Sinbad Chapter 2 Update Q&A
With Pirate101 Developers
The Pirate101 Developers gave us the wonderful opportunity to ask questions about the Pirate101 Sinbad Chapter 2 Update and the future of the game, with the game having recently launched on Steam! A week or so before the update hit the servers, we drafted some questions to ask the developers about the update and the future of the game itself. Considering the game has been untouched for the most part for several years, questions generally span topics of new content, events, and balancing changes that can be added to the game.
Before reading through these developer responses, I highly recommend taking a look at the Pirate101 Update Notes about the update! There is quite a bit of useful information there that will help contextualize the questions asked. There were a few features of the update that we were not aware of when writing our questions, so keep that in mind as well.
The following questions were collected from numerous sources around the community both directly and indirectly. We would like to thank everyone that participated and hope that every relevant topic was covered.
Future Content Questions
Q: I recall you have mentioned interest in P101 FTUE some time ago. What would that entail? Is there a general draft of what quests you plan to modify?
A: When working on a game, we want it to be as healthy as possible. One thing in live service game development that is always on our minds is the First Time User Experience (FTUE). We think about how we can easily teach players the skills needed to then enjoy the game beyond the first few hours.
We looked at Pirate101 data to see if the beginning of the game is lacking in any way. Currently, we are thinking of smaller fixes to help improve the FTUE, but we are also looking at the long-term and taking the lessons we have learned from Wizard101’s FTUE updates. Early quest improvement and rebalancing, moving NPCs to be easier to find, and looking at pinch points to see where players are struggling are just a few other examples of areas we can improve.
Q: Obviously since worlds are still something that is a bit of time away from us, content can be in the form of Events and System Reworks! We’ve seen the new Dreadnaught events – but are there any plans to create more unique gamemodes parallel to Deckathalon and Beastmoon in Wizard101? Can we expect to see event progress bars to give us additional rewards, system reworks like we’ve had in Wizard101 the past few years, and new systems such as Cargo as we wait for larger-scale content?
A: We really love the events in Wizard101 and making content through events is definitely on our wish list for Pirate101, so much so that we even released some “Event-lite” content last year with the Manchu weekly quests since we were eager to get the concept in game to see if it had traction before we gave it the full tech treatment.
There are two pieces to this – first is bringing over the event system (the UI, the progress bars, rewards for completing in game objectives, etc.) which would get us to the equivalent of Wizard’s Pet Promenade or Spiral Showcase. Next, there’s the development time to develop an entirely new game mode (for Wizard101, the Deckathalons and both Beastmoons took the majority of the Wizard101 design and tech teams an entire update cycle working together). The Event System would probably happen well before the new game modes, but we would love the chance to explore what the equivalent of Deckathalon (different sort of deck perhaps?) and Beastmoon would be.
On the systems side, we are looking at what we can plunder from Wizard101 that makes sense, either in its entirety or as a starting point. Creating entirely new systems is probably more in the medium-term plan, but that doesn’t mean we’re not already thinking about the possibilities.
Many powers and stats are considered problematic and unbalanced. A few questions on this topic:
Q: Blood Flames marked the first of (I hope) many balancing adjustments in the game. I am definitely not alone when I say the Witchdoctor class is underrated and frankly underpowered. Are the designers thinking of balancing adjustments to more than just Blood Flames to curb reliance on broken powers and reinforce class identity? Even after the Blood Flames nerf, Witchdoctors rely heavily on Mojo Buffs and not on Minions. Origins are also problematic – most of them are a flat boost in their corresponding stat, except for Spooky. This harms stat progression and makes the Krokotopia Origin far superior to the others. Can we expect to see balancing adjustments to the Origins, and perhaps the ability to change it after your Pirate’s creation? (Notice the trend here with Mojo-related things being problematic).
A: Definitely, combat as a whole is being evaluated as we take a deeper look at Pirate101’s systems. We must strike a balance between combat that meets expectations in terms of what players are used to while also not being afraid to make changes that will ultimately be for the betterment of the game for all players. Blood Flames was “low hanging fruit” that’s been on our radar for a while but even deeper systems such as how epic abilities interact, and stat distribution and allocation are not exempt from scrutiny.
Q: While on the topic of Blood Flames, what was the rationale behind the nerf? Many agree that it was necessary, but not the approach behind it. The nerf simply results in Blood Flames dealing half the damage as it had before yet did not change how it interacts with Mojo Buffs. Can the designers provide their reasoning for this change?
A: As stated before, Blood Flames has been on our radar for a while and was a clear case of a power that was obviously over tuned. When we looked at how the spell functioned, we noticed it was one of the few player-facing powers (along with the PvP analogue Summer’s Fire) that was dealing x4 your spell power. The next closest player trained AOE power deals 1.5x spell power. Thus, we adjusted these powers closer to that standard while still leaving them with some extra value. We are continuing to look at the combat balance as a whole and other outlier powers such as the mojo flow line will be evaluated in the future.
