Community Spotlight: Elessaria
|Here's lovely Mr. Elessaria.|
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Elessaria has been a productive member of the Pirates of the Burning Sea community since the beginning. Many of us have quite a bit of experience with one of his more recognizable contributions: the Arcadia.
Besides modeling a gorgeously detailed ship, Elessaria also spends quite a bit of time explaining and discussing the mechanics of Pirates of the Burning Sea. His suggestions are always well-informed and generally find their way into other conversations throughout the community.
We've answered more than one question from Elessaria on our podcast, because his questions always evoke interesting discussions among our developers. This time, we were lucky enough to ask Elessaria a few questions about his experiences designing the Arcadia and with the community in general.
I'm a bit of a simulation junkie; and I like the added level of complexity those types of games offer. I was trolling the Subsim Forums during the summer vacation after I picked up Silent Hunter III, looking for added realism mods. I guess I must have gotten lucky because I saw an advert for the game (this was in May 2006), and Captain Jack Sparrow roped me with a couple of sea turtles and made me click it! The rest is history.
Pirates of the Burning Sea offered an in-depth world of pirates with player-generated content (the economy and RvR I mean, not User Content) that I thought would prevent the rapid boredom acquisition factor in other pirate titles. Don't get me wrong, Sid Meier's titles were great, but I can't imagine playing them for four months, never mind four years.
It's probably the same thing as it has been since day 1 of Closed Beta: the scripting. Seriously, the quality of writing in the missions is truly stellar.
I don't think I'd be stamping on anyone's toes when I say missions can get a bit repetitive, but the huge number of gaming references, pop culture jibes, and "in-jokes" during the leveling process has gotten me more characters to level 50 than sheer willpower alone!
I actually ruined a keyboard via projectile gin-cocktail the first time I did the main story arc and got to say the line "If this is a consular ship WHERE is the Ambassador!?" Oh, and the outhouse in Grenville: EL OH EL. . .
Like I've said before, get stuck in! If it's your first character, don't get caught up in the rush to level 50. I've never been a fan of power-leveling new players because (A) they miss out on the great scripting of the missions, and perhaps more importantly, (B) they get to 50 and have no idea how to play the game.
In a loss-based PvP game that sets you up to get burned. I'd even recommend not joining a society for the first few weeks. Just potter about the game and learn the ins and outs for yourself; which bits you do and don't enjoy. Get a feel for the classes and the ships and use the resources provided for you.
The missions will actually provide a new player with a lot of useful information, and Nation chat is always there if you need help or have questions. Every Nation will have its veterans who know the game inside out and are willing to help out new players.
Find other new players and group with them if you can. Get to know a few people and find a group you get on with before diving into the end-game proper.
|"I actually made about half a million doubloons a month from PvP, and I was able to build my favourite big ship in the game: the Trinity."|
Ooh, tricky question! I have a soft spot for the Cutthroat as it was my first character both in Beta and Live, and I have a lot of fond memories with it, like owning the first player Cursed Blade and capturing a Prince with my Arcadia!
But I think my favourite time spent in-game was the eight months or so I had on my Spanish Naval Officer. The class is a lot more versatile than people think, and the skill set rewards thoughtful players very well.
Also, because I knew the class was going to be a challenge to solo PvP with, I spent most of the time in a Capricieux MC using standard black fittings (two Speed Rig 3s, two Perfected Cannons 3s, and two Armor Hull 3s if anyone's interested) and expecting to lose. As a result, I actually made about half a million doubloons a month from PvP, and I was able to build my favourite big ship in the game: the Trinity.
|"I try to learn a new skill every year, so for 2006 – 07 it was Computer-Aided Design (this year it's straw hat making)."|
|The final 'Arcadia' Xebec. "Start to finish, the project took me a year, including a complete rebuild after the original submission."|
|"If you zoom right in on the Arcadia's rigging, you'll see that every rope is actually run through the blocks and tied off with knots, shanks, lark's heads and monkey fists."|
Honestly, it was a cunning plan to get into the Closed Beta; I'd heard that a ship model got you a key. I'd never done any 3D modeling before, but the Shipwright Forum in the Beta Forums was a fascinating place full of information, sources, resources, tutorials, and virtual 1-on-1 feedback. I try to learn a new skill every year, so for 2006 – 07 it was Computer-Aided Design (this year it's straw hat making).
