2010 was an incredibly important year for Pirates of the Burning Sea; in the space of one year we released our first major expansion, Power & Prestige, and we took the game free-to-play. These were both big achievements, and they represented huge changes in the game. Recently, many of you have been asking the obvious question: “What are we focusing on next?”
The next big development effort is improvements to Societies. Also, we plan to keep growing several other aspects of the game, as always. See below for details.
Societies are the social focal point of Pirates of the Burning Sea, and we want to improve the tools available to Society Members and Leaders.
The first thing we’re doing to improve the Society experience is fix a personal annoyance of mine. With the release of 2.4, instead of showing “Offline” in the Society member list we’ll show how long that character has been offline. That improvement should make keeping your rosters up to date easier and let you know the best way to make room for new players. “That’s nice,” you say, “but surely that’s not all. You must know by now what we really want.”
Yes, we know. Society Warehouses. And guess what? They’re coming! We’ve always known that they would be a large complicated feature to create if we did them properly, so we’ve developed a plan that allows us to implement them in stages.
The first stage is to implement Roles. In 2.4, Society Ranks should work as they always have. However, behind the scenes, they’re using Roles. We’ve augmented the old system that controlled Ranks by enabling them using definable Roles.
For this first step, we’ve defined some new Roles that work in exactly the same way as the current preset Ranks. You won’t notice a change from a user perspective, but this paves the way for a later release in which Society Leaders will be able to define new Roles, giving them names and privileges according to the needs of the Society. We expect this to be a new feature available to all Societies.
The Roles feature will become more important when we implement Society Wallets. Currently, Society funds are handled in a variety of ways in different Societies, but always by individuals. Ensuring sufficient funds for port upgrades or econ flips or such can be a real hassle as multiple interested parties need to be on hand at the same time.
With Wallets, you can deposit funds for your Society to use at a later time, even when you’re not online. The Roles system will allow Society leaders to configure which members can add and remove funds. We’re currently weighing the idea of having this as a purchasable upgrade in Treasure Aisle.
And, of course, the final step will be the implementation of Society Warehouses themselves. They will use the groundwork laid out for Wallets, and the Warehouses will also use Roles to gate who has access to give and take items. Warehouses will definitely be an upgrade available from Treasure Aisle.
We have several other items on our wish-list for improved Society tools, but we decided that Roles, Wallets, and Warehouses were the most important, and these features also complemented each other well. Many of these ideas came from players, and we’re going to explore what to do next based on your feedback.
We’ve seen a lot of passionate feedback on the forums about pieces of the game that you think should be fine-tuned. However, with all the new players since free-to-play, there are many more voices to be heard. In order to make sure we tune the game to create the best play experience for every player, we need to expand our sources of information and verify their accuracy. One of those sources is the player feedback survey that MrTheTooth has worked on with the help of Mr. Nutty. They have added specific questions that will help us better understand and analyze your input. Please give use your feedback here.
Mr. Nutty is going over information gathered directly from the game to identify the problem areas that affect every player. The goal is to gather the most complete and accurate picture of the game so that any tuning changes are more than just a band-aid and actually improve the game as a whole. Look for more from him in the future.
Captain’s Club Value
We appreciate all our players, and we want to ensure that Captain’s Club membership is a good value. As planned, Nutty has given free Respecs to Captain’s Club members. That’s our last planned change along those lines for a while. However, we expect to give discounts or free access to some future premium content.
Treasure Aisle Content
We’re working to keep Treasure Aisle filled with fresh content as each milestone goes by. In 2.4 we’re adding for new players a Starter Pack containing 5 Bonus XP books, 5 Bonus Doubloon books, 5 Bonus Loot Books, 10 Commissioned Allies, 2 Novice Ship Bundles, and a new unique item – a hook hand. If you’re a new player and unsure where to start, this pack should help get you going!
I was inspired thinking about an in-game wedding I attended and asked ArtCo to provide rings for purchase. What will be available in M4 are general purpose jewelry, but if you like the idea, we’ll offer wedding rings in the future.
Some of you suggested we add some new sashes to our purchasable clothing options, so a variety of those will be available in Treasure Aisle with the release of 2.4.
And, of course, many folks seem to be having a ton of fun sporting new pets, so we’ve got some of those coming. For 2.4, we’ve got more dogs and frogs, which are re-colored versions of the existing models (the new brindle dog is my favorite). In addition, AO came up with a fun twist – you’ll be able to purchase a pack of dogs to follow you around!
New models take longer and need new animations for idles and for tricks. You won’t see any of those in 2.4, but I’m REALLY excited about the ones coming in future milestones. Particularly, since one is modeled after one of my own pets!
We have plans for other Treasure Aisle items in the future beyond clothes and pets, but I’m not quite ready to discuss those yet. ;)
We noticed that there were few missions in Fort-de-France and that the story line was ripe for expansion. So for 2.4, we’ve added new missions there. In future milestones, we expect to do more like that – filling in sparse areas of content – but we also have plans for new epic missions (probably a low-level one next) and also a new type of content never before available in PotBS.
As always, it’s tough juggling the balance between new features, new content, tuning, and bug fixes. 2.3 and 2.4 aren’t the most content- or feature-heavy milestones we’ve had but, with them, we’re picking up steam on some new features (including a some I’ll elaborate on next milestone).