We be payin' tribute to the Year o' the Snake* with this month's Limited Edition Ship: the Serpent Class Sloop! A sleek snake figurehead hangs from her prow, and she be dressed out in fine serpentine style with carvings an' banners and the like, all with a right fancy flourish that harkens to the far eastern seas. Her cold, beady deadlights set upon prey, she's like to slither through the waters just ready to strike!
Let's 'ave ourselfs a look at the craft, shall we? Below we see Ms. Luck upon the foredeck o' this scaly beauty. As ye can see, 'tis a colourful ship this, snaky green decks with red and gold trimmings befitting the Chinese New year. And not a few fine serpentine touches all abouts.
Arr, an what a fine poop-deck! Thar be a snake-'eaded tiller beneath what looks to be a stolen pagoda roof, crowned with a golden serrrpent! And all 'round there be fireworks and boxes o' combustables for yer New Year festivities! Or, should an icy squall start a blowin', ye could always light'em and hold'em tight for emergency warmth - HARR HARRR!
A tasty banquet awaits ye in the Serpent Sloop's cabin, along with more slinky, snaky touches. Here ye might relax after a bountiful voyage, divide booty at yer leisure, or put down yer cutlass and fill yer gob with fine fare that'll make ye forget about ship's biscuit for a while. Shall we - eh? What's that Ms. Luck? Har, indeed! She reminds ye not to light a match me bucko, or those fancy firecrackers just might tickle yer noggin off!
Avast Ms. Luck! Let's stop a moment 'ere in the belly o' the serpent. Well sink me fer a cross-eyed squiffy! Just strike yer deadlights on all that slithery booty me hearties! Twisty wall snakes an' fancy banners 'an even wee snake satuettes - an' more rockets an' crackers an' things what go BOOM! Puts me in a mind to shed me ol' skin and bring in the year o' the snake a better, jollier, and craftier pirate that ev'r afore!
Look lively mates, ye can only get yer hooks on a Serpent Class Sloop until the end of February, so get yer orders in before they slither away to fortunes unknown!
*An' by Neptune's knickers, we sure don't be payin' no tribute to any accurs'd serpent cults 'r the scallywag Stygian necromancers what captains 'em. Those scurvy dark-arts blaggarts wouldn't know a jib from a mainsail!
From now until Monday, January 21st at 3 PM PST, you'll earn a free Ice Box for every $9.95 you spend on doubloons or every month of subscription time you purchase! Trapped at the center of these curiously cold cubicles are rare prizes and tantalizing treasures featuring the seasonal color of Ice Blue! Crack open an Ice Box and you stand a chance to win an all-new wintery trinket, an Ice Blue parrot, an Ice Blue sloop or war frigate, rare furniture, and even an adorable seal pet!
Remember that these mysterious boxes will only be around while the weather permits, so get your hooks into them while they're available! For a full list of available prizes and other more detailed info, the official rules can be found here.
When an occupation demands copious consumption of rum, grog, and swill, it is quite understandable that pirate tales are regularly dismissed as foolery and poppycock. Tavern talk of voodoo curses, webbed mermen, and spectral ships just seems too fantastical to be true. But any meaningful time spent with a crew can easily capsize those expectations.
January introduces a new ship for pirates familiar with all manner of fantastic and terrible powers slumbering beneath the sea! The Hunter class sloop has been commissioned foremost for fortune and vengeance. Quests for sea-bound revenge should no longer be monopolized by maimed whaling captains!
A fearsome prow features the visage of a mythical leviathan. This will either convince very real leviathans that you're just here to hang out, or those same leviathans will immediately see through the ruse and attempt to tear your ship apart like tissue paper. Either way, it certainly looks terrifying.
You may have also noticed a harpoon launcher located behind the prow. Unfortunately, it does not fire harpoons, but it will scare the wits off a Sphinx so long as you don't tell anyone about that shortcoming!
