Recently the announcement was made that Flying Lab Software would be teaming up with Sony Online Entertainment to publish and distribute Pirates of the Burning Sea. In light of this news the developers from Pirates of the Burning Sea held a chat session to answer questions from fans, and try to ease their worries.
Flying Lab said that they are firm in their decision to team up with Sony, and they do plan on sticking with SOE for the long run. CEO Rusty Williams said, "We have our responsibilities and they have theirs. Good fences make good neighbors."
SOE will be handling billing, marketing, and distribution. This means that customers will need a Station Account to play, but they are now in the process of figuring out how they will link up a player's current PotBS accounts with their existing or new Station Account. PotBS will be included in the Station Pass, which is great for current SOE gamers who are looking to try out the new swashbuckling game, and is also great for those who plan on playing PotBS, and want to try a game or two in SOE's current line-up. One other added perk to this deal is that players will also now find PotBS at the upcoming SOE Fan Faire, and the developers have said that many of them plan on attending.
FLS also stated that they would be handling their own customer service working with Playerbase Solutions in the U.S. and with Alchemic Dream in Europe. They are not interested in outsourcing customer service overseas.
"It's a little cheaper to do it that way, but I think it makes for a much worse support experience," said Williams.
It seems that the fans (in this chat) were quickly satisfied, and the questions moved from the SOE deal to the game itself. The gamers in Europe will be happy to know that there are still plans to translate the game into French, German, and possibly Spanish (although Spain will not be in R1). It will still also be possible to play on cross country servers, meaning that you can still play with your friends that aren't in the same country as you. The game will be available as digital download or in a retail box.
PotBS Lead Designer Isildur described the classes as Navy (combat), Privateer (speed, unpredictability, and boarding), Freetraders (survivability), and Pirates (brutality and agility). Each career has 45 skills divided into chains of five skills each, and those skills are game play defining (except for pirates who have a broader selection). The devs have also stated that each nation now has 1000 missions each, which are created from 20 core ideas. They pick out the basics of the quest, an escort mission, or naval battle, and from there tailor make each quest to add uniqueness. FLS employee Ivy said that sometimes it will take her multiple days to create a quest because she is dedicated to making sure that each quest has the right feel and look to it, and that each creation is a labor of love.
Questions were asked about the economy and economy balance and Isildur has said that there is no way to have a monopoly on the market. There are no restrictions on the number of producers, who can use a resource, and there are no restrictions on the number of producers who can operate in a port, everyone can make everything, and there is no vender trash. As far as gold farmers go, the devs said that they will be watching, and they are currently adding to and extending their current logs, allowing them to drill down and keep an eye out for farmer and bot like behavior. There will also be a system in place to report abusers, cheaters, and bots.
Players can also look forward to in-game fun with an extensive list of emotes. Anything an NPC can do, players can do too. This includes: dancing, drinking, and quite a few yarrs! Players will also be able to unlock peg legs, eye patches, and other appendages through quests. Aether also announced a team called, "The Boarding Party". These will be volunteer players who will interact with those in game, and as Aether said, "Do some very cool things."
It was also stated during the chat that societies will be able to take and hold ports through conquest, govern ports through elections and bribery, and build guildhalls where they can meet with one another, and display their achievements. They are also in the process of a flexible event creation system enabling societies to set up PvP encounters with other societies. Look for more details on this after the initial release.
For those who love to come up with ways to implement game data into outside sources, the devs are looking into publishing game data in xml allowing fan sites to add information such as economics, guild status, and armory to their site. There is currently no time frame on this.
The current fan base can breathe a bit easier as the devs stated that they do not want to lose the level of connection they currently have established with the player base. As the game grows, they will add more people to their team to ensure that they are always available to answer the needs of the community. In fact, FLS designer Drew C can be quoted as saying, "The community has already crested the point where I can have personal relationships with all of our players. However, with events like the fan meet ups we've been doing, and late night IRC, I get an opportunity to interact with a smaller number of fans on a one on one (or one on three or four) basis, and that's invaluable to me as a Designer."
Regardless of the feelings some gamers harbor for SOE, it looks like FLS knows what they are doing. After all, it is their bread and butter. I have confidence in the FLS team. The devs we have grown to know and love aren't going anywhere anytime, and they have a true love for the game they have created. Rest assured that they will not change the direction they have set out, no matter how strong the storm before them blows.