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Friday, November 28, 2014

The Black Market: Initial Impressions


Pirate101 recently opened their Test Realm, and while Book XV isn't included, there's plenty to be excited for! The highlight of the update is probably the Black Market and all its goodies. Here's what I've learned so far and here are my personal opinions.

The Concept of Scrip

Not all items can be purchased with gold. What exactly is Scrip? If you haven't had a chance to test it out or see it in the Test Realm, where it's currently located, it's a new currency for use in the Black Market only. This currency is sort of like arena tickets in Wizard101, and I suspect that when Player versus Player matches and even tournaments start up, it'll be what's used. I'm personally a fan of the second currently (or third if you count crowns).


The Arena

When I first logged on to the Test Realm to take a quick look around, I was immediately invited by Chrissy the Blesser to join her in doing... something. I had been doing other things and saw a "Last chance" message and quickly teleported over, thinking maybe she had a group plunder chest.

It was actually a new instance - the arena - which could be purchased for 7500 crowns from the Crown Shop. Here, you did matches against a variety of enemies from different worlds. There are ten total floors, cycling through all worlds, minus Valencia, twice. The fights are not easy and there's no chance to heal between battles outside quickly clicking a potion bottle.

You receive Scrip based on how many levels you complete and how many people are with you. More for more levels and more for fewer people. While it IS easier with more people, it also takes longer, and I ended up being in the dungeon for several hours. It was actually a lot of fun.


My only concern is the cost. Right now, it's $7.50 to $15.00. I think that 3,500 crowns would be more reasonable ($3.50 to $7.00), and would encourage more players to buy it for themselves as opposed to simply using their friends'.

Ship Sinking

Fighting in the Arena isn't the only way to earn scrip. You can also get it from ships, and the further from Skull Island they are, the more you'll get. No one is sure if that means physically or in terms of level. One thing is for sure - getting scrip from ships may create a reemergence of nautical XP parties, or, more appropriately, scrip parties.

Reports so far indicate that the number of scrip being obtained from ships is anywhere from 12-30. That's reasonable, except that I've heard it takes a lot of ships just to get a single drop of scrip. One positive is that turrets drop scrip every time, so that's one surefire way to get it, if somewhat slowly.

The Black Market

The highlight of the whole new currency at this point is definitely the Black Market. Run by Squid Viscous, the tentacles of the market have a variety of goods for sale. One sells housing items - some new dividers, and various housing items to go with your ship. Another sells doubloons - currently only one that summons several squid minions to fight with you. Yet another sells a two-level Captain's Cabin. The final tentacle sells equipment, including class banners and a new pet. Some of it is awfully cool.

One recommendation I have on the gear is that each set seems to have a hat attached to the outfit piece. This is the difference between buying and not buying the outfit for me. I'm not a fan of some of the hat parts. I'd sure buy some things separately, though. I'm incredibly excited to give this more attention in live and start earning scrip.


Scrip Income Versus Cost

This is the one issue with the new system. The rate at which you acquire currency is not at all proportional to the cost of items. Initially, you could only do this two-hour dungeon for a little less than 150 scrip every 18 hours. The biggest item from the Black Market was the Captain's Cabin that's two levels, at 75,000 scrip. That meant that if you did it religiously every 18 hours, it would take you 375 days, or over one year, to obtain the cabin. Assuming a 1.5 hour average in the dungeon, you'd also be spending 750 hours, or 31.25 straight days in the dungeon - about a month of your year!

Now you can do it every two hours. The problem is that, although you can do it every two hours, not everyone has the time to do it 24/7, which is what you'd be doing with how long the dungeon takes. And this also doesn't change the fact that you must spend an entire month of the year non-stop farming this dungeon. I think that there's a better solution

What if the dungeon gives up to 500 scrip a run, and ships give up to 50? Then, instead of one per minute, you're making more like four. With this, you'd need to do the dungeon 150 times (essentially like doing Moo Manchu's Tower 150 times) to get the Cabin. That's about a 225-hour commitment to getting it, which is still tough, but I'd say that's a lot more reasonable. Of course, the other alternative is simply to lower Black Market prices.

Coming Soon!

Ultimately, once a few of those flaws are worked out, this is going to be a great system for Pirate101. I believe it'll also pave the way for ranked PvP and ship PvP. Hope you see you all testing it out and leaving feedback!

Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!

2 comments:

  1. I agree that the Scrip prices are very daunting. The system is going to need a lot of work to accommodate the attention spans and sanities of players. What I hope is that a rather lucrative third option isn't accessed - offering Scrip for Crowns. Nice post!

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  2. Great post as per usual. I agree with your scrip assessment. They need to either lower the prices or increase the way to get it. That was a fun dungeon to do even if he payoff wasn't as high as we had hoped.

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