If only you'd just known! There are a lot of key bits of information in both Wizard101 and Pirate101 that players don't necessarily pick up on until it's too late to make use of them. I've compiled ten of them here in no particular order in hopes that new pirates and existing pirates who pass information on will learn a thing or two.
This is an all-too-common error among new wizards. Who needs fancy mounts when there are others that serve the same function for gold? Not just that, but all of those cool houses, some of the mounts, and even some of the gear items can be purchased with gold! There's a small tab to the right of "Crowns" under the preview window that will typically be greyed out. If it's not, however, you can click on it to switch over to gold and pay with that instead. You'll save crowns and therefore money.
2. You can discard powers just like spells.
One of things that can take some time to catch on to in Pirate101 is that powers in your power bar can be discarded just like spells in Wizard101. You can right click on them to get rid of them. Some players use the structure of power drawing (powers closer to the first spot are more likely to be drawn first) to strategically place cards such that they can discard and have a little more freedom in their hand rather than simply drawing all "good" powers and not really being able to discard any to get the one you need.
3. Where you were born, how your parents died, and why you were arrested make a difference!
The choices in the Book of Secrets determine your Wizard101 school, so it might seem like you're just trying for a particular class in Pirate101, but the items you pick in each of Boochbeard's questions determine something important.
Where you were born determines which of five companions you receive in the Presidio dungeon in Skull Island. This character will play a central role throughout the rest of the game and have quite a few dialogue lines.
Where you grew up determines a particular talent that your pirate gets, setting you apart from others. While there are some common associations with classes, you can choose any talent you want and likely benefit in some way.
Why the Armada arrested you is the question that determines your class. This is perhaps the biggest decision you make, determining powers, abilities, and trainers. There is a great guide to all three choices on KingsIsle' Blog here.
4. Conserve your companion points!
The further away your pirate is in level from your companions, the more these companion points are worth. Make use of new companions and be conservative with your point spending. You'll get more levels for fewer points by waiting as long as possible. One method I use is to battle without any training until I fail and then train some companions. Another would be to wait until I can get at least two levels out of one point.
At the end of the game, if you play frequently, you'll most likely want to get all companions to their maximum level. This is mind, you can save a lot of gold by planning ahead.
5. Do most companion promotions as soon as possible.
Promotions for companions mean new epic abilities and appearances, and oftentimes new powers. Not only that, but they're typically related to where you're at in the story and they can be a lot of fun to do (though they usually involve lots of running around).
This is an easy way to follow through on item number four and still increase the power level of your companions. There are guides on Pirate101 Central as to when companions promote.
6. Do not board ships on collect quests, and keep your nautical level up to date.
When you have to defeat a certain number of enemies, the most efficient way is to sink a ship. Yes, you get credit for each enemy that dies on a ship for badges and quests. If you need to defeat five Armada guards and they happen to be on an Armada ship in the skyway, sink one or two and you're done. It can be very efficient. Be careful not to board ships during these quests - it's much faster to sink them without ever doing direct battle.
Also be sure to keep your nautical level up to date. There is no world in Pirate101 in which you will not have to defeat ships, so unless you plan on getting assistance for each and every one, you'll want to spent at least some time defeating ships at an appropriate level to increase your nautical level. You can join up with other pirates to form nautical experience and scrip parties for the most efficient leveling. Some quests also aware small amounts of nautical experience.
7. Pick your pricing model carefully!
Pirate101 offers two pricing models: Crowns (pay by chapter) and Membership. With Membership, you pay a standard fee of $10 per month (or, depending on sales and promotions, as low as $6.95 a month or $60 for one year), and you get access to everything your character has progressed to, all the time. This includes the Test Realm and a series of member benefits such as additional backpack space, faster energy regeneration, unlimited and free access to ranked PvP matches, free companion resets, and other benefits.
As a Crowns player, you pay by the chapter you unlock. You purchase crowns at a rate of 500 per $1 (or, depending on sales and promotions, as low as 60,000 for $60 or 90,000 crowns for $80). The complete cost of Pirate101 right now is 89,712 crowns, two payments of the $60 for 60,000 crowns, or less if purchased in smaller sections, so if you intend to play Pirate for more than three years, it's typically a better deal to become a Crowns player. Crowns players, however, do not get access to Test Realms unless they have purchased crowns in the last 30 days (they can purchase once the Test Realm, often called the TR, opens, and then get in).
The two are not mutually exclusive. You can be a Crowns player and need to reset all your companions, and become a member for a month. Or you can be a member and want to purchase something from the Crown Shop, and buy some crowns. Pick carefully when it comes to the game areas, though, because if you ever switch, your previous investment was essentially lost. Consider both before playing.
8. Consider your play style before training powers - even free ones.
This is something you really want to think about early on. As you train more and more powers and abilities, it will become more and more expensive to reset your pirate's training points. Choose wisely. Here's the real kicker, though - think about your class powers. For a long time, Nausica was destroying (and really still does) Musketeers in the arena. Part of the problem was that Musketeers would trigger True Grit with Quick Draw, so those who had not leveled refrained from training Quick Draw from the Musketeer instructor at all. You cannot reset class powers, so everyone who has already trained it loses out.
9. Don't be so quick to turn in all of your promotion quests!
Some promotions unlock places that you'll want to farm to spend time which will close after you hand in the quest. The biggest example is Bonnie Anne's Marleybone promotion quest. In this quest, the pirate defeats Captain Swing. Swing drops a unique hat, outfit, boots, and set of daggers, but he is only able to be fought while the promotion quest is still active. That in mind, make sure to farm him for everything you want before handing in the quest. Keep this in mind for future promotions!
10. Blogs and fansites are your friends, and not just the official ones!
That's right. If you've got a question about something or are just looking for some extra excitement during slow game times, sites are the place to be. Start yourself off with the list of official fansites and then branch out and see what else is available to you. There's plenty of it, and there are some truly insightful and enlightening guides and theories around.
What's one thing you wish that you knew before starting Pirate101?
Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!