[Pirates] The lure of a real world setting

potbs_navycoat

As you can see, my Naval Officer character in Pirates of the Burning Sea is going up in the world. This was taken approximately two coats ago – I’m measuring my levels in coats because every so often you get a career quest which is rewarded with a new title and piece of cosmetic clothing. PotBS also allows you to change how your character looks or dresses whenever you like without penalty. And of course you can pick all the colours from a palette. I just like ‘blood and custard’ as a colour scheme.

As a naval officer your cosmetic rewards are miilitary style coats. This is one of the first rewards and I think it looks hot.

It is also a tribute to the game and players that I was wondering aloud on one of the global channels whether the navy really had a uniform in this era … and at least two other players knew the answer. (Which was no :) ).

What’s so special about the real world?

For me, a setting which is based on a true story or real historical places and events has a special resonance that I don’t get with pure fantasy or scifi.

This weekend, I saw The King’s Speech (awesome film, btw). I had a shiver up my spine when he gives his big speech in the climactic scene, not just because the acting was superb, but because I knew that all of my grandparents would very probably have been hanging on every word at the time. For a moment, it wasn’t just a story on the screen. It got personal.

Real life is personal in a way that game worlds can rarely be. Real places and people have a significance that Orgrimmar or Bree never can … as long as the developers and writers get them right.

The level of detail and research in Pirates for its real world historical setting is one of the reasons I’m so enthralled with the game at the moment. And the prospect of a well implemented real world setting is one of the reasons I’m looking forwards to hearing more about The Secret World and World of Darkness (still no announcement on CCP’s site) games.

And in which I back off from complicated things

I was feeling sufficiently guilty about enjoying PotBS for free and gratis that I subbed up for a month. It was that or a pet chicken!

The way the accounts work is similar to LOTRO, except that you can do a lot more on a F2P account here, with full access to all the content except for one high level epic questline. Once you are subscribed you get more character slots, dockyard slots, and economy slots on your account, and those extra slots stay with you even after you unsubscribe. You also get 10% bonuses for experience, faction rep, and chances to get loot while subscribed.

So subbing for a month and then returning to F2P is a totally valid choice which lets me support a game I really like, adds some useful but non-vital account enhancements that will help when exploring the economy in more depth, and get an xp boost for the duration as well.

I had been wondering how well the very generous F2P setup had been working for the development team here. But given that a large part of the endgame is down to player generated PvP, I can see that a constant boost of players to PvP will do a lot to keep existing subscribers in the game. Just by being there and playing, the F2P people are contributing in a fairly major way.

I have only barely scratched the surface of how PvP and the economy works in this game. Planning to investigate those both in more detail, but since I’m nowhere near level 50 yet, there’s plenty of time. What I do know is that the global channels have been very active with encouraging people to help take ports or get involved during prime time, so it feels as though there is plenty going on.