As I roamed around PAX I came across a booth that was full pirates passing out shirts to those who were playing the demo of their game. I really wanted the one that said “Support Piracy”, so I ventured over to the table to take a test spin. Flying Labs was the name of the company that owned the game, Pirates of the Burning Seas, and I had the pleasure of sitting down with the Creative Director for some inside info on the latest MMORPG out there. His name was Chris Pramas, and he was very proud of what he had accomplished.
Resembling the old school board game Diplomacy, POTBS is a multi-player role-playing game that allows you to choose from many different nations, including Spanish, British, French, and of course, Pirate. Depending on which class you start out as, you will undoubtedly begin at the bottom as a meager captain of a small boat. You follow the storyline by completing small ventures that you receive from nearby people and other captains. Unlike many other games, you can zoom out to see the action from a wide-angle bird’s eye view, or zoom in and be right there in the captain’s shoes. You can go from commanding a single person to controlling a whole ship in a heated battle against rival sea-goers.
According to Chris, the game doesn’t really get started until you reach level 12 or so. It’s around that time that your missions in Ports and Towns can get really interesting, with some of them being daily missions allowing you to repeat them every 24 hours. Once you hit level 20 you can upgrade your ship and head to sea for longer and more demanding missions. With the amazing UI in the 5-sided battles, you can wage war on the opens seas for hours with other players or computer controlled enemies.
Getting a look into the next expansion, Chris divulged that he wanted to take the story under the sea, possibly to the great city of Atlantis. Of course, that would require a huge storyline change, as just about everything in the game now is based on historic reality. But the possibility of introducing supernatural elements into the game is still on the table.
So if you haven’t been around for the last six months, or simply have never heard of Flying Labs, you should definitely check out Pirates of the Burning Seas. There’s a lot to be said for people in the gaming industry who support piracy so much that they develop a game to show you how to do it.