Successfully returning from an adventurous excursion into the unknown means that proper preparation was handled beforehand. To that end we present: chum. Buckets of chum. Oh, and cannon balls, black powder, nets, lucky bells, and more harpoon launchers of questionable build quality. But really, the star of this image is the bucket of fishy chum.
Not impressed by chum? How about a barrel of harpoons? How about numerous barrels of harpoons? Because those are also included!
Venture below deck to find this fabulous trophy room! Concoct your own stories behind these glorious items! Come up with a reason why that sea monster head is kept in a locked cell! I like to believe that the sea monster head responsibly asked for its confinement one rum-fueled night when he lost track of his designated navigator.
Whether its for fortune or revenge, the Hunter class sloop aims to provide you with an entertaining platform for striking out at sea monsters, engaging in expeditions, or telling your tallest of tales! The Hunter class sloop will only be available during the month of January, so hurry to your local shipyard and get one while supplies last!
...there's a new ship this November! And not just any ship: it's the explosive, Limited Edition Gunpowder Class Sloop! Let's take a look.
Here's the Gunpowder Class Sloop's prow: it's Guy Fawkes! He's on fire! And he's lugging a pair of pretty wicked looking powder kegs! You have our personal assurance that those will not explode if you ram someone. We promise.
Speaking of powder kegs, let's head below decks where you'll find what the Gunpowder Class Sloop is named for: barrels upon barrels of gunpowder! Little known fact: the entity that manufactures all the bags of powder in the ocean also produces that same powder in convenient barrel and crate sizes! Who knew?
You might think that keeping all that gunpowder in one place would be dangerous, but fear not! It's being carefully watched over by a couple of highly-motivated Guy Fawkes effigies. To be completely honest with you, I don't think they've been properly trained to handle explosives, but they're better than nothing, and they came cheap.
Finally, a quick look at the Gunpowder Class Sloop's quarterdeck. Note the lively bonfire roasting a particularly massive Guy Fawkes effigy.
Wait a second, a bonfire? Right next to all those fireworks? And isn't the quarterdeck right above the ship's hold? Where all the gunpowder is? Um. Well. I'm sure everything'll be fine. Yeah. It'll be fine. Let's not worry about it.
The Gunpowder Class Sloop is only available until the end of November, so start plotting to get yours now!
In recognition of the ten years since Puzzle Pirates opened for Alpha testing, Captain Cleaver has penned a brief note on the game's development and legacy. Enjoy, and thank you to everyone for supporting us over the years!
Dear Pirates, Past and Present,
Around twelve years ago, I was an unemployed game designer with an idea for a game. It would be a sandbox MMO in which the player would play a Pirate and sail the seven seas in search of treasure. Each basic activity in the game; sailing the ship, or battling a foe, would be accomplished with a Puzzle, usually an action-puzzle akin to Tetris.
This idea, unlike most of my deranged issuances, had various merits. Pirates make for a great MMO theme; they are exciting, adventurous, have great outfits and fraternize in rowdy Crews. Plus there is lots of treasure (and grog), and other mythological elements (skeletons!) are easily co-opted.
Puzzles also have their merits; they require skill and focus from the player, lending a pleasing fun and flow to the core activities of the game like travelling and combat. This was to stand in stark contrast to the math-fighting and drudgery that, alas, is still at the heart of MMOs today.
The merits of the idea, or perhaps a temporary outbreak of lunacy following the collapse of the dot.com boom, allowed me to recruit a small band of doughty fellows to join me. Principal amongst these was Michael Bayne, co-founder and CTO, and I would like to thank him again today for making Puzzle Pirates possible (and to a significant extent, actually building it, line by line). I would also like to thank the early team that, ten years ago, were each instrumental in bringing us to alpha: Walter Korman, Rick Keagy, Jon Demos, Ray Greenwell and Eric Lundberg.
We were fortunate that we had some time, space (Michael's poor loft was cluttered with nerds and computers) and money to make our strange new game. We should thank our investors, friends and family who had the temerity to fund such an unusual project. We sequestered ourselves in July 2001 and began building the game.
