When I began playing PotCO a couple years ago, Disney had been covering cable networks advertising the oportunity to fight for the pirates way of life against the Royal Army and undead pirates. I already played a game which had me fighting all kinds of creatures including undead so why should I try another game? Because it was free to try and you could have your own ship and crew. At the time I found that particularly fascinating; Sailing a ship and firing cannons. Who would have known two years later, when everyone was waiting for the new Pirates of the Caribbean game I would have a subscription and be recruiting others to fight the Jolly Roger?


Pirates of the Caribbean Online features some very immersive environment – there also the adventurous musical scores and well-detailed environments and characters. You talk to characters from the movie for quests and storylines but you also spend a lot of time conversing with other figures created just for the game or based off of old pirate stories. The Jolly Roger attacks cities and burns them to the ground, naval officers try to arrest you and throw you in the stockade every chance they get, voodoo and gunpowder blasts your foes. Oh and ships, you can earn gold to buy your own and sail it as captain or sign on as crew and man a cannon, mastering range and firepower to blast your enemies to Davy Jones’ locker. Unless of course he is the one you wind up fighting. And what could add more to an atmosphere than 3D? The developers implemented it into the game without telling anyone and after a bit of testing sent glasses to subscribers. So, by simply pushing a button in settings and putting on blue/red 3D glasses, the game takes on new dimension.

Game Play:
There are a wide variety of skills and even a profession to master to improve your combat and keep your ship seaworthy. Leveling each skill and completing quests also increases your level and usually either your health bar or voodoo bar. The main weapons are swords, guns, and voodoo dolls. However, things such as bombs and voodoo staves can also be learned and have their own distinct advantages. When sailing a ship you can steer it and fire broadsides, which will blast a cannon volley from your right or left side. Best case scenario is you bring other players on as your crew. The larger the crew the more experience and loot you get. The crew can also man cannons and fire them at targets to sink your enemy faster. Newer additions include onshore cannon defenses, PvP both at sea and on land and potions making that does everything from improve your marksmanship to increase your gassiness. To add to the experience things like potion-making and ship repair are done by playing mini-games. You can even take your ill-gotten gains and try them at a game of chance by playing poker or blackjack at some hidden away tables. It is an open world to play, you can do quests, not do any quests and spend weeks just sailing and sinking enemies, spend days at the poker table. The very best weapons and items are gotten off of bosses so you can fight your way to just about any boss and find a handful of people waiting for the boss to re-spawn so they can kill and kill again in hopes of getting a legendary weapon. They drop so seldom though, hence the legendary status, that some players will farm for months and never seen the most prestigious weapons.


PotCO itself can be played from a desktop browser on MAC or PC. Made as companions to the game are two mini games, Desktop Galleon and Cannons of the Deep. Desktop Galleon is just that, a Galleon you sail across you desktop, picking up bonuses and broadsiding enemy ships right across your desktop icons. Nice little distraction you can play offline and free, Desktop Galleons is definitely worth a try. Also in conjunction with PotCO is a mobile browser game called Cannons of the Deep. Another free to download game this one is a simple browse forward based system that allows you to intercept ships, fight battles, or parlay for passage. Graphics are pretty simple and not animated but it is oddly addictive and unlike Desktop Galleon, this game interacts directly with PotCO. You can get money in Cannons of the Deep and transfer 1,000 gold a day to your PotCO account as well as treasure items. You can also check your character’s stats and leader-board positions and even check out the shape of your ships. If you are saving up for the next bigger ship to sail or weapons to wield, earning a thousand gold on your game a day while running around can add up fast. Most people just think you’re texting!


Controls are standard for character and ship and are also standard for most MMORPG or FPS. WASD, 123, and the mouse get you moving around just fine. There are hotkeys for menus but they can also be accessed through point and click. A player’s guide is provided free on the webpage and there is also a dedicated Wiki site.

Graphics vary in detail, they can be a bit cartoony for some things then other things like the undead warships look detailed and a bit spooky. Audio is good, sounds fitting for weapons and creatures, voice acting is good, You can even find a minstrel who play special music for you. When you are at sea you can hear the wind in the sails and the firing of cannon shots. Include the aforementioned 3D to the graphics and the experience is pretty cool.

Holidays And Other Events:

Usually concentrating on national or international holidays, PotCO celebrates with events and in game items. For Mother’s Day, a wide variety of tattoos were available, for St. Patrick’s Day the sea turned green and a variety of items and enhancements were available. Some are GM run events, but most are simple quest lines that open up tattoos or clothing options, neither of which effect gameplay and both of which can be removed. Got crazy and put a shamrock on your cheek for St. Patrick’s day? Got a hat for Pirate’s Day that doesn’t match your jacket? Both can be removed by opening your inventory.

Playtime is fairly limitless. Leveling skills, saving gold, doing quests, or just sinking everything you see can keep you going. Before this might have been a little less true when the game first began so if you gave it a couple years ago, the game has increased in richness a lot since then. A particulary impressive feature is how expansive the free to try game system is. I have known people who have played for a long time, making new characters or just saving gold without ever getting a full account. When I first started I played for free, got my first ship, and waited until I earned enough money for my second ship and had capped out all my allowed skills and quests before getting the full account. I was able to fully experience the different dynamics of gameplay before deciding I needed a bigger boat. If you do decide to subscribe it is $4.95 the first month, $9.95 each month after that unless you get a six month for $49.95 or one year for $79.95. If a full subscription makes you nervous there is a national drug store listed on the website where you can buy one month membership cards. If life gets too busy or funds get too tight you can go back to your limited membership and play all the limited membership choices and your account will be saved with all your full membership items and skills. So when or if you decide to go back to full membership you get access to all of your items again.

Last Call:
With everyone talking about the new Pirates of the Caribbean game coming out, the one that has been around a couple of years has been growing and improving under the radar. Sign up for a free account. Battle some royal naval officers, kill some undead pirates, sail some ships and sink others. You might find a richer experience than you expected.


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Dustin "Ripper71" Thomas has been a staff writer with GamingShogun.com for over 10 years and has taken on the role of Editor with a brief stint as Editor-In-Chief. He is also a co-founder of @IsItOctoberYet where he covers haunt nightmares, amusement park fun and Golden Knights hockey.