A Journey into Pirate101

Most of us are already somewhat familiar with Pirate101, but how many of us have actually played the game? For those of you who don’t yet know about Pirate101, it is an MMO game developed by Kingsisle that also takes place in the same universe as Wizard101. However, I am hoping you already know that bit. For me it all started at the end of August this year when Logan, one of our very active Pirate101 writers for the site, out of the blue asked me if I wanted to try the game with him, Thus starting my surprising journey into Pirate101!

Why did I play Pirate101?

Let’s be honest, Pirate101 has not received the attention it deserved throughout these past few years and it can make you doubt whether you should try it out or not. However, despite all that I still wanted to give it a go for many many different reasons. For starters, it takes place in the same universe as Wizard101 which was probably my main selling point for trying the game. I always desired to learn about what goes on on the other side of the Spiral (and man it is amazing)! Apart from that, I had a more of a personal reason in regards to Final Bastion. I wanted to be able to better understand the articles our Pirate101 folks create. Now that I have a better understanding of the game, I can truly appreciate their hard work and realize how astonishing these comprehensive guides are.

Wizard101 was also in between updates when I started, so I thought why not try it out while we wait for what is next. Lastly, and possibly the main reason that drove me into Pirate101, was the fact that I had someone to share the experience with and guide me throughout the game. Thus, huge thanks to Logan for making this possible!

What were my initial thoughts?

I was honestly overwhelmed. Despite the fact that I was somewhat familiar with how the game works, I still had so so much to learn about. The gameplay, the combat mechanics, the mind blowing story, exploring worlds we haven’t set foot in in Wizard101, and much more!

A tip for you all, take it step by step. Learn about one thing at a time if possible and always focus on the story. You will most certainly not want to miss anything that happens. Originally, I had already tried out the game years ago on my own, but I honestly didn’t give it much of a real chance. I didn’t even make it to the paywall before I stopped back then. How wrong was I to not carry on! This time round, I wanted to start from scratch and created a new pirate.

Which pirate class did I choose?

Pirate101 has 5 different classes unlike Wizard101 which has 7 schools. They are Swashbuckler, Buccaneer, Privateer, Musketeer and Witchdoctor. I decided to go with Privateer for my first go (and yes I am planning to try the other classes later on). Honestly, there is no specific reason as to why I’ve chosen this class other than it complementing the Buccaneer character Logan was leveling. I found the Privateer class to be quite balanced. It had plenty of health to sustain me, lots of buffs for my companions, and plenty of AoE attacks. Logan helped me with this next part so we can help you understand what each class is all about.

Swashbuckler Class Overview

They are artful dodgers, masterfully dodging hits right and left. They’re also the best at hiding to prepare for stealthy/sneaky attacks (Swashbucklers train 3 “hide” powers that double the damage of your next melee attack and last for 3-5 rounds) and carry quite the arsenal of AOE poisons to damage their enemies.

Weakness: Dodge reduction debuffs, lack of team buffs in PvE, not very tanky outside of dodging melee chains.

Buccaneer Class Overview

The melee tank class of Pirate101 (think warrior class in other MMOs). Great at tanking, can deal massive damage to eliminate several opponents in just one round through chains. One of the best offensive classes thanks to the incredible amount of chains they get at higher levels.

Weakness: Magical hits if they do not carry protection shields such as Valor Fortress, reliant on not having their accuracy reduced or having crit buffs to chain.

Privateer Class Overview

Natural leaders. Their many shields allow them to create Cunning endgame plans to ensure victory in the long run. Their arsenal of buffs keeps them at the top, although they depend on their companions and allies heavily to ensure victory against their enemies.

Weakness: They don’t carry as many offensive powers as other classes do, so once your companions are dead, winning becomes difficult.

Musketeer Class Overview

Elite Snipers of the Spiral. They’re somewhat similar to buccaneer, in that they carry quite a lot of chain talents to deal some good damage. However, they’re set apart by their bombs, traps and even trickshot powers they can use at higher levels to dominate in battle.

Weakness: Getting outchained or outnumbered by enemies once they run out of chain hits for a round. Musketeers prefer preventing enemies from reaching them, because they will quickly be outmatched by a melee character in their face.

Witchdoctor Class Overview

The class of spells and magical hits. Unstoppable with Spell Power Buffs by their side. They can mop the floor easily in PvE with no problem at all as long as a friendly skeleton companion is by their side.

Weakness: Unlike Swashbuckler and Musketeer, fragile classes that have some form of defenses (hide, overwatch/traps, respectively) , witchdoctors have no such ability. They can’t stay on their feet for long in direct confrontations. Especially if it’s a 1v1 situation or if outnumbered by enemies.

If you are to start your own journey into Pirate101, I would strongly recommend taking a look at this guide before. It details common player mistakes you can easily avoid such as choosing your pirate’s origin and parent’s death place. Yes, these are small but important factors that have an impact on your gameplay throughout the game. For my Privateer, I selected that my pirate was raised in the deserts of Krokotopia and that my parents were lost in search of treasure.

Point #2 in this guide explains more about the parent’s cause of death and which companions you will get from your selection.

This short guide details what the pirate birthplace origins have an effect on and which classes should go for which.

What did I like or dislike about my journey into Pirate101?

This is not an easy question to answer. It certainly is not something I can just answer in one sentence, so let’s split it bit by bit. There are many factors to consider here including the combat, the game mechanics, the story and the different worlds of the game amongst some other factors.

