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Laura Genender Posted:
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From AGC – We chat with FlyingLabs about PvP Combat

At the Austin Gaming Conference (AGC) I met with Russell Williams, Flying Lab Software Executive Producer; and Kevin Maginn, Flying Lab Designer to take about their upcoming game, Pirates of the Burning Sea. A naval MMO, PoTBS is set in the Caribbean and largely concentrates on PvPing with other players. There are three types of PvP in the game, allowing for ample combat between the English, Spanish, French, and Pirates.

When Flying Lab set out to design PvP they wanted it to be meaningful, and thus the first type of PvP is a battle over territory. They also wanted PvP to be accessible but avoidable, so that those who want to participate know where to go while those who don’t can stay clear, and they wanted all of the boats to have an impact, even merchant ships.

Let’s say that the English have their eye on a Spanish port. There are two directions that they can go at this point: they can either set up near the port and kill any Spanish NPC ships that they can get to, or they can send cheap goods via merchant to the port, making the town’s opinion of the English go up and their opinion of the Spanish go down.

At this point the Spanish port will fall into unrest; a PvP radius will open up around the port. The cast is that only Pirates and the defending port, in this case Spanish, can begin a fight. The English have to continue with the step one tactics to progress any further, with the Pirates now harassing their merchant ships.

If the English can keep moving their cargo in, the port finally goes to open warfare. Now anyone can fight near this port; Spanish, Pirates, English, and even the French. This open PvP lasts for three days; during this time the English and Spanish are working to gain points by delivering more cargo, sinking enemies, and doing missions.

After three days is the Final Battle, a 25 vs. 25 battle to determine control of the port. The points earned during the three days of PvP earn buffs for countries, and on an individual level, act as lottery tickets for individual pirates to try for the 25 free spots.

After the battle, the winning side takes control of the port and the PvP zone disappears. There are over one hundred ports in the game. Flying Lab estimated that 20 to 30% of these will be in conflict at any given time. Every six weeks or so port ownership will be evaluated; if one country is obviously dominating, the majority of the islands will be returned to original owners and the MVP (most valuable player) has a statue built in their honor.

Note: Pirates can also take ports, but only to loot them. Pirates can’t actually own ports.

The second type of PvP is “Pirate Boasting.” Only pirates can capture enemy ships; if any of the navies capture a ship, it is automatically converted to prize money. If a pirate is sunk in one of their captured ships that they could not have obtained through normal means, the ship is lost. Pirates or anyone else can keep more than one ship at dry docks.

If a pirate takes a hugely important and powerful ship, such as the Ship of the Line, this is seen as a huge insult to all of the navies. Not only will all NPC ships seek you out, but you will be flagged for open PvP.

The third and final PvP style is Structured Events. There can be up to 25 people per side in these arena-like fights. To start a Structured Event, you pick a PvP Scenario (defend a ship, attack a fort, etc) and set a time for it to happen. People can sign up for your event and join in.

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Laura Genender