Around a year and a half later we had built something that could be played and appeared to be fun -- but of course, we had been building it for too long to be particularly good judges of our own offspring. It was past time for us to shine the light of real, unaffiliated players on our creation, and for us to receive a sign as to its future prospects.
Which brings us to a decade ago today. We had announced the game six months earlier and a few brave souls had signed up on our forums and to be e-mailed when the game went alpha. We put up our first 'production server', emailed a handful of folks with account credentials, and waited nervously at the docks on Alpha Island.
The first player to login was called 'Ely'. He was a little bemused that the developers of the game appeared to be his welcoming committee, but soon hopped on a boat and started puzzling. He was soon joined by a number of other folks; I recall a 'peak concurrent' of 13 around this time, but probably not on the first day. By November 5th we had 62 players and 84 pirates, but more importantly, people were definitely having fun. We saw the same names return day after day, a number of crews had formed (notably the 'Terrible Turbies' from developer Turbine, who actually inspired the Dread Ringers' name) and players were buying all the clothes they could get from the backs of non-player pirates at the docks (no shops existed, yet.)
The feeling of those days was extraordinary: we had taken a big risk making an unusual game, and it turned out that people liked it and wanted to play it. It was a relief, but also tremendously exciting. Invigorated, we pushed on through the spring of alpha's remaining 'Underpants' period before we hit 'Question Mark' Beta in July, and 'Profit' the following October-December (although to be fair, actual profit took a bit longer ;)) We were lucky we had that extra time, as the economy, blockades, extra puzzles and other polish we included doubtless secured Yohoho's long-term fun and economic viability into the future.
It's a real pleasure to look back, ten years later, and remember that moment when we realised we had a fun game. I'm very glad to share this celebration with you, the players and true makers of the world of Puzzle Pirates. The game has always been centered on and driven by its players, like any good sandbox world. We only built the venue, it is you that have brought it to life.
Someone once asked what I would consider a success for Puzzle Pirates, I said something about making a game players loved (and something else about needing X customers to stay viable!) To be here, looking back on a decade of fun, and confident that we can look forward to another decade and beyond -- that was the measure of success I was looking for. Thank you.
- Capn Cleaver aka Daniel James, co-founder of Three Rings.
Whew! Well, now that the spooky Vampire Class Sloop is gone and fall is solidly upon us, this month's Limited Edition ship is almost certainly going to embody warmer, more comforting themes like quiet autumnal reflection, and the vibrant colors of falling leaves.
...oh, you've got to be kidding me.
As it turns out, in true Hallowe'en spirit, this October's Limited Edition ship is the Skelly Class Sloop! From the looks of these images, however, those of you hoping to get a glimpse at what skellies do when they're not sieging islands will have to keep on hoping, because this ship isn't built to be used by skellies... it's built from skellies!
That's creepy. It's creepy that we did that.
The quarterdeck on the Skelly Class Sloop is flanked by some intimidating skeletal warriors. Don't worry! We're fairly certain that they won't suddenly reanimate and attack your crew.
Fairly certain. Maybe keep an eye out just in case.
Meanwhile, down in the hold... skulls everywhere! And some comfortable seating. But mostly skulls.
There are plenty of macabre fixtures down here, but the pièce de résistance? An elegant skeletal pipe organ, perfect for playing sinister dirges! In fact, we're fairly certain that it can only play dirges... and perhaps some not-so-jaunty sea shanties that sound suspiciously like dirges.
And if that wasn't enough, the Skelly Class Sloop also has a fearsome skeletal horseman figurehead! We're not sure if these two teamed up before or after becoming skellies, but we definitely think they're more intimidating as a duo.
The Skelly Class Sloop is only available until the end of October, so act fast! Only a bonehead would miss out on such a fantastic ship. You're not a bonehead, are you?
We're fairly certain that the title of this blog post violates several international treaties, but we're going to run with it anyway, because you're worth it!
From now until 3:00 PM PDT on September 17th, 2012, you'll earn a free Chocolate Mystery Box for every $9.95 you spend on doubloons or every month of subscription time you purchase! That's 3 Mystery Boxes for purchasing a quarterly subscription, 5 Mystery Boxes for purchasing a $49.95 package, or even more!