Q: We saw in the update notes some references to future re-balancing efforts targeting powers like the Mojo Flow line that may not fit with the game’s current power level. Is there anything you can say now about how you will approach these re-balances (either timeline or general philosophy)?
A: We can’t say much at this time, unfortunately. The combat system in general is under review and potential changes such as to the mojo flow line will largely depend on where those larger discussions lead. We also take into consideration other factors such as community sentiment. The team will be diligent to ensure that our decisions lead to a better game experience for our players!
A major focal point of the Sinbad Chapter 2 update is, of course, Sinbad and the quest associated. Here are a few questions that entail the Sinbad story content, and future story content as well.
Q: Is the Sinbad storyline considered side content, or main content? It doesn’t have the main story indicator, but with the path the game is going down, will it expand enough to be considered the main storyline?
A: You got it! The Sinbad storyline was previously considered side content, but with Sinbad Chapter 2’s introduction, this storyline has been moved to the main quest line now.
Q: Something long debated in game lore is the concept of timing. It has been understood that the W101 and P101 stories are parallel to an extent, but we still have some grey areas. Will this continue to be the case? It’s been 7 years since official Pirate main story content – will the story pick up where it left off, or begin once more in parallel with W101?
A: There are actually two points to be made here. The first answer is that the Pirate story will more or less pick up where it left off, with a gigantic wink and nod to the fact that it’s been on pause for a bit. We’re going to ease back into things, as opposed to restarting as if no time had passed.
As for the second question, the best answer for this is: embrace the timey-wimey incongruities. <Mathew McConaughey voice> Time is a flat circle. A second on one world could be a year on another, and the distance between those worlds is bubble but also a black hole that starts and ends in the same spot a hundred years apart, yada yada yada… </Mathew McConaughey voice>. There were always pieces of the two storylines that didn’t quite line up to perfect parallel, but we’ve always contended that it’s more fun that way! In a universe with Magic and talking dogs wearing pants, it’s probably best to not get too hung up on timelines.
Q: Sinbad Part 2 has been officially called “Sinbad Chapter 2: The Iron Lotus”, but we have no name for the first part aside from “Sinbad Part 1”. What is this first part called? Furthermore, considering the second part has been called a “Chapter”, does that mean that the Sinbad storyline is its own book?
A: There were multiple reasons we didn’t name the first bit of Sinbad content in Pirate101. The first being that we had no real way of knowing if there was going to be a second chapter. Another reason was that Sinbad never really showed up in the first chapter, so it would’ve been weird to focus on a character that Pirate players hadn’t had a chance to meet.
The idea of giving this content a title in the first place comes from the original IRL stories, of course, and the Housing Gauntlet we made in Wizard101. If we’re being technical, the first bit of Sinbad content KingsIsle made were Side Quests in Wizard’s Mirage, and those didn’t really have a title either.
Long story short, this content doesn’t really have a fancy title, it’s just more fun to talk about it that way :-).
Q: Will Pirate101 ever get a Test Realm for its content updates?
A: Yes! In fact, we’re planning one hopefully for the next update after Sinbad Chapter 2 😊.
These are other questions we asked the developers about the game.
Q: What is the rationale behind the introduction of the new Dreadnaught? Is the intention to introduce new gear, provide gameplay content, or provide story content? We know there is a questline associated, so does it entail all 3? What is your long-term goal with these Dreadnaught activities?
A: As we ramp up our efforts with Pirate101- we want to be able to offer players exciting and engaging content. While the new Dreadnaught is not the story content we know players are still eager to see with bated breath- it offers max level players a fun activity to do with friends that plays differently than a traditional tower like the Sinbad content. The Dreadnaught also serves as a place to familiarize our designers with the systems present in Pirate101 and allow us to experiment a bit and gauge player reactions and engagement with different activities.
Q: There were mentions of Sinbad gear (hat robes boots) that didn’t make it into the update. When should we expect to see these? A future content update or will they be added to the content we have now at a later date?
A: Those fancy dancy hats, robes, and boots needed a bit more tailoring. Yes, they will be making their way to Pirates in a future content update!
Q: Are there any plans for new bundles in the near future? Also, what about packs that contain companions, or are they a thing of the past?
A: New bundles will happen for sure! New packs with Companions are also on the list to be implemented sometime in the future.
Those are all the questions we asked the developers, and therefore concludes the Q&A. It seems there are a lot of things to look forward to in Pirate101, especially considering all the events and activities coming on the horizon! It is great to hear that the developers plan to resume regular content updates and marketing for the game, alongside engaging events to keep us interested in playing.
We can definitely expect some meaningful balance changes in each update, and I hope that will increase the diversity and uniqueness of every player’s gear setup. The Sinbad Ch. 2 Update has certainly given us more options, and I’m sure we will see more in the future content updates later this year.
A huge thank-you to the Pirate101 developers for reaching out for a Q&A and answering the questions. We appreciate the insight provided, and I definitely feel like the game has a bright future ahead of it! Don’t forget to leave a review for the game on Steam!
Enjoying the Sinbad Ch. 2 Update? Excited for Pirate101’s future updates? Let us know in the comments below!