiers, and 1 of those three direct attacks, which are all of the same attack in different tiers, isn't very useful as it just doesn't hit that hard.  You get more oompf out of a regular attack.  If you don't spend any practice points, that's all you get.  Now, with a Swashbuckler subclass and a special piece of equipment, i have two backstab/sneak attacks which I always use before my Bucc's attacks, just because they hit harder and one of them causes a bleed effect as well.  The other abilities you get as a Bucc are all passive and, as nice as they are, are no fun.  I'd like some buttons to press and am sorely lacking an AoE attack.

    We'll see how it feels once I get to lvl 50, but at this point, my Pirate feels weak and not as useful as I'd like.

    Monday, November 26, 2012

    Pirate101: Cyber Monday Crown Sale!

    If you act quickly and buy before midnight tonight, you can get 90,000 crowns for $80.  This is the best rate I've seen for crowns since the game started at a 1,125c per $1 rate.  If you were going to buy a lot of crowns anyway, now's the time!

    Pirate101: Pet drops I can confirm UPDATED

    UPDATE!  I have realized since I wrote this that the Jackalope pet is not a drop but rather the reward for earning a badge at the end of Cool Ranch.  Guess I'm not so lucky after all!

    I all my playtime, I had never actually seen a pet drop in the game.  Then, over Thanksgiving weekend, I got two pet drops!

    The first was on my now level 10 Witchdoctor.  She got the Chameleon pet from the Chumbawumba encounter.

    The second came at the conclusion of the Captain Blood fight.  And, seriously, I'm glad I got something because that instance is way to long!  When you go to enter it, you get the regular warning saying about how long they expect you to take and that one says 2 hours.  I really hope there aren't any more like that later in the game.  We'll see!  Anyhow, the last boss dropped a Jackalope that I didn't even notice until the next day since it was so late and I had just stayed up long enough finish that insanely long instance (it ended up taking me about an hour and a half).  I was sorting through my inventory and noticed the little Jackalope sitting there.  He immediately replaced my poor Skysnake who's been my pet since level 2 or so on my Buccaneer.  About time for a change, I'd say.

    My Buccaneer is now level 40 and heading into Mooshu.  Hopefully, more fun drops await!

    Sunday, November 25, 2012

    Pirate101: Tomorow is the last day for free gold!

    Don't forget to enter the code.   I decided to give the gold to my Witchdoctor who was lvl 6 at the time.  The plan was, I'd level her up first, then whenever she reaches a landmark level, I'll pass all her applicable gear, ship items, eye patch and whatever else I have to the next pirate and so on and so forth until the last one is as geared out as possible right from the start.  She's level 10 now, so everything got passed on to my Musketeer so he won't have to buy much except for a few pieces of gear before he reaches level 10 himself.  When that happens, my guide to the Presidio should be ready!

    Enjoy the last day of the long weekend, everyone who doesn't work retail!

    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    Pirate101: Advice for levels 1-5

    I've been trying to level all the remaining four classes at the same time so that I can compare and contrast them, so I have gone through the starting 5 levels 5 times now and have the following pieces of advice for anyone who is still at that stage of the game or is about to run an alt.

    Firstly, don't worry about saving your companion training points at this stage in the game.  Spend them all, or as many as it takes to get you companions up to one level below you.  Any less that that at this stage in the game and you are bound for frustration.

    Don't be worried about joining a group for combat.   At this level, especially in the Skull cave, you may not be able fight anything without a group!  That area is quite crowded.  Doing this will give you a bit extra gold and a better chance at gear.  Equip whatever the first pieces of gear you get and make sure that before you get too far in Skull cave, you check the treasure chest up on the shrine as you walk through.  It will give you a class-specific piece of gear.

    All of the battles in the starting area are pretty straight forward until you get to the Defeat the Troggies quest where you have to activate the three pillars.  The best way to do this is to have you companions split up, sending one to the top, one to the bottom and your pirate to the one on the other side of the board.  Once all three are in position, activate all three pillars on the same turn.  Since each pillar adds two troggies to the board when activated, this avoids them getting in your way.  You don't even really need to fight any of them, as you get the same rewards no matter what.

    For the Fin Dorsal fight, just get to him as fast as you can and ignore the other sharks.  If you can, hit him with Bonnie Anne's special move to reduce his dodge.  That will make him much easier to hit.

    Next, you go back to Skull Island and are shown your ship, at which point you start the Ratbeard quest chain and get your third companion.  Make sure that, on the way to see your ship or the way to the tavern, you stop in every shop there is (clothing, weapon, ring and the totem vendor who is up on a platform) and buy every piece of gear you can that's an upgrade.  Focus on dodge as it makes a huge difference at this level.  If you can't find a vendor, just look it up on the map.

    When you fight Ratbeard, focus on all the other rats first and ignore him.  He runs away anyway, so don't waste your damage.

    When you go to Blood Shoal, you pick up quests from Manny, Moe and Jack.  The best way to do these is to do the quest where you talk to the crab first.  This one sends you to sink cutthroat ships for 6 ropes.  Make sure you hit the ship parts vendor on Blood Shoals and buy whatever equipment you are missing, prioritizing cannon, then rudder, then anchor and, if you have any cash left, upgrade the rest.  When fighting the cutthroats, don't board them if you can avoid it.  It's much faster to just sink them.  If you accidentally get boarded, just flee.  It's a short trip back from Blood Shoals and it's much faster that way than to actually fight hand-to-hand.

    Once you have all 6 ropes, use the "warp to life fountain button" to go back to Blood Shoals and turn in the quest to the crab and then to the ghost rat.  At that point, you will hit level 5.  Spend your training points (you will get 6 of them) to get all of your companions to level 4.  Get your new ability from your class trainer by warping back to Skull Island.  By doing it this way, the Batacuda fights and the fight to rescue the mouse boy will be a lot easier.