Featuring the seasonal color Chocolate, this month's Mystery Box has some cool new prizes inside, including new Chocolate trinkets you can hold in portraits, Chocolate Dogs, and even Chocolate Monkeys!
Good luck, everyone!
* Symptoms of yococoa fever may include dry humor and frequent pillaging.
It's time again for the Pirate Census!
We here at Puzzle Pirates HQ like to periodically make a short survey available to the players asking for information about themselves, what they like about the game, and what they want to see more of. Our goal is to use the data we get from the Census to help shape the development of the game over the next year or so, as well as get a better idea of just who is spending their time sailing our seas!
Participating in the Census is optional, and your answers are completely anonymous. The survey will only be available until 12:30 AM PDT on Tuesday, September 4th, so please take a few minutes to help us build a better Puzzle Pirates by filling out the survey right now!
From now until 3:00 PM PDT on May 21st, 2012, you'll earn a FREE Banana Box for every $9.95 you spend on doubloons or every month of subscription time you purchase! That's 5 Banana Boxes for purchasing a $49.95 package, 12 Banana Boxes for purchasing an annual subscription, or even more! Featuring the seasonal color Banana, each Banana Box has a fantastic prize inside, including some brand-new surprises, such as the new Banana Dog pet, the Banana Snake familiar, or the Banana Monkey! What monkey wouldn't love being Banana?!
There's a bunch of other great prizes available, as well: Banana sloops, Banana furniture, and even Banana Spring and Summer trinkets! Don't let it be a cruel, cruel summer: peel open a Banana Box right now! For a full list of available prizes and other more detailed info, the official rules can be found here.
Good luck, everyone!
Technology continues to leap forward here on the Puzzle Pirate seas. Why, it feels like only yesterday that some forward-thinking genius out there invented the top hat, and soon afterward, the felt chamber pot. Even so, it's a red letter day for us all here at Puzzle Pirates HQ as we're pleased to announce that the very first Steam Class Sloop has rolled off the production line!
Or, well... I guess it sailed off the production line. Let's not get too ahead of ourselves here.
The Steam Class Sloop is sturdily built out of only the finest and most buoyant bronze available. We asked one of the engineers exactly how this worked, but he just threw an empty rum bottle at us and called our mother something uncouth. We're going to assume this means that it's a "trade secret".
But surely you must be thinking... how does it all work? What is this strange device in the hold? Why aren't we giving you a chance to ask these questions yourself? Well, dear reader, through an advanced alchemical process known as "ocean potion locomotion", this "engine" found in the belly of the ship makes very loud noises and belches poisonous smoke. Meanwhile, alcohol, in the form of rum, is pumped from the ship's hold into the pirates crewing the vessel. This increases morale significantly, giving them the energy they need to sail the ship forward, as well as to survive the incredibly toxic smog being put out by the engine. Did we mention that the smoke was ridiculously dangerous, odorless, invisible, and has no real effect on gameplay? I feel like we forgot that part. At any rate, it's very hazardous. Don't inhale it.
Oh, it's not all ridiculously-light brass and poisonous fumes, however. The Steam Class Sloop also has all the trappings you'd expect to see in a Limited Edition ship of its caliber: a sturdy vault door sealing the captain's cabin off from the rest of the ship in not-quite-airtight comfort, the finest in bronze cannonry and fittings, and even an extraordinary automaton figurehead! While we personally feel that it's a metallic monster whose existence challenges the very notion of our humanity and what ethical lines should be drawn when pushing the limits of technology, our artists thought it was "neat".
The Steam Class Sloop is only available for the month of May, however, so speed on over to your Shipyard and buy the ship of tomorrow... TODAY!
Oh, and by the way... We've also turned top hats on for purchase for the duration of the Steam Class Sloop's availability, because frankly, if you're half as excited about this as we are, you're going to need a place to relieve yourself, and quickly.