New Devlog: Hello Again!
Although I’ve been on Pirates of the Burning Sea since before it had a name, and have posted lots of dev logs and many replies in the forums, I don’t think most of you have heard of me. John Scott Tynes (aka “Rev”) is going to work on other things, and I’m stepping into the role of Producer on Pirates, so I wanted to re-introduce myself and talk a little about what’s coming up in the next few weeks.
To start things off, we have a new hire! John Zipperer joins us as a new client and tools programmer. His years as a programmer on Guild Wars at ArenaNet will be a real asset to the Pirates of the Burning Sea team. John will be working on a new art pipeline in order to greatly increase the rate at which our artists can get new environments into the game, and I’m excited to have him here.
The other big news is the 1.2 patch. This is our first major content patch and it is so chock full of good stuff that we have to spread it out across a series of Devlogs that you’ll see throughout the next week. To kick things off I wanted to give you an overview of what’s coming up.
One of the biggest new features in 1.2 is the new French Capitol. Pointe-a-Pitre has been reborn with an entirely new look. This includes a bunch of new mission content to match the new town, tailored to match Point-a-Pitre’s new look. I saw the town lit and textured for the first time over the weekend and it looks amazing. Just wait ‘til you see the screenshots.
We have a couple open sea upgrades on the way. The first and most important of these is that placement in battles off the open sea has been changed to put reinforcements in a more reasonable position, so you shouldn’t ever end up spawning on the far side of an island miles away from your group. We know that has been really frustrating and we rewrote the spawn code from scratch to make this work the way it should. We’ve also added a prompt to ask you if you want to join in when a group mate enters a battle. This will make it much more difficult for a single ship to tie up a group of players, since you can opt whether or not to join. We also made it so NPCs return to the open sea if they survive their battle with a player, so you can’t just snag NPCs and then run away in order to deny them to the enemy. And we’ve upgraded the UI for ports in the open sea so you get more information about towns you’re sailing by.
New tutorials have been added so that a player’s introduction to the game will be tailored to the nation of their choice. We also have new tutorial missions to teach Pirates to use the Capture Ship skill and the Careening Camp, as well as a tutorial to teach all nations how to use the Claim Prize/Scavenge skills. We hope these will ease the learning curve for new players while leaving the game just as sophisticated and interesting for our advanced players. (And as an added bonus it should help to reduce the frequency with which somebody asks “How do I capture a ship?” in Pirate nation chat.)
Five of our pirate NPC gangs are getting a visual upgrade for their crewmen. You will start to notice unique outfits for them in boarding and land missions. We are also adding some new NPC loot that give you missions. This should make loot a little less predictable and give you surprise opportunities for adventure.
We’ve had a strike team working on improving the UI for chat and the social window. The Unsecured Cargo icons in 1.1 were the first thing you saw from them, but they have much more coming in 1.2 including chat bubbles, floaty names over everyone’s heads, and much more. I’ll leave the details to Fraxl’s upcoming devlog, but there is lots of good stuff in there and it will make a certain segment of our community Very, Very Happy.
The last big new feature in 1.2 is Bey’s Retreat. Bey’s Retreat is a mission that will take a full group of experienced players 4-6 hours to complete. This is the first of many epic missions that our Content Team is working on. If you’ve played Red Tide, you’ve gotten a peek at the kind of gameplay we’re working on these days, but Bey’s Retreat is much, much bigger and cooler. You may have heard a bit about it from the playtesters we’ve had in here over the past month, and if you didn’t, you’ll hear quite a bit about it this week.
We also have a number of open issues that we’re tracking. The biggest fix in the pipeline is a change to prevent turn-ins from pushing a port all the way into contention. That build will go live early next week. Also on the list of things we’re looking at are avatar combat improvements, more rewards for PvP, and lag. For lag in particular there should be some significant improvements in 1.2. In addition we’re making a ton of improvements to the flogger that you won’t see, but that will allow us to do a better job of keeping up with customer support requests.
All of these changes are in addition to the tons of bug fixes and minor features in the patch. If all goes according to plan you will be able to check out the new build on the Testbed server the first week in March and play it on the live servers a short time later. As I said before, many of these changes are big enough to warrant Devlogs of their own, so keep an eye out for those to read all the juicy details. I can’t wait to get this build into your hands so you can start checking out all the new stuff. :)
Your new producer,
8 year FLS veteran and former Director of Development