Destructoid Exclusive Q&A: Pirates of the Burning Sea producer, Joe Ludwig

After the recent announcement that Flying Lab’s MMO Pirates of the Burning Sea was shutting down seven of the eleven originally launched servers, one would get the impression that the title was taking its first steps towards becoming one of those games that no one really plays, which was a real disappointment to those gamers with a secret desire for adventure seeking and wench conquest. (The latter is not such a secret desire, in a pirate’s day or a modern one.)

Luckily, Destructoid recently had the pleasure to chat with Flying Lab in regards to that very topic and more. We recently had a Q&A session with Joe Ludwig, producer for Pirates of the Burning Sea, who tells us about everything from why Pirates is proud not to be a WoW clone to sharing a glimpse through the wooden telescope at the game’s future. Check out the full article after the jump (there may booty within!)

Destructoid: Hi Joe, thank you for joining us! A few questions for you…firstly, was the reception to the game’s launch lesser than what Flying Lab hoped for?  

Joe: Everyone always hopes for more, but we are on track for what we expected. Our hope is to increase marketing and continue our public relations efforts and continue our upward trend.

Destructoid:
How do you feel about competing with WoW, with the behemoth of the MMO industry?  

Joe:
Competing with WoW is something that every MMO has to do to a certain extent. The trick is to not try to compete head to head on WoW’s own turf. Pirates of the Burning Sea is different from WoW in several key ways: We have a greater emphasis on PvP than they do. Our economy is driven by players instead of NPCs and loot. The golden age of piracy is distinct from their fantasy setting. And, of course, our ship combat is something that WoW doesn’t offer in any form. While there is some overlap, these differences allow us to appeal to a somewhat different set of players than WoW does, which reduces the amount of direct competition between the two games.

Destructoid:
What was the response of active gamers in the Pirates community to the shutdown of the servers (specifically those who had characters on the servers that got shut down?)  

Joe: The response from our community has been almost completely positive. Players on servers that are shutting down are sad to lose their server, but are thrilled to have more people to group with, sell to, buy from, and fight against. The increased population on the remaining servers has really reenergized the community.

Destructoid:
How is Flying Lab going to turn the reduction of game size into a positive for the existing community, some of who may feel that the game’s future is unsure after such an announcement?

Joe: In fact, shutting down servers is something we did because of its positive effect on the community. We knew there would be some negative PR when we made the announcement, but decided to take this step much earlier than another game might because of how it would affect the community. We have several game systems that just plain work better with more people, in particular PvP and the economy. Now that most of the community has transferred to one of the remaining servers, these systems are working nicely.

All of the “uncertain future” buzz is actually centered on internet game journalists, not on our own community. Our community has been expecting us to announce something about merges for a while now.

Destructoid:
What can we expect to see from Pirates of the Burning Sea over the next few months?
Joe: We have tons of exciting new stuff on the way.  We are pushing our 1.3 patch live within the next week, which includes dueling on land or aboard ships, the new French capital Pointe-a-Pitre, new group conquest missions, and greatly increased rewards for PvP. After 1.3 we have a new career for pirates, the Skirmish System (which allows battleground-style PvP), two new Epic Missions, and tons of other smaller features. These will be released in patches about once a month throughout the rest of the year and beyond. We will be sharing more news regarding the coming Pirates of the Burning Sea features via our front page, which you can find at www.burningsea.com.

Destructoid: Thanks to both Joe and the crew at Flying Labs for your time. We’ll see you on the plank! 

Colette Bennett