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Encyclopedia > Pirates of the Burning Sea
Pirates of the Burning Sea
Image:PotBS Logo small.jpg
Developer(s) Flying Lab Software
Publisher(s) Sony Online Entertainment (Europe, USA)[1]
Akella (Russia)
Gamearena (Oceania)
Engine Engine - Intrinsic Alchemy
Pathfinding - PathEngine
Physics - AGEIA PhysX
Sound - Miles Sound System
Particle Engine - Promethean FX
Foliage - SpeedTree
Platform(s) Windows System XP/Vista
Release date January 22, 2008
Genre(s) MMORPG
Mode(s) Multiplayer
Rating(s) ESRB: T[2]
System requirements XP Pro SP2, AMD Athlon 1700+ 1.48 GHz, 1024 MB Ram, 128 MB 3D Video Card[2]
Input methods Keyboard, mouse

Pirates of the Burning Sea (abbreviated PotBS) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by Flying Lab Software (FLS). The game is set in the Caribbean in 1720 and combines tactical ship and swashbuckling combat with an immersive player-driven economy. Image File history File linksMetadata PotBS_Logo_small. ... A video game developer is a software developer (a business or an individual) that creates video games. ... Flying Lab Software is a computer game developer based in Seattle, Washington that was founded by former Microsoft developers Russell Williams and Paul Canniff. ... Wikipedia presents. ... Akella is a leading Russian software company specializing in the development, publishing, and distribution of computer games and multimedia products. ... The Previous Official GameArena Logo The Current Logo GameArena is the name of Telstras free online games service, previously known as Wireplay. ... A game engine is the core software component of a computer video game or other interactive application with real-time graphics. ... Ageia, founded in 2002, is a fabless semiconductor company. ... PhysX can refer either to a proprietary realtime physics engine middleware SDK developed by AGEIA (formerly known as the NovodeX SDK) or their PPU expansion card designed to accelerate that SDK. Middleware physics engines allow game developers to avoid writing their own code to handle the complex physics interactions possible... Miles Sound System is a two-dimensional sound software system primarily for computer games and used mostly as an alternative for low-end audio chipsets. ... SpeedTree is a programming package produced by Interactive Data Visualization, Inc. ... In computing, a platform describes some sort of framework, either in hardware or software, which allows software to run. ... Windows redirects here. ... is the 22nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Common Era (or Anno Domini), in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. ... Further information: Game classification Video games are categorized into genres based on their gameplay interaction. ... An image from World of Warcraft, one of the largest commercial MMORPGs as of 2004, based on active subscriptions. ... Online gaming redirects here. ... A video game content rating system is a system used for the classification of video games into suitability-related groups. ... Players interacting in Ultima Online, a classic MMORPG. Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) is a genre of online computer role-playing games (CRPGs) in which a large number of players interact with one another in a virtual world. ... Flying Lab Software is a computer game developer based in Seattle, Washington that was founded by former Microsoft developers Russell Williams and Paul Canniff. ... West Indies redirects here. ... For other uses, see Swashbuckler (disambiguation). ...



Pirates of the Burning Sea has been in development since 2002. During the first few years of development, Flying Lab Software realized that this project required more attention than anticipated. Gradually, not only have they more than doubled their staff, but have also put an MMO entitled Delta Green (based on the role-playing game of the same name), on hold. Beta testing began on 14th December 2005, and ran until 1st January 2008. This article is about games in which one plays the role of a character. ... Delta Green is a setting for the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game created by Adam Scott Glancy, Dennis Detwiller, and John Tynes of the Seattle gaming house Pagan Publishing. ...

Pre-release started on January 7th, 2008 for players who purchased the pre-order. The retail release date was January 22nd, 2008. The game is subscription based, and requires a monthly fee to play, except for the first which is free. It is also included in Sony Online Entertainment's All Access Pass, which is a monthly subscription service that provides access to all of SOE's games for a flat monthly fee. [3]

In April 2008 one time server transfers were added along with the announcement that the original server list was being reduced to 4, in an effort to increase server populations. As of 4/08 the four active servers available for new player creation and transfers to are Antigua, Blackbeard, Rackham and Roberts. All remaining servers have had new character creation suspended, and they will be deactivated "in a little more than a month" to give players a time to research the 4 available servers before moving their avatars.



Players will choose a Career for their avatars when they begin the game. The Career will determine what abilities and features he will accrue as a captain. The player will receive one point for his avatar's career on every other level gained. These points can be spent in various ways depending on which career the player has chosen. Once a career is chosen, it cannot be changed.

