Well for the last few days I’ve been getting my Pirate on in Flying Labs relaunch of their “Pirates of the Burning Sea” now free to play mmo. Have to say it has the same flawed charm that it had a few years ago when I helped to beta test it. Its primary attraction for me is that its an almost unique setting for an mmo, sure Pirates of the Caribbean dabbled at making its own version and there are some alternative “younger” versions but this is the real deal for ship combat.

Left is my Pirate Cutthroat las sporting her latest in patchwork clothing in a fetching Fruity Purple with something for the boys on display in the form of a daring cleavage just to show I’m a bit of a rebel! Unfortunately I couldn’t fit a feather in my hat yet…maybe if I find one at a later date.

It’s worth pointing out I like this game enough to spend some money buying additional ship slots in my dock, which if you know me means it has to have something decent about it because for every 10 mmo games I test I probably only spend money on one of them at retail. Although to be honest looking at what else they are trying to sell I’m not sure I will ever feel the need to spend any more money, they don’t seem to have that fine balance between wanted but not required to play that Turbine seems to do well. Hopefully not everyone else feels the same way as I do because otherwise their free to play model will likely crash and burn soon.

PotBs features a very good ship combat part to its gameplay along with a large variety of ships and the ability to name your ship and colour various parts of the hull and sails aswell as design your own flag and sail patterns. I discovered my original beta flag was still available to me so I added that to a few generic pirate sail designs and away I went to terrorise the oceans….well the npc’s in the ports anyway.

Along the way I acquired a rat to sit on my shoulder….I call him Steve. Unfortunately while the ship combat is pretty fun and tactically interesting stuff the avatar combat you can take part in on occasional land missions or during boarding actions isn’t any more advanced than it was at the end of beta…a rough wooden looking attempt at what avatar based games do considerably better in every way.

It’s the old cliché of trying to please both ship sailing enthusiasts and the more traditional “avatar” based games already popular, unfortunately instead of sticking to its main strength it spent not enough time trying to do something everyone else does better at (excluding other games that focus on two types of gameplay i.e. Star Trek online).

Still, if you can get past the wooden, hectic and confusing melee combat the rest of the game is decent fun. The only other slight criticism I would make is that because of its RvR zones around ports if enemy players will it you can effectively be denied doing port pve content, which could be pretty annoying if you don’t fancy fighting in pvp just at that moment. However ship loss is a part of the game and the mechanics never leave you without something to sail around and there are plenty of crafted ships for sale or if you’re a pirate you could just go out and capture a new one Yarr!