Pirate101 Celebrates its 2nd Birthday!
A baby buccaneer no more, Pirate101 is now two! To celebrate this milestone, we asked some of the beloved game developers, Blind Mew and Ratbeard, what their favorite thing about working on Pirate101.
I get to work on pretty much all of the “systems” of Pirate101, so it’s really unfair to ask me which is my favorite– that’s like asking a parent which kid is their favorite! I’m always the most excited about whatever the latest thing is, and we’ve had a lot of really BIG releases in a row: the expansive story update from Marleybone and Aquila, then a massive UI overhaul, followed by a large pet update, and most recently the Tower of Moo Manchu and the Grizzly Beast Pack. When I think about what excites me the most about any of these updates in particular, it is getting to work on them every day, feeling the excitement building up behind the scenes, trying my hardest not to let any spoilers slip and then the great fun of seeing the feedback from all of the fans. I spend a good chunk of every day reading and replying on our forums, processing the praise and the criticism. Our fans are very passionate one way or another with their feedback. No matter what, that level of energy players have is very infectious. So my favorite thing about Pirate101 is definitely our fans!
I’d have to say my favorite part of the development process in Pirate101 has been watching unexpected things emerge out of nowhere and become not only important, but essential. That’s always part of writing – when you’re in the groove suddenly a line will come out of nowhere that you never planned or even imagined, but there are other things too. Companions were the biggest, I think. We’d never thought of them as that big of a deal in the beginning, and then one day we decided to make them talk during quests – we’d use them instead of a narrator. And they did so much more: they let us have dead ends in quests so they could point you where you needed to go. They also got to be funny – they were characters we could build over 50 levels instead of a single quest. SO much of the joy in writing for Pirate comes from inventing the quips from the peanut gallery: El Toro, Bonnie Anne, Hawkules, and the rest of them. Once we saw how much fun it was to have them talk, we invented promotion quests – and they exploded. They’re a lot of effort to write, but so worth it because they let us take the characters even farther. The Marleybone promo quests (Bonnie Anne and Ratbeard) are some of my favorite writing in the game – and as the game was originally conceived, they never would have happened.
The other thing I dearly love is to sprinkle in references. Yes, we do lots of movies and books and songs and the rest – those are great fun – but my favorites are the historical ones. Saving Nelson at Trafalgar. Getting to do a homage to the Illiad and the Odyssey, that kind of thing. There’s lots of history lurking under the surface, they we do put our own spin on it. Before I ever got into games I was going to be a history teacher – so sneaking this stuff in is second nature. I’ve said it several times – if I can get one player to read one more book than they otherwise would have, or get interested in some tidbit of history or literature that’s the highest achievement I can do – it takes this job beyond fun or rewarding – doing something like that makes this job truly matter.
Thanks to Ratbeard and Blind Mew for this look into Pirate101 development! What has your favorite thing been in the last year of Pirate101?