    That's the advice for now.  Once I have taken all of my alts through the Presidio, I'll write another one of these.  Hope everyone is having a great holiday weekend!

    Friday, November 23, 2012

    Pirate101 & Wizard101: Want free gold?

    Of course!  Who wouldn't want free gold?  As part of a Thanksgiving promotion from KingsIsle you can get up to 5,000 gold just for entering a code.  At their respective sites, go to the "Shop" tab, select "Redeem code" and enter "PirateGold" for Pirate 101 and  for Wizard 101, enter "WizardGold."

    Initially, I was going to redeem this on my main, who is 35 now, but then I thought "why not give it to one of my low level alts where it can really make an impact?  Who will that lucky alt be?  Not sure yet.  I guess whoever looks like they need it the most!

    Happy Leftover's Day/Black Friday!  Be sure to redeem your gold code before Nov. 26th when it expires! 

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

    Talkin' the Plank Episode 5 is live!

    Episode 5 of Talkin' the Plank is now live!  You can find it here.  Find out who won the contest as Brandon and I discuss what stats are best for every class as well as a helpful tip that every new player should know . . . that I just discovered this week!  Happy Thanksgiving!

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

    Pirate101: Ninja Pig Update & Funny Ship Names

    That's to JSpiral on the Pirate 101 Forums, I now have a ninja pig!  Thanks again, J!

    I had a chance to try out my pig-gitsu (ninjit-suey?) expert last night.  He showed up as lvl 34, so was ready for promotion which cost me 1,700g, but was immediate unlike some other companions whose quests I'm currently stuck in the middle of (Ratbeard and Bonnie Anne, I'm looking at you.  Any corner of the map you're not planning on sending me to?  Sheesh!)  Anyway, as everyone has reported, he is awesome and has moved to the top of my companions list.

    Short post today since I have to actually work before the 4 day weekend, but I wanted to drop a quick line about naming ships you purchase for gold in game.  I have bought 3 ships and after the first one, have always tried to pick the funniest combination of the two available word categories.  I may have already maxed out on my third ship as I don't think I can do any better than "Oaken Surprise".  Anyone else come up with any good ones?

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    Pirate101: All classes, lvls 1-3, a comparison

    I have made a pirate of every class: Cynical Lucy Andrews the Buccaneer [33], Dark Tatiana the Witchdoctor [6], Eccentric Todd the Musketeer [5], Silent Luke the Swashbuckler [4]and Glib Edward the Privateer [3].  The though being to try out every class and see how I like them and how they compare to each other.  My main focus will remain my Buccaneer, but, I think, eventually, I will level all 5 classes to lvl cap (unless there is one I really can't stand).

    So, since they have all gotten to lvl 3 at least, I thought I would do a little comparison and see which was the best and which was the worst for the first few quests of the game.  This means I have taken all of them at least to the point where you fight the sharks for the first time after rescuing the frog from the cage (SPOILER ALERT!).

    LVL 1-3

    Best Class: Witchdoctor

    This class left me feeling the most powerful, even at such a low level.  Swashbuckler would be a close second here, but the starting companion for WD pushes them over the top.  I just really like the look and feel of the goat student: how his eyes look whited out . . . just is really cool to me.  Musketeer wasn't bad here, but I could not really find a use for the initial talent which shoots in a straight line for 3 or 4 squares.  The enemies never seemed to line up that way, to my satisfaction, so I ended up not using it very much.

    Worst Class: Buccaneer
    Privateer was a close second (I haven't needed to cast healing even once, so that is a bit of a waste at this low level) and it could be that my view is hazy since Bucc was the first character I made, but things just seemed to take so much longer with the Buccaneer than with any other class.  Also, while I came to really like the Samoorai companion in later levels (especially after 1st promotion), I initially thought it just looked silly.  The Privateer's Crane student has a much better aesthetic.

    Once they all reach lvl 6, I'll re-evaluate and post again and then every so often when they all reach a new high watermark.

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    Pirate101 Admiral's Bundle Contest Ends Tomorrow!

    The title says it all!  Make sure you get your submissions in soon, as I only have 2 of these to give away.  Contest details can be found here

    This picture came from ebay where it was bafflingly being sold for $60+.  The price is right on it!

    Pirate101 Buccaneer Subclass: Swashbuckler/Privateer

    As I mentioned in my last post before the weekend, I wanted to change my subclass for Buccaneer as Witchdoctor sub wasn't doing it for me, damage-wise.

    What I ended up going with was the dodge sequence from Swashbuckler, which, while i had to put into stabby weapons, got me a nice bonus to Rough, gave me a better range of movement and gave me a bonus to dodge.  Then I went to the Privateer trainer and got the evasive talent, and skipped the healing.  It doesn't seem to do very much healing, even at the lower levels, so I'm in no hurry to grab it and I already have plenty of defensive boosts, so no need for those yet either.

    So far, this is working well, though I miss having an area of effect attack.  My survivability and direct damage seem to have gone up and that's really what I was looking for.  At least my pirate feels like a Buccaneer now instead of a Witchdoctor knock-off.

    Friday, November 16, 2012

    Pirate101 Contest!

    Ahoy, pirates!

