Pirates of the Caribbean Online
|Pirates of the Caribbean Online|
|Developer(s)||Disney Interactive Media Group
Alberto Campo (Lead)
|Publisher(s)||Disney Interactive Studios|
|Distributor(s)||Disney Interactive Media Group|
|Series||Pirates of the Caribbean|
Closure: September, 19, 2013
|Genre(s)||Historical fantasy MMORPG|
|Distribution||Direct download link|
Pirates of the Caribbean Online, or "POTCO", was an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) based on the series of movies and the Disney theme park attraction of the same name. It closed on September 19, 2013.
The game was first announced by The Walt Disney Company on April 26, 2005. It was originally scheduled to be released in summer 2006, to coincide with the release of the film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, but its release was pushed back multiple times. The game went through two beta testing phases during 2007 and was officially launched on October 31, 2007.
The game was officially available to players in the United States, United Kingdom, parts of Mexico, and Canada. The game ran in the Panda3D graphics engine. As of September 19, 2013, Pirates of the Caribbean Online closed and is no longer available to play.
In Pirates Online, players were able to create a customizable pirate, captain a ship, assemble a crew, and play the role of a pirate in the 18th century Caribbean. Player interaction took place in and around Port Royal, Tortuga, Cuba and Padres del Fuego with characters from the film series (including Jack Sparrow, Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann) as major Non-player_characters. Gameplay also involved encounters with new characters and enemies unique to the game, such as Jolly Roger and his undead horde. In order to become a notorious pirate (the game's experience system), player's were required to forge alliances, complete quests for reputation and gold coins, hunt for buried treasures, battle evil forces and outsmart enemies.
The level cap for the game was level 50 and there was a maximum skill level of 30.
In-game combat consisted of pressing F1-F4 on the keyboard to switch weapons, and clicking the mouse or pressing Ctrl multiple times to create combinations, resulting in more damage. The game had a limited list of weapons available — cutlass, broadsword, sabre, blunderbuss, bayonet, musket, pistol, voodoo doll, dagger (and also included throwing knives), grenades, and voodoo staff — with each upgradeable.
Players could play Poker and Blackjack in taverns, with the ability to bet gold on each game. These games were played against NPCs or other online players. The maximum amount of gold that could be carried was 200,000.
Ships were very important; providing a way to travel and to fight. Players assembled crews to run the ships while in battle. However, crews only lasted while logged in. If a player remained logged-out for more than five minutes, they left the crew.
Leaderboards enabled players to compare scores with other pirates and guilds. The ranking criteria of Top 25 players and guilds included overall notoriety, enemies defeated, ships sunk, Pirate vs. Pirate battles, times in jail and blackjack and poker hands won.
Based on player feedback, extensive revisions were implemented in 2009 to optimize Pirates Online. Developers expanded the game by introducing new enemies and adding the ability to retrain weapons skills and revive fellow players. Also added were a stowaway transportation system, and the chance to defend Port Royal, Padres Del Fuego and Tortuga against invading armies of "undead" pirates ultimately ending in a fight with Jolly Roger (the game's nemesis). Other Pirates Online changes concentrated on improving the website, adding weekly community events and improving customer service and player-to-player interaction.
There have been many expansions and updates to the game since it was introduced and officially launched. They have gone from minimal graphic updates to complete island overhauls, as Port Royal, Tortuga and Padres del Fuego did in 2009. Next came Privateering, where players could join French or Spanish Navies for player Ship vs Ship Combat. In 2010, Pirates Online underwent a massive weapons expansion, allowing players to have dozens of items at hand at the same time, and hundreds available to them in loot, and at stores. On May 17, 2011, the Queen Anne's Revenge was launched as a flagship to coincide with the latest movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which was released in theatres three days later. The most recent, and one of the most major expansions in the game, was Ship Customization. It added the ability to change your pirate's ship's hull style, rigging, sail colour, and add an emblem to the sails. Additionally, the expansion added a new ship, the Brig, to the purchasable ship type roster.
Story Quest: Set Sail
The game began on the island of Rambleshack, where the character has been jailed for some unsaid reason. They are in luck however, as they share the cell with Jack Sparrow and he helps free them as Jolly Roger is laying siege to the island. Before they leave, they met Will Turner - who gives them their first weapon (a Cutlass) and Sea Chest. As the player readies to leave, skeletons appear and attack William. The player escapes the warehouse through the back door, but must fight Skeletons that block their escape. At the dock, a ship (The Grim Reaper) captained by Bo Beck is waiting. After confronting an unidentified Undead warship, the game's main villain Jolly Roger appears. It is revealed that Beck was to bring Jack to Roger, but Jack paid a higher bribe and offered the player as a substitute. Jolly Roger then turns Beck into a skeleton, but lets the player live as a warning to Sparrow.Arriving In Port Royal, voodoo mistress Tia Dalma warns of dark forces of the EITC and Jolly Roger rising in the Caribbean, and that the Black Pearl is needed; but unfortunately the Pearl has been captured by the Royal Navy. As Elizabeth Swann is approached for help, she tells the player that the release of the Pearl would not be easy, but instead gives the player a ship (Light Sloop). Later, Captain Hector Barbossa then hands the player a Pistol. Finally, the player catches up with Jack in the Faithful Bride tavern on Tortuga.
