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Pirate Storm Review

Pirate Storm Review

Free to play MMO

Browser based - No Downloads

Publisher: Bigpoint

Ready to play now? Click the image!

I invested in an iPhone recently and the first thing I bought to test out the gaming prowess of my new device was a port of Sid Meir’s Pirates!. It’s a classic game in which you choose your own story, becoming either the scourge of the high seas or a formidable tool in the battle between warring nations. On the way you can discover long lost family members or marry into a new family, but the management of you ship and the crew upon it is important if you’re going to make it as a pirate captain. I’m played a little more of Pirates! than is perhaps healthy considering the size of the screen upon which I’m playing it, so it was without hesitation that I jumped at the chance to review Pirate Story, a pirating browser MMO that has you taking to the high seas, fighting enemy ships and exploring the seven seas. Is a Pirate Storm life really for me? Read on, me hearties, read on.

Pirate Storm

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A Different Sort of Pirate

My first view of Pirate Storm was of a kind of organised mayhem that I find instantly off-putting in an MMO. After a brief tutorial that taught you how to explore, fight and all the other things you’d be doing from your ship, I was thrown into the deep end. Unlike Pirates!, which focusses on living the life of a pirate seeking revenge, Pirate Storm offers a different sort of story, a story in which giant crabs and angry pirates are constantly available to blow away with your slightly underpowered cannonballs and massive HP. And given that Pirate Storm is so enormously popular, because it really is, I’ve come across multiple instances in which there are several actual players to each NPC enemy, something I’ve never seen before in any MMO. This is a mixed blessing because, while back-up is never far away, neither is the person will to steal items and pilfer experience.

Pirate Storm

Full of Pirates

Starting out as a Facebook game, a game like Pirate Storm is always going to be very focussed around community, around the ability to work together with your fellow pirates in order to achieve your goals more quickly. Luckily for the developers, this has worked out quite well because there really are thousands of people playing across the four servers and, I imagine, a good proportion of them are buying diamonds with real-life money and having a ball grinding battles with monsters. And this is a double edged sword, because while it’s a pleasure to have so many people enjoying a game with you, it’s executed rather poorly and there are people ready to take advantage of the situation. There are people with faster, more powerful ships that would rather you waste your initial store of weaponry and health and then put in the final shot, taking the experience, and then speeding through the items the enemy dropped in the water (it then floats for anybody to pick up) before you get the chance.This can make breaking in to the game very difficult.

Pirate Storm

Setting Sail

But that’s not the only reason that starting Pirate Storm is a difficult ordeal. Take, for instance, the quest system, which has you either taking quests from the wenches in the taverns (take a look at the pictures, there’s no other word but wench) or from your first mate. In the hours I’ve played Pirate Storm, I’ve yet to come across any quests from the taverns and the quests from the first mate actually had me open-mouthed and ready to quit there and then. To complete a couple that I’ve gotten would take killing hundreds of enemies and perhaps dozens of hours of my time to finish – and that’s the opening quests, I have no idea what’s on offer further in the game. And so Pirate Storm becomes less about the importance of finishing quests and more about the importance of grinding against every group of enemies you come across and exploration. Neither option is spectacular.

Pirate Storm


What would anything based upon the life of a pirate be without the use of cannons? If you’re fighting enemy vessels, you’ll rely on cannon fire to deal damage as your enemy bursts into flames and begins to sink into Davy Jones’ Locker. This all sounds rather exciting and, in all honesty, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be, but the developers have managed to do something I didn’t think at all possible: they’ve managed to make the epic nature of sea warfare boring. The Hollywood method of having men swinging from ropes, sword in teeth; the sound as cannonballs blow through the sails and into the water in the distance – none of it is present in Pirate Storm and in fact a battle is pretty much the same as any other MMO. You click an enemy, press a button to begin firing and then gather experience when you’re done.

Pirate Storm


Like how the myth of the Mermaid came about from the views of the manatee by desperate men, Pirate Storm is only a different sort of MMO when you squint a little bit and are really desperate for something to play (not unlike with a manatee). Except for the almost completely useless quests, Pirate Storm is very much an MMO. You must collect experience, explore the world and do battle alongside potential allies against dangerous enemies. The battle system is something you will have seen before and to be quite honest, without the lure of any discernible storyline or goals of any sort set, it’s not long before you begin to feel that your time sailing the seven seas are completely futile. You log-in for that first time, excited at the idea of playing an ocean-bound MMO with a level of quality and leave hours later disappointed and contemplating petitioning the return of several hours of your life.

Pirate Storm

Haven’t I Been Here Before?

On top of a lack of driving force in the game, exploration is marred by the fact that there are few places in the game that you don’t feel you haven’t already visited.  In each new location, a new set of enemies await you, joined by countless other players and small green islands set against the shimmer of the sea. It’s quite nice at first, but doesn’t take long until it develops into something much, much drier. Even the point of the game – exploration – becomes something that becomes much harder to enjoy than it should be thanks to poor level design, leaving only a constant grind against enemies to keep you playing.

Pirate Storm

Pirate Storm Review - The Conclusion

I know what it is that has kept people playing Pirate Storm, you only have to look at the chat box and the readiness of people to add you to their group to see that this is, at its heart, a social MMO. The question I have is “why have the developers tried so hard to hide it?” Why have they added such long-winded quests that nobody in their right mind would attempt to complete? It’s a mystery to me and, to be quite honest, I can’t help but feel it’s a mystery to the developers and to the people playing as well. With that said, there are enough people enjoying this game that it’s worth a shot.

Who knows? It might just strike a chord with you that has managed to evade me.
I’d suggest the much more in-depth Uncharted Waters Online, but you might have a job convincing your friends to get through the tutorial.

Games like thisUncharted Waters Online

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 by M. Growcott

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