Disney's free to download and play Pirates of the Caribbean Online launched with little to no fanfare; odd given the media-centric world we live in. Apparently, the lack of an advertising blitz was intentional. In an interview with Ten Ton Hammer, Disney Online VP Mike Goslin said they wanted it that way in order to be certain the game was in working order when the masses started pouring in. With the recent release to DVD of Disney's third PotC movie, and the Christmas season now in full swing, expect to see an explosion of ads enticing folks to come live the pirate life.
Mike explained that Disney is devoted to making PotC Online a long term success for all ages, giving parents the peace of mind that their kids won't be exposed to malevolent oddities (the game is rated E10+) while not limiting things for older players. They appear to have succeeded since the game world is always rife with players.
For parents, one controversial aspect might be the voodoo abilities. Goslin boils it down by saying that every pirate has access to them once players get hold of a voodoo doll or staff. Players must dart in and tag an enemy, then run out of melee range to use it by poking the doll, setting it on fire, etc. Having used voodoo myself, these powers play no differently than magic in WoW, and add a great deal of fun to the game.
While hardcore gamers might shun this peglegged casual MMO - don't. I've been sailing the High Seas since beta, and PotC Online is a fantastically fun, easy to learn game that allows players to romp through the one of a kind world that Walt Disney created in 1967. If you were a child of that era like I was (I'm dating myself), long before the advent of digital, lifelike MMOs, amusement park rides such as Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland in Southern California was as close to "virtual reality" as we'd ever seen. The recent trilogy of movies expanded on that wonderful childhood experience, and the new online games serves to continue the same wide-eyed tradition.
There appears to be a firm commitment to make this a solid, long running game. With a considerable amount of new content already planned for the year, and since free is free... right now is the perfect time to hop aboard. Arrr, matey!