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!

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