Jess Lebow RE: My PvE Questions

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Jess Lebow, Content Director for FLS, participated in a “live blogging” event this afternoon on the PotBSVault. The topic of discussion was PvE missions and story. I took this as an opportunity to ask some important questions regarding this game’s future PvE and Mission development.

My Questions:

I really love Tortuga. The missions there are interesting, offer meaningful rewards, and most importantly they aren’t like those found in most every other port in the game. It’s my understanding that FLS plans to expand upon the things we currently experience in Tortuga by ‘upgrading’ the other capital cities. Knowing this, my question:

Can you offer up more information regarding your plans to better the overall PvE experience (through missions or otherwise) at other ports or areas in the game?

And along those lines, right now most of the missions feel as though they are templates with names and basic stories changed: Meet the smuggler and sink him, pick up the barrel and run, meet the spy in the tavern and kill him, escort the 3 ships – it’s very repetitive.

Can we expect future missions patched in to the game to be diversified? If the answer is yes, can you elaborate?

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.

Jess Lebow’s Response:

Thanks for the kind words. I really like Tortuga too. You can expect to see more like it in the future.

We’re just about finished with Pointe-a-Pitre, the French capital city in the Caribbean. There are a host of new missions there as well as new town art, new NPCs, and animations. You’ll be able to participate in solving a mystery, take on a major role in a play, throw fruit at mimes, and even challenge a famous chef to a duel–Iron Chef style–as well as being able to sink ships and plunder bad guys.

We’re also adding a series of missions that you can receive as reward items. Imagine that you board the ship of a famous privateer. When you best him, you get as a prize his letter of Marque and his orders to capture and bring to justice a rather infamous pirate. Or perhaps in the captains cabin you find a tattered-edged treasure map… Intriguing, eh?

In addition to this, we’re working on an episodic storyline that will be released in discrete acts (likely 5 when all is said and done). I don’t want to give away too much on this because you’re in for a real treat, and I don’t want to spoil any of it. But trust me when I say that we’re going to do some things you’ve never seen before.

In terms of repetitive missions, I think you have a point. For a large number of the encounters in PotBS, we used a template system. Each template gave us a set of basic goals: Take the fort, run the blockade, blow up all the enemy ships, board the enemy captain, etc… We then had the ability to change most of the variables (numbers of enemy ships, amount of time allowed until failure, difficulty level, etc…) to try to make each encounter seem less like the last. These were a useful tool in helping us create a large amount of content in a relatively short amount of time. But you’re right in that even when the variables are different, the missions just seem too similar. About 25% to 30% of the missions we have now are “custom encounters” which means that they are made without this template system. As we move forward, we won’t be using those templates any more. The missions you liked in Tortuga and the ones you will see in Pointe-a-Pitre will be an example of this.

I’m very pleased with Jess’ answers to my questions. I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions Jess and your candor. The future of PvE missions in Pirates of the Burning Sea look very promising now. It gives me something to look forward to.

If you would like to see all of Jess’ live blog or even ask a few questions of your own you can find the thread here. Note: Closes at 4pm PST