Pirate101 Beginner PvP Guide
Part 1 – What to Learn
Every few weeks, it seems like there are always one or more new players that are attempting to foray into Pirate101 PvP. Inevitably, the vast majority of them give up after a few weeks of fighting or farming. I find this saddening, as many start out very passionate. Furthermore, I don’t think the game’s PvP is particularly difficult to learn. Thus, this beginner PvP guide will focus on basic and universal things that a new player should learn or obtain in order to best set themselves up for PvP success. If you’re uncertain as to whether you want to start at all, check out this brief overview.
This beginner PvP series will be divided into two parts. The first will primarily focus on information that you need to learn to be successful. The second part will discuss things you need to obtain in order to prepare for combat.
#1 Movement, Shooting, and Casting Range
In my opinion, this is the most integral mechanic to learn for a PvP beginner. Unfortunately, it was probably the last thing on this list that I did when I was learning how to PvP. I cannot overstate how important learning the movement, shooting, and casting for each pirate class and all of the popular companions is. Having knowledge of when you can be hit and how to optimally position yourself so that you can hit your opponent will allow you to avoid wasting buffs unnecessarily.
There’s an excellent guide to movement range on Pirate101 Central that any PvP beginner should definitely read. However, I’ll summarize the most important and basic information here. I’ll also provide the necessary information on casting and shooting range.
The “default” movement range at max level is 4 squares in a straight line. Most buccaneer, musketeer, privateer, and witchdoctor companions have 4 range. However, most pirates, some swashbuckler units, and a few other random units have 5-7 movement. These units are listed below.
- El Toro
- Sarah Steele
- Tricky Vinny
- Pirates with only Fast 1 trained
- Fan Flanders
- Pirates with Fast 2 trained
(Take note that the Haywire Battle Angel does not appear on this list. She is an exception, in that she’s a swash unit with only 4 movement)
- Swashbuckler Pirates
In addition to knowing this information, you must be able to use it as well. For instance, you can position a Nausica exactly 7 tiles away from an opposing Fan Flanders and know that Fan will never be able to hit Nausica, while you are able to hit Fan with one of Nausica’s charges.
This example should highlight why higher movement range units are so valuable: they are able to pressure an opponent, oftentimes while being unable to be pressured themselves. Furthermore, it shows why 2x movement charges are so valuable and powerful. Even a 4 movement range unit has better reach with a charge than the highest default movement range in the game. Finally, the Elusive talent increases movement range when below half health. Elusive 1 increases movement by one tile, while Elusive 2+ increases it by two tiles
Similar to movement, the default shooting range for companions is 4 tiles. Again, there are some notable and powerful exceptions with 5 shooting range, found below.
5 Shooting Range
5 Shooting Range
- Bonnie Anne
- Louis LeBisque
- Canary Jane
- Buffalo Bill
- Armada Musketeer
Essentially, any unit with a rifle will have 5 shooting range. A unit with pistols, bows, etc. will only have 4 shooting range.
What about pirates? It should be obvious that a pirate’s shooting range is directly correlated with their weapon. However, musketeer pirates train a talent called Sniper. This increases their shooting range by one tile. So, the weapon of choice for Musketeers, the Haywire Thunder Rifle, can attack from 6 squares away, more than any companion in the game. Thus musketeers should, and do, prioritize a high shooting range over a high base weapon power.
This section will be pretty brief, as witchdoctor pirates and companions aren’t particularly popular (outside of Old Scratch. The default casting range is 3 tiles (AOEs effectively have their range increased by 1, due to their outer edge). Old Scratch is the most notable exception to this rule, possessing a casting range of 4. Like musketeer pirates, witchdoctor pirates’ range is based on their weapon. They too train an equivalent to Sniper, Spirit Sight, that increases their range by one.
Powers and Casting/Shooting Range
There are many powers in game that are affected by casting range. Many others aren’t. Here’s a list of some of the most important
Dependent on Casting/Shooting Range
- Revive/Rally/Rouse (Range equal to weapon range)
- Trick/Critical Shots (Range equal to weapon range)
- Witchdoctor AOEs (Range equal to weapon range)
- Ocuboros (Weapon range plus 2)
- Eye Swarm (Weapon range plus 1)
- Evil Eye (Range equal to weapon range)
Not Dependent on Casting/Shooting Range
- Valor’s Fortress, Armor, and Shield (Infinite range)
- Sniper Shot, Mournsong line of powers, and Big Guns line of powers (Infinite Range)
- Musketeer Bombs (Always 6 range)
- Focus Fire (Infinite range)
- Slows (Emmett/Exeter and Widow’s Touch)
- Overwatch/Readied Spell/Parting Shot/Coward’s Bane (2 range, regardless of weapon)
If it hasn’t been made clear already, movement/shooting/casting range is an omnipresent force in Pirate101 PvP. Thus, any beginner to PvP should commit all this information to memory and understand why it’s so valuable. Having a range advantage (or just knowing how it works in general if your opponent doesn’t) forces an opponent to waste valuable resources prematurely. Since the resource war is all-important to this game’s PvP, any method of gaining an advantage is welcome.
