- Release Date: Late 2012
- Publisher: KingsIsle Entertainment
- Developer: KingsIsle Entertainment
- Genre: MMORPG
Pirate101 is a free-to-play family-friendly fantasy MMORPG developed by KingsIsle Entertainment behind the hit Wizard101. In the game, players role play as pirates who control their pirate ships, navigate on the high seas, explore the world, and battle against bizzare creatures.
Set in the same imaginary universe as Wizard101, Pirate101 explores Skyways, the world above the Spiral, where ruthless pirates steer their flying fleets plundering gold with imperial navies nipping at their heels. Living a pirate’s life as Buccaneer, Musketeer, Privateer, Swashbucker or Witchdoctor on board, you get to customize your own battleship, recruit companions, and sail in the high sky.
The developer promises to deliver a “brand-new” combat system, where players have to foresee the action of other parties before giving any orders to the character and companions. From the screenshots released, the battlefield follows the style of board war games.
As the saying goes “A captain is nothing without his ship”, ship customization is an indispensable feature of Pirate101. You need to build the entire ship from the scratch by yourself, from nailing the plank on the deck, to coating the canvas on the mast. With more treasures you gather, the ship will look even cooler!
The hilarious looking companion is another highlight of the game. Samurai Eagle, Monk Monkey, Knight Horse, etc. can join you through main and side quests. As the adventure continues, they will advance, acquire stats and master new powers and skills just like your character.
Set in a bright and colorful 3D world, Pirate101 promises pleasing visuals everywhere. You navigate your ship across the vast ocean under the cloudless blue sky, set anchor at the dock, visit someone’s grand house and then embark on your journey across the civilized town, the dense forest, and the dark caves, completing quests after quests. The structures, creatures and everything else are all visually entertaining. For example, you heal at the beautiful fountain after defeated by the blue sharks in jackets. Offering a wide range of customization options, the game spares players of the trouble in identifying their characters among identical twins. There is little chance of coming across with a character of the same look.
Pirate101 excels also in the game contents. For example, at the beginning, instead of choosing between predetermined selection of characters, players are to choose the girl or boy prisoner to set free and then customize the avatar. As players complete certain quests, they will gain partners which might be goat, fox, crane and other animals which all sport distinctive classes and skills and will help you in battles.
Combat in Pirate101 is turn-based and is triggered whenever you encounter the hostile monsters or pirates. Once that happens, you will lose direct control over your avatar and he or she and their companions will be standing in the battle grids. Whenever it is your turn, you can determine the moves and attacks for all your characters and then click done, and they will automatically deal various attacks upon the targeted enemies. The battle controls are simple but the visuals are stunningly good. Both the protagonists and the companions have multiple skills to show off. As the explorations go, the enemies will become much tougher and single players will not be able to kill all of them before the protagonists are dead. In such cases, it is necessary to cooperate with others.
Since the quests often require players to run back and forth, one can easily encounter the same hordes of enemies and be involved in the same battles again and again. Although players can choose to flee, they will be transported back to town and have to travel along the same long path back to finish the task. The only way to avoid those unnecessary battles is to move the avatar along the side of the road, no matter you are in the forest or in the cave. That is why one can often run into other players while sneaking by the very side of the underground water. That can be a quite strategic and amusing experience.
Pirate101 also stands out with its special navigations and sea battles. You move your protagonist to the sailing station and start the sail yourself, and then move the ship in the ocean in a similar way as you move your character. Whenever enemies appear, you will apply the skills to deal damages on enemies or heal your own ship. That is quite interesting until you find out you could never move the ship as fluently as the way you move the character. Seriously, the ship just doesn’t move any single bit in some cases and responds too slowly to your operations.
Pirate101 offers a promising and interesting exploring experience inside a beautiful world full of bizarre monsters and animals. However, the navigation controls still need improvement.
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