There are a total of 45 skills for each Career. The skill trees are composed of 9 skill chains, each 5 skills in depth. A player will be able to reach the end of a single skill chain by Rank 15, and is then considered somewhat equal to a Rank 50 in that skill chain.

The different careers for nationals (British, Spanish, French) are:

  • Naval Officer - Focuses on defense, escorting duties, and direct, broadside-to-broadside combat. Naval Officers gain access to powerful ships of the line.
  • Privateer - Focuses on utilizing the advantages of smaller ships to outmaneuver and outwit opponents. Privateers have an edge in boarding combat and can learn a skill that enables them to use Pirate PvP zones.
  • Freetrader - Focuses on trading, production and economics. They have abilities to effectively evade opponents in combat. Freetraders may learn skills that increase their ability to gather resources and produce goods.

The different careers for pirates are:

  • Cutthroat - All-around capability including the special ability to take command of defeated ships. These ships only have one durability point. If a Pirate takes command of a class specific ship he will automatically be flagged for PvP. Before version 1.4 this career was called just "Pirate" and was the only career available to the 'Pirate' faction.
  • Buccaneer - More advanced career with more in the moment type skills. The command oriented "pirate", can use and collect captured ships deeds and can buff allied ships.


Players in Pirates of the Burning Sea will create up to six avatars per server to represent themselves in the game. All avatars will be captain of their own ship, and will fight either for a nation of their choice or as a Pirate (see below). As the player moves along in the game, the avatar will develop by gaining ranks (The equivalent of levels in other MMOs). Through gaining ranks, the player can unlock new features, fighting abilities, and most importantly will be able to captain larger and better ships. The maximum rank a player can reach is 50. This article is about the concept in Hindu philosophy. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

When the avatar is first created, the player chooses a faction to join. This can be any one of either Britain, France, Spain or the Pirates, known as the Brethren of the Coast. The Dutch are also shown throughout the game, but are not a playable faction. A player is restricted to one nation per server, and this choice can only be undone by deleting all of that player's characters on that server. Each of the four nations will have different starting ports, and therefore access to different resources at the start of the game. This remains somewhat controversial, as while a National character can have any and all classes (Privateer, Naval Officer, Freetrader), a Pirate player is limited solely to pirates on that server, and can only have cross-class 'alts' on a separate server. Look up pirate and piracy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

The recent server merge (collapsing servers from 11 to 4, through character transfers) has further complicated the situation as, despite being open to all, different servers cater to different populations and have different peak activity (for example, Roberts is an 'EU' server, with high activity during it's corresponding time-zone). Only one semi-official European server exists, so the issue remains to be resolved.

After a player has chosen a nation, he will be able to customize the looks of his avatar. These will be alterable in-game and do not affect gameplay directly. There are thousands of different combinations available to the player, who can freely specify each of the 14 different slots. Most items allow color customization to further personalize the avatar's look. The avatar's appearance is also based on level; the more impressive and intricate clothing is restricted to higher level avatars. Certain items, such as peg legs or hooks for hands, must be earned through completing missions.


Swashbuckling[4][5] is the name given to avatar combat in Pirates of the Burning Sea. Players select one of three fighting styles to learn, and use that style to combat each other or any of the various NPCs they might encounter. An NPC from the video game The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. ...

Swashbuckling is based on a fighter's ability to manage their opponent's balance. Each participant has a balance meter, used to determine how capable a character is of parrying, blocking or dodging an attack. Players use "Preparatory Attacks" to lower their opponent's balance, and then use offensive attacks to deal damage. Players and NPCs alike aim to reduce their opponent's balance meter while keeping their own at a sufficient level.

The player chooses one of three fighting styles, and through gaining ranks, earns swashbuckling points to spend on skills. There are a total of 45 skills for each fighting style. The skill tree is composed of 9 skill chains that are each 5 skills in depth. A player will be able to reach the end of a single skill chain by Rank 15, and is then considered somewhat equal to a Rank 50 in that specific skill chain.

The three styles are:

  • Dirty fighting - Fighting with a cutlass. Excels in crowd control, and has many 'special' attacks.
  • Fencing - Fighting with a rapier. Excellent at dealing high amounts of damage to single targets.
  • Florentine - Fighting with a short sword and dagger. Has the greatest defensive capabilities.

French naval cutlass of the 19th Century A cutlass is a short, thick saber or slashing sword, with a straight or slightly curved blade sharpened on the cutting edge, and a hilt often featuring a solid cupped or basket-shaped guard. ... This article is about the sport, which is distinguished from stage fencing and academic fencing (mensur). ... For the UK Surface-to-air missile system, see Rapier missile. ... Florence (Italian, Firenze) is a city in the center of Tuscany, in central Italy, on the Arno River, with a population of around 400,000, plus a suburban population in excess of 200,000. ...

