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Release Notes for Sandbox build

Author: DJXeon

FLS delays fail to ignite a Potbs recovery.

Posted by DJXeon Friday March 26 2010 at 3:16AM
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What you are now seeing in Pirates of the Burning Sea is the inevitable slow down when an mmorpg does not recuperate its development costs.
FLS are not going to throw money or put a full dev team on Potbs unless they are certain of making a future profit.
There was bound to be casualties in staff due to the rapid fall of populations soon after release, much of the reasons were due to over-estimating the amount of servers on release & only patching in temporary solutions that didn't do enough to reverse the trend.

So far the promised & great potential what otherwise would be a great "age of sail" mmorpg has not been released. Many players have either left or many remaining players lost patience with FLS being up to 2 years behind with their own priority list.

It's possible to turn it around, however not many mmos do it after 2 years for a successful second chance. The Power & Prestige expansion scheduled for release later this year will be the last chance.
Luckily FLS are not controlled by investors looking for a fast profit so I think you'll find it will be around for a good few years yet; if anything really bad happened to FLS financing SOE would likely step in the same way as they did with vanguard & run it with a skeleton dev staff.
If that did happen I would expect some serious changes in priorities as to how the game is balanced in any future patches.

FLS tried to convince all its player base that everything in Potbs was PvP, what they got is a very risk adverse national player base with high economic dependancies & disadvantaged Pirates in the RvR conflict. 

PVP means only Player/s vs Player/s as in ship combat.
RVR means Realm vs Realm that includes all methods of warfare eco-bombs or blockading ports included.

Now some details of how to make Potbs appeal to more populations.

This proposal assumes that national Freetraders's & pirate Buccaneers are the main support classes that drive the econ for their respective Privateers, Naval Officers & Cutthroat classes.

Privs & Cutts should be the main  character choices for players that want to PVP so need the least dependancies on econ, they way to achieve this may be achieved by increasing PVP rewards but it would also be sensible to give Privs a chance of scavenging a deed & to let Cutts sail all the ships they can "take command" of within the skill reset time allowance.
FT's & Buccs can still PVP but they are primarily the support or economic classes. NO's can also PVP but are a national prestige & support class with the main advantage of sailing the most powerful ships in-game, often ideal for PvE & port battles.


optional * FT's need to be able to captain one nominated ship in their dockyard of 5 that has "fallback" ship status, meaning that they cannot attack or if attacked the perpetrator gets no Mov's or PVP rewards.

1. Privs & No's should be able to have a small chance to scavenge a vanilla ship deed similar to Buccs imo, most advanced shipwrights are building bundle ships so it would not effect that market. There is only a very small profit for shipwrights to build low level ships in any event.

2. The proposal to make bundleships less gated for all PVP players should be seriously considered.

3. There is an urgent need for better balance in Port battles.
This could be achieved by extending invitations to online lvl50 players without contention points or perhaps reducing some PB's to 12 v 12 to help the weaker nations.

4. Finally there needs to be a method for shallow water or lvl restricted port PVP for newbies, again many suggestions have been made on how to implement this.

Do this FLS and you have got a winning RvR mmorpg, ignor the above & nothing much will ever change.

It is still a good mmorpg well worth the 14 day trial, a refreshing change from the usual hack/slash types but a whole new hype & excitement of expectations for the upcoming expansion needs to be got under way very soon for hope of any population recovery.

Last chance for FLS with the Pirates of the Burning Sea?

Posted by DJXeon Sunday March 14 2010 at 12:21AM
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In my opinion the main issues at Flying Lab Software have always been the slow speed of development & how to make PVP more sustainable in what was promoted a PVP game.
Most of the issues have come about by designing a PVP/RVR centric game with a budget ganking mentality & pathetic rewards. "Waiting for the next big failure" as Isildur the ex-lead design once put it, he knew what was going to happen so jumped his sinking ship.
The producer & lead design are the ones ultimately responsible, it was never a good idea to let devco set the priorities.
Rewarding high risk PVP has never been FLS's strong point, when they realised their mistake they introduced insurance & dailies plus halved the labour time but that still did not have the desired effect. By that time more than half the population had left.
It is still a game where closed eco-players rule & PVP is not very sustainable imo.
Grinding for treasure needs to be just that, a very rare opportunity to obtain real wealth. YAR! rare individual rewards of over a million dbls should not be ruled out.
You will be surprised at what players will do to get their hands on that!
Daily grinding the same missions was never the answer, nor was it meant to be imo.
The end game economy has become a zerg as to which closed econ-society can build the most bundleships often only obtainable with multi-accounts. This has the effect of excluding a vast amount of single account holders or forces them into a closed eco society with a waiting list for top end ships. Making them more rare wont stop it either, all that would do is force more boring daily grind.
FLS know about many players unfavourable views about LSB's but still have not let on what they intend to do. The next 3-4 months are critical that they make some difficult economic changes that are bound to upset some players. It will be too late to do it after P&P.
Can the game be saved? YES but not without a lot of QQing.
If they are going to make the seas burn, it must be NOW not after the Power & Prestige expansion is released.

