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Jail break character creation tied into the story+
Tutorial tips/reminders available, such as . . . you need to select a ship to find it on the harbor now that you logged out for a while+
Customer service (for me) turnaround was about 10 hrs (probably less. I did not check frequently). Quality, courteous answer. Not bad for so soon after opening+
Game in one word: Playful.
Extrapolation: The game wants to play with you as much as you with it. The dialogue is fitting, tasteful, well-written, with quality voice overs. The game has NEVER felt like work to me. All play. Have yet to find a need or cultivate a desire to grind.+
Quests: well thought out. simple, yet depth of story adds flavor. (dont kill ten rats, but, rather, kill ten rats so that the prisoners from an expedition you work for as a free lance agent can make their way out of the tunnels after you free them from their captivity.)+
Ground Combat: think Risk meets Magic: the Gathering meets Puzzle Quest meets MMO. Yes, you could attack the box that is standing in your way toward getting to that one enemy over there . . . or you could have that NPC companion bottleneck and opening while you get in position to do an AoE artillery barrage on the enemies trying to negotiate through your characters. The combat is balanced well. I have never once felt under or over powered.+
Accessability in combat: see someone in combat? want to join in? get off the safe path on side of road and walk into the fray, you will be auto-queued to fight as long as the fight isnt already full. In ship combat, you can help repel boarders from friendly ships, or help storm a ship by sailing close and pressing x. Then you are placed on the map, just like in Ground Combat.+
Graphcis: WoW loses a few shoddy details and turns them into visible ship customizations, from armor to cannon type (bronze is bronze colored, iron is iron. subtle difference, but it shows they care)+
Music: as playful as the game itself. Its an uplifting, slightly mischevious, friendly, pirate-themed soundtrack.+
Now to the cost:
Do you NEED to use cash shop? Short answer: No.
Can you, if you wish to, buy convenience items/gear to help you get started/progress? Yes.
But, again, do you NEED to spend money in cash shop? No.
10$ a month with a monthly subsription (less if multiple months are bought together) is more than reasonable for the amount of fun that this game promises.
Try the Demo (F2P) version and if you like what you see when you get to where you need to have a sub, think about subbing.
10$ a month . . . hmm . . . going out to eat is about that much. if you go alone.
And besides, the people who have worked at this game, and continue working to make it bigger and better . . . they have to eat as well. And pay the electric bill. Etc.
So, long story short:
1) great, kid-friendly game (with chat filter. have yet to see ANY profanity, even mispelled, slip by)
2) cheap subscription prices, and bundle prices for families that would like to game together (the family that plays together, stays together)
3) Alot of potential for trolls to bash it because both subscription and cash shop available.
Just because you CAN spend all your money in a cash shop when you do not have to is more of a test of will and character of oneself rather than a flaw within the game.
Some people have more money than time and want things to help make their journey a bit easier. Some have more time than money . . . but can still probably afford 10$ a month if they want to do so.
Cry me a river if this upsets you. I will sail down it and shake my pirate hook at ye! Yarr!