    A first for this blog, we have a giveaway!  One of the perks of being an official Pirate 101 fansite is that I've received some promotional items that they'd like me to distribute to you.  This one is the Admiral's Bundle, one of the game cards offered at Walmart.  Below are the details of the card:

    Admiral's Bundle codes (available at Walmart for $29) for this purpose:

    This bundle comes with a Marleybone Warship and figurehead, Bulldog Companion, Naval Outfit, Military Sabre, and Crow’s Nest Housing Add-On. The promotional version of the bundle does not come with additional crowns, but the one in stores also comes with 1 month of membership or 5,000 crowns.
    The Bulldog companion is a privateer and I have been using him since they sent this bundle over.  He has quickly worked his way to the top of my rotation thanks in large part to having the Rouse ability.  Plus, he has some cool animations!
    Want a promotional bundle for yourself?  We're having a little contest.  I have two to give away, so here are the rules:
    Come up with a new class for the game.  What’s missing?  What would you like to see?  Send it to, the top 2 get read on the podcast (Talkin' the Plank, of course) and get the Admiral Bundle.

    Please send submissions in before noon (PST) on Nov 20th, so I have time to review them before the next episode of TtP is recorded.  Look forward to seeing some great submissions!

    Pirate101: Buccaneer subclass revisited

    As I posted previously, I had decided to use the Witchdoctor talents as the first subclass for my Buccaneer and, after having used this for a while, am starting to reconsider this course of action.  While it's neat to have the ranged abilities, they don't hit as hard as I would like.  This makes sense since I don't really have anything that would boost them other than a few talents from the Witchdoctor tree.  Also, I had thought the added resistance would be useful, but there doesn't seem to be as much magic damage in the game as there is physical damage.  There are gun attacks that are technically magic damage, but using dodge seems to be the most powerful avoidance/mitigation stat, since you can dodge everything but abilities and most of the damage (at least at this point in the game) is physical or ranged.

    Therefore, I will be switching my subclass from Witchdoctor to Swashbuckler this evening.  I'd like to get me some of that sweet, sweet dodge and I think it will be a better match for both damage dealing and mitigation to mix melee types rather than range types.  I wish that Witchdoctor was a better alternative, but it just doesn't seem that this is the case.  And as much as I like the idea of playing as a death/dark knight pirate, I like the idea of my Pirate being able to progress through the game quickly even more.

    Tune in next week when I discuss how my new subclass is working out!

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

    Pirate101: Now I'm confused

    A quick follow up to yesterday's rambling post.  So after logging back in, I destroyed the Frogerales ships until I got the key, ran the mausoleum, which consisted of 4 groups of mobs and took me about 25 min.  The I reach the tomb of and the guy isn't there, so we go back out to the entrance (at which point the game crashes, so I had to try and log back in a few times with great wailing and gnashing of teeth) and when I finally did, the quest was mercifully completed by talking to the ghost.  To sum up, I had to go to boot hill, destroy 12 ships, defeat a boss, defeat a boss again (both classified as "Epic Battles") go all the way to the other side of the map to talk to an NPC, destroy another 7-8 ships, the last one being hand-to-hand, sail all the way back to where I started, run another dungeon consisting of 4 not very difficult mob groups and then exit the dungeon and talk to an NPC.  That got me 2,000xp and a Two handed sword that may or may not be better than the spear I have (slightly better damage and big smashy weapon bonus > +15 armor penetration?  not sure.  I guess I should try it out).

    So, the next story quest is to re-unite two characters in the game who have been separated.  Looking at the quest, I see that this one is worth 2,200xp.  Well, I guess I'm in for an even longer haul with this one.  I go to Flotsam, talk to an NPC, sail out past the Scurvy Dog hideout and talk to another NPC, go to Scurvy Dog Hideout and talk to two more NPC's, head out in front of SDH and collect 10 fish from nodes, then head to Monquista and destroy 7 or so ships to get 6 fruit containers, warp back to SDH and talk to the NPC.  Boom!  2,200xp and lvl 29.  So, more xp, less time.  I don't get it!  Don't get me wrong, I am happy to see a quest reward doled out at the completion of the quest, but after such a long drawn out questline with all the xp at the end, I expected this one to not resolve until sometime after I had resolved the quest's conflict and then run a few additional errands.

    Is this a big deal?  I guess not.  It's just a little annoying and it would be nice if there was a slightly better balance between effort and reward.  Or, at the very least, a slow xp drip for each minor checkpoint.

    Talkin' the Plank Episode 4 is Live!

    Episode 4 is live!  Check it out here or, if you're on, click over to the Talkin' the Plank tab.  This week includes a very special offer from Connect the DoTs productions and KingsIsle.  Stay tuned!

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

    Pirate101: Foiled again by maintenance!

    Last night's server maintenance, for the second time in a row, cut off my final hour of playtime.  I understand why they update at that time.  Statistically, it's the least populated time for all their servers.  Most people, I assume, play in the evening of their time zones, so that would make the major play hours between about 2pm and 9pm my time (Pacific Standard).  Playing, as I do, much later than that has it's advantages and drawbacks, one of which being I get ham-stringed by server maintenance every once in a while.  I had just completed the fight with the evil duck in Cool Ranch and rescued Tonka when I started getting the warnings.  "No big deal," I thought.  "I'll just complete the quest, get that sweet 2,000xp and new sword I was promised (Zweihander couldn't be anything other than a big smashy weapon, right? Sweet!) and then log out for the evening.  Okay, go to the mausoleum and talk to the ghost .  . . 10 min left now, no problem, plenty of time . . . the doors locked and we need a key, still no quest completion . . . . and we get the key from . . . . Santo Pollo!!?!  Ugh, that's gonna take a good chunk of that 10 min.  Well, I should be able to get there in 5 or so.  Dum-de-dum . . . . .okay, 4 min left, I'm in Santo Pollo, visiting El Toro for the key, maybe this will finally complete the quest . . . . . . ack!  1 min left and he want me to shoot down Frogerales for the key.  Log out."

