Choose My Adventure: High society

With my busy week last week on the road (school vacation) and now the interrupted service to all Sony Online Entertainment games, I didn't have as much time as I would have liked to jump in and play Pirates of the Burning Sea.

I did, however, continue my adventures a bit as Arienne Sauvage, Woman of Incredible Wealth and Taste (OK, so incredible isn't really in the title, but in my mind, it's definitely there!). I also started up a British Freetrader on one of my other Station accounts (two-boxing finally pays off!).

But the real question is, did I turn on my PvP flag? Read on for that answer as well as a closer look at societies and your choices if you decide to upgrade your free-to-play account.

I chickened out

Your votes were extremely close, with PvP slightly ahead. But in the end, I took the advice of Massively Reader Luk, who said that it would be suicide for me to flag myself PvP at such an early stage in the game and that I'd get virtually no benefit from doing so. That seemed to be prudent advice, so for now I'll play it safe and focus on running some missions.

What I did end up doing was playing a British Freetrader that I had created on my second Station account. I wanted to see how different it was from playing a pirate and also get feel for the community. One thing that I really like about PotBS is that right from the start, new players are a prized commodity. While I was working on quests at Marsh Harbor, I had two different guild recruiters introduce themselves and ask if I wanted to join their societies. That's a completely different experience than what I have to deal with in my other MMOs, where recruits normally have to beg, plead, and jump through hoops to apply and get invited to a guild.

What makes it work in PotBS is that there seems to be a symbiotic relationship between new players and societies. The two societies that I talked to offered up advice and help to make my learning curve that much smoother. In return, they expect a certain amount of resources contributed to the society's stock, which helps them stay prepared for Port Battles.

The other part seems to relate to the port governance system. Each port has a player Governor, who essentially oversees the defenses, tax rates, and perks of that particular island. In order to become Governor, you need to win a bidding war against all of the other candidates. Bids come in the form of influence, which players can pledge toward their candidates of choice. But you can only accrue influence by A) being in a society and B) earning experience from missions, open sea battles, etc. So in general, the larger and more active your society is, the greater your chances of winning an election.

It's an interesting system, because it means brand-new players can immediately make a difference in the societies they join. In addition, it's created a very welcoming environment. Instead of veteran, high-level players focusing on the top-tier endgame, they're returning to their roots and engaging with players on the starting islands.

As for Arienne Sauvage, I popped on a couple of times and even invited a couple of Massively readers to the Massively Mateys society. We haven't had a chance to hit the open sea together yet, but I'm hoping that we'll have a chance to do so this week, pending the SOE security issue.

Time to upgrade?

Switching gears a bit, I started to take a closer look at the pricing system for PotBS. It's free-to-play, and in my first few sessions, I didn't feel as if the velvet rope was preventing me from doing things. The items in the cash shop do give some nice advantages and benefits, and there are several appearance items that caught my eye, but I didn't feel the pull to purchase anything or sign up for membership right away.

But after the first couple of weeks, I did choose to purchase a membership. One big reason was the ability to form a society. You can choose to purchase just the society charter without full membership, but I decided to go with a monthly subscription. Not only do you get the ability to create a society, but you also get a little bonus experience, a boost to loot drops, extra character slots, and the ability to access special missions. In addition (and this was also a factor for me), your ship storage slots increase to 100. While I was still free-to-play, I did bump into this issue, and it was the first indication of the limitations on a free account. You can get a nice breakdown of the differences in membership plans over at the PotBS site.

Overall, I felt that there were pricing plans that could fit with every type of playstyle. You can purchase select upgrades a la carte, so if you wanted to skip full membership, you can still get extra character slots or a some bonus experience consumables. But if you plan on diving into the community and investing full time into the game, membership definitely seems the way to go.

I continue to enjoy the world of Pirates, and I appreciate some of the little details in the various port cities. Last week I came across a violin quartet playing classical songs to some well-dressed town residents. That's quite a change from the accordion-playing pirate with the pet monkey sitting up on his shoulder. Small things like that make travel and exploring very enjoyable.

As for next week, I'm going to hold off on a poll, mainly because the SOE security issue might hamper my ability to get in-game. I am seeking feedback, though! I've been trying to read up on ships and get a feel for what all the stats mean. So if you have any good advice or tips on what stats to look for or what things mean, please let me know. Also, now that the Massively Mateys guild has begun to grow, I'd like to look into creating a sail and a flag with the Massively logo. For the flag, I plan to go with the standard Massively icon, but I'm up for suggestions on the sail, so any feedback is greatly appreciated.

Cheers!

Join Karen on an adventure of your choosing! She's used to calling the shots, but in this Choose My Adventure, she's putty in your hands and ready to follow your whim. It's up to you to chart her course and join in on the fun! Follow Karen on Twitter for playtimes and updates, and come back each week to decide her fate.

This article was originally published on Massively.