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Friday, April 6, 2007

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Hands On With Pirates Of The Caribbean Online
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Gamespy recently posted a hands-on preview of Disney's upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean Online, a multiplayer online addition to the very successful Pirates franchise. The game will allow players to engage in a variety of piratical activities including sword fights and ship to ship battles. The preview offers an interview with Mike Goslin as well as an overview of the game itself.

Unlike the previous generation of MMOs, Pirates of the Caribbean Online's combat is real-time and based on timed clicks of the mouse. A left-click begins a combat sequence and clicking again at the proper moment moves the player's avatar into the next phase of the sequence. A right-click allows the player to select a special move with a longer cooldown period. As players train with their weapons, they'll get points that they can place into various skills, making them more powerful or adding new moves to chain combos. "We wanted to make combat more dynamic," Goslin said. "Being a pirate is all about action, so we didn't just want people just watching the interface during combat."

After practicing with the sword for a while, Joe Shochet, the game's project lead, logs on to show me a bit about naval combat. Player ships range from small sloops that house a couple of players to massive vessels that require a whole guild to crew. As with everything else in the game, ship combat is skill-based and players can get better at sailing or using the cannons. Higher skill levels means more accurate shots and access to specialized forms of shot like chain or grape shot or voodoo-enchanted shot that sets enemy ships on fire or slows them down. "The thing about ship combat is that we wanted to eliminate everything that wasn't fun." Goslin said. As a result, ships steer like cars and it doesn't take terribly long to reload a cannon. There's no worrying about furling sails or wind direction, players just need to line up and shoot. Ship decks are also very wide to better accommodate the large 20-40 avatar sword battles that are expected to take place during boarding actions...

PvP? In a Disney game? Goslin laughs. "What's the first thing people do when they play pirates? Pick up pretend swords and start whacking on each other. Of course we have Pirate vs. Pirate." According to Goslin, the secret is in the presentation. "The solution came straight out of the first movie - simply have Captain Barbossa toss a player a piece of cursed Aztec gold and temporarily turn them undead the way Jack did during the film's finale." He pops me into one of the five available PvP maps that will be available at launch. It's a straight-up PvP battle in which the first player to reach a certain number of kills wins. I start out using my cutlass, but then discover it's much more fun to use a voodoo power that allows me to run up, touch another player and then set them on fire from a distance.

Head over to the site below to read the rest of the preview.

Gamespy: Pirates of the Caribbean Preview
Pirates of the Caribbean Online

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