“Pirates of the Burning Sea” is Still Sailing!

Pirates! Quests! Boarding combat! Naval battles! Gorillas!

Scratch that last one.

I’m not a huge fan of all MMORPGs . . . in fact, I think most of them are intensely boring or repetitive knock-offs. I am, however, a die-hard fan of a select few MMOs. Specifically, the ones that really draw me in, keep me entertained, and stand apart. My first MMO obsession came about in 1998 thanks to an all-but-forgotten game called Everquest. The second MMO that hooked me was City of Heroes, also abandoned by its original creators, NCSoft. And the third? Pirates of the Burning Sea, which followed in the footsteps of every MMO I’ve ever really enjoyed and disappeared off the face of the earth.*

That is, it disappeared until 2013, when PotBS was brought back to life under the banners of Portalus Games. This small game company, comprised of several of the former Flying Lab developers who worked on the original game, relaunched the game; they also kept PotBS’s free-to-play format fairly close to how it was when Sony dumped it.

Moving around ports and quest areas in avatar mode is visually appealing. Avatar combat is repetitive, but the locations are interesting.
Moving around ports and quest areas in avatar mode is visually appealing. Avatar combat is repetitive, but the locations are interesting.

Therein lies the point of contention. As usual, many of the game’s former players argue that the shift from subscription to “pay-to-win” format is what killed the game in the first place. We’ve all heard this before. I’m not one to make such snap judgements…

Here’s the thing: if I can enjoy a game without paying for the extras, then it’s still a viable game in my book. Who cares if someone else can spend $50 and instantly hit max level? Does that matter if I’m still enjoying the game? Doesn’t matter to me.

That’s exactly the case with PotBS. Sure, I’m limited to the number of ships I can own unless I shell out a few bucks, but that doesn’t mean I can’t play the game. I can still build up my ship, attack trade convoys, go a-questing, and do all of the stuff that made the game cool in the first place. And I can do it at no cost.

Let’s get something straight, though; PotBS isn’t the most mind-blowing game I’ve ever played. (I’d rather play City of Heroes if someone was hosting that on an emulated server. Maybe I’ll look into that.) But it’s incredibly fun taking a ship out to sea to annihilate some blokes. The sea combat is very well executed, visually appealing, and addictive. For a game that I don’t have to pay a penny for, that’s enough to make me happy.

Naval combat is intense, and it requires some actual tactical thinking.

If you’ve never played Pirates of the Burning Sea, there’s a good chance you’ll never feel like you missed the boat. However, if you have any interest at all in piracy or naval combat — or you’re just looking for a new free game to distract you for a few hours — then you really should try it.

As we say, it’s better than a kick in the ass.


* Note: I also really enjoyed DCU Online and Aion, but they never hit “legendary” status in my book.

Have you played PotBS? Do you hate when games go free-to-play? Gripe about it in the comments below!

All opinions are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Deck Ape...or anyone else. Arrr!

J. Paul

I'm a professional writer and amateur filmmaker from Miami, Florida. Huge fan of the Dark Tower Cycle, strategy games, photography, and food trucks.

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Dave McCallister

I can appreciate the reasons behind going “free to play” for games that are mainstream, but it does add a since of “mall” to the games. There are a ton of people around that do not know what they are doing there, but they plan to waste the entire day at it.