Uncharted Waters Online is actually the latest in a long series of Uncharted Waters games, dating all the way back to a 1991 Nintendo title. Each game has dealt with a romanticized version of the Age of Exploration (14th through 16th century), and this MMO is no different. If you're familiar with games like Sid Meier's Pirates! and Pirates of the Burning Sea, you have a good idea what you're in for: trading, exploration, and a whole lot of ship-on-ship violence.
Hit the jump for a deeper look at Uncharted Waters Online!
Choose your destiny
Uncharted Waters Online offers multiple paths to fame and glory, depending on your interests. Players may choose to become a wealthy tycoon through shrewd trading, go the route of Magellan and prove oneself as an explorer, or simply crack open as many hulls as one can find and become the biggest, baddest pirate of them all. Your beginning class heavily defines your destiny, as you pick from adventurer, soldier or merchant.
You'll begin your adventure as a fledgling captain who hails from one of several historical nations, such as Spain or Britain. As you level up, you'll acquire skill points which can be put to good use boosting particular abilities and talents. Each skill can be leveled up to 15 ranks, so you'll have to choose whether to be a generalist with low skills across the board, or a specialist with a few high-powered skills under your belt.
Crafters will enjoy cooking, tailoring and ship-building, while traders can haul these goods between ports to make a tidy profit.
Of course, the meat of the game is all about sailing your own warship in search of prey, loot and unknown lands. Seeing as how ships back in this era were almost entirely wind-powered, a good captain will read his wind gauge and use it to his advantage.
You have several resources to help you stay afloat longer. Timber is crucial for ship repair (after all, trees don't grow on the water!), while more food enables you to strike out further and farther from port.
As you traverse the seas, your ship can go from predator to prey due to ambushes; however, there are skills that enable you to slip by them, unharmed.
Sooner or later, of course, combat becomes inevitable, and here's where the game shines. Battles are an intricate real-time affair of ship positioning, cannon attacks, and special skills. You win when the enemy ship is sunk or all of its crew members are wiped out.
When you get tired of fighting computer-controlled pirates, the realm of PvP action beckons with exciting 5v5 battles. Countries will battle for dominance and territories, gaining and losing important ports and islands as national warfare progresses.
However, Uncharted Waters Online isn't skewed toward raids, so don't expect huge fleets taking on Mecha-Columbus in his Underwater Fortress of Doom.
Ahead of the pack
Uncharted Waters Online might not have the detailed graphics of Pirates of the Burning Sea, but the developers are adamant that theirs is a more faithful ship simulator with in-depth systems.
For example, the world map is largely blank at the beginning, so you'll have to travel around to uncover ports and secrets. There are more than a thousand different locations to discover, including special animals and treasure. Explorer-style players will rejoice over a system of skills that help us discover these secret places.
Right now, the developers admit that there's not a lot of end game content past the PvP system but insist that there will be plenty of reasons for players to explore a different class once they hit the cap. We'll see if player pirates give this title a hearty "YARRR!" or a lackluster "Nay..." when Uncharted Waters Online launches later this summer.