Hey there everybody, Soul Captain Hammer here.
This post is simply to say that this game needs an overhaul of some sort. Now you're probably asking yourself "What is this dude talking about? I love this game just the way it is!" and I agree...to an extent. But I see some glaring issues that need to be addressed if this game wants to have a long life.
Numbers of active players have been declining even after the release of Valencia pt.II, which was the first major content update in almost three years. While it seems that Kingsisle is back on track, I can't shake the feeling that the results of the release were not as expected. Wizard101 remains the breadwinner for the company, and is in no danger of being scrapped. However, this renders Pirate101 as almost obsolete. So what can we do about it? (Disclaimer: Realistically speaking, my word is just that. Some dude on an internet forum is voicing his opinion. I do realize that having developer input would be the correct way to go about this, but I'm just gonna float these ideas by a 'committee' first.)
This is a very very large undertaking that I am proposing. For many players, it seems like Pirate101 is a copy/paste of Wizard101 but with different fight mechanics and outfits. Yes. Yes it is. While Pirate101 did implement unique combat and things such as ships and skyways, it was never truly UNIQUE. What I mean by that is that it really did feel like Wizard101 but with Pirates instead, with little to no character creation, limited wardrobe, and recycled enemy and player models. I understand. It's a children's game. But we're still using the same run cycles from the release of Wizard101 way back in 2008 (about 9 years now). Trust me, I get it. Logistically, it was easy to just rip the same programming to another game. There's nothing wrong with that. But the draw is gone when there is a very very similar game with much more content and community overshadowing it. A visual/model overhaul could really set Pirate101 apart. I believe that although it's a children's game, many pirates are older, and the game itself draws an older demographic. So perhaps making the characters emulate that demographic would be wise, as well as unique idle poses and combat idle poses.
Pirate101 is a slow game. It's like chess, but with a lot more walking and a bunch of interesting people talking to you. Wizard101 is similar, but what it has is flair and pizzazz, and palpable stakes. While I believe that Pirate101 has a unique combat system, reminiscent of Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy, I don't believe it 'flows' the way it should. Maybe that's just my perception, but it seems repetitive and tedious at points (As does Wizard101's, but that's for another time). Now believe me, I don't want this to be another 'Tab targeting button masher' of an MMO, but something needs to be the draw for players. Maybe the combat system is what is wrong? Possibly? I'd love feedback and suggestions on this.
I will say that the Pirate101 story has enormous potential. An orphan setting out on an epic adventure to find the lost city of gold while evil mechanical overlords terrorize the spiral. Sounds good, but what could have been a great story was tied up just a little too quickly for my tastes. Besides this, there is barely any lore for anybody. No books, only slight exposition. What could be a rich, wonderful world seems almost bare and two dimensional. There's meat, but no depth. It's like lore bacon. Really nice and yummy, but can't fill you up. That being said, the story was incredibly well-written up to Aquila. Everything flowed into the next chapter perfectly. Perhaps this is just me being nitpicky, but the lore/ambiance of the worlds seems bare and underwhelming sometimes.
I cannot stress this enough. This game is in dire need of crafting. Not only does crafting create bustling game economy, but also draws players into the game, and makes them want to stay. It makes no sense to me that it has been over four years since Pirate101's release in 2012, and crafting has still not been implemented.
These are my thoughts. Let me know what you think so I can makes changes if necessary and make this an even better idea!
Tl;dr Pirate101 needs changes in visuals, gameplay, story, and player economy.