It is not sinking, Captain!
Personally I'm just a bit surprised with Pirates of the Burning Sea. While the initial impression I laid out with the preview was less than favorable, Flying Lab Software has done a considerable amount of polishing to the game since then. The game is actually playable and mostly bug-free at launch and the servers actually work - a stark contrast to many recent massively multiplayer game launches. Sure, there are flaws - mostly related to the presentation of the character-based gameplay and general immersion - but overall the package is far better than most recent MMO offerings and the underlying design feels sound. The jury is still out on how well the economy and territorial PvP warfare between the factions will actually work in the long run, but I'm cautiously optimistic. The foundations are there, and while it's inevitable that further balancing work is needed, nothing appears fundamentally broken from the word "go".
PotBS is also to be commended for putting some real effort to the storylines. Even if many of the quests are just quick bits of action that only last for a few minutes, you can rely on a well-written piece of lore to go with it. Writing in MMORPGs has generally been an afterthought, "flavor text" to fill in a reason to go whack bunnies, but here the mission storylines actually develop along the way, and the "epic" storyline for each career is very interesting. There is also a bit of supernatural thrown in to the mix, and my Naval Officer was knee deep in stories about Templars, cryptic maps and the lost city of Atlantis by mid-20s.
The limited number of careers (character classes) and the current weakness of most of the available abilities will most likely hamper replayability and create min-maxed cookie-cutter builds that everyone uses. I could see myself rolling maybe one or two alternate characters over time, but chronic alt-a-holics may grumble a bit about the lack of choices. It remains to be seen how engaging the endgame at level 50 will be in the long run, but in any case there is enough here to justify the sticker price and the subscription fees for a few months. Not every MMO has to be all-consuming affair that takes over your life, and this one is definitely casual-friendly, offering things to do even when played in moderation; yet it does include features that could entice veteran players to compete long after the initial level grind to 50 is done. At a minimum, Pirates of a Burning Sea is a tasty light snack to be enjoyed in addition to other games, or as an appetizer while waiting for the Next Big MMO, but it's quite possible that it will develop to be the Yarr-tastic sea-based stepchild of EVE Online with the cutthroat PvP aspect keeping things going - only time will tell.
Summary of YouGamers Hardware Testing
The publisher of this game state the following specifications for their minimum and recommended requirements:
To learn more about how YouGamers performs its hardware testing, click here. Through our extensive gameplay and hardware testing across the full spectrum of PC configurations, YouGamers suggests that one should use the following guidelines for an appropriate minimum and recommended setup:
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Patches and Updates
The game build reviewed is v220.127.116.11, and reflects the game on the launch day (22nd of January 2008). As MMORPGs constantly evolve and often take months to stabilize to the "endgame" where most players are at the maximum level, this review can only evaluate things based on the early portions of the game.
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Games: Pirates of the Burning Sea
News: Pirates of the Burning Sea Character Trailer Jan 09, 2008
Previews: Pirates of the Burning Sea Dec 11, 2007
News: Pirates of the Burning Sea Beta Ahoy! Dec 04, 2007
News: Pirates of the Burning Sea Stress Test Launches Nov 16, 2007
News: Pirates of the Burning Sea To Set Sail Jan 22nd Oct 06, 2007
News: Pirates of the Burning Sea Pre-Order Details Sep 19, 2007
Reviews: Vanguard: Saga of Heroes Mar 04, 2007
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