Pirates of the Burning Sea Review


Pirates of the Burning Sea (or PotBS), was developed in 2008 by Flying Lab Softwares, LTD, and in affiliation with Sony Online Entertainment. The game was set to take place in the year of 1720. It is classified as an MMORPG, or Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. However, in contrast to its title, Pirates of the Burning Sea is not as massive as it may sound. With a play base of only a couple thousand, PotBS is relatively small compared to other MMORPG’s that have been running for 4 years.


Gameplay – 9/10

Graphics – 8/10

Audio – 7/10

Mechanics (Ship Combat) – 10/10

Mechanics (Avatar Combat) – 4/10


General Information

Pirates of the Burning Sea is a raging sea adventure game where players choose a nation to fight for (Britain, France, Spain, or the Ruthless Pirates) and battle Non-Playable Characters (NPC’s) for loot, or can even participate in Player-versus-Player activities (PvP), and partake in battles between the other live players of the other nations. In addition to open sea fighting, a common way to level one’s character in PotBS is through a series of missions found in-game. The missions are completely NPC generated, all ships found inside missions are NPC, and missions are given to you by NPC’s. In addition, the background of different missions is given to you via a text window – no audio description is available.

Port Battles and Port Contention

In addition to the NPC and PvP combat, players can also partake in activities throughout the many different ports throughout the Caribbean. There are over 50 different ports, each with different resources, and each belonging to a different country. The players of a Nation are able to create contention around various ports (also called ‘flipping’), which in tern causes a PvP unrest bubble to break out around the port. This allows open PVP to occur to any players entering the bubble, regardless of whether or not they wanted to partake in PvP or not. Another result of a port ‘flip’ is that a Port Battle is scheduled for that particular port in roughly 2 days times. A Port Battle is a massive battle that takes place between two nations. At maximum capacity, each team can hold 24 players. Players receive game-generated invites to these battles based on the amount of points they had generated at that port. Players are able to generate points for a port battle by fighting other players or NPC’s outside of the port, generally inside of the PvP bubble.


Another key part of Pirates of the Burning Sea is the ability to participate in the game’s economy. Unlike other games, Pirates of the Burning Sea has the unique feature of allowing players to partake in a players-run economy. This means that all traded goods that are traded on the Auction House (which is basically a game-run store where players can buy goods off of each other), are created by other players, using the in-game economy window. One challenge the game sets for players is the fact that, as per realism, the materials that a player would need to create a certain object are only attainable at a port that has such resources. For example, say that a player wanted to create some hull repairs. To create the hull repairs, the player would need a lumber mill. The lumber mill informs the player that he is required to supply X amount of logs. For the sake of this example, let’s use 5. So the player would also need to have built a lumber yard, however it would need to be in a port that has oak trees. So the player would chop the oak trees, and build the repairs. An important fact to note is the fact that no work is required by the player to create things. All a player must do is build his structures and click on the objects he wants. However, you are in charge of managing each structure’s labor to ensure you can build the objects. Everything you make requires labor, and labor is generated in real-time increments. So, something in the game that says it will take 30 minutes to make will require 30 minutes of stored labor real time. The game will store 3 days of labor.


The graphics in Pirates of the Burning sea are certainly up to par. The lightning on ships, and especially on your character, are spot on. In addition, all graphics are considered to be High Definition, and the rendering of the graphics are perfect. Although you are required to sit through a few waiting screens, there are very few, and all wait times are short. The only thing worth mention about the graphics is the fact that you will occasionally encounter small bits of lag due to a large amount of ships required to be rendered at a time. The best example of this is a Port Battle, where the game is required to map and generate 48 different ships at the same time.


The audio in PotBS is also very good. However, some of the music begins to get repetitive after a while. For example, the same tracks of music are repeated continuously in ports. So, if you plan to spend more than 15 minutes in a single port, odds are you’ll be hearing the same songs twice. However, generally, the audio for the music is quiet enough for it not to be too loud and get too annoying. Also, the game has no voices whatsoever, so all quests given are given to you through a text panel, and all communication to other players is done through a chat box.

