Gamer.no: Will players be able to form guilds, clans or other types of associations? Will players be able to battle for land or sea areas, and perhaps take part in large scale sea battles involving several ships of opposing factions?
TD: There are short-term groups, as I mentioned earlier. Player-created organizations are an important part of MMOGs that we hope to have in the initial release; if not, they'll turn up not too long after launch.
Large battles are a certainty. There's no restriction on how many ships can be in a fight, so we expect to see massive fleet actions, pirate raids on trade convoys, and the like.
Gamer.no: Tell us something about the game world. The game is obviously set in the Caribbean, but what kind of nations and political factions will there be present? How large is the game world going to be, and how large would a typical island be?
TD: Our game world includes the leeward and windward islands, stretching from Puerto Rico southeast to Grenada. It'll take you a few hours to sail from one end to the other.
There are four factions that players can join: the British, the French, the Spanish, and the pirates. Other nations are present, such as the Dutch, but by our game's setting of 1720 their power in the region is waning.
Islands vary in size quite substantially. Look at any map of the Caribbean and you'll see what I mean. We are modeling the islands and their positions at about 1 / 7.5 scale, which still results in very large terrains and ocean regions.
Gamer.no: Will players be able to traverse land as well as sea? If so, how will this part of the game be cut out? Afterall, this is a game focused on oceanic travel, so what's going to keep players interested in the islands and other land areas? Can we expect dungeons and other typical elements found in other online games?
TD: We aren't doing land-based play or human avatars in the initial release. We are focusing for now on ship-based gameplay, and are putting a lot of work into making that very cool. One look at our screenshots should show you how much detail is going into these ships.
We are adding avatars and on-land play in the future. But we decided to start by doing a handful of important things really well, and then adding more features as the game goes on. As a small, independent developer we can't do everything at once, so we'd rather do some things better than anyone.
Gamer.no: How historically accurate is Pirates of the Burning Sea? Will you include any historic events? Speaking of events, will there be any official events or maybe a story arc introduced as the months go by?
TD: Our game begins in 1720, and the world is pretty much as it was in history. But from that point forward, the players are driving the story. Wars will break out not when history says they did, but as a result of what all the players in the game are doing.
We will have GMs staging events and stories, but we're keeping those under wraps for now.
Gamer.no: Magic has been mentioned as a element you are going to include. Does this involve magic as in other fantasy-oriented games? Does the implementation of magic make Pirates of the Burning Sea less of a historically accurate game, and more like a fantasy pirate game? How will this magic system work, and what kind of magic can we expect to see?
TD: We've decided not to do magic in the initial release at all. Our intention for magic has always been to have it be on the level of what sailors believed in at the time: curses, ghosts, haunted ships, strange idols, and the like. But our experience over the last few months has shown that most players assume "magic" means "fireballs," and there's no way we're putting fireballs in our game. So to be clear: no magic. We'd like to introduce mysterious supernatural elements in the future, but it's not a priority.