    This was an incredibly long quest chain from the moment you head to Boot Hill  to  . . .? well, I'm not quite sure when it ends yet, since I'm still working on it.  But so far, I had to sail to boot hill, destroy 12 enemy ships, enter Boot Hill, run up to the top, fight the evil duck and his minions after getting my silver bullets blessed, he runs, I follow and fight him again on his ship and kill him this time, and then the long ride I just described.  All of that and, except for the nautical xp and reg xp from battles, I have gotten zero reward yet.  This was made all the more frustrating as my Bucc, who was 27, was sitting at about 200xp away from 28.  If I had gotten even a fraction of that for the multiple steps along the way, I would have gained my level and felt a little better about the whole process.

    The way quest xp is doled out in the game still leaves a little bit to be desired.  I know that you end up getting the same amount either way, but it feels like you are wasting your time until you finally get to whatever the last step is . . . but unless you have already played through the game once, you have no idea when that last step will be.  Maybe on subsequent play-throughs, this won't be such an issue for me, but for now, consider me slightly annoyed!  Sorry to show such strong emotions.

    On the plus side, the maintenance gave me the perfect excuse to finish editing Episode 4 of Talkin the Plank, which will release tomorrow with a very special offer.  Stay tuned! 

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    Pirate101: Ships for Gold

    So, I was going along with my plan of waiting for the next free ship that I'd heard we receive near the end of Cool Ranch.  Then I suddenly realized the following: don't be silly.

    The ship in Pirate 101 is treated like another piece of gear, in a lot of ways: you can't level it up (Nautical Level only effects what you can use/equip, no the power of the ship itself), you equip it and, therefore, every so often you replace it by talking with a vendor.

    The problem that I'd been having was that I'd run out of gold quickly trying to keep all of my companions at least 2 lvls below my pirate.  This can be a very expensive venture.  The strategy I'm trying now is to not buy training tomes unless I really feel I have to (companions feel too weak, etc.) and instead save up so that I can buy the next tier or ship when it becomes available.  In Cool Ranch, you can buy a lvl 18 ship for about 7k gold and at level 22 ship for around 10k gold.  I'm sure there's at least one more, but that's as far as I've gotten as of this writing (lvl 27 Pirate, lvl 21 Nautical).  Doing things this way has made the game significantly more enjoyable.  I actually stand a chance in ship-to-ship battles and, as I have said before, I much prefer sinking ships to boarding them.  I like the distinction between ship and land based combat.

    So there you have it:  don't forget to update your ride!

    Monday, November 12, 2012

    Pirate101: When do my companions get a promotion?

    UPDATED! 1/28/13

    "When do my companions get a promotion?" is a common question and the best guides I could find were here and here.  That being said, I have decided to condense that list into what I hope will become a comprehensive guide to companion promotion.  This is a very specific list, so I'll only include very basic details.  As more info is released, I will add and keep this updated.  Until then, if you know anything that is missing or incorrect, let me know if the comments or send me an email at  Sidenote: my spell checker went berserk when I ran this list through it!

    Also, it seems some of the companions have several different names, so you can look for them by companion type.  If I realize which they are, I'll switch it from whatever name I wrote down to the generic one for ease of use.  If you know of any that are like this, let me know!

    Key:  Companion Name (Companion Type) [level they get a promotion]

    Barnabus (Sloth Guardsman) [15 & 37]

    Bat Masterson [none]

    Batacuda [none]

    Billy the Kid (Billygoat Gunslinger) [none]

    Birgus Latro (Crab Thug) [21 & 47]

    Bison Scout [32]

    Bison Shaman [32]

    Black Storm Shaman [32]

    Bones McGee (Skeletal Corsair) [22 & 39]

    Bonnie Anne (Fox Musketeer, Fox Sharpshooter, Fox Sniper) [8 & 31]

    Bosun Budd [none]

    Buffalo Bill (Bison Lawman) [none]

    Cat Pirate [20]

    Caracticus (Crab Thug) [15? & 38?]

    Chicken Miner [none]

    Chicken Ranger [35]

    Chilam Bak [24 & 44]

    Corporal Sanders (Chicken Soldier) [none]

    Crab Hermit [none]

    Crazy Monquistador [none]

    Cutthroat [17 & 36]

    Dan Drake [none]

    Dead Mike (Undead Pirate) [21 & 47]

    Doctor Noh [none]

    Duck Holliday [none]

    Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah (Troggy High Chief) [18 & 35]

    Egg Shen (Goose Student) [13 & 46]

    El Toro (Masked Hero) [40]

    Emmett (Otter Ensign, Otter Lieutenant) [15 & 37]

    Eric Jolly (Chicken Pugilist) [none]

    Exeter (Otter Ensign) [17 & 36]

    Fin Dorsal (Cutthroat Pirate) [27]

    Froggo Villa (Salamander Backstabber) [none]

    Gaspard de Vole (Guinea Pig Guard) [21 & 47]

    Gerard (Sloth Guardsman) [17 & 36]

    Ghost Singer [32]

    Giacomo Rossi (Unicorn Duelist)

    Giordano Bravo (Guinea Pig Guard)

    Goronado [30]

    Handsome Dan (Bulldog Officer) [17 & 36]

    Helephant [46]

    Hidenari Kuga (Samoorai Archer) [none]

    Horse Crossbowman [none]

    Iago [38 & 50] 

    Inoshishi Chief [none]

    Inoshishi Necromancer [none]

    Itzen Kaan [24 & 44]

    Jane Canary [none]

    Jim Masterson [none]

    Ju Hao [none]

    Kan Po (Goat Disciple, Goat Student) [13 & 46]

    Kawil Doomclaw [24 & 44]

    Keisuke Yagi (Goat Student) [14 & 38]

