by Howie Howard
previewed on PC
Yearn for piracy
Pirates of the Burning Sea (PotBS) is the eagerly awaited massively multiplayer online game from Flying Lab Software. Although this title was announced some months ago it has been delayed a bit so that the developers can get it right, and they certainly are working very hard to do just that. It is slated for release sometime during the summer or early fall of 2006.
PotBS is an online role playing game and all of the excitement will take place with and against other human players. The game itself will take place in the Caribbean Sea during the year of our Lord 1720. The major powers of that era, namely the English, French and the Spanish will be represented much the same as they were in real life during this time. The game is based heavily on actual history so you can forget about having to make your way through endless dungeons or the need to gain enough experience points in order to obliterate your enemy with a massive fireball. This game in fact is much like the famous Sid Meier's Pirates!, however, it is much more historically detailed and it is online. That says it all right there. Players have been clamoring for an online pirate game for a long time. Well, here it is and it will certainly not disappoint.
Cannon against cannon
The game's main feature are the ship-to-ship battles that will take place against real live human players. There won't be any of the common and easy to destroy ships captained by stupid computer AIs. During the era of the sail, when pirates actually plied the blue seas of the Caribbean, there were an enormous number of ships under sail. History tells us that various seafaring folk might choose the life of a merchant ship's captain, bartering and selling their wares at numerous towns and seaports on various islands located in this vast sea. Others chose the life of a Naval officer and assumed the task of defending the honour of one's nation. Still others decided to become pirates or corsairs, not necessarily out of free will, that would prey on helpless merchants or other less fortunate souls. With that said, everything that will take place in this game will be dynamic in nature and it will be patterned after historical events. Add in the human against human factor and you can rest assured that you will have as much fun as is contained in a barrel of rum. So, batten down the hatches and get ready for the sea battle of your life.
Alliances and betrayal
As in other games where thousands of people gather to play online, it can be expected that game politics will become a very big part of the action. Players will undoubtedly form alliances, clans, trade pacts and countless other exciting game dynamics will develop. The developers have created what they call an international relations system. This system analyzes player activity and then will produce the appropriate game effects. Say that, for instance, Spain has a big increase in it's trading fleet. Then, as a counter balance, France may implement a trade tariff on Spanish goods. This action could cause players to switch allegiance or to become a pirate and to start plundering their former patron's shipping. Everything and anything is possible in this game.
Gritty reality of shipboard life
Being that the ships are the main characters in this game, Flying Lab has gone to extremes to ensure that every cannon, sail, rigging and in fact every board that is nailed to a ships deck looks extremely lifelike. The ships in fact are historically correct in every manner. Just watching your on-screen crew hoist your ship's main sail or load the cannon in order to send another volley at your enemy will send chills down your spine. The graphics are that realistic and pleasing to the eye. Check out the screen shots and you will definitely see just what I mean.
Flying Lab didn't just stop with the eye candy that appears on your screen. They went all the way and are developing loads and loads of different missions for the player to undertake. So if you get tired of fighting and conquering your way across the vast Caribbean Sea then you can pull up to a friendly port and commence to try your hand at a land-based mission. As in all games of the role playing genre the players' goal is to gain as much experience as he or she can. When enough experience is acquired then the player can level up their character and gain another of the numerous skills and character attributes available in the game. As often occurs in a RPG, the player with the most toys generally will win. This means that you will attempt to have a fully decked out 74 gun Ship of the Line instead of the lowly little starter 8-gun sloop.
Arrr... A pirate will I be?
After checking this new pirate game out I must say that I am very impressed with it, I am also very excited at the prospects this title will bring. I love pirate games and when a new one comes out I am always first in line to get my copy. However, you won't be able to buy this one off your local game store's shelf; instead you will download the game via Valve's Steam system. This is actually a very good system and it will be good for this title as well. Steam will allow the developers to automatically update the game as needed and to add new game expansions as they come out. When you log on to play a session your game will be updated. It's that easy. We definitely like easy and we all love pirate ships under sail and on a mission. What that mission will be, only you as the potential ship's captain can decide. Ahoy Matey, hoist ye main sail and cast off to embark on a fantastic sea adventure in the wide blue expanse of the Caribbean. Arr...