KingsIsle Entertainment has put its mark on the MMO industry with Wizard 101. The game has been a huge success and continues to grow in the kid’s and family marketplace. If you can believe it, the team is composed of old school MMO veterans who also created Shadowbane. Now their newest game, the successor to W101, is revealed and it is awesome. Ladies and gentlemen, the curtain has been pulled back on Pirate 101. The game looks amazing and keeps the Wizard 101 aesthetic as it takes place in the same universe. Players will have access to classes and work to build their pirate crew to discover mysteries and fight against the Clockwork Empire.
When entering Pirate 101 players will be familiar with the style of the game because it is set in the same universe as the forebear. Outside the land of the Wizards there are Skyways and islands which float in the Spiral. Players will begin the game as a pirate looking to gain a ship and build a crew. The ships fly around on the floating islands discovering new adventures and unlocking mysteries, all the while battling against the Clockwork Armada. The floating ships look amazing and the KingIsle team promises ship combat for players as well as lots of boarding battles and swashbuckling on the ground.
Not only can you customize your character’s look, you can also customize your ship. The sails will have your own personal pirate heraldry and the ship will have all kinds of upgrades to unlock and change. Pirate 101 is all about the rusty and crusty pirate world. Players will experience all kinds of backstabs and skullduggery which they should expect being a pirate and all. However, the real enemy is the Clockwork and just as shady as the pirate world is… they all are fighting this one common enemy trying to shut them down.
Pirate 101 is all about the choices that players make. Unlike Wizard 101 where they were part of the schools and had infinite potential, Pirate 101 takes a much more “choice based” story approach. Pirate 101 gives players options when choosing what to do in the different scenarios you uncover. Most of all, you are in the game to acquire a Pirate crew for your ship and also help you in combat. The crew is really the core of the game and act kind of like your deck did in Wizard 101. You won’t be assigned people based on some arbitrary progression. You’ll have to make your own choices on who and what you want.
There are plenty of shady characters you can collect for your crew. Each has a different function in combat. Some are ranged, some heal, and some are masters with swords. All perform different roles on the combat field. Once combat opens it is important to note it plays like a board game. You can move your crew around the board to make different attacks and set up traps for your opponents. The boards also change during combat and so you could face obstacles during the fight. Some combats have different objectives as well. You may be asked to fight over fires or move around walls. You are also not just always attacking as you may be activating traps or treasures on the game board during the fight.
At first the combat takes some getting used to, but once you understand it there are so many possibilities in this system it boggles the mind. The best part is that there is a lot of strategy involved. Once you get a good number of crew members under your banner the battles become a lot like a turn-based strategy game. The system gets bigger and bigger as the battles grow. The early boss fights were pretty complex and will appeal to both younger and older players.
When the day at KingsIsle was done, Pirate 101 was very impressive. The world has an amazing sense of humor and is great across all ages. The dev team has really nailed that ability to build a game that parents can play with their kids. That is something many game companies miss or ignore. We have a lot more features on Pirate 101 today covering classes, combat, and some of the more in depth parts of the game. Be ready me hardies, the Pirate life awaits all of us with flying ships and strategic combat!