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Risk vs Reward in PotBS

I’ve been playing Pirates of the Burning Sea since August 2007. I don’t consider myself an expert but I will claim to have a decent understanding of how the game works. I’ve come to the grim realization that right now PotBS has an unfathomable amount of more risk and very little reward. It’s beginning to wear very thin on my usually very tolerant nerves.

I. PvE

There are two forms of PvE gameplay that I acknowledge in PotBS. First there are the quests. I’ll once again mention in passing that the questing in PotBS is repetitive and unimaginative. Combine boring with the risk of losing your ship, your outfititngs, and you cargo and you’ll see why I am scratching my head. I’ve been surprised by more than an acceptable amount of quests lately that have been far too difficult for a single player yet remain unflagged for group play. Getting stuck in combat and coming across NPCs that are far too difficult and outnumber you 5 to 1 are just the blatant risks. Then add crashing or losing your connection and the fact that your ship remains in the world unless you log out in port and you have the recipe for disaster. Why would I do quests? The exp is less than open sea hunting. So the only reward that I can see to justify this enormous risk is the little bit of money.

The second and last form of PvE in PotBS is open sea hunting. Find convoys of ships and sink them. The rewards range from claiming ship deeds (as a pirate), looting various economy materials, random amounts of dubloons (usually under 250), pennants (nationals), and experience. The experience is by far the best reward. The risks? They are huge. Every single time you engage an NPC you run the risk of losing your ship, your outfittings, and your cargo. I’ll restate the unknowns that play a nasty part in the risk: Lagging, crashing, random and unpredictable NPC AI (for example all the ships in the encounter suddenly ignore whoever is shooting them and fire upon you thus destroying you without any means of escape) – I lost a ship tonight to this very unexplained phenomenon.
To sum it up the PvE gameplay offers truly only 2 rewards. Quest – Money. Open Sea Convoys – Experience. Risks: Every time you leave port you run the risk of ‘losing it all’.

II. PvP

Herein lies the greatest imbalance of Risk vs Reward. Sharing the same risks as PvE, PvP gameplay lacks any true justifiable rewards. Flipping a port, adding contention, getting marks of victory – none of that justifies the risks. I understand there is no crying in the red circles. But can anyone tell me why I should even bother entering them when the risk is so high? It takes hours of work to regain one loss and to have so many unknowns factor in like crashing or bad luck it’s sickening. Tonight for example we were in the open sea and the wind shifted right after my group engaged in pvp with another. Two of us were stuck outside the fight trying to get to it when out of nowhere a group of six brits swing in and engage us. We both lose our ships.

In another PvP battle tonight we were engaged by six Spanish who annihilated us because they waited outside of our fight and were able to get the perfect positioning just waiting to jump us. WTF? How can anyone justify that? I lost a second ship in PvP.

III. The Risk outweighs the Reward

I lost three ships tonight. I’m extremely upset about it. The three ships I lost were completely outfitted and battle ready. Each of them took time to obtain. The total loss in real time was over 10 hours of work. The total of dubloons in outfittings lost was over 20,000. In 4 hours I lost 10 hours of work. I sank plenty of enemy nations’ ships. What impact did I make in PvP? None. None of the kills counted for any contention and none of the kills yielded me a single mark of victory. None of the people killed dropped any loot totalling over 100 dubloons. I lost two ships in PvP today and have nothing to show for it. What PvE impact did I make? I generated unrest in a port that my nation stands no chance of capturing, I gained two levels but in the process lost a ship.

I have no more ships left nor do I have enough dubloons to rebuild. In order to recover from my losses today I will have to take my level 20 fallback ship and capture a new ship. With that ship I’ll have to run missions for an entire day just to be able to afford outfittings for it. Then what? Risk having that sink and be forced to repeat the process so soon? Nope. Not going to happen. I’ll have to run missions for a few days in a row to counter the cost of outfittings onseveral ships. I’m looking at easily 3 days of work because of today’s heinous losses.

What incentive do I have to log in knowing that I’m just playing catchup in order to survive? There is no fun in that. I know that some people out there are rich because they “play the economy” but I don’t find enjoyment in that. Do I now have to spend over a week setting up an economy just to afford my PvP way of life? Right now I’m actually envisioning myself able to have MORE fun not even logging in at all!

Yeah, this is somewhat a rant. I know, it’s not this way for everyone. But I don’t care. It’s this way for me. It’s my $14.99 a month that I have to justify – not yours. I do like a lot of things about PotBS but right now I’m struggling to believe that they can make up for what I am growing despise.

The risks of logging in outweigh any foreseeable rewards.

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