Pirate101 Test Realm Opens With Game-Changing Updates

It's up - the Pirate101 Test Realm! Or rather, it was up. However, I'm sure that it's on its way, and when it comes, be prepared for some major surprises! From class changes to companion management, there are a variety of interesting things coming your way!

The most notable updates involve companions. KingsIsle is introducing benching. This allows you to "bench" a companion, who will then not join you in battle. At first, you cannot bench any companions, but, as you progress in the game, you can bench as many as three.

The picture above shows a benched companion. Notice the "Zzz" by its icon. At the bottom left, you can see that there is an icon for benching, and that no further companions can be benched.

Right-click on a Companion in the Companion Management interface, and that Companion will never be chosen for combat. You will be granted your first "Benching" marker at 15th level with more Bench Markers added as you gain levels.

Next, Bonnie Anne is now able to heal! She will have a new ability called Second Wind, which allows her to cast a healing spell healing up to 25% of your health. The more wounded you are, the more the spell heals. That's pretty neat, considering the fact that she might heal as much as 500 health on a pirate.

This makes PvP a little bit interesting for me, as I don't use Bonnie, I use Lemba, as she's the ultimate anti-Musketeer companion. However, with this new healing spell, I might switch.

Bonnie Anne has been given a very nice healing power of her own so that all players have access to healing, regardless of class or background. The amount of healing from Bonnie Anne is affected ONLY by how wounded the target is: More wounded = more healing.

Some of my favorite other companion changes: 
  • The Cat Pirate now has a second promotion available to him.
  • El Toro's “blinders” appearance has been removed during his critical attack animation.
  • Ratbeard's second promotion hat has been improved!
The Crown Shop has been updated as well! Here are some of my favorite updates:
  • El Tiburon can now be unlocked in the Crown Shop after defeating him.
  • Goronado from the Crown Shop now wears the player's color scheme.
  • When selecting a Crown Shop unit and viewing their Epic abilities and Talents, the display will now also show the number of additional talents or abilities they will train after you purchase them.
  • Players will now find the Coral Widow can be purchased for 9,375 gold, and the Silver Buffaloon may be purchased for 15,000 gold.
Buccaneers are now new and improved!
  • The "Berserk" talent has been renamed "Turn the Tide" to better fit the desired theme. This change will affect player Buccaneers and a very small set of crowns-only units that had this Talent.
  • In addition, ALL Buccaneers have now been granted Turn the Tide as a Talent:
    • Rank 1: When you are below 50% health, you gain a +25% damage bonus.
    • Rank 2: In addition to the above, you also gain a +25% accuracy bonus.
    • Rank 3: Wait and see!

  • We have increased the debuff duration of all of the Buccaneer "Mighty Charge" attack powers. (Previously the debuff lasted just a single round.)
  • The "Repel Boarders" Epic Talent no longer has a chance to fail. It will work as advertised (within the normal limits of uses-per-turn).
  • The "Leviathan's Call" Power will now also reduce damage from Ranged attacks.
  • Finally, we have created more distance between "Heavy Armor" units and "Light Armor" units by increasing the total amount of armor enjoyed by units that had the Heavy Armor talent. This will affect most Buccaneers, but heavy-armored units of other classes (for example, Louis le Bisque) will also benefit. The intent was to make heavily armored units feel more noticeably armored by widening the gap between them and the less armored units.
Talents and Powers are getting an update as well. You can now order your powers like companions. The closer they are to the first spot, the more likely they are to come up first in combat. The further away they are, the less likely.

Wow! I'm super excited for this one. The above pictures also shows the updated Mighty Charge power. I wonder if we'll have a "firstmate talent" that always comes up the first round? Also take a look at the star in the top right corner - not sure what that is, but it's new.

Other updates to these include:
  • Many Summoned allies (like the Witchdoctor's Skeletal Minion) will scale in power based on the level, class, and talents of the player that used the power.
  • Buffs will now take into account all statistic modifiers instead of just the base statistics.
  • Ranged critical powers now work with "kit" weapons that contain a sword and a pistol.
That buff stacking is something to pay attention to, as the main school for those is Privateer. That means that the best PvP class just got a little bit better.

Combat is also getting a few updates.
  • An overall rebalancing of loot has added over 145 new rare items to Pirate101. Loot tables throughout the game have also been rebalanced to provide a more equitable distribution of items for all classes. 
  • Players will also notice all gold from treasure chests will be displayed as one amount collected.
  • Damage has a smaller range and should feel more consistent in combat and be more predictable.
  • Friar Sand now will offer players his weapon as a rare loot drop.
  • Improved the power description on the Water Guardian's Staff.
Wow! Farming time!

Check out these new badges as well:
  • Players can now obtain missing badges! The missing badges for completing all Chapter 8 and 12 sidequests are now available, and Gus McCrane will now more reliably show up in the Tumbleweed Saloon so players may also complete their Chapter 9 sidequest badge.
  • The Chumba Wumba badge is again available to be earned by players.
  • Clarified nautical level badge descriptions so they will state the nautical level required to obtain them.
  • Players now receive a badge for exploring the Aragon Skyway in Valencia.

Among a variety of quest updates, there are also some non-quest related extras to enjoy - new, rare bosses in higher-level skyways, including Admiral Barnsley, Black Jack Ketchum, The Salt Witch, Bai Lang, Admiral Chen Ling, Timur Khan, and Sanada Juyushi. Rumor has it that sinking their ships can result in some nice salvaged equipment!

There were several housing updates and glitch fixes, including the addition of two new housing