Pirates of the Burning Sea Beta Review

Well, I've played some of Pirates of the Burning Sea. Leonardo Mendoza is now a level 6 Freetrader. It probably will not be to everyone's tastes, but for my money, it's absolutely brilliant. It has the potential to be a very deep, interesting game, and I've not yet got to grips with any part of it in depth. But here are some of the things I like about it, so far.

The ship handling is utterly fantastic. I was a bit iffy about this in advance; I dislike fiddly or complicated areas of any interface, and I didn't see how it would be possible to do realistic ship handling without that. In fact, the interface is beautifully simple. The up and down arrows - or W and S, if you prefer, raise and lower the sails, and the left and right arrows (or A and D) turn the ship. Depending on your ship and sails, you'll be able to sail at different speeds with, against, or at an angle to the wind. Some cannons can fire at wider arcs than others, so that to fire at your full capacity, you need to be broadside on - just as with real sailing ships.

Thus far, I've only sailed two ships - the beginners one, and a slightly more advanced one, so I can't really speak to the variety of ships, nor their capabilities. I can see, though, that a more nimble ship than mine might be able to swing about quickly enough to fire both broadsides in repeated succession.

The challenge level seems to be about right for me, and can actually be adjusted by talking to a Port Captain, if you feel things are too easy. I've one or two missions I can't yet complete, but another couple of levels and/or a better ship, and I should be able to go at them. Escort missions seem to be even worse than usual, though. I'm suddenly very glad they don't exist in EVE.

The tutorial could do with some work; it dumps a lot of information on you very quickly, and unless you know a bit in advance, the "cheat sheet" screens just have far too much on them. The fact that movement can be done from the arrow keys isn't in there at all. I got along fine, though, after some practice in the actual game. I've yet to get a feeling for when I can use which of the swashbuckling attacks, but that hasn't stopped me from stabbing my way through several dozen mobs on the basic attack forms.

I haven't dug into the economic stuff in any detail yet, apart from going through the (excellent) economy tutorial, but I'm going to be doing so as soon as I get enough money together to have anything resembling a supply chain working. Expect a report on that soon!

Posted by Drew Shiel at December 8, 2007 7:55 PM

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Excellent news, I know it's completely different from WoW and Lotro, but would you say that on first impressions it is better or worse ?

I'm kinda getting bored of Lotro, their seems to be nothing new their that didn't exist in some way on WoW.

Posted by: Bruce Shiel at December 10, 2007 12:24 PM

It's hard to say. It doesn't have the absolute drooling zombie effect of WoW Addiction, but it seems to have more pull than LoTRO - I haven't logged into my LoTRO account in about a month. At the moment, I'd cautiously say that it's better than LoTRO, not quite as good as WoW or EVE. Maybe with release and a first update or two, it'll come up a bit. That said, it probably has a lot less in the way of learning curve and entry barrier, compared to EVE.

Posted by: Drew Shiel at December 10, 2007 12:47 PM