Seems the PotBS stress test to beta access is indeed true. I was able to log on last night and play on the beta server, which was a nice surprise. After a little more time with the game, this time as a Pirate captain, I’m liking PotBS more and more. It just has that careless fun factor to it, on a solid base of good performance and looks.
I finally got out of the starting town with my pirate and made my way into the open sea. At first it seems like a very busy place, with ships racing all over your screen, some NPC and some PC. You can engage the NPC ships at will; these are the ‘random mobs’ that we find in other MMOs. As far as I can tell, you have the option to fight the NPC ships, but perhaps at higher levels they become aggressive and attack you. Engaging a ship places you in the same ship to ship battle you experience in missions, so no major shock there, which is good.
I made it to another port, where I had to meet with an NPC to continue a quest chain. It was interesting to see the other port, as its style and layout was very different from the port you start in. Overall I like the layouts, as they are well crafted while not being too big. This lets you run from trainers to shops to quest givers quickly. The mini-map is also excellent in this regard, clearly showing you important quest points.
After you complete a mission, a survey will (randomly?) pop up, with a few simple questions and finally a comment box, asking you how you liked the mission; it’s difficulty, story, and how you would rate it. I found this approach to user feedback excellent, as the survey was always quick to fill out, and goes directly to Flying Labs. No need to log into a message board, or write an email, or use complicated beta forms. Flying Labs does all that for you, and all you need to do is spend a minute or two and give them some feedback. I’m guessing because of this easy approach, they are getting a lot of data on what players like and dislike about the missions and the game overall, which can only result in a better product come launch. Hats off to them for that!
I’m sure more will be said about PotBS here as I continue to play. After a somewhat lukewarm start, I’m starting to get into PotBS and what it’s all about. Tonight I plan to install it on my other, less powerful comp and see how that goes. That comp had major issues with EQ2, runs WoW at 60 FPS in everything but a raid, and worked decent enough with LoTRO, so I’m very curious to see how it handles PotBS. Oh, and I also have to convince the gf to play it, if I decide to continue with it at launch. To quote Bill Belichick “Give it a chance”. (In reference to Randy Moss playing for the Pats, before the season started. I think that one worked out ok, unless you passed on him in fantasy…)