Pirates of the Burning Sea (2008)

At the end of last month Pirates of the Burning Sea was released through Sony's Station.com, though Flying Lab Software, a new software company out of Seattle, created it. This game not only captures the Caribbean in the 18th century, but what it feels like to sail upon it; fighting off pirates, saving townships, and taking over ports at the expense of other
players. It sort of reminds me of Sid Meier's Pirates! (1987) with the whole Caribbean spread out before you. Also, all the players are Captains. There's even a player-controlled economy; and if you want anything, and I mean just about anything, you'll have to buy it off the auction house.

There are also plenty of quests, and a ton of ships to purchase as you level. So it's a good idea to have something going in the economy just to offset that cost, and there are plenty of things to make. Each player has ten slots to build farms, mines, factories, or mills, allowing you to create the raw materials with the ability to refine them making anything from hemp rope to crates of cannonballs.

One problem I have with this game is the hand-to-hand combat while boarding ships. It's a little out of control. You might have ten guys around you and it can be hard targeting one particular combatant. Plus, there's no way to focus fire with the rest of your crew. Or, it's too easy. But once you've lost your first ship you won't feel it's too easy anymore. Hopefully they'll fix all of this in patch.

Overall, I find this a cute game that practically plays itself if you're mainly focusing on the economy, but I don't know if it's really worth the monthly fee. If it was cheaper, say $15 dollars a quarter instead of $15 dollars a month, maybe it would be able to support a larger user base.