Game Mechanics

Ship-to-Ship Combat

There are two kinds of mechanics in Pirates of the Burning Sea: Sea, and Land (also known as ‘Avcom’). As far as sea combat goes, the mechanics are pretty simple. You start out in the game choosing a career. (Naval Officer, Privateer, and Freetrader). All careers are open to choosing any ship, however some ships are available to certain careers only. You are unable to switch your career once you choose it at the beginning. All ships have the same basic structures, and vary in size and shape and in their cannon number and structural integrity. A ship will have 2 broadsides, a fore, and an aft, and then you have your overall structural integrity. Each ship has a certain number of cannons, and you choose what ammunition you put in, and fire. Each ship’s sides and structure have their set numeral integrity, and is damaged by every cannonball that hits the ship. Other than that, there is not much more to it.

Avatar Combat (Land Combat)

However, ‘avcom’ is different. Avatar combat relies on a different mechanics system; one that is generally considered extremely difficult to master by most players. You have 4 avatar classes to choose from: Dirty Fighting, Florentine, Brawling, or Fencing. Each class, besides Brawling, uses a sword to fight enemies. You are trained a various number of attacks by your class trainer and you are able to assign them a position on your attack bar. Each one does a different amount of damage on a different area of effect. And, to make things even more complicated, each swing can have an effect on another. For example, if one attack causes a target to being “bleeding”, the next attack will have a message stating “If target is already bleeding, target will take 10 more damage”. So, it is important you put your attacks in an order and stick to it. Sound complicated? Don’t worry. You won’t need to be using avatar combat nearly as much as you use ship combat. In fact, it is possible you avoid it all together, with the exception of being bored by an enemy in PvP.


I have been playing Pirates of the Burning Sea for roughly a year now , and am still playing it today. There are many things a new player has to pick up on when first starting; the gameplay itself, the playerbase, the economy, fleeting, doing missions, PvP (especially PvP!), and all of the many different ships, upgrades, and repairs. So, here are a few tips that I’ve learned over the year that should help most new players get on their feet faster.

  • Get to know the other players of your nation. Set a name for yourself, just make sure not to talk too much in Nation chat. A lot of veteran players liked the beginning years of the game when nation chat was used solely for national matters only.
  • Get started on your economy setup fast. Learn what ports are near where you’re fleeting, and start making things that are easy for you, but bring in some money.
  • Collect as much money in your lower levels as possible. A big mistake I made when I was first starting is that I would go and spend all of my money on a level 33 ship, when in fact I would get another one 4 levels later.
  • The game really begins at level 50 (the max level). Roughly 75% of all players are at this level, and it is generally the first requirement for fleeting groups, for PvP groups, and for Port Battles.
  • Remember that being in a society is not the most important thing in the world. All it will do for you is allow you to have another chat window, and maybe be able to withdraw some money if you need it badly. But in general, societies are just as place for drama and craziness. Since they have “roles”, you society can get crazy, and the only thing on people’s mind being to become, “Just gotta get the next rank in my society, then I’ll be good!”. It ends up ruining the original purpose of the game.
  • Here is the simplified description of the 3 careers. Note that all descriptions are from the point of view of a level 50:
    • Naval Officer:  You are the commanders of the line battles, at the front of the charge in port battles. You command the largest ships, and have the slowest speed and maneuverability. You generally are found fleeting or participating in port battles, with your massive size, hull integrity, and firepower.
    • Privateer: You are maneuverable people who enjoy a nice turn rate and speed. You generally participate in PvP and the occasional port battle, however you have your fair share of port battle ships as well.
    • Freetrader: You are the economy guru. You are able to have ships with a massive hull capacity, enjoy reduced taxes, and create things faster and cheaper than the other classes. Although this career isn’t particularly great for either NPC fighting or PvP, you are able to find size and firepower in your hauling ships.


I hope you enjoyed my tutorial! If you do choose to join Pirates of the Burning Sea, fair winds mate! I hope to see you on the open sea with me someday!

I am a web designer and a computer/CE technician. I am fluent in HTML and CSS, though not so much in PHP, JS, and traditional programming languages. I live in Maryland - you don't need to know anything more than that :) Feel free to contact me on Skype. It goes to my iPhone, so I usually respond fairly quickly unless I'm asleep. I have a backwards schedule, and do most of my work at night, however you can usually catch me in the morning or late evening.

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