From the very same team who gave us the magical Wizard101, Pirate101 offers a near-carbon-copy, kid-friendly experience, albeit in a swashbuckling high sea atmosphere. Straight from the start, perhaps the biggest aspect of Pirate101 that takes it from being a mere entertaining sounding game into the “okay, I’m going to be fighting my own kids for time on the computer to play this” is the fact that the pirate ships in the game (or at least some of them)… can fly. Yes, that’s right.
Good. Because you should be!
Before we get into the meat and potatoes of the gameplay, let’s first take a look at the basic breakdown of Pirate101:
Publisher: KingsIsle Entertainment
Number of players: Very high
Type of MMO: Kid-friendly
EXP Rate: Low
Filesize: 7MB installation file (2.6GB once installed)
Worth Your Time: Yes
As just stated, Pirate101 is primarily marketed towards kids interested in playing massively multiplayer online games in a friendly, safe environment. And if you or your children have ever played the other kid-friendly KingsIsle Entertainment MMO, Wizard101, than you likely know exactly the kind of fun and entertaining gameplay you’re in for.
Since the game starts with the character creation process, let’s first take a look at the type of pirates you can vicariously live your argh-me-matey high-sea adventures through:
The Buccaneer are primarily warriors that specialize in wearing heavy armor and wielding brutal, sizable two-handed weapons. They’re incredibly tough and durable and are quite excellent at leveling the playing field with offensive skills such as Blade Storm, which ultimately gives them an immediate follow-up attack after felling an enemy.
The Musketeer is adept at wielding long-range weapons — in this case firearms — in which they utilize to wield relatively sizable damage from afar. They can alternatively place a variety of different traps, which essentially give them two different yet viable methods of dealing significant damage from medium-to-long range. Perhaps their best skills is the Rain of Mortarshells ability, which rains an area with explosive, deadly traps all at once.
The Privateer is a group leader who, instead of engaging directly in head-to-head combat, instead supports their team’s allies from the secondary lines. They deal significant strength buffs and provide healing abilities which more than make up for their relatively weak direct offensive output. Their Reinforce ability can quite literally save their team from the grips of certain death thanks to its massive heal-all-esque ability.
The Swashbuckler is both quick and deadly and essentially exists as the rogue class of Pirate101. They specialize in sneaking up on or behind enemies and taking them out before they even knew what hit them in the blink of an eye. Thanks to their significant quickness, they’re excellent at doding attacks. Should they become cornered despite their much-to-be-desired defensive statistics, they can still manage to get themselves out of harms way with their lethal, flashing Dance of Steal ability.
The Witchdoctor is a dark magician and unsurprisingly exists as Pirate101’s primary (for the most part) wizard/mage/witch class capable of dishing out magical spells and tomes. This particular take on the class utilizes arcane and hoodoo magic to weak enemies with dastardly hexes, summon powerful allied spirits or simply going all old-fashioned and dealing out powerful offensive arcane spells. They can quite literally turn the tide of battle via summoning life-draining spirits thanks to their Mournsong spell ability.
Believe it or not, Pirate101 is absolutely breathtaking to behold and an absolute aesthetic pleasure to play within on a regular basis. While you may not be too surprised by this considering Wizard101 is quite easy-on-the-eyes as well, KingsIsle Entertainment has managed to take it to an entirely other level with their new pirate-themed MMORPG.
The color palette is extremely diverse and bright enough to really “pop” out of the screen. Regardless of the specific area of the game you’re in, the sprawling skies give a truly soaring, majestic vibe whereas the roaring waters down below give a refreshingly different sense of the great blue beyond.
Combat gives a true sense of frenzied swashbuckling delight whereas the diverse class-specific skills, spells and abilities are an absolute joy to behold (especially if you’re the one behind said skill, spell or ability being implemented).
All in all, it doesn’t really get better than Pirate101 — at least when it comes to free-to-play MMORPG’s. And one aimed at kids, none-the-less!
>> THE BOTTOM LINE
True, we were expecting pretty good things from KingsIsle Entertainment’s Pirate101 from the get-go, but we’re certainly pleasantly surprised by just how much they’ve taken things to the next level with this pirate/flying ship take on their other MMORPG, Wizard101.
And while we’re most certainly looking forward to their next MMORPG whenever it is gifted upon us, we’ll be more than happy to play the next year or more if we must in the wonderful world of Pirate101.