    Kobe Yojimbo (Bull Ronin) [13 & 46]

    Lefty (Crane Rifleman) [34]

    Lemba Moonskull [24 & 44]

    Lost Ranger (Skeletal Cowboy) [none]

    Louis le Bisque (Crab Harpooner , Crab Gunner) [15 & 37]

    Lucky Jack Russell (Dog Pirate, Dog Privateer) [21 & 47]

    Lucy Sterling (Mouse Fencer) [17 & 36]

    Madclaw (Bloodbat) [none]

    Malik (Rat Brigand) [ ? ]

    Martin Valvida (Undead Monquistador) [32]

    Masamune Goto (Samoorai Bushi) [none]

    Milo Greytail (Rat Brigand, Rat Rapscallion) [21 & 47]

    Monkey King [none]

    Monquisitor [30]

    Monquistador Crossbowman [30]

    Monquistador Explorer [30]

    Monterey Jack [none]

    Moresco de Valvida (Flying Monquistador) [32]

    Mormo (Water Mole Witch Doctor) [15 & 37]

    Mustang Gaucho [none]

    Mustang Rowdy [none]

    Mustang Sally (Mustang Fencer) [none]

    Nadya (Mustang Gypsy) [none]

    Nanu Nanu (Water Mole Spearman) [30]

    Nikeeta [none]

    Ninja Pig [17 & 35]

    Nurse Quinn (Medicine Chicken) [none]

    Oingo Boingo (Water Mole Sumo) [30]

    Old Scratch (Undead Witchdoctor, Undead Bokor, Undead Houngan) [24 & 34]

    Pepe deTorteau (Crab Harpooner) [17 & 36]

    Pig Raider Crossbowman [none]

    Rain Watcher (Spirit Chief) [36]

    Ratbeard (Rat Commander, Rat Officer) [10 & 28]

    Ridolfo Capoferro (Unicorn Duelist) [27, 38 & 50]

    Romba (Water Mole Spearman) [27 & 37]

    Rooster Cogburn (Chicken Lawman) [none]

    S. M. Arson (Undead Pirate)

    Samoori Musketeer [none]

    Sarah Steele (Mouse Swashbuckler, Mouse Fencer , Mouse Corsair) [15 & 37]

    Scorpius (Scorpion) [none]

    Sergent Shepherd (Dog Pirate)

    Shiruku Neko (Cat Ninja) [none]

    Skyfire (Bison Hunter Spirit) [35]

    Sky Snake (Sky Snake) [none]

    Stormy Sky [none]

    Subodai (Horse Barbarian, Horse Warrior) [13 & 46]

    Taro Moomori (Samoori Champion) [none]

    Temujin (Horse Barbarian) [14 & 38]

    Thunder Hoof (Bison Champion) [none]

    Tonka [40]

    Toreador Novillero (Mustang Toreador) [36]

    Tricky Vinny (Frog Pirate) [30]

    Tso Po [46]

    Tyson  (Chicken Boxer) [40]

    Uga Buga (Water Mole Witch Doctor) [17 & 36]

    Wagyu Sanjuro (Bull Ronin) [14 & 38]

    Water Mole Slingman [none]

    Weasel Gambler [none]

    Wild Bill Peacock [none]

    Wing Chun (Crane Student, Crane Disciple) [13 & 46]

    Wu Tang (Crane Student, Crane Disciple) [14 & 38]

    Yakooza [45]

    Yule Trogg [none]

    Zang Cha (Goose Student) [14 & 38]

    Pirate101: Subscription vs. Pay-as-you-go Breakdown!

    Pirate 101 is a Free-2-Play game, but anyone who has spent some time on the planet knows that you don't get something for nothing . . . at least not forever. Pirate 101 gives you two methods of accessing content after the free introduction: a monthly subscription and buying each chapter individually. I have been thinking quite a bit about which method would work out the best for me and had done some number crunching, so, since I went to all that effort, I figured I would share my results with you.

    All this information is based on the current subscription packages available as well as the current dollar exchange rate of crowns in various bundles. The info for the chapter pricing can be found in greater detail on the Pirate 101 wiki here.

    So, the first option is a monthly subscription, of which there are several models depending on how long you intend to play and how many months you want to buy at once. For the subscription prices, I have done it out to show how much you will pay per year with each of the different plans. Obviously, if you aren't sure you're going to play for a full year, you may not want to hunker down for the full 12 month subscription, so that will vary by player. Otherwise, here's how the various plans breakdown:

    $9.95/month = $119.40/year
    $49.95/6 months = $99.90
    Second subscription with KI $6.95/month = $83.40/year
    12 month sub = $79.95/year

    There was a special deal that just ended yesterday where you could get the whole year for $59.95. Obviously, the more months you buy at once, the cheaper it will be, but if you plan to only play for a few months, buy accordingly.  As far as I know, there is no other advantage to membership, other than open access to all zones.  If anything presents itself in the future, I will update this post.

    Now comes the part that I had to actually do some research on to find. Below is the pricing for each chapter of the game. After the first chapter, you will reach a paygate, which will become steadily more as you get further in the game. Once you unlock a chapter, it will always be unlocked for all of your Pirates on the same account, though I don't think that holds true to additional family accounts. The purchase of each paygate is made with the ingame currency of crowns. Crowns cost the following:

    On sale at time of writing 60,000c/$60.00 ($1 = 1,000c), regularly 60,000c/$80.00 ($1 = 750c)
    30,000c/$50.00 ($1 = 600c)
    13750c/$25.00 ($1 = 550c)
    5,000c/$10.00 ($1 = 500c)
    2,500c/$5.00 ($1 = 500c)

    That being the case, I have listed a breakdown of what each chapter costs as well as how much it would cost to buy. There are 5 different values for crowns depending on what size bundle you purchased. Therefore, I have listed the dollar amount, in ascending order, of each chapter with the $60 bundle being the outside. For those who want to skip to the meat of it, buying every currently available chapter (a total of 67,220c) would run you $134.44/$122.22/$112.03/$89.63/$67.22. Bear in mind that the last two rates would mean you bought two bundles of 60,000c, costing you $120.00/$160.00 respectively, but leaving you with 52,780c left to spend as you please.