So what does FLS need to focus on:

  • End game PVP would still be expensive even if ships were almost free as there are other expensive costs like permanent fittings loss, repair patches & bronze or explosive shot that are not covered by insurance, as one PvP player recently said after quitting "Insurance didn't pay for my bundleships brass fittings!"
  • Costly bundleships cause force players into closed econ & multi-accounts so the average single account casual player is usually always the last on the societies waiting list for top end ships.
  • Making LSB's & bundleships more rare would force more daily grind so they need to be made common or cheaper more like vanilla ships or got rid of altogether.
  • PVP needs to be made more sustainable which is what FLS are trying to do, they are the cause of the main eco-sink so that is where the rewards need to be.
  • More in game tools need to be applied for fast navigation.
  • Lower levels & many high level risk adverse players need an alternative lower risk but rewarding method of PVP.
  • The need to balance numbers in Port Battles perhaps by extending invitations to non-contention point holders.
  • Newbie reserved ports with level restricted PVP & Port Battles.
  • Fast teleport grouping option (skirmish style) for epic missions or getting allies into red circle PVP instances to counter ganking.
  • Increase the favorable current pick up areas in the O/S to facilitate faster hauling.
  • A displayable LFG option & invalid flag indicator in the ship menu.
  • Reduce AH listing fees for top end ship deeds.
  • Add additional option to teleport to between warehouses at harbor master.
  • Society warehouses.
  • Reduce ganking & spiking by overpowered failboat demasting.
  • More depth to the end-game with the promised Power & Prestige expansion.

I like Potbs & find it exciting so want it to succeed however time is running short, let's hope P&P is beyond our expectations.


Rewards are the key to fixing Potbs

Posted by DJXeon Friday January 29 2010 at 4:43AM
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A lot has happened to Pirates of the burning sea over the last year most notably port blockading which has become very popular & players can now list buy orders in the AH Auction Houses.

Players can set up Skirmish for no loss PVP to help newbies or just for fun & there are new port battle maps to enjoy. The game still has lots of un-released potential & FLS are soon to release a free Power & Prestige expansion.

Most things like high risk PVP or merchants going in the red can be encouraged with rewards, ganking can be reduced by less rewards for a 6v1 win. Rewards must be applied in direct relation to the risk!

High risk red zone activity or hard epic missions need high rewards.
Low risk area need low rewards.

Players need to see more individual reasons to risk their ships or enter red zones.

Where PVE players like to grind give them more reasons to do it.
Where PVP players don't like to grind give them more rewards to do it less.

The reward system needs to be set up on the following principles: 

  • All features/missions must have rewards. 
  • PVP loss should be more sustainable on it's own.
  • The higher the risk like PVP or longest time to do PVE epics get the highest rewards.
  • Daily missions are low risk so rewards of no more than 10k dbls/mission.
  • Daily skirmish or pvp bounty should be rewarded the same to benefit PVP education.
  • If a turn-in reward is already available on the AH it should be removed or made into unique item.
  • Where possible reward dbls or movs instead of turn-ins to reduce grind.

Players need to work for a living, if you make everything too easy to buy with free cash handouts players become lazy & bored.
On the contrary if you make it so hard that the best ships are only obtained with LSB's (Line ship Bundles) & spreadsheets it kills the game for the average player.

Rewards & eco-sinks need to take into account everything so must be seen to be fair, balanced or flexible to all play-styles. It is currently the main missing key imo, FLS have so far done a dreadful job in this area.
Players need to see more individual reasons to risk their ships or to go into red zones.

If FLS reward movs routinely to PVE & PVP functions there would be no mov market necessary, The AH & economy is based on dbls as cash.

A mov for cash & cash for mov fixed exchange would save players time of trying to sell them & allow more choice to spend it how they want in the AH or economy.

Instead of free-cash insurance give movs when a ship is sunk with a fixed cash turn-in.

The benefits are many:

  • More reason to PVP with less gated movs.
  • Players would have to turn them in to see & obtain the real insurance value.
  • It gives players alternative access to high level ships or refits.
  • It gives the economy a boost by letting players have immediate cash for things like ammo, patches or lost fittings.
  • More flexible as some players need cash more than movs as others need more movs than cash

The flexible friend :)

By changing the mov exchange rate in patches when required the devs would have a simple powerful tool to control inflation or make more cash available.


