Puzzle Pirates

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Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates is a fun little MMO created by Three Rings, Inc. In it, players take the role of (what else?) Pirates and interact with each other in a rather cartoonish world. The game is divided into a number of servers, called Oceans; each Ocean consists of a number of islands separated into archipelagos; within this framework, players can do virtually anything, from sailing the high seas with fellow pirates in search of treasure, to owning and operating one's own shop, to playing classic games like Hearts and Poker.

What makes this game unique among MMO's is that all of its major tasks, from sailing a ship to distilling rum, are staged in the form of Puzzle Games. These include things like Match Three Games (for tasks like pumping the bilge water out of a ship, digging for treasure, or hauling it from a shipwreck), Falling Blocks (operating a ship's sails, as well as Swordfighting, in the vein of Super Puzzle Fighter), pattern-matching games (shipbuilding, for instance), and other, more exotic fare.

Another hallmark of the game is that its economy is almost entirely player-driven: players buy or forage commodities from islands, sail them back to their shops, and use them to manufacture goods using player-provided labor. This results in the game economy being remarkably similar to that of the real world, for better or worse.


Tropes used in Puzzle Pirates include:
  • Allegedly Free Game: While you can certainly get a lot out of the game without ever paying a cent especially if the standard duty puzzles are your favorites, you'll need to pay if you want to play puzzles beyond those basic duty puzzles more than 2-3 specific days a week, buy better than entry-level weapons for swordfighting and rumbling (which do matter, as they affect your drop pattern), have any sort of standing within a crew, own a ship, or even buy most kinds of clothing.
  • Amusing Injuries: When a ship sinks, everyone on it has a chance of getting either a peg-leg, an eyepatch, a Hook Hand, or a starfish stuck to their face. These can be removed using special potions, but they're frequently seen as badges of honor among the playerbase.
  • Anti Frustration Feature: In the carpentry puzzle, you are allowed to adjust a piece if you had misplaced it slightly.
  • Anti-Poopsocking: In the form of entertaining little messages that pop up after a while of playing.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Doubloon Oceans use said Doubloons as a form of microcurrency, which is purchased with real money and needed to buy most high-end goods. Players can exchange regular currency for Doubloons, but that leads to players with money to burn buying lots of doubloons and making a killing off of selling them to others.
  • Breakable Weapons: Clothing and weapons last for a set amount of days, ranging from a month to several. This can be avoided by putting the item into a wardrobe or rack when it is not in use.
  • Commonplace Rare: Black cloth, arguably.
  • Dem Bones: Skellies
  • Difficulty Spike: The first few star difficulty levels of Bilging are quite easy to get a high ranking for your duty report in, oftentimes the RNG will be very kind to you and give you free chains as it generates more blocks. But the moment you gain enough experience that the game adds a sixth type of block to the rotation maintaining high scores in Bilging requires considerably more skill at identifying large potential combos with minimum moves made. It does get a little bit easier when the game throws in the 3x3-area-clearing blowfish and the crabs that give you a fairly high amount of points for clearing, but that time spent during 4 star difficulty is definitely going to see a lot of Fair, Poor, and even Booched scores for newer players.
  • Drop in Nemesis: The Black Ship. Pound on weaker players too often, and it'll show up to kick your ass to Hell and back.
  • Far Side Island: In the early years, each new character began by being rescued off one of these, and receiving a Justified Tutorial on the way to the nearest port.
  • Fog Feet: Ghosts
  • Hello, Insert Name Here
  • Hook Hand
  • Horny Vikings: Both the Brigand Queen Brynhld Skullsplitter and the antagonists in a recently-released type of expedition.
  • An Interior Designer Is You
  • Lord British Postulate: El Pollo Diablo, the Black Ship which appears to punish players for attacking ships significantly weaker than themselves, is meant to be undefeatable. It has been defeated several times, and each time the developers have given it a major upgrade.
  • Obvious Beta: Most releases follows a predictable pattern: A version of the release is put on the test Ocean (read: server), Ice. Several bugs and glitches are found. Some of them are patched; some of them are not, despite being pointed out on the game forums. Then the features are released to the production Oceans, where the playerbase deals with the unpatched bugs and discovers even further bugs. Several emergency bugfix releases follow.
  • Pirate Booty: Obviously.
  • Pirate Parrot: Are occasionally offered as prizes in competitions run by the developers. (Other shoulder-mounted pets obtainable as competition prizes include monkeys and, for some reason, octopi.)
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: semi-averted. There's plenty of pillaging and treasure-thieving to be had, but no one ever gets killed. Given the target audience and the fact that it's an MMO, this is not surprising.
  • Puzzle Game: It's called "Puzzle Pirates", what did you expect?
  • Real Time with Pause: The Simultaneous Turn-Based "Battle Navigation" puzzle is this.
  • Rule of Fun: "Fun > Realism" is frequently invoked and mentioned as the underlying design principle used for every part of the game.
  • Shout-Out: Very many, including to all the obvious candidates like Monkey Island and Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • Talk Like a Pirate: Natch. NPCs always do, and there's even an option to filter swear words and replace them with piratey swears.
  • Third Eye
  • Treasure Map: It's sometimes possible to obtain maps that unlock special areas of the game -- which, yes, generally involve an opportunity to load up on treasure.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Swear words are, by default, replaced with various nautical/piratey terms. These Unusual Euphemisms have thus crept into the language of long-time players, who'd use them in places like crew names and forums.
  • Vendor Trash: Fruit.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: The whole reason El Pollo Diablo exists is to ward off potential griefers from ganking weak player ships.
  • Walk the Plank: Ship captains are able to hand out this punishment to crew members who are being particularly unpleasant. (In line with the game's no-death policy, they'll immediately wash ashore on the nearest island, but it means you don't have to put up with them for the rest of the trip and they miss out on collecting a share of the booty at the end of it.) A captain can even inflict this on himself. Somehow.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: This is one as far as MMORPGs are concerned. Do work for the navy, or become a member of a pirate crew. Gamble at the Inn or do work for the stalls. It is a very player driven economy, so there are plenty of things to craft.
  • Wooden Ships and Iron Men: In loving detail. Even the pirates act more like privateers.