    Chapter Pricing:
    Book I
    Introduction = Free
    Chapter 1 = 749c ($1.50/$1.35/$1.27/$.97/$.75
    Book II
    Chapter 2 = 1,249c ($2.50/$2.25/$2.12/$1.62/$1.25)
    Chapter 3 = 1,249c ($2.50/$2.25/$2.12/$1.62/$1.25)
    Book III
    Chapter 4 = 1,499c ($3.00/$2.70/$2.55/$1.95/$1.50)
    Chapter 5 = 1,499c ($3.00/$2.70/$2.55/$1.95/$1.50)
    Chapter 6 = 1,499c ($3.00/$2.70/$2.55/$1.95/$1.50)
    Book IV
    Chapter 7 = 1,499c ($3.00/$2.70/$2.55/$1.95/$1.50)
    Chapter 8 = 1,499c ($3.00/$2.70/$2.55/$1.95/$1.50)
    Book V
    Chapter 9 = 1,999c ($4.00/$3.60/$3.40/$2.60/$2.00)
    Chapter 10 = 1,999c ($4.00/$3.60/$3.40/$2.60/$2.00)
    Book VI
    Chapter 11 = 1,999c ($4.00/$3.60/$3.40/$2.60/$2.00)
    Chapter 12 = 1,999c ($4.00/$3.60/$3.40/$2.60/$2.00)
    Book VII
    Chapter 13 = 2,499c ($5.00/$4.50/$4.25/$3.25/$2.50)
    Chapter 14 = 2,499c ($5.00/$4.50/$4.25/$3.25/$2.50)
    Chapter 15 = 2,499c ($5.00/$4.50/$4.25/$3.25/$2.50)
    Book VIII
    Chapter 16 = 2,499c ($5.00/$4.50/$4.25/$3.25/$2.50)
    Chapter 17 = 2,499c ($5.00/$4.50/$4.25/$3.25/$2.50)
    Chapter 18 = 2,499c ($5.00/$4.50/$4.25/$3.25/$2.50)
    Book IX
    Chapter 19 = 2,499c ($5.00/$4.50/$4.25/$3.25/$2.50)
    Chapter 20 = 2,499c ($5.00/$4.50/$4.25/$3.25/$2.50)
    Book X
    Chapter 21 = 2,499c ($5.00/$4.50/$4.25/$3.25/$2.50)
    Chapter 22 = 2,499c ($5.00/$4.50/$4.25/$3.25/$2.50)
    Chapter 23 = 2,499c ($5.00/$4.50/$4.25/$3.25/$2.50)
    Book XI
    Chapter 24 = 2,999c ($6.00/$5.40/$5.10/$3.90/$3.00)
    Chapter 25 = 2,999c ($6.00/$5.40/$5.10/$3.90/$3.00)
    Chapter 26 = 2,999c ($6.00/$5.40/$5.10/$3.90/$3.00)
    Book XII
    Chapter 27 = 2,999c ($6.00/$5.40/$5.10/$3.90/$3.00)
    Chapter 28 = 2,999c ($6.00/$5.40/$5.10/$3.90/$3.00)
    Chapter 29 = 2,999c ($6.00/$5.40/$5.10/$3.90/$3.00)
    Chapter 30 = 2,999c ($6.00/$5.40/$5.10/$3.90/$3.00)

    So there are the numbers. If you are aware of your playstyle/playtime, hopefully this will help you make the right decision on how to spend your hard earned (I presume) money.

    One last note: if you go with the paygate model, you will have to pay for any expansions of the game, should you wish to continue the story. Enjoy!

    Friday, November 9, 2012

    Pirate101: Memorial Day Gift

    KingsIsle is giving away a Memorial Display housing decoration in both Wizard 101 and Pirate 101 games to celebrate/honor Veteran's Day in the US.

    You don't have to log into the game to claim your prize (I was able to do it from my office computer where I don't have the game installed).  You have until Midnight US Central time on Nov 11th to redeem, one per account, though I believe you get one for both games per account.

    You can find the promotion here.


    Pirate101: Hiccup in New Late Combat Joining

    In my last playing session, I discovered an interesting way that the new late combat joining system could be a problem: if the original player leaves.

    I joined a combat in progress so that I entered alone (well, fortunately, my buffaloon pet was there with me).  Then, after the first round, the original player left (hit Flee or logged out).  Now I'm standing there with no crew and three shark men surrounding me.  Thankfully, this was only at level 2, so they didn't hit that hard and I was easily able to dispatch them with the help of my pet, but this could be a problem at later levels.  Sure, you can always flee yourself, but then you could potentially end up running quite a ways back to get to where you had been fighting.

    Now, in the upper levels, at least at this point in the game's life cycle, I don't see that many other players anyway, so I suppose this isn't a huge deal.  Just thought it was worth mentioning.  Beware!

    Thursday, November 8, 2012

    Pirate101: Combat Changes Tested

    I had a chance to check out some of the changes that were made to the game in the latest update and can report the following:

    The new method of players joining combat makes it much less annoying when that happens, so mission accomplished.

    The drop rates in Cool Ranch, at least for the particular Buffaloon quest I was working on, seems to be greatly improved.  I needed 8 hides and it took me 4 battles.  Previously, I had done around 5 battles without a single hide.  Once again, mission accomplished.

