Pirates of the Caribbean Online Interview (con't)
FiringSquad: Will there be any opportunities for group quests and adventures?
Mike Goslin: POTC Online allows players to join a crew, which is a temporary group. Crews work together and treasure is split according to the pirate code. The game favors group play over soloing, but it will be possible to go it alone. We will also support pirate “bands” (guilds), which we think will be an important way that players stay connected with each other over time.
FiringSquad: The game will feature real-time combat with the player's avatars. Can you tell us more about that and how hard was it to get real time combat to work in an MMO setting?
Mike Goslin: We decided that for our audience it was important for the combat system be active rather than passive. If you fight with a cutlass, you can “chain” a sequence of increasingly damaging cutlass moves together by timing your swings. To fight with a pistol, you must aim at your target. The voodoo doll weapon must first be “attuned” to a target by striking them with it, but once attuned you can run away and attack that target from a distance by poking the doll or setting it on fire.
In a networked game, latency makes it challenging to do active combat in this way. We made the decision to focus on attacking rather than defending, and to simulate all moves on the client so that they would feel immediate and responsive regardless of latency. The server has the last word on a hit or miss, however, in order to prevent exploits.
The game will also feature naval combat. First, how does a player acquire a ship in the game?
Elizabeth Swann calls in a favor to give the player their own ship very early in the game. We wanted players to be able to hit the high seas right away. If they want to captain a larger more powerful ship, players will need to earn it.
FiringSquad: What sorts of vessels will be available to pilot in the game and will some of them take more than one player to command and pilot them?
Mike Goslin: POTC Online will have nine classes of player ship available at launch, grouped into fast Sloops, hardy Galleons, and powerful Frigates. Although players can sail any of the ships alone, seafaring is much more fun and profitable with a crew of friends manning the cannons. Crew sizes will range up to eight players depending on the size of the ship.
FiringSquad: What sorts of weapons will players get to use in the naval combat of the game and can you describe a typical encounter?
Mike Goslin: The primary weapon of sea combat is the cannon, and POTC Online features a variety of cannon ammunition including “Round Shot”, “Chain Shot” for taking out masts, grappling hooks for boarding disabled ships, and the devastating “Flaming Skull” to name a few. To keep the action going, cannons have very fast reload times.
A typical encounter starts with a blistering exchange of cannon fire followed by grappling. The pirate crew then swings over to the enemy ship and a sword fight ensues on the deck. When the enemy crew is defeated, they surrender their gold and the pirates return to their ship to continue adventuring.
Ship combat between consenting players is available through the PVP system, and there will also be plenty of Navy, East India Company, and skeleton ships around to fight as well. Players can blast away from a distance or get in close to ram or board another ship.