Our first character in the game, naturally was a pirate – heck, who are we kidding? So was our second one because we had so much fun with the character creation – and we quickly learned that this is a game where you simply must read every scrap of text on the mission screen. This isn't because you will miss sneakily placed information or anything, it's because the banter is just so much fun. This is a game with a sense of humor, and every response your character makes to the questions she is asked is definitely worth the time taken to read it.
Now that we have explained why the missions are so much fun, let's take a peek into the types of missions you will encounter in this game. Keep in mind that we're working from the piratical perspective, but the basic mission structures are the same for every nation. Swashbuckling Missions: These are what you would expect – hand to hand fights with swords, fancy footwork, and a fair amount of dirty tricks. These generally take place either in towns or at nearby locations (pirate hideouts just down the coast, a nearby cove, an abandoned fort . . . you get the picture).
The town missions in PotBS seem to be where the bulk of the lore for the game lies. We know we found out much about the delicate balancing act that is a pirate's life from our missions in Marsh Harbor. These missions you can reach on your own two feet and generally use a minimum of instancing.
When an NPC sends you to explore a nearby beach or suspicious encampment, you can expect to find an assortment of baddies all looking to disrupt the relative peace of your local port. These missions will get you the requisite swashbuckling experience you need to train in whichever of the three sword fighting schools you choose to specialize in. Most of these missions can be accessed from an NPC on the dock, which is also where you go to set sail on the open sea or fight ship battles.
Ship Battle Missions: Ah the open ocean, the only place a captain truly feels at home! Where this game really shines is its ship combat. Each player is the captain of her own ship and the master of her domain. As such there will be times that missions send you into dangerous waters to blast some needed justice into your foes. Basically you will be asked to do a variety of things. You may be asked to destroy a certain number of enemy ships while protecting an ally, or board an enemy vessel and fight the captain to take over the ship. While these missions are instanced, they're set upon glassy ocean waters that give you the sense that you could sail off into the sunset should you not be bound to fulfill your duty.
The missions of Pirates of the Burning Sea bring that added touch of flavor to an already brilliant MMO. While the difficulty and strategy varies with each type of encounter, we noticed that the missions were accessible enough to be fun while still providing needed experience and challenge. It is also important to note that once you understand the nature of a mission, you will likely see it again later on, which can either be a positive or a negative depending on how you look at it. We look at it as a great time, and so, if you'll excuse us, we have some ships to capture.