Pirates of the Burning Sea expansion promised

Posted by DJXeon Wednesday March 18 2009 at 5:43AM
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Pirates of the Burning sea has often been praised for its original ship combat or massive potential & deservedly so.

There have been those that want to play it again but need proof that things are moving along & to see promises fulfilled.

Since release in Jan 2008 there has mainly been a series of re-vamps to existing systems but no major content updates with the exception of some daily missions & the like. Despite The CEO's Rusty's comment that FLS remain fully committed to Potbs additional in game content has been extremely slow in arriving; in the meantime FLS have engaged in a new project of setting up their Casual Division which has at the very least diverted attention from Potbs. The lead designer Isildur has not been well last year & now rarely makes any comments.

As a result the promised land or potential of Potbs has so far failed to be realized & players are tired of delayed or broken promises.

Let's take a look of some of the public forum comments FLS have made last year!


Q) Any plans to increase advertising?

A) This is what Aether (& now Rhaegar) now spends most of their day on, yes

Q) Any plans for an expansion?

A) Yes, in discussion the details are still TBA

Q) Will treasure be introduced?

A) It's on the list.

Q) Any plans for PvP port av-com?

A) I wouldn't be surprised if this is something we did. It's not actually "on the list" but the list for "how we improve RvR" is very incomplete.

Q) Can we have diplomacy as a free skill?

A) Maybe. In discussion

Q) Ever going to add buy orders?

A) Maybe. It's a feature we favor.

Q) When are you adjusting the Lineship Bundle mechanism to be more interesting and useful to our players?

A) Expect info to go public in a month or two...

Q) When will port governors or the vital missing eco sinks be arriving?

A) The first step will be the ability for players to make av-com weapons no ETA on the rest.

Q) Will ganking be reduced?

A) Yes, Whilst we may never eliminate it longer term we’re going to make ganking go away.


To be fair there have been some improvements compliments mainly due to devs Snap & Lum but I could dig out a lot of other FLS unfulfilled comments so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that progress has been dreadfully slow. As it only now takes about 2 weeks to reach level 50 players tend to lose patience & leave.

I sincerely hope that FLS will eventually get the above more in-depth content implemented & can hold on to some very limited populations in the meantime.

This is likely to be my last blog entry for some time & has also been posted on the Potbs section of the forum here as to reasons why I no longer participate.

FLS gambles with risk free Skirmish PvP

Posted by DJXeon Monday March 2 2009 at 4:17AM
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It''s long been a wish for FLS to introduce a Skirmish system as an add on to give players a form of risk free no loss fun PvP for those that don't enjoy the existing high risk red zone PvP.

Skirmish was delayed due to a dev leaving but FLS has now employed dev Snap who has been actively coding PvP changes & has now got the clever Skirmish system up & running on testbed ready for release in the next patch.

The system allows for all nations to join in risk free combat at anytime which will be particularly helpful for newbies to learn to PvP without loss which has a steep learning curve.

I think this patch could spoil regular PvP but only at first. Once the people get confident in their skills they will PvP in normal realm vs realm..

A lot of the new people playing are younger players & FLS seem to be making moves to add more video game features in the future. FLS have failed to hang on to many of it's regular subscribers for various reasons but modern internet players perhaps play to a different style.

They are an impatient lot & don't like losing the stuff they worked for. In Potbs it can take a long time to build a 1st rate Sol, kids want it now, when they lose it they leave the game. I know its sad but true. FLS has to change for the new market which is now more youngsters playing the game. Kids don't like spending a lot of time doing the things this game needs, They want instant action, this patch will provide that for them.

I don't support youngsters playing these sort of historical 1720's games as they tend to ruin them. However I love this Age of Sail game and in order to play it FLS needs to make money sometime. So with that in mind I will support these changes in order for me to keep playing.

These views were from a poster on the FLS forum which I agree with; I hope Skirmish will be a success but there is a danger it may not be used, the proof will be soon realized.

FLS revamp Potbs with x2 exp incentives & boosts the economy

Posted by DJXeon Tuesday February 3 2009 at 6:35AM
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Following a major av-com revamp FLS have today successfully upgraded their Pirates of the Burning Sea servers with the long anticipated M12 patch.

Included in the patch Build 1.12: Rebel Apostles are several adjustments designed to balance the game,  most notably x2 exp incentives for the less populated nations & slashing the labor time on production in half to promote PvP.