Port Contention

Port Contention is the system used to determine which nation controls the various ports of the Spanish Main. By completing special PvE missions, killing NPCs around an enemy port, or even dumping goods on a port and unbalancing the economy, nations can accumulate unrest points. When one nation has accumulated enough points, the port is thrown into contention.

Pirate PvP Zone

The early stage of unrest is reflected in the creation of a Pirate PvP zone at 3,000 unrest points. This zone is shown on the minimap as a small transparent-red circular area around the given port, letting all players know this area is contested. Pirates (and Privateers of a high enough level) are free to attack any of the other nations in PvP combat, but the 3 nations cannot attack each other. In this stage the defending nation can counter the contention and return the port to normal. If they fail to do so and the other nations continue to build unrest, the port goes to the next step.

Open PvP Zone

At 6,000 unrest points, the port moves to the next stage of unrest. The pirate PvP zone is extended to a longer radius around the port, and an open PvP zone is created around the port in the smaller area that was previously pirate PvP. This is also reflected on the minimap, with the large pirate PvP circle shaded in a transparent red and the smaller open PvP circle shaded a more solid red, making the borders clear to all players. In an open PvP zone any nation can attack any other nation, and like the Pirate PvP zones, there is a chance that this area will overlap nearby ports, forcing careful travelers to choose their path if they wish to avoid combat.


At 10,000 unrest points, the port is thrown into contention, and is considered under attack by the nation that accumulated 10,000 unrest in that port. The attacking and defending nations can now both accumulate contention points to give them advantages in the upcoming battle, and forty-six hours after the port is thrown into contention, the final battle begins, with the winner taking/retaining control of the port.

Port Battle

Finally, a Port Battle takes place to determine if the port changes hands. Twenty Four players are chosen from each side. Players who contributed more to the contention have a higher chance of being selected to represent their nation. The Port Battle is an instanced 24 v. 24 ship battle. Whichever side wins takes control of the port.

Any nation (Great Britain, France, Spain) that wins a Port Battle takes control of the port instantly and the port returns to a normal state. If the Pirates win the battle, they plunder the port for 3 days, after which they sail off and the port returns to the control of the nation that they originally stole it from. The Pirates also gain a small amount of conquest points that add to the general conquest competition between nations.

A pirate ship near the coast in Pirates of the Burning Sea

Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 477 pixelsFull resolution (1024 × 610 pixel, file size: 433 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) A public screenshot of a pirate ship from the Pirates of the Burning Seas website. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 477 pixelsFull resolution (1024 × 610 pixel, file size: 433 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) A public screenshot of a pirate ship from the Pirates of the Burning Seas website. ...


As it stands there are approximately 55 ships in the game, with the aim to add more over time. What ship the player chooses to sail will affect both his combat capabilities and his economic capabilities. Most of these ships have been User Created (see Customization below).

As a general rule, the bigger the ship, the less maneuverable it is. This means that even though a ship is bigger and has more and heavier cannons, it will not necessarily be the better choice. Because of the way combat works, ship speed and maneuverability has a great effect on combat. Small ships, especially in large groups, will in many cases be able to beat larger ships solely because of this. However, the developers have stated that smaller ships are not designed to take out larger ships in a one-on-one stand off, but to play support roles to other ships such as harassing the enemy ships.

Ships of different sizes will also have different cargo hold sizes. This is especially important to free-traders. The more cargo you can bring from one port to another, the more you will be able to earn on a single trip. Merchant ships are generally less armed than warships, but have more cargo space.

A player is allowed to own five ships at any time. Though only one can be sailed, the others can be docked in port, fitted and ready for action. The player will also be able to transfer himself directly from one docked ship to another. This means that the player will have easy access to any of his ships, no matter how far away they are.