    I can't say whether the battles feel faster or not with the increased character movement, but even a small increase is welcome.

    All in all, with the few things I've had a chance to check out, I haven't seen anything glaringly wrong and the game feels as though it has changed for the better.  That's what you want from an update! 

    Talkin' the Plank: Episode 3 is Live!

    The new episode of Talkin' the Plank is live!  I have a new guest, Brandon King, and we discuss the recent changes to the game as well as well as answer some listener mail make a few suggestions. 

    You can listen to the episode here


    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

    Pirate101 Updated: That was Quick!

    So the updates that they announced as being on the test realm only a few days ago, are already live and implemented to the game!  At first glance, it seems the same.  Glad that the Cool Ranch buffaloon changes are live, since I am working through that zone and do like completing sidequests every now and again!  Complete list of changes is below:


    • Adjusted the hit points of both monsters and companions in the higher levels.
    • Increased running speed of many units in combat to decrease waiting time.
    • Corrected how players join in combat when teleporting to a friend already in combat on a ship.
    • Fixed a few buff spells that will increase the chance for causing a critical hit (Shadowdance and Grand Shadowdance for Swashbucklers and Discipline for Privateers).
    • Changed the rules for late arrivals to combat! The goal was to make players joining a multiplayer combat less painful for the person already in combat.
      • Combat occurs as it would normally if a player arrives in combat on the first round. Players will appear on the left side of screen with their companions and multiple creatures will appear on the right side as expected.
      • After round 1 the following new rules apply:
        • Late arriving players appear alone with no companions.
        • Late arriving players appear on the enemy side of the combat.
        • Only one new enemy per late arriving player will be added to the battleboard.
        • The new enemy will be located near the late arriving player.
        • The new enemy will begin the combat with focused attention on the late arriving player.


    • Adjusted the “Miner Difficulties” quest to require the correct quests be completed before it becomes available.
    • Made a few updates to Buffaloons:
      • Fixed the quest “If I was a Rich Rooster” so the Buffaloons now correctly drop their hides.
      • The White Buffaloons have mysteriously departed and in their stead come the striped Bumbaloons! They can now only be found in the Big Sky Skyway. The spiral is sure to be buzzzzzing about these creatures!
      • Further adjusted the drop rate of "Bumbaloon" meat for the quest “Hungry Like the Wolf,” and made changes to the difficulty of defeating the associated buffaloons that join in combat.
    • Fixed the missing sigil for the “Zhayu Keepers” quest.
    • Fixed the quest “The Things They Parried” so it can no longer be broken by exiting the room before completing the combat.
    • Ensured Tonka now appears where expected during the quest “True Love Triumphs.”
    • Fixed the faction issue that was causing players to be incorrectly blocked from fighting Archer for the quest “The Mooshu Falcon.” Players will now be able to engage Archer even if they are friendly with the Scurvy Dog faction.
    • Ensured Captain Raleigh will properly spawn for the quest “The Fourth Card.”


    • Set the pet renaming costs to 500 gold.
    • Fixed several gold farming exploits.
    • Changed the Goronado companion so he will now promote correctly.
    • Expired rental mounts will now be properly removed from players’ inventories.
    • Made multiple crash/stability fixes to improve gameplay.
    • Created a new gift icon which will appear next to the health globe when a player has a gift awaiting redemption.
    • Made minor adjustments to some spelling in game and corrected a few incorrect voiceovers.
    • Adjusted the size of some larger companions so they now appear smaller when following the player in the world, which corrects a few camera issues. These units will be full-sized in combat.
    • Raised the number of players that can visit a house at one time.
    • Disallowed repeatedly clicking on the dialog box for purchasing a Premium Area.

    Pirate101: Ninja Pig

    The map that KI sent out to players' home addresses which, after some kind of puzzle, would yield codes for a Ninja Pig companion, did not arrive at my house.  Though I did have an active Wizard 101 account at the time the pulled the address for the mailer, I had it set up via my paypal account, so there was no address on file with KI.  Bummer.

    That being said, I thought it couldn't hurt to ask here: anyone out there who received the map and has one of the 4 codes left who could send it to me?  If so, you can send it to

    Since this is the only way I'll be able to get the Ninja Pig, which I hear is awesome, and I don't know anyone who was playing Wiz101, I would greatly appreciate it!

    Pirate101: Selecting Your Crew's Epic Talents

    As I mentioned in a previous post, I am quite pleased with the way Bonnie Anne has turned into a power house of a crew member for me, but I started thinking "hey, what about all the other crew members I have?  Can I get them to be just as powerful if I simply select the right talents?"  That of course raises the next question: "what are the right talents?"

    While I don't have a definitive answer, I can tell you, based on my own trial and error, that for melee, buccaneer class crew specifically, you really want to get the reactive Epics as opposed to the extra hit.  The goal, in my mind anyway, is to get the maximum amount of hits in per round.  With Bonnie Anne, as I went through earlier, with the Double Tap and Burst Fire epics, I have seen her, under the right circumstances, get 6 or 7 hits in a single turn.  That is a ton of damage.  This is through a talent that gives a chance for an extra hit for every successful hit (Burst Fire) and an ability that gives you an extra hit on another nearby mob if you kill the mob you selected.  Since this was such a successful combination, I thought I would try and set it up with my Bison buccaneer who needed to be upgraded.  Now, I'm not sure if this was because Bonnie Anne has received a promotion and the bison hasn't, but the same type of combination doesn't work very well with him.  Rather, it seems more important for melee to have reactive Epic talents.  In essence, you get more hits in if you hit each time you're hit, for melee since they are in the thick of it.  First Strike is also a good one, as giving you an extra hit before an incoming melee attack can stop the attack altogether if the mob dies due to your extra hit.

