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  currently playing...   World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online
  currently reading...   The Tipping Point, Damnation City, A Whole New Mind
  recently played...   Pirates of the Burning Sea, The Sims 2

  February 28th 2008
Ended up canceling Pirates, one very poor customer service experience was all it took. The fixes to problems I was having just came too late, and the lag in port battles makes me wonder why they tried to include so many participants when it just doesnít work.

Back to World of Warcraft which continues to be challenging and fun.

Tinkering with some pen and paper ideas right now. Iíve always liked really simple sets of combat rules that allow for roleplaying game to focus on the storytelling aspects. Currently playing with a CCG style of combat resolution. My goal is to find a system that keeps combat simple and fast in order to avoid the screeching halts that occur when the players enter a fight.

  February 7th 2008
Pirates of the Burning Sea, I want to like this game, but... but...

Maybe there is something to be said for big companies that can spend the time to polish a product to a high sheen. Pirates has a lot of minor problems that just hold me back from being a devout fan. The minor things like re-used cities, quests and sounds are much easier to forgive than things like completely broken quest lines, a mission con system thatís meaningless, never logging inactive characters out, and tedious amounts of rubber banding. Sure there are some pretty cool innovative features, a shallow skill system that lets relatively newb players join in PvP (provided they group with high level buddies), a battle for territory thatís based on PvE actions, and a sword fighting mini-game thatís not based on auto attacks or twitch mechanics.

One of the worst offenses of the game developers however is the level of basic info that simply isnít presented to players through the medium of the game. For example when a playerís ship is sunk some types of cargo are lost and others are not. Thereís no indication however on the icons that represent cargo which is which. Nor is there an explanation in the cargo descriptions. The introductory tutorial briefly mentions there is a danger of loosing cargo, but doesnít mention that expensive items like ship deeds are at risk. Even when sunk thereís no indication that the player has actually lost things until they sift through their inventory screen. Only players that take the time to go to the official forums and read the "Things I wish Iíd known earlier in the game" thread have even the slightest clue that this will happen and the list of cargos that can be lost are somewhat vague.

There are things I am interested in seeing work out. The crafting for example is so fragmented that itís impossible for one person to create ships from start to finish all by themselves. I have a sneaking suspicion that this might have made some of the entry level resource gathering viable for casual players. Mostly likely guilds will still continue to dominate crafting by requiring their members not all that interested in crafting to fill the lower tiers and provide good to the people that ultimately assemble the ships. A serious problem with the entire economy however is that in addition to there being no maker mark buyers and sellers also receive no message about who bought their goods. This makes it impossible for players that donít know each other to set up trade agreements. The lack of purchase orders also hurts as well.

Iíd love to see the game develop but after one horrible customer service experience I doubt that Iíll be contributing beyond the box purchase. Weíll see maybe the game will grow on me during the intro month.