Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pirate101: Thoughts on Isle of Dogs, Marleybone

I have completed what I perceive to be most of the Isle of Dogs content.  I just finished destroying the Beachhead last night and am now being sent to the Isle of Fetch.  This post will contain spoilers for the content I've completed, obviously, so if that matters to you, don't read it!

I was still upset about the slog of the Tea house instance when I arrived at Marleybone.  I immediately preferred this version to the Wizard101 Marleybone: the city felt more alive and rich in detail (as most things in Pirate101 do when compared to W101).  Sailing into port will always feel superior to just stepping through a portal.  You get a much better feel for the world you are entering allowing for a greater sense of awe.

One of my fears when I finally got to MB was that all the dungeons would be of the 2.5 hour length variety, a bad fit for my playing time which tends to be erratic at best.  Fortunately, I haven't yet run into a dungeon that was marked at over an hour.  To me, the hour long dungeon is the longest I really want to spend there.

So far, the new content has done a very good job of making sure that all of the boss/mini-boss fights feel different and there is a great deal of variety to both the environments you find yourself in and the tactics you need to use to succeed.  This is how combat should be and the fights have a greater difficulty because of it.  Doing the same thing you do every time won't always work and many of the bosses have abilities never seen before that effect the board in unique ways.  For example, the fight with Bishop was the first time I'd really seen Witchhunter work.  Quite unfortunate for my Witchdoctor.

The Beachhead itself in how larger set pieces in the story should be addressed.  I wonder if at some point the developers had imagined the entire place as one long instance (would have been around 3 hours, if so).  Wisely, they broke it into 4 different instances you do insequence: three 30 min's and one hour long.  It felt right.

I like the new crew member Gracie Conrad.  Pirate101 is a little shy on female companions and she's a good one: smart, capable, driven, patriotic, self-sacrificing . . . and she doesn't have the annoyingly high pitched voice I had expected based on her character design (she looks like a yappy little dog to me).

Lastly, the story is great so far.  I like the character of Bishop, one of the clockwork elite, and was surprised in took this long for us to see one of the clockworks in a creepy black plague mask.  They seem like a natural fit, given the design of the Armada.  Also, Catbeard was one of my favorite characters from the first 12 books and I'm glad to see him reappear in the story.  I actually laughed out loud (something I rarely do when playing) when I saw in what state Catbeard's imprisonment had left him.

All around, it's been a good time (with the exception of one issue, which I'll discuss in another post) and I look forward to seeing what the Isle of Fetch has in store for me.  The stakes have been set pretty high!  I hope hope Dark Tatiana is up to the task!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Pirate101: First day in the new expansion

I started out my play session by following my own advice as seen in today's episode of Talkin' the Plank: Start with the Bazaar, then update your crew, then off on adventure!

Step one at the Bazaar was to finish selling anything that wasn't tied down.  I noticed that already since earlier that same day, the price demanded for ship equipment had drastically reduced, likely due to everyone using the Bazaar all day to sell their surplus.  Makes sense but was kind of a bummer.  Still, I was able to get a few really good pieces for my Marleybone heavy galleon (which was switched to level 54 as the notes suggested).  Then, much to my joy and surprise, I was able to get a new weapon for my Witchdoctor: shooty/staffy! It looks pretty sweet.  The wand is a triceratops skull and the gun is a three-barreled pistol.  I got that one, not because I wanted to spend all of my training points as musketeer, but just because I liked the look of it.

As a side note, I'm very anxious to see what the lvl 65 Witchdoctor talent looks like.  From the tool tip, it looks like you summon three undead minions at once.  Will they all occupy one tile?  Will they summon to separate tiles?  Time will tell!  Additionally, I tried out the new Ocuboros spell and it seemed to be much stronger than before, so I'll work it into my regular rotation.

Once I had finished with the Bazaar, I checked out my crew to see what improvements I could make.  Firstly, it seems I was mistaken about one of the changes: I thought that there would be no set Epics, when what they said was no set talents.  That being the case, I go to add all the talents to all of my crew members that had changed.  It took a little while but wasn't a biggie.

After that I was ready to go to Marleybone . . . oh, wait, the quest says to go to Port Regal.  Okay, I'll confirm that Catbeard isn't on his ship.  It was at this point I got a cry for help from someone on my friends list who was desperately trying to finish up MooShu and needed some help with a little Nautical combat.  My fully upgraded ship rushed to assist.  After downing a few ships (while becoming more and more annoyed by how long it was taking), I was back on my way again.  This was my only experience with the new speed of ship combat last night, but it didn't feel that much faster.  Logically, I could see that it was, but it felt about the same.  I'll have to test this further in Marleybone when I get there.

So I went through the Port Regal quests, laughed at Captain Kid being a goat (it's so obvious, but still funny), and was on the cusp of storming the dungeon for the new windstone to get to Marleybone when I had to stop, edit the podcast and go to bed.  I hope you all enjoy the show, by the way, but last night I really wished I didn't have to make it!

Ah well, there's always tonight.  Happy new content to all and I'll see you in game this evening when I try once again to get to Marleybone!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pirate101: New Content is Up!

With last night's maintenance, the new content has been released!  I played right up until the servers went down (1 AM my time) trying to finish my Nautical XP goals . . . and did, more or less.  Thankfully, when I started fighting the Jade ships, I was quickly joined by 3 other Marleybone Heavy Galleons, presumably trying to get those last few Nautical levels before diving into the new content.  Since I have to sleep sometime (and work the rest of the time) I wasn't able to check much out this morning when I logged in.  Basically, I was able to get the new quest from Avery, the checked out the Bazaar on my way to the docks to see what that's like.

The Bazaar is a welcome addition to the game, for sure.  This is one that affects all players whether you're on your way to Marleybone or are a fresh faced person o' fortune just walking out of Avery's office, blinking in the bright Skull Island sun.  The Bazaar essentially solves one of the biggest issues many folks had with the early game: not enough gold.  Now, you can get roughly twice what the vendors will pay for any given item.  Since the fastest way to grind gold is ship battles and the equipment that will be the most sought after is ship equipment, I imagine that portion of the Bazaar will be the busiest and the most lucrative/helpful.  I was able to sell most of the extra ship equipment I had on had for roughly 2-3 times what a vendor would have paid for it, so I was getting 1,700-2,500g per piece as opposed to 500-900g: a significant increase.

That was all I had time for, but I'll start updating my blog again now that there is something to talk about!  Stay tuned!

Also, be sure to check out the discussion that Brandon and I will have about the new content on Talkin' the Plank.  The new episode will post tomorrow at connectthedotspod.com and also talkintheplank.blogspot.com