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Today Netmarble put some special smith forging tools in the item mall. As with everything else in the game, explicit formulas aren't forthcoming, but it looks like the magnitude of the bonuses does not depend on what gear you apply it to. Applied to top end gear, you'd get around +50% strength to cannons, land weapons, or armor.
That basically means that if you were thinking of picking up the game for the sake of PVP, don't, at least unless you plan on buying the new items. At current prices, the tools are a pro-rated $0.30 each, though they do wear out. I'm not sure if it takes one to max gear, or if you'd need to burn through a ton of them. I'm guessing that it's the latter. Dungeons are likewise massively affected.
Adventuring discoveries, thankfully, are still unaffected. Whoever runs the item mall seems to have the idea that this is a conventional MMORPG that is almost entirely about combat, and chooses things for the item mall accordingly.
Incidentally, this may not have that much effect on getting ganked by pirates. Pirates don't want to sink you with cannons. They want to board you and take your stuff, and cannons don't help with that. This won't help them board you, and if they can't board you, they can't steal your stuff. If anything, driving pirates to quit (as pvpers are the most affected by the new items) could make the seas safer.