The Free MMO Roundup : Battle Pirates (or Waterworld, with less Costner)
Battle Pirates is a new game by Kixeye that is a refreshing change for Facebook games, and when I first looked at it I almost danced off my chair to see a game that looked unique. In retrospect I’m glad I didn’t dance, because I needed the energy to distract myself later on.
Battle Pirates puts you in command of an island fortress in a never ending expanse of water. You play as a pirate (arrr) who is fighting for resources from other pirates (arrr) and against a scourge called the Draconians (arrr?). I have to pause for a moment and share my surprise that the Draconians aren’t spawn of Takhisis with cannons (which would have been really cool) but instead just another pirate force that for some unknown reason the rest of the pirates hate. The game uses a standard formula for growth. Gather resources from resource buildings, use combat forces to get more resources, build up, research, rinse and repeat.
So Its an Evony clone?
Well yes and no. The debate will rage for a lot longer then I will care to listen to on what’s a clone of what. There are obvious Evony clones and there are games that use the same formula that are distinctly original in their own ways. Battle Pirates is unique enough that I wouldn’t call it another clone. Hell, we don’t still call things Dune clones do we? It’s just the genre.
So what about conflict?
Conflict is where Battle Pirates shines. Each player controls a number of fleets with different types of ships that each can then be configured with different weapons and armor. If you just click fight and let the game control the forces you get some fun action or you can control the ships yourself and use some strategy. While the controls for selecting ships and controlling them is tedious at best it does add a lot more depth to the combat. Since the game is wide open for combat there is a lot of back and forth PVP and PVE fleet battles and base assaults that keep things interesting.
Yes, there are negatives. Some are simply due to the fact that this is a new game and still being developed, and others unfortunately are simply the nature of Facebook games. First is the lack of a good communication system. For each sector of the never ending ocean there is a chat channel with basic whisper/block/unblock commands but that gets spammy with fourteen year old egos and smack talk so it becomes unusable. There is no guild system as well so everyone looks like an enemy unless you have a very active Facebook group.
My biggest problem with the game is the extreme snail’s pace that building up and progressing has. Your force only has one “builder” and building upgrade times jump exponentially until you are waiting several days for a shinier building so you can then wait days for the new upgraded weapon. Being a Facebook game you can of course pay the pain away but for the non paying customer like I am you spend a lot of time just watching the counter thinking ‘what else can I get done in the three days this is going to take?’ As well if you step away from the game and someone attacks your base damaging the building doing the work it pauses until you come back and repair.
My last concern is the smallest for a lot of players, but for me its important. I don’t just play games to blow stuff up and be the best at whatever the game has for me to be. I like to be immersed in the game and Battle Pirates refuses to allow me to do so. We never learn anything about the world, the enemy or any of the circumstances. Why are we trapped in a Waterworld fighting on floating garbage heap fortresses? Who are these Draconians who constantly harass us and while I sit in my lonely pirate tower what is my end goal? If a Kixeye employee reads this I’d be more than happy to flush out the story for you and add that creative content that is lacking, just shout.
I think that the game has a lot of potential and I do suggest you check it out. Just don’t expect the major payday of game greatness for about… a month.