Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gamer's Diary - Ahoy!

Last night I spent a little time playing Puzzle Pirates. Or perhaps I should say, reading Puzzle Pirates. I spent far more time reading the game's documentation and tutorials than I spent actually playing.

Once in the game, I spent most of my time learning how to manage my hut and booty, and wandering into the island's shops. Finally I rediscovered the mission interface, and accepted a mission to learn swordfighting. Having played that puzzle and losing to an NPP (non-player pirate), it was time to quit.

I learned two things from my reading of the documentation and my brief time in-game. First I found that the game has in it a lot to do, and second that I don't have to do everything.

I suppose that when I decided to try Puzzle Pirates I thought that it would just be a slightly enhanced multiplayer version of Puzzle Quest. Boy did I goof. It has a lot in it to do, from buying and selling on the islands, to manning duty stations on a ship, to building and owning ships and buildings, to taking on various levels of command authority (including fleet admiral or colonial governor), to participating in a naval blockade. And one can do many other things besides.

However, unlike many other MMOs, one need not spend most of one's time in these non-puzzling activities. Nor must one grind for hours, night after night, for experience points or gold. The player can engage in all the non-puzzle game activities if he wishes, or spend the bulk of his time with the puzzles. If she wishes, she can log on once or twice a week, play puzzles for twenty minutes, and quit. Tyler Durden, in Fight Club, said it very well: "You determine your own level of involvement."

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