Story Quest: Chapter 1: The Black Pearl Crew
Jack asks the player to help gather the Pearl's old crew so they can free her and they must perform a number of quests for each crewman before they will join. The first chapter of the story ends with the Black Pearl Boss Battle, in which players have to team up to sail the Black Pearl out of the fort it's kept in on a secret island by blowing up enemy forts and the main boss ship the HMS Goliath.
Story Quest: Raven's Cove
After obtaining much notoriety, Jack asks for the player's help once again. Jolly Roger has set up a rum blockade to drive Jack out into the open. The Player must find one of the Cursed Blades of El Patron and use it against Jolly. The Blades are located at Raven's Cove, a haunted and desolate isle that was turned into ruins by Jolly Roger and the EITC. The player meets Crazy Ned, the only living inhabitant of Raven's Cove. In order to get into the mines, the player must gain the trust of Ned by helping the friendly ghosts of Raven's Cove.
After doing so, the player will obtain a key to an elevator to the mining area of Raven's Cove. This ends the first part of the quest and starts the second in which the player finds 2 ghosts in El Patron's Mine named Dr. Bellrog and his bodyguard, Kudgel. The doors that lead to El Patron's Ship, where the Cursed Blades are is sealed, so the player must do a series of quests given by Bellrog to unlock the doors. Once the player does so, the third and final part of the quest begins, the El Patron Boss Battle. Dr. Bellrog no longer has any need for the player and orders Kudgel to kill the player. After defeating Kudgel, the player must leave the cave and Battle El Patron himself. Afterwards, the player is able to choose 1 of the 3 Cursed Blades El Patron used himself.
By doing so, the player receives an Evil Curse of Doom. After completing every quest the player can just do things on his own.
The game was developed by the VR Studio, a group of technologists and artists that are part of the Walt Disney Internet Group. It was the second MMORPG developed by the VR Studio, the first being Toontown Online, which launched in 2003. An early demo of the game was shown at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) trade show in May 2006. The game's official website was also redesigned at that time to include a trailer, some screenshots and some concept art.
On January 8, 2007, Paul Yanover of Disney Online showed video footage of the upcoming game during Disney CEO Robert Iger's keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show. He also announced that "we’re going to let you play this massively multiplayer online game for free for as long as you want." Also, several press accounts of the event state that the game will debut during the second quarter of 2007.
The game went through two beta testing phases during 2007 and was officially launched on October 31, 2007.
On August 20, 2013 all members received notification that the game would shut down on September 19, 2013. Between August 20 and September 19, all members were automatically upgraded to a paid "Unlimited" account for free. During the game's final month, all members received double gold and double plunder.
The game continued on a similar path since its release. However, many players started to notice changes in game play and content release that seemed more negative than positive. The game performance issues such as lag and delays were on the increase as time passed and new content was either lacking or was being added at a very slow pace. Thus, after 4+ years, a group of dedicated individual players started a friendly and peaceful petition asking Disney Interactive Media Group for improvements on all aspects such as game performance, content, cheat blocking, etc. The petition, entitled Revive POTCO officially started on July 29, 2012 and has since collected more than 3300 signatures. 
The petition called for improvements on the following aspects:
- Server Lag and Delay
- Bugs and Glitches
- Customer Service
Pirates of the Caribbean Online received some moderate reviews. Reviewers generally noted the game's family-friendly atmosphere, rather simple graphics, and easy yet tactical ship combat. The game was also[when?] voted for the Beckett Massive Online Game Survey, under the category for best online game for family friendly atmosphere, in which it won runner-up.
- 2003: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
- 2006: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
- 2007: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
- 2011: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
- 2016: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
- Video Games
- 2003: Pirates of the Caribbean (video game)
- 2003: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (video game)
- 2006: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (video game)
- 2006: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow
- 2007: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (video game)
- 2011: Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game
- "Disney Online Developing Pirates of the Caribbean Massively Multiplayer Online Game". The Walt Disney Company (Press release). 2005-04-26. Retrieved 2008-11-29. "The game was slated to debut in summer 2006, coinciding with the theatrical premiere of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.""
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- "Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean Online Sets Sail". The Walt Disney Company (Press release). 2007-10-31. Retrieved 2008-01-24.
- "Revive POTCO".
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