Combat and Companions

Combat is somewhat different in Pirate101 than it is in Wizard101. It still has a planning phase and an animation phase, so its not that out of the ordinary for us Wizard101 players. However, this time we have companions! And no, they are not just a side feature like they are in Wizard101. In wiz, companions are introduced quite late to the game (such as Dyvim in Khrysalis, Ivan in Polaris, and Istar in Mirage) and only offer minor boosts that don’t have much of an impact on combat.

On the other hand, in Pirate, it is essential that you invest in your companions, as they are probably the biggest part of how you will win the game. Each companion has their own stats and powers and you generally get 3 of them on the board with you if you are solo. The amount of companions will vary depending on the amount of players and the specific battle you are fighting. Working with your character, as well as your companions, is almost like playing on a chessboard!

Personally, I find this quite extraordinary because you have an entire team rather than just your wizard in the battle. Companions are managed by yourself throughout the planning phase of the match, unless you don’t do anything. In that case, they will proceed to automatically move or use skills on their own (although their AI is a bit dubious).

Naval Travel & Combat

Travelling in the skyways and stormgates is probably one of the best parts of the game. I honestly wasn’t expecting this to be such a huge part of the game, but I am glad it was as it helps better imagine the mystery that is the Spiral!

On the other hand, naval combat was not my favorite part of the game. I found it to be quite repetitive, because you are limited to only 4 functions, out of which two are used to attack, one to heal, and one to boost / debuff stats. I was hoping for something a little different later on in the game, but unfortunately nothing changed besides the type of power you use. On top of that, I found a lot of tedious quests from both main and sides that required to defeat a lot of ships or to defeat and collect from them. We all know how much we wizards love those!

Mechanics and Game Stats

Honestly, till this day I still wonder about some of the game stats. They work very differently than they do in W101 and perhaps that is for the best. Still, the gear is not exactly what you expect. You will want a mix of stats and powers on it rather than just really high stats. Think of it like this… you want your gear with good stats, but also good item cards. Item cards in wiz aren’t that huge of a factor when it comes to picking your gear. Pirates think a little differently, but I won’t spoil all the fun here (this is because Pirates cannot add multiple copies of a single trained ability to their “deck”). Just keep these details in mind as they will help boost your pirate:

  • Swashbucklers and Musketeers require Agility
  • Buccaneers require Strength
  • Privateers and Witchdoctors require Will

The Scenery

I’ve been saving the best for last. If you asked me what is the most jaw dropping thing about the game, I would definitely say the story, but it would be a close tie with the scenery you will have a chance to gaze upon. Pirate101 has two (or three) worlds we get to experience as part of the story that we also get to play through in W101 – Mooshu and Marleybone (and Aquila).

The graphics are astonishing for every single world we get to play through, but when you compare them with wizard’s worlds you wouldn’t really believe they are the same. They both have their merits, but probably due to the fact that wizard’s worlds came out over ten years ago plays a huge factor here. One must absolutely explore these worlds for themselves! Simply take a look at some of the very few screenshots I happened to take throughout my journey.

First Impressions of the Story

To be honest, I don’t know if it was the excitement of something new but the story seemed superior than what we experienced in Wizard101. At first, everything moves quite slowly. You are sent to Blood Shoals in Skull Island where you are given access to three different areas. Think of it like Pirate101’s version of Olde Town and the three streets (Triton Avenue, Firecat Alley and Cyclops Lane). As you can expect, you will hit the paywall from here on as you can only access one of the areas (like Triton Avenue).

Click on the image for more information about content pricing per chapter if you don’t have access to a membership in Pirate101. You can unlock Skull Island for less than 5,000 crowns.

Now, you would think that completing these three areas would unlock the next world, but there is truly so much more than that. You will lose yourself in the story while travelling to the many islands found in the skyways of Skull Island. I found this to be quite good because it gave me the chance to learn about how the game worked and I wasn’t missing anything major while doing it.

The Story Progession!

Then, I noticed that the story really picks up after completing the short world of Monquista. After Monquista ends, we start what is in my opinion the main story arc of the game – Kane and the Armada! Throughout the years I heard a lot of things about Pirate101, and the Armada happened to feature in many of those rumors. Thus, I knew I had to experience this for myself at some point and when it was actually starting to happen I could barely contain my excitement. I knew things were starting to pick up when Avery showed us the puppet show about the Armada featuring this lovely image that is pretty much imprinted inside my brain.

Puppet shows are also another feature in this game that are quite amazing story-telling tools. They are entertaining, detailed, serious and also quite funny at the same time. I managed to find this video featuring them all, but be warned for major storyline spoilers! For those of you wondering, you will progress through the worlds in the following order:

  • Skull Island
  • Monquista
  • Valencia 1
  • Cool Ranch
  • Skull Island 2 (Port Regal Skyway)
  • Cool Ranch 2
  • Mooshu
  • Marleybone
  • Aquila
  • Valencia 2

Don’t forget that while you run through all of these worlds you will encounter many different creatures that you get to learn about and recruit as part of your crew. These will become companions that assist you throughout combat and also have a part in the storyline which is what truly sets them apart from the ones we find in W101. Do you think you’ll manage to find Kane? Defeat his Court? Stop the Armada? And if you do, will that truly be…

Would I recommend Pirate101 to anyone?

Throughout my journey into Pirate101, I got to explore far and distant lands, recruit amazing companions in my crew, look for lost and hidden treasure, race for El Dorado’s map, reunite a band of heroes, fight a giant Stormzilla, start a war and help finish it, and not to forget… fight down clockworks and many other creatures!

It is certainly an experience that you will want to try for yourself. As for a personal suggestion- try to quest through the game with a friend! It will make it far more enjoyable than it already is. Good luck and let us know about your own journey into Pirate101!

What are your thoughts about Pirate101?
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