Pirate101 is an upcoming free to play MMORPG from KingsIsle. Following on from the hugely successful Wizard101 MMO, KingsIsle brings a number of the successful features from their previous title and combines them with pirate based theme and a plethora of new mechanics. As is usual with our first look at games we cover the character creation, tutorial and other vital features and mechanics in the game.
In a very similar way to Wizard101, Pirate101′s character creation system is highly interactive, throwing players deep into the story and game play straight away. You meet a couple of characters that aid you through the tutorial, and they’ll also introduce you to the various aspects of character creation. Answering a series of questions you can determine your characters class, various traits and potential companions. Another similar feature to Wizard101 is the username system. Unlike other MMORPG games, players cannot freely choose a name, instead they have to choose from an already available list of user names. This is a great feature for parents and younger gamers as it removes the chance for any vulgar usernames.
One of the main focuses of Pirate101 is the combat system. Forget the traditionally mundane hot-key combat you’ve experienced in other MMO titles, Pirate101 takes the MMO genre to new heights with a unique strategy-based combat system. Combat takes place over 2 stages, the planning stage and combat stage. During the planning stage players can choose where to move their character and companions, as well as choosing abilities and skills. The second stage players watch the characters execute their commands using highly detailed animations that rival even those of Wizard101. Although this combat isn’t as fast paced as traditional MMO games, the level of depth the tactical system offers more than makes up for it.
As well as your individual character progression, you can also recruit a large number of companions that can aid you in combat. Each companion is unique in terms of skills and abilities, and can be leveled individually as the player progresses through the game. This gives players the tactical choice of which companions they want to level to aid them in combat. For example, someone that chooses a melee class for their main character, they may want to recruit and level a number of ranged companions for support during battle.
Another unique feature of Pirate101 is the ship combat. Similar to titles such as Uncharted Waters Online, players can take on a variety of enemy ships in explosive combat. Combining intelligent maneuvers with tactical deployment of skills is the key to success in the ship combat.
Overall, Pirate101 is a breath of fresh air to the MMO genre. KingsIsle were on to a real winner with Wizard101 and they’ve managed to replicate this recipe with Pirate101. Fans of Wizard101 can’t go wrong with Pirate101 as it offers the same level of innovation and quality that you would expect from a KingsIsle title.
by Blaine Smith