Since the release of the game, many ships have variant versions of their original ship. They include[6]:

  • Stripped – A merchant variant. A low-level requirement version of a large trade ship although not equipped with guns.
  • Courier – An easy-access variant. Courier ships are slightly faster and easier to handle, but they have less firepower and armor.
  • Heavy – An upgrade variant. Heavy ships have significantly more armor and structure, and often have other combat benefits.
  • Sleek – An upgrade variant. Sleek ships are faster and handle better. They might also have slightly better armor.
  • Mastercraft – The premier ship variant. Mastercraft ships are expensive custom made ships that have been restructured to have room for more (and potentially heavier) guns and stronger hulls.
  • Pirate - Pirate variants often mount heavier, or more guns and armour. They are limited to the 2 pirate classes.
  • Privateer - Privateer variants are often faster and more suited for solo player vs player combat.
  • Trader - These are often fast, "smuggling" type ships, not well suited to combat, they can be outfitted to be very fast. Most of these, if not all, are limited to the Freetrader class.
  • Naval - These ships are given as a reward to Naval Officer classes for participating and destroying enemy shipping. These ships are given new names, and often mount much heavier armour, weaponry and crew than the regular versions. One example is the Mercy Naval Frigate, which is version of the Defiant Mastercraft frigate, which itself is a version of the regular Defiant.


Durability[7] is a system devised to deal with ship losses. It accounts for the largest expenditure in the economy, it assures that players tread carefully in their expensive ships, and it is the only 'death penalty' beyond lost time.

In Pirates of the Burning Sea, each ship has a set amount of Durability Points. When a ship is sunk or defeated it loses a Durability Point. If it loses its last point, it is considered destroyed and lost. This way, players will want to keep as many Durability Points as possible, because Durability directly equals the value of the ship. Ships captured by pirates have only one durability point.

In order to keep the bigger ships in demand and in order to make them more expensive and precious the higher level ships will have much fewer Durability Points than the expendable, smaller ships. This assures that the high level ships will be risky to bring into combat, and players will think twice before sacrificing their ship.

The arrival 1.5 patch added an insurance system which will refund 90% of a ships construction value (not the actual price paid by the player) upon loss of all points of durability. This was implemented for varied reasons, which included National players being unwilling to fight against Pirate players.

Pirate players capture highest level ships for free, and also build the most powerful open sea ship in the game, the Pirate Hercules. This combination caused national players to avoid the free ships as the risk of losing an expensive ship was much greater than the reward of defeating a pirate who had a free ship, and also to avoid the Pirate Hercules due to it being the superior ship in the game, which was often sailed by entire 6 player groups of pirates. Only the very expensive 1st and 2nd rate ships could stand up to these groups, however the economic, and time investment requirements of the rated ships are extremely high compared to the Pirate Hercules. A pirate hercules can be bought for 800,000 Dubloons with a small investment in the major resources, and the 1st rate costs up to 16 million dubloons and requires 10 times the economic resources.

Shot Types

The developers have stated that there will be 11 different types of cannon shot available to players in 3 different categories[6]:

  • Round Shot - Basic Round Shot, Stone Shot, Heavy Round Shot, Bronze Round Shot, Explosive Round Shot
  • Antipersonnel Shot - Langridge, Canister, Grape shot
  • Dismantling Shot - Bar Shot, Chain Shot, Star Shot

Round shot is designed to do structural damage to the hull, anti personnel shot is designed to maim crew, making boarding actions easier, and dismantling shot is designed to damage the sails and masts, slowing the opposing ship.

User Created Ships, Sails and Flags

One of the unique features of Pirates of the Burning Sea is the system in place for players to create and submit ships, sails and flags. If the ship, sail or flag passes a rather rigorous approval system, it is implemented into the game for anyone to enjoy. Many user created ships, sails and flags will be in the game at launch. However the word sail is actually a misnomer, since the approval system actively discourages full sail patterns (from the websites user submitted content section). Instead the system encourages the pattern to be 50% transparent which actually makes the sail a decal NOT a proper sail, since it is added to the sail and does not replace the sail pattern per se.


In Pirates of the Burning Sea, players will be able to form groups known as Societies. These will function much like Guilds in other MMO's, and will feature several tools that can be used for communication amongst its members. Players will only be able to join a Society with members of their own Nation. In computer and video gaming, a clan or guild is a group of players who regularly play together in a particular (or various different) multiplayer games. ...

The advantages of a Society is purely in the form of community. Players in a Society will help out each other, and through that they will be able to achieve goals that might be harder, if not impossible, alone. A good example of this is the economy (see below). Here, working together with other players can save many dubloons in production as you will not be dependent on 3rd party production.


The economy in PotBS is a player-driven, production-based system. This means that everything is made by players, but not by the avatars themselves.

Players manage plots of anything from lumbermills to shipyards in order to produce goods that can either be sold to other players or be used by the producer themselves. The buildings will then save up hours, in real time, that can be used for production. They will be saved up even when the player is not playing, but only to a maximum of 72 hours. Each account is limited to 10 plots per server.

