The winds have seen fit and fair for me to travel to this end of the Spiral once more, so I wanted to catch up on the latest news.
Our seventh birthday is fast approaching and we have surprises in store for you, starting with an update planned for early October, and surprises continuing through the rest of the month!
Once again through the obsidian door...
Bonnie Anne and Ratbeard are two of our most beloved companions. Bonnie Anne is my perpetual choice for first mate and I love any chance I get to uncover anything new about her. Also, who can forget rescuing Ratbeard from the Water Moles and befriending him through your journeys? Now, imagine an alternate reality where they are not quite themselves… The Nightmare Doors that the evil version of Old Scratch opened from the Realm of Dreams are opening again, and beyond them wait a Fox and Rat who aren't the compatriots you know: they're the infamous scallywags Black Annie Rackham and Vernimius Blightbeard! They’re ready to fight with evil fervor – and they’re guarding some new and shiny treasure.
These obsidian skeleton key fights are a suitable challenge for a full group of our most seasoned Pirates. Should you happen to defeat either of these fearsome foes 25 times, you’ll gain the opportunity to persuade them to join you in your voyages… that’s right, you can unlock both new companions in the Crown Shop!
That’s not just the sound of a ship docking a little too quickly in the harbor - it stands for First Time User Difficulty. In Wizard101, we spent some time recently focusing on what we called FTUE (First Time User Experience), and it appears to be making life better for new Wizards just starting out. In the piratey corners of the Spiral we found some different challenges when we dug into the new user experience.
We spent time watching newer folks streaming on Twitch or posting videos on YouTube, and we noticed that Pirates were getting defeated more often than we’d like. We examined ship combat and realized that while it was certainly possible to keep your nautical XP in line with your level, it takes quite a bit of work to do so - Nautical XP progress was utilizing some systems that newer players might not be as familiar with. The result left some Pirates with a low nautical level, making ship combat frustrating. So, here’s what we tackled for this update:
Bent the enemy health curve downward from levels 1-40. Everything from the lowest of minions to the most difficult of bosses should be easier to defeat.
Reduced nautical XP requirements to level across the board – it now takes HALF the experience to gain a level. Go earn some nautical XP (sink a ship), and your nautical level will be recalculated.
Adjusted some particularly tedious quests that had required a LOT of drops, had particularly RARE drops, or both.
Tweaked enemy ship health and damage down a bit. Solo combat should be a little easier, and raiding parties should be REALLY effective now!
We’d love to hear from Pirates currently in the first half of the game once this update propagates to Live Servers. How do you like these changes? Is there anything else that would make an up and coming Pirate’s Life a little kinder? Let us know!
Speaking of making Pirating life a bit more easy and breezy, we’ve dived into the Elixir system and made some more effective and longer lasting benefits. Let me introduce Enhanced Elixirs! They all have a duration of 3 hours, up from the maximum of 1 hour of the previous Improved versions. Plus they’re more effective!
Enhanced Gold Boost Elixir - 20% more gold (improved from 15%)
Enhanced Nautical XP Boost Elixir - 20% more nautical XP (improved from 15%)
Enhanced XP Boost Elixir - 20% more XP (improved from 15%)
Enhanced Guardian Elixir - 20% to AC and Resist (improved from 15%), 20 to Dodge (improved from 15)
Enhanced Onslaught Elixir - 20% to Damage (improved from 15%), +20 to Accuracy (improved from +15) +2 to movement (improved from +1)
Enhanced Prime Elixir - 20% to Agility, Strength, Will, and Max HP (improved from 15%)
Additionally, we’ve added a new Hyper Elixir. This elixir combines all Enhanced elixir effects and has a duration of 12 hours! These will all be available in the Crown Shop with the next update.
There are a few more surprises coming as the month goes on, including our first simultaneous Pack launch in both MMOs. As we’re motivated to get this update out for Pirate101's birthday month, we’ve decided to skip Test Realm this time and bring this update directly to Live Servers!
Second, let’s talk about what’s notably absent. I know the Pirate community has been asking for a new Book. While we continue to explore ways to improve and expand Pirate101, we have no plans for anything as large as new book-style content. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but you deserve an honest answer. To be clear, that doesn’t mean that we’re abandoning new content for Pirate101; it simply means that updates won’t be on such a grand scale in the foreseeable future.
Keeping our sights on next year and beyond, we've got quite a few interesting concepts and systems we're evaluating, including ideas from the community. They all need more thought and work put into them before we can reveal anything, but know that we're excited to share them with you! Also, please know that we love playing Pirate101 too and are inspired by the community’s intense passion to see it continue, so we are dedicated to continue expanding and improving the game.
Lastly, let’s talk about how special seven years is in this (and, frankly, any) day and age in a massively multiplayer online game. This community has a lot of love, passion, and dedication; and we appreciate you greatly. We watch (and attend) your nautical XP parties, we see your livestreams and videos, we read your fansite articles full of tips, tricks, and commentary. It's a blessing to have such a devoted community, and we love it! We’ve thoroughly enjoyed adventuring with you in the skyways together. We're looking forward to the next quest - that is, year eight, and beyond. We've got more candles to light on this cake!
May the wind be at your back and your heading stay true!