Sailing off for ADVENTURE in a sandbox game


This is my new ship in Pirates of the Burning Sea, under full sail, attempting to sail against the wind. I think after this shot was taken I was either in the process of turning or decided to tack  – ie. sail in zig zags – to get closer to the shallows.

She’s called ‘HMS Justifiable Homicide,’ a name which incidentally was too long to be used as a ship name in Star Trek Online. And as you can see in the picture, she’s flying British colours. Huzzah!

Despite this fact, we’re all setting terrible examples and ripping up the Caribbean attacking/ capturing any random object that gets in the way. So fairly historically accurate in that respect.

Although the game does have a full complement of quests, there are also plenty of other things to do which is where the sandbox aspect comes in. You have more freedom to decide what sort of role you’d like to play than in a game like WoW. If you want to be a crafter/ trader, you may occasionally need to run through a port blockade but you will never need to trade shots with anyone if you don’t want to. (And you’ll have access to fairly sturdy trade ships to help out.) You could also be a trader without crafting, specialising in hauling goods from one port to another so that you can buy low and sell high.  Or there is always piracy, faction combat, or trying to become the governer of a port.

In any case, I had a ton of fun with Sven and the Consoling Gamers crew last week. I love that you can just join up into a fleet, and  sail off looking for adventure (in the shape of thumbing your nose at the french fleets, attacking stupidly high level NPCs, baiting the PC pirates and other random encounters). It’s like Swallows and Amazons meets Pirates of the Caribbean!

And this is one of the really characteristic things of a sandbox game. No major restrictions on what you can do. If you want to be in a group with someone 30 levels lower and attack someone 20 levels higher, the game will let you do it and there may even be a non zero chance of success.

Things that I love about this game:

  • Naval combat. It’s always been the lynchpin of the game, and it’s beautifully put together. I think it plays better than STO combat because of the wind factors so if you enjoy that, try this.
  • It’s also a very pretty game, the graphics aren’t always all that but they put a lot of effort into the sailing and you can see your guys climb the rigging when you order them to put up the sails, and scurry around trying to repair cannons and decking when under attack.
  • Being allowed to attack high level enemies. In themepark games like WoW, there are often mechanics that mean you just can’t hit an enemy who is too far above you in level (mostly put in to stop kiting.) In a game like this, you can hit them. You might not do much damage but you can hit them.
  • I also love that a disparate bunch of players of different levels and experiences can go off and do something fun together in game.
  • I love that I find myself using words like ‘tack’ when I’m describing how I sail my ship in game.
  • Playing the Pirates of the Caribbean theme on youtube while we’re attacking stuff!

12 thoughts on “Sailing off for ADVENTURE in a sandbox game

  1. I downloaded this about a month ago with the intention of trying it out again. I was an early adopter, but the lack of a proper in-game guide or extra-game resources were the game’s undoing for me.

    Seems like it’s really beginning to kick off now, especially with the F2P model. I guess I’ll give it a shot!

  2. Pingback: “Hey Syp!” or “Syp, Lookie Here!” « Are We New At This?

  3. This is one that I keep telling myself to play. I loved “Pirates! Live the Life” and I’ve heard this plays similarly in some ways.

    Too many good games, too little time. *shrug*

  4. I was there at day one, I was thinking of revisiting it, but no one I know it plays still so MEH. Sometimes it’s not the MMO, but the people that you play the game with that makes it a better game.

    • theerivs said:
      “Sometimes it’s not the MMO, but the people that you play the game with that makes it a better game.”

      Well then, I’m sorry to have to inform you that this game will be completely rubbish if you decide to join us.

      Actually, if you’re actually serious about giving this a go, and want to be involved in a completely directionless static group, jump on over to VanHemlock’s site and say hello in “The Royal Navy Needs You” thread. We are indeed playing with the British faction on the Roberts server. It’s a fairly large download (7gb or so), so you can listen to one of their podcasts while you wait. Then for sure you’ll think twice about what you’re about to get into!

      A quick disclaimer however. Do not expect a game that plays like an MMO such as WoW. Pirates has a VERY different pace to it. In fact, it’s very unique in that I have yet to feel that I have to play every night, or even every other night for that matter. (That’s right, I forgot to mention we play at 8pm GMT every Tuesday night…you’ll be done before Midnight unless you simply must sink another Frenchie).

      Also, we have a Mumble server set up. It has little to do with tactical discussion, however. Still, especially when just starting out, it’s nice to have a bit of help above and beyond the tutorial.

      One last thing. The writing in this game is unusually good, IMO. From the outset, starting with the War on Junkanoo mission, don’t feel so rushed to catch up with us that you miss the fun. We’re certainly not going anywhere fast.

      One more ‘last thing’. The social menu is odd. I guess they designers made it the way the did on purpose, but it is horrid for trying to find someone. Instead, if you choose to join us, toss your captains name on our forum and we can send you a Society (guild) invite that will be there when you login.

      Great write-up Spinks. Glad you didn’t get too off-put by my disasterous introduction to PvP last week.

  5. I downloaded this to give it a try largely based on your recommendation (I had done the 14-day trial a year or so earlier but couldn’t see myself committing to a sub) and now I am well and truly addicted.

    Even beyond the freedom of “well, you have your ship now; do whatever you feel like doing”, I am finding great satisfaction in the story-based quests (in which you can make gameplay-affecting decisions on occasion) as well.

  6. After your recommendation, I gave this a try. I’m not sure if I really like it or not yet. Unlike wow, I have no earthly idea what I’m doing or how to progress or where to do, and I’m kinda liking that freedom, if not the confusion.

    As someone else has mentioned, the story and lines are kinda amusing and funny. I’m a fan of the puns and silly talking to people quests.

    I’m very interested in the trade aspects, and like how the AH works and the manufacturing chain…but it seems I need to pay for an account for at least a month to open up enough slots to *do* much with it. I’m fine with that, but I really want to see if I like it first. Who doesn’t think it would be kick ass to build ships?

    Also, yay for fencing. Yay for period clothing.

    Boo for how clunky the ship battles feel. Why must I always needs to sail upwindish to get to someone?

    I’m finding the social stuff a bit awkward…it’s not seeming like an easy game to meet people in. Somehow just asking for a society recommendation in local seems…like a bad idea.

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