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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Why are there Stars on Battle Standards?

Pirate101 Hoodoo Banner / Battle Standard

Battle Standards are cool token-slot items in Pirate101 that you can set down to increase stats on a very particular kind of unit on the board. They seem pretty clear, but there's been a few with different star symbols on them. No one has been sure what they mean, but they do have a purpose.


Battle Standards Change Gameplay

The initial addition of Battle Standards meant yet another unique feature in Pirate101. The first battle standard was the one from the Empire Bundle, which I explored in detail HERE. The concept behind this one was a little complex (at least compared to later standards) - place it in ally territory, get one bonus. Place it in enemy territory, get two bonuses. But, if an enemy destroyed it, you'd have to suffer a penalty. And so began a trend of these new standards.

To Use or Not to Use

The problem with the Imperator's Standard, which was for birds, was that the penalty was rather harsh and all it took was an interaction to bring down the banner. The boosts simply weren't worth it. Plus, it took up a valuable item slot which took away lots of opportunities. What is now the accessory slot was always a valuable one.

First Three Banners

The next battle standard after the Imperator's was the Hoodoo one, which came with the Hoodoo Bundle and is pictured up top. We get the last version, with three stars, from an item that you receive in that bundle.

Pirate101 Imperator's Banner / Battle Standard

The third battle standard was the Beastmaster's Banner. This was released with the Moo Manchu's Tower update and came in the Grizzly Beast Pack. It was different than both banners before it. Because it affected beasts (all pets and any non-civilized companion or battle unit), its use was more common, particularly in unison with summons in Moo Manchu's Tower, as it would more than double the damage of the Aquila allies summon using the Mark of Aquila Doubloon.


Discovering Tiers

We'd just had one of every banner up until Clumsy Calamity found something interesting on a Captain Blood run. Blood's Jacket had become an extremely useful item with the release of Moo Manchu's Tower, and had resulted in an increase in farming.

An Odd Drop

Upon completion of the Captain Blood Battle, Calamity opened a Group Plunder Chest. It had something interesting inside - a Bear Claw Banner. Although named differently, it seemed to have the same card attached, but with no stars. This presented two interesting new ideas. One, that you could get items from packs (or at least variants) dropped from different locations, and two, that there might be different versions of the same battle standard.

Crown Shop Addition

If we weren't confused enough, Pirate101 really threw us for a loop when they introduced the Eye of Ursus Banner in the Crown Shop. This contained yet another Beastmaster Banner with two stars instead of three or none. It could (and can) be purchased for 1500 crowns, not only confusing us on Battle Standards, but presenting yet another new concept - that pack items, or variants, could be purchased from the Crown Shop.

Pirate101 Beastmaster's Banner / Battle Standard

Bear Claw Banner
From: Dropped by Captain Blood's Group Plunder Chest
Eye of Ursus Banner
From: Bought for 1500 crowns in the Crown Shop
Grizzled Heart Banner
From: Found as a rare reward in the Grizzly Beast Pack

Concept Art Adds to Mystery

Later down the road, a piece of concept art by Toph Gorham was posted that showed three tiers of the Pirate101 Hoodoo Banner. It's pictured up top. This is something to take note of, because there's only one version of the Hoodoo Banner in-game now. That makes me wonder if another isn't dropped somewhere and if yet another won't show up in the Crown Shop at some point.


What's the Difference?

That's the big question. Is there actually any difference between these versions of the banner? If so, it means interesting new possibilities for current and past banners in the future.

Cosmetics

For one thing, the banners all look the different. The Bear Claw Banner, which is dropped, is in a very simply form. It's a carved, wooden bear that holds the banner. As you work your way up, the banners become increasingly complex, which makes sense given that the concept art of the Hoodoo Banners all look different. Banners are like companions, and have different tiers.

Function

Each of the banners is different beyond just looks, though. They actually give different bonuses to qualifying companions and pets. The Beastmaster Banner, in this case, affects beasts. That is any wild creature, which Ratbeard loosely defines as something that doesn't walk on two legs, doesn't talk, and isn't dressed. So, El Toro and Bonnie Anne don't count, but Scorpius and Nikeeta do. Neither of them talk. Some are easier to distinguish than others.

More stars means a more powerful effect. Ratbeard says to think of them as banner "tiers." These different versions change the bonuses your units get, so having the better version can be valuable, even if it's harder to obtain.

Pirate101 Beastmaster's Banner / Battle Standard Tiers

Bear Claw Banner
Bonus: Approximately 50% damage boost for beasts
Eye of Ursus Banner
Bonus: Approximately 75% damage boost for beasts
Grizzled Heart Banner
Bonus: Approximately 125% damage boost for beasts


More to Come?

With three tiers of one standard, I'm wondering if there will be three tiers of others, or if banners we see in the future will also have various options for obtaining them.

What kind of banners would you like to see?

Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral! Credits: Thanks to Calamity for helping test with her dropped banner.

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