    I have some more experimenting to do for sure, and will do more posts on this subject when I have gotten a little further in the game.  Currently, I'm still running around Cool Ranch working on the main storyline and, though I haven't had as much playtime this week, have already gotten up to level 22.  I think that at the end of the Cool Ranch main story line, you get another ship, so I'll most likely keep on the main story until then, then go back and pick up the side quests I missed.  It's working so far!

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

    Pirate101: Cool Ranch Continues

    Had a bit of a frustrating play experience last night, though it was no fault of the games, as far as I know.  My computer was running slow.  I don't have the world's most advanced rig, but it's usually fine for the games I want to play as they don't tend to be the bleeding edge of graphics type of game.  For whatever reason, I couldn't get the game to stop hiccuping.  Even so, the xp gain in Cool Ranch is so fast that I still gained two levels and am now sitting on the verge of level 22.  At that point, I could start going back and completing the sidequests that were impossible at lvl 17.  My first impulse is to head all the way to the end of the Cool Ranch main story quests, then go back and complete the side quests when they are a bit more trivial (and therefore faster) but I have run into some money troubles, since I have gone up so many levels so quickly.  My crew, who I had kept at 2 levels below me for the entire game so far, are starting to lag a bit as funds have dried up from not doing side quests.  Add to that the fact that I haven't earned any training tomes from quests and I'm in quite a pickle!

    What I think I'll do is continue playing until my companions are too weak to be viable and then go back and start doing all the side quests.  Hopefully, that will work everything out.  I'll let you know how it goes!

    Monday, November 5, 2012

    Pirate101 Breaking News!! Test Realm Updates Announced

    I just saw that the One-Eyed Jack on the Pirate 101 message board posted a link to the latest test realm proposed changes!  You can view them here.  My thought on the changes are in blue.


    • Adjusted the hit points of both monsters and companions in the higher levels. No complaints here.
    • Increased running speed of many units in combat to decrease waiting time.  Anything that makes combat go a little faster is fine with me.  Combat dragging a bit is one of the only major complaints I have with the game.
    • Corrected how players join in combat when teleporting to a friend already in combat on a ship.  Hadn't run across any issues with this myself, as I don't have a very substantial friend list yet, but it sounds positive.
    • Fixed a few buff spells that will increase the chance for causing a critical hit (Shadowdance and Grand Shadowdance for Swashbucklers and Discipline for Privateers). 
    • Changed the rules for late arrivals to combat! The goal was to make players joining a multiplayer combat less painful for the person already in combat.
      • Combat occurs as it would normally if a player arrives in combat on the first round. Players will appear on the left side of screen with their companions and multiple creatures will appear on the right side as expected.
      • After round 1 the following new rules apply:
        • Late arriving players appear alone with no companions.
        • Late arriving players appear on the enemy side of the combat.
        • Only one new enemy per late arriving player will be added to the battleboard.
        • The new enemy will be located near the late arriving player.
        • The new enemy will begin the combat with focused attention on the late arriving player.
    This is a huge deal!  This issue has been bandied about the forums since the game went live (and probably even before that), but one of the most annoying things that can happen is someone joining combat with you when you're about to win/close to death and making the situation worse because they bring 3 new mobs with them at full health.  This fixes that situation to an even better degree than I could have hoped.  I would still like to see an SOS button added, but with this change, see no need for a DND button.  Awesome.


    • Adjusted the “Miner Difficulties” quest to require the correct quests be completed before it becomes available.
    • Fixed the quest “If I was a Rich Rooster” so the Buffaloons now correctly drop their hides.
    • Removed White buffaloons from Cooper’s Roost Skyway so they are now only found in the Big Sky Skyway.
    • Further adjusted the drop rate of White Buffaloon meat for the quest “Hungry Like the Wolf,” and made changes to the difficulty of defeating the associated buffaloons.
    • Fixed the missing sigil for the “Zhayu Keepers” quest.
    • Fixed the quest “The Things They Parried” so it can no longer be broken by exiting the room before completing the combat.
    • Ensured Tonka now appears where expected during the quest “True Love Triumphs.”
    • Fixed the faction issue that was causing players to be incorrectly blocked from fighting Archer for the quest “The Mooshu Falcon.” Players will now be able to engage Archer even if they are friendly with the Scurvy Dog faction.
    • Ensured Captain Raleigh will properly spawn for the quest “The Fourth Card.”
    All bug fixes and adjusting the drop rates.  No issues here.  All nice corrective changes.


    • Set the pet renaming costs to 500 gold.
    • Fixed several gold farming exploits. Wish I'd know what the old ones were :-)
    • Changed the Goronado companion so he will now promote correctly.
    • Expired rental mounts will now be properly removed from players’ inventories.
    • Made multiple crash/stability fixes to improve gameplay.
    • Created a new gift icon which will appear next to the health globe when a player has a gift awaiting redemption.  I wonder if this means they will be adding player to player gifting from the crown shop soon.  Could be indicative of that.
    • Made minor adjustments to some spelling in game and corrected a few incorrect voiceovers.
    • Adjusted the size of some larger companions so they now appear smaller when following the player in the world, which corrects a few camera issues. These units will be full-sized in combat.  Never had an issue with this, but then again, I run around with my pet out.
    • Raised the number of players that can visit a house at one time.

    All in all, sounds good to me.  I tend to be positive about changes to MMO's in general since I know the dev's are trying to improve our experience.  All MMO's are works in progress and if the community playing the game can continue a constructive feedback cycle, the game will only get better!  Thanks, KingsIsle!