This also explains why, generally speaking, sitting in a corner passively is a bad idea. When you sit in a corner, you allow your opponent to optimally set themselves up, while making it difficult for you to have optimal attacks yourself. This is a common mistake PvP beginners make, particularly those that play privy, musket, and witch. This strategy may be effective against fellow PvP beginners, but veterans willl be able to counter it effectively.
#2 Learn all the powers and talents available to each class, as well as its damage value
Knowing what an opponent can do to you on any given round is an incredibly important piece of information to learn. For instance, if you’re at low health facing a witchdoctor, knowing that they have Ocuboros (and their other mojo reduces) available can inform your decision about when to heal. If you didn’t know this, your opponent would have more information than you; this is a clear disadvantage. A PvP beginner can (and should) look at our practice point calculator to see what each class trains at max level. Look up any powers foreign to you.
Not only should any PvP beginner know what’sÂ available for each class to use, you also should be able to do the math as to how impactful any given attack is. If you’re blindly spamming attacks or just “eyeballing” the damage and health your opponent has remaining, you’re making a mistake. Even though high and low rolls exist, as well as criticals, it’s worthwhile to know that an assassin does ~500 through a fort, plus 2 ticks of ~140 damage. You can use this information to inform your play decisions both offensively and defensively. Clicking and hoping isn’t a valid strategy. Much of this math is best learned through practice, or through watching others play.
Furthermore, you should learn whatÂ typeÂ of damage each attack does. For instance, bleeds, poisons, and magic attacks are only protected by Valor’s Fortresses/Armors/Shields, while Vicious Charges are protected by every type of shield. This will let you inform gearing decisions. If you know an opponent has much of their offense in the first category, you should bring more Valor-type shields. If they are most to all in the second category, you can bring fewer, if any at all.
Finally, you should obtain a working knowledge of how many copies of each type of power any given class is likely to have. This is especially important in a ranked PvP scenario, where you’re not likely to have that sort of information on hand. Take a look at gear guides for each class to see example setups. You might face someone with a weird gear set occasionally, but knowing the “standard” is essential.
I’ve briefly discussed why knowing what each power does and how many to expect from a certain class is important, but what about the epic talents? Don’t they always just do base damage equal to approximately the user’s weapon power with the base chance to hit at approximately 75%, independent of criticals?
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Many epics have higher or lower base accuracy or base damage. A general formula for the odds of landing a given attack is as follows:
Base Accuracy (normally 75%) + your accuracy – your opponent’s dodge
This formula does have lower and upper bounds, meaning the lowest chance you have of landing a hit is 5-10% and the highest 90-95%, regardless of your accuracy or opponent’s dodge.
I’ll list the relevant epics for each weapon type, as well as any unlisted oddities/other relevant info. The “average” base accuracy for melee epics is 75%. I believe ranged average base accuracy is higher, as I’ll discuss below.
Epic Talent Info
- Relentless/Burst Fire/Mojo Echo – Approximately average damage and accuracy
- The base chance of it triggering is 35%, this is increased the more Strength/Agility/Will you have
- Bladestorm/Double Tap/Mojo Rising – Slightly higher than average damage
- Rank 1 and 2 have about average accuracy
- Ranks 3+ don’t obey the normal formula, instead they’re based on the difference between the attacker’s primary stat and how much of that stat the defender has.
- First Strike/Quick Draw/Intuition – Below average damage, above average accuracy
- Higher ranks get a damage buff and ranks 3+ reveal hidden attackers
- Repel Boarders/Overwatch/Readied Spell – Below average damage, above average accuracy
- Rank 3+ reduces the target’s accuracy for 1 round, Rank 5 knocks the attacker back as well
- Riposte/Return Fire/Counterspell – Significantly above average damage, below average accuracy
- Rank 3+ gives +15 dodge. However, these dodge buffs, like all non-shield buffs, don’t stack
- Vengeance Strike/True Grit/Retribution – Approximately average damage and accuracy
- Rank 3+ provides a 35% chance to stun the attacked unit. It’s possible this number increases the more Strength/Agility/Will you have
- Second Chance/Quick Adjust/Jobu’s Ruse – Slightly above average damage, above average accuracy
- Rank 3+ provides a 25% accuracy increase
- Flanking/Crossfire/Doomspell – Below average damage, above average accuracy
- Flanking triggers when a unit positions itself directly across from another unit of the same type (melee, ranged, magic), with an enemy in between
- Witch Hunter – Damage is based on spell power of the attacker, average accuracy
- All ranks provide a 50% damage reduction to the next magical attack
Melee, Ranged, and Staffy Epics
The melee variants of these epics essentially obey the formula I gave above, with bladestorm being the most notable exception. However, I’m almost certain that ranged epics have higher accuracy than their melee counterparts. For instance, most or all hybrid players that I see land their burst fires significantly more often than their relentlesses.
Staffy epics are weird. Sometimes, they seem to have much higher base accuracy than melee equivalents. Sometimes, it’s the opposite. Don’t stress too much about it, since you won’t encounter these talents that much. There’s a theory that their chance to hit is somewhat based on the caster’s will, but there’s no real way to verify or disprove this, so take it as you will.
Movement range, powers, and epic talents are the most vital and pervasive aspects of Pirate101 PvP. Knowing how they work and how to apply them to your duels is the first step in becoming successful in PvP.
Thanks for reading
and keep an eye out for part two!