April 28, 2016

#Pirate101 - Book 15's Teaser, as Analyzed by a Skeptic

Swordroll - a reliable blogger-friend of mine - and I shared our adventures in the Wizard101/Pirate101 blogging community for years. When Pirate101 began to slow down, I bowed out and moved on to other topics, while he made the best of the situation and continued to grow his now hot-topic KI fansite, Swordroll's Blog. However, just recently, KingsIsle announced that Pirate101 would be seeing a continuation after all...and from their recent Book 15 teaser, Swordroll and I found a difference of reaction worth a couple of posts. Read his opinion on the matter here.

A Return to the Clockwork Chaos



As I'm sure a large portion of you all are aware (based on who I know is reading), KingsIsle released on their occasional stream KI Live a sneak-peek of the second part of the world Valencia, connected directly to the highly anticipated release of the fifteenth book in the story of their game Pirate101. Here it is, for all who haven't yet seen it (above, starts at 5:30).

First and foremost, it's cool to see that Book 15, after all these years of waiting and doubting, is actually going to be a thing...well, at least according to this video. Being in purgatory as a community for three years hasn't at all been an easy ride. As a blogger, I moved on to other topics. Some declared the game dead and faded out almost completely. Others yet stuck around, campaigning that YES, Pirate101 WOULD be back and it would be great. As of this weekend, I'm not exactly sure who's won.

What We Know...

I'll be addressing one of the largest complaints there is on the preview, and it's how little was given to us. For three years of waiting, we got two minutes of footage of an unfinished area. While it has been mentioned that the area is more sparsely-populated than it will be, the fact that it hasn't been through enough of the process that mobs, etc. could be added in is fairly disconcerting. When was this started? How long has it been in development? Surely, for three years of waiting, this isn't something that has been toiled over daily. It is my belief that KI took a break from Pirate101, and that there was a time when zilch got done, probably connected to the time spent of us not hearing absolutely anything about it.

It concerns me that the unfinished area was also what they decided to put into the teaser. My idea is that with so much complaint and doubt from the Pirate101 community, KingsIsle felt pressured to put out evidence towards anything at all being done as soon as they had enough to satisfy an audience, in their opinion. What they have demonstrates that there is something in the process, and that it's far enough along that getting finished is probable, but what's missing is the ooh-aah factor that one would expect of, say, movie trailers. In a desperate effort to keep as many on the fence between doubt and hope on the side that would keep them playing, KI did what they felt they needed to do. None of this would have been necessary if Valencia II was made on a better timeframe and the requests of the players were listened to years earlier.

...and What We'll Need

But something more important than what there is, is what there is going to be. In KI Live, Tom suggested that Valencia pt. II would be available this summer. For a single unfinished area and a skyway the exciting-sneak-peek content, can we rely on Valencia pt. II being available in 50-100 days from now? Blind Mew said before the big wait that he wasn't expecting such a long time between updates as has occurred. Considering that we as a community were in the limbo of whether or not VII was going to exist for three years, I don't know if I'm confident that KI can live up to this promise, or if they do, if it'll fit the expectations I have.

As a blogger and theorycrafter, most of my content comes from dedicated thought on what I play. Once upon a few years ago, I put out what is still considered a reliable series of theorycrafting posts deliberating what was to come next. Even when things went quiet, I still found my ideas referenced to every now and then. My expectations are generally high - Pirate101 left the players on a very exciting trail, and whatever comes next is now not only responsible for fulfilling that level of hype, but also making up for the long time spent between the close of Aquila and the beginning of Valencia II. At the same time, for all the negligence towards Pirate101 that I feel has been demonstrated by the downtime and the lack of content put out in the spoiler, I'm considering drawing back the extent of my excitement.

(The Brief Consideration of) Last Chances 

In his post considering a more positive light to things, Swordroll expresses his hopes that the community will show its appreciation for KingsIsle continuing to produce Pirate101 by buying memberships and doing their part to make the game alive again. While yes, more funding for Pirate101 will equal more content, I don't believe that the announcement of Book 15 should completely do the trick. Once Book 15 is out, I consider it a "last chance" situation: Should Book 15 succeed, confidence is restored. If it's not up to par? Then what would we do with the memberships and crowns? As a skeptic as to whether or not KI will perform, I'm not a fan of overfunding something that ends up a disappointment. Patience can only go so far, and after it's run low for the past few years, I'm going to need plenty of convincing that Pirate101 is still my money's worth.

Even already, my habits in buying have been changed. To obtain the steady flow of long-term subscriptions, KI is going to need to get back in the saddle with timely, quality updates, something they have been capable of in Wizard101. Knowing that I spent nearly $120 on a subscription I never used due to waiting on the next book to come out, I doubt I'll be doing more than buying month-long subscriptions per book unless things can be stepped up.

Will I play Book 15? Maybe. I canceled my membership, and I still need some convincing before I go ahead and buy a longer-term membership than just a month, so I won't be participating in a/the Test Realm phase. If I hear good things from Test Realm players, then I'll likely buy a month-long membership and blast through the new content before seeing how I feel about it. If anything, I'd like to see to the point of finer details if I theorized correctly. But on a basis of whether the teaser has convinced me to look into Book 15? I'm going to have to say that I'm leaning towards not buying the membership I need.

Andiamo!

Overall, I would like to congratulate KI on finally getting Book 15 out. I'm sure they understand the pressures I've outlined here, and I expect greatness from Valencia II in wake of them. For the time being, the community sits in wait. Some buzz with excitement, and others with skepticism. As a community, we are ultimately bound to be the deciding factor over Pirate101's future, starting with our thoughts and reactions of all sorts to what KI has next in sore. Overall, though, the odds are stacked, and we're just going to have to wait and play.

What do you think of the Book 15 trailer? Will you be playing right off the b(o)at? What are you expecting from the update? Let's have a chat in the comments below!

Thanks to Swordroll for collaborating with me as we both share our opinions. The first graphic was made by him, and the rest of the screenshots are from the video embedded into the post. 

2 comments:

  1. I must admit I have not played nearly the variety of games that you have. I have focused almost all of my attention and effort on KingsIsle games, and I think that because of that, my attachment and desire to see Pirate101 succeed is oftentimes extreme. It will be interesting for me to see what I think of the new content once it's actually playable versus how you feel about it, having seen a broader range of games and understanding that Pirate101 is a relatively small piece of that puzzle.

    This was fun! :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post! It's nice to see you talking about Pirate101 again.
    Keep up the great work Des

    ReplyDelete

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