As to the model itself, I'd noticed that all of the large xebec projects had gone inactive. I love lateen ships and so I decided to give it a shot.
I contacted the other project builders and checked they had no problem with me starting another large xebec and got the go-ahead. But to avoid clashes, I decided to merge two existing hull plans and design the rest from scratch. This made the modeling somewhat harder without true plans to follow, but also gave me a bit more freedom of interpretation.
Then it was a case of scavenging the libraries and webpages of the world for every picture of a xebec, jabeque, sciabecco, etc. That decision made, I picked up Gmax, the freeware version of 3DS Max, and got started with Michael O'Dwyer's hull tutorial. From there, it was mostly a case of posting screenshots and harvesting the wisdom of the community.
Along the way I picked up all sorts of tricks and ideas from modelers, the Steering Committee and people who just dropped by to see how things were going. Start to finish the project took me a year, including a complete rebuild after the original submission; as with any new skill it was something of a bumpy road!
At that point, I was almost ready to chuck it in, but the great support in that forum got me going again. And the second draft is a world apart from the first. The minute details the Steering Committee goes into can be frustrating at times, but in the end the ships produced under their stewardship blow the standard models away!
Also, their help and suggested resources were invaluable for the most daunting part of the process; the rigging. I don't want to belittle the work of others, but square-rigged ship rigging is largely a case of straight lines; a lateen sail, not so much! It's a pretty archaic rig type and I'd made up my mind to do it properly.
If you zoom right in on the Arcadia's rigging, you'll see that every rope is actually run through the blocks and tied off with knots, shanks, lark's heads and monkey fists. I can get quite obsessive at times and none of it would have been possible without the input of literally dozens of people during the construction process!
The loyalty. I don't mean that in an OMG FANBOI way, but the recognition older players have that this game is brilliant and has the potential to be truly outstanding.
Every week players who left the game for whatever reason still drop by to see how things are going, have a chat or talk over the latest changes. Many of them left disillusioned, but they still come back because they recognise something about Pirates of the Burning Sea; that "je ne sais quoi" that tugs at your shoulder and whispers in your ear when you aren't looking.
Even if they are complaining (which is what internet forums are for) it's because on a fundamental level they care about the game.
Well what makes a good neighbour or a good friend? That's what community is about in the end. Be polite, friendly, helpful; all the things you'd look for in a companion. The hardest part on the internet is appreciating not everyone is going to like all your ideas, or have the same opinion as you. There's nothing wrong with that, you just have to listen to the other side of the story too. If you have a counterpoint, make it. If not, either change your own opinion or agree to disagree. Getting drawn into protracted arguments often means the pertinent points get buried; something I've been guilty of a few times to be honest, but sometimes you just need to step back.
The same applies in game too; be helpful, answer questions, try to get new players involved; and be aware that without a lot of the face-to-face interactions people rely on for daily communication, meaning can easily be lost or misconstrued. Jokes are great in any group of individuals as long as they are perceived as jokes.
Mostly I'd just say get stuck in and enjoy the community for what it is; a great, diverse bunch of people looking to have fun together!
On the forums it's obvious that other players respect and listen to your opinion. How can a new community member cultivate a similar reputation?
That's something of a loaded question! Okay, how to reply without sounding massively conceited. . .
I'd like to think I am objective. If you can distance yourself from an issue, people will be more likely to listen to your points. If people think you have an agenda, they are less likely to give you credence. I've made a point of always stating my case on issues I feel strongly about, regardless of the class I currently play, or the Nation I'm with. In the end, a balanced game is better for everyone.
But to be honest, mostly I've just been around the game for a very, very long time now, and have immersed myself in it. I like PvE, PvP, RvR, and the economy and do a bit of everything every week. That means I know most of the game systems intimately, so when I post, I usually know what I'm talking about. I have the odd slip up, but don't we all? It's the same with opinions as with journalism; check your sources, then check again.
Discussion is about communication, and communication is about tailoring the response to the person. What works for some people won't for others and you might need to say the same thing in a different way to get a global point across.
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