These improvements are being enthusiastically welcomed by most of the community & should help populations to recover to more acceptable levels.

Read more about it by following this link .



MMORPG design catering for different play-styles

Posted by DJXeon Monday January 26 2009 at 2:26AM
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There has been several reasons why Pirates of the burning Sea has not yet taken off & I would like to address one of them that I'm sure all developers plan at an early stage.

As the topic says this is  "Catering for several play-styles".

It was never Flying Labs Software's intention to be another WoW as they are a much smaller company with a limited design budget but they were hoping that by creating a different mmorpg based on 1720's "Age of Sail" ship combat game together with an in-depth economy that it might break through similar to some movies do when they make the big time.

What has happened to Potbs is not un-common as it was released a little early being now at its first year anniversary populations are still in general low.

The game is promoted as a PVP game but that means that players will experience high ship loss in red zones & port battles. Many players became frustrated because they either did not readily have the cash to replace those ships or did not want to PvP in inferior fallback or civilian ships.

Players left the game thinking that the risk was too high or PvP was too hard to learn, it was not forgiving for the newer players, eventually the only players left playing were those that play the economy or produce their own ships.

Even today PvP or Realm vs Realm in Potbs is still very much dominated by who or which nation has the ability to produce & field the most high level ships or Sols (Ships of Line) in port battles so the game became dominated by economists or crafters severely limiting the overall market potential by not catering for others play-styles.

FLS has at last understood that PVP players need cash to replace lost ships by introducing insurance & daily missions to greatly increase the money entering the economy but it is still restricted by the lack of available good ships.

The upcoming patch R1.12 on testbed is the first patch in months that is aimed at addressing this in-balance & should streamline the economy to producing much more ships to make the game more acceptable to all play-styles.

More speed for Naval officers in FLS skill change review.

Posted by DJXeon Monday January 12 2009 at 8:21PM
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Quick update to my blog as FLS announce a skill change review,

Read the full devlog here

Flying Lab Software announce an economic stimulus package.

Posted by DJXeon Friday January 9 2009 at 3:19AM
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The devs at FLS have been busy lately by not only releasing an extensive av-com revamp but have also been listening to their players & gathering data about the economy from a wide variety of sources.

The Pirates of the Burning Sea economy has always been one of its best features which enable players to produce most things including ships necessary to maintain the push in RvR (realm vs realm) that is the key to winning the map.

This new package is designed to streamline production to promote distribution throughout the game & auction houses so that the economy becomes less gated by closed eco-societies.

All in All a very good move to get manufacturing back up on its feet so that the less eco-minded PvP players have a constant supply of good ships.

New content like port governors has been slow in being released but this is a welcome addition that will make for a more popular balanced mmo where the excellent ship combat has already been nominated by as one of the most innovated years features in any mmorpg.

You can obtain a key for a 14-day free trial of Potbs by clicking on this link

Read the full devlog here .



Potbs - Australians to join the SOE/FLS servers with a free character transfer

Posted by DJXeon Friday November 7 2008 at 3:40AM
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FLS are canceling its Aussie contract with BigPond & opening a new server " Defiant" with character transfers being enabled as soon as next Monday. The Invincible server will remain open until January 2009.

Russell Williams CEO of FLS announced:

"Today I sent out notice to Bigpond that we will not be renewing our partnership with them. I enjoyed meeting and working with the people of Bigpond, and I wish them and the company well in all its future endeavors."

This heralds the end of a frustrating time for FLS & the Aussie players who lagged behind the world by having late updates & no access to the test server. All players including those on existing servers will have one free character transfer to go to any another server that has port battles scheduled to co-inside with their playtimes. Players wanting to transfer will have to open a subscriber SOE account that comes with one months free play included. 

This cosmetic exercise is to align all servers under the SOE/FLS umbrella for control of upgrades etc which will enable Australians to become part of the existing community & play on testbed.
This is a good for the players but marks a failure for the FLS Bigpond venture as their server populations fell to unsustainable levels. It is understood that FLS became unhappy with the level of promotion Bigpond were expected to do.

FLS are doing the reverse in Russia & are hoping that their latest Potbs venture into that country with a third party publisher will be more successful, in the meantime they are increasing advertising in the Asian/pacific region to give the new server a boost with port battles scheduled for that region.

In reality FLS have experienced a heavy loss of populations across all their 5 servers with only one "Antigua" currently holding at playable design levels due to a previous server transfer action. They are hoping that the current re-vamp of Avcom (avatar-melee combat) will bring back populations.

Players have left Potbs for a variety of reasons which include wanting the balance of in-game systems, less red circle ganking & a more vibrant open economy.