Many things that a player can produce require several steps in their production. Ships, for example, are made of ship hulls, which are made of planks, which are cut from trees. Along with this, the ship hull needs nails, which are made from iron, which is refined from iron ore. The ship, along with the ship hull, also needs masts, cannons, several hundred yards of rope, and so on.

While there is no requirement to taking part in the economy system, the rewards of doing so will be great. Economy is also directly tied to the port contention system, as who controls a port might control access to resources only available at that port.

Instanced Content

The game curently offers two "epic" group instances, both have been added as additional content through patches to the game. These are different from normal group quests in that they are designed to play out a story line through out the instance, and to be completed in one sitting.

Bey's Retreat

This was the first "instance" added to POTBS and is designed to be able to be completed by 6 players level 25 plus. It contains both ship to ship and avcom PvE. After an initial ship to ship fight, players zone into a cavern that will lead to a jail through an undergound passage, then up to the top of a small fort, with two "boss" fights along the way. Then it's back out to the seas and a 6 v 24 epic ship to ship combat, come prepared for lots of ship repairing!

Forteleza de Luz

This was added to the game with patch 1.5 and is a 100% avcom instance set in a haunted spanish fortress. This instance was designed to be a lv 50 group quest, although several groups have completed it with players in their high 40s and with only 4 or 5 members. Due to the requirements to complete the final boss, four is the minimum players needed to complete this instance. There are 3 boss fights as you work your way through the fortress, and a great story line that begins with a chain of 3 quests in Puerto de Principe. As long as one member of the group has completed the pre-quests the entire group will be able to enter the fortress. Bring your bandages and smelling salts, you are going to need them!


Over two hours of original swashbuckling music were composed for Pirates of the Burning Sea by Adam Gubman and Jeff Kurtenacker. While many live musicians performed on the soundtrack, the majority of the music was composed digitally. An Official Soundtrack was released as a promotional item during the pre-order period. There are no copies left in circulation.


Pirates of the Burning Sea currently holds an 78% rating on Game Rankings.[8] As of February 12, 2008, this is the average of 30 reviews; commonly cited positive aspects of the game include a player-driven economy, balanced classes and compelling PvP, while negative aspects include repetitive character vs. character (as opposed to ship vs. ship) fighting and a steep learning curve. There is also an almost universal agreement on the lack of documentation to help new players. Game Rankings is a website which keeps track of video game reviews from other sites, and combines them to present an average rating for each game. ... is the 43rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Common Era (or Anno Domini), in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. ... For PvP in multiplayer computer role-playing games, see player versus player. ... For other uses, see Learning curve (disambiguation). ...


Wikipedia presents. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 177th day of the year (178th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 191st day of the year (192nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... PDF is an abbreviation with several meanings: Portable Document Format Post-doctoral fellowship Probability density function There also is an electronic design automation company named PDF Solutions. ... Flying Lab Software is a computer game developer based in Seattle, Washington that was founded by former Microsoft developers Russell Williams and Paul Canniff. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 191st day of the year (192nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

  • An Overview of Pirates of the Burning Sea
  • Pirates of the Burning Sea reference website
  • Pirates of the Burning Sea atlas with map contention
  • A wiki dedicated to Pirates of the Burning Sea
  • Pirates of the Burning Sea Vault - News, Guides, Videos, Interviews
  • Pirates of the Burning Sea MMO DB - Database of items, ships, npcs, quests, maps, and plenty more.
  • Recent Gamespy Preview as it Approaches Launch

  Results from FactBites:
Pirates of the Burning Sea Preview - Sail the unfriendly seas in the kick ass pirate MMO, Pirates of the Burning Sea - ... (1041 words)
Between Pirates of the Caribbean and, well, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, and yeah, the upcoming 3, geek culture has run up the Jolly Roger flag and embraced the grizzled, swashbuckling, parrot-loving, prosthetic-wearing lifestyle of the ocean-bound criminal.
Currently undergoing beta testing and due for a June release, Burning Sea is an MMORPG set in the Caribbean, circa 1720.
While pirate ships and, really, all sailing ships of old were complicated beasts, with multiple masts, ropes aplenty and big, billowing sails to manage, the ships of Burning Sea have been simplified for the player to allow for a functional and entertaining play experience.
Pirates of the Burning Sea (1993 words)
Pirates of the Burning Sea is currently in closed beta, and scheduled for release in June of 2007.
Pirates of the Burning Sea is set in the Caribbean in the early 1700's.
Pirates and sailors do have all kinds of superstitions and ghost stories about life at sea, and we may explore those in the game, but we're not going to do anything that you'd consider magic as offered in fantasy games like World of Warcraft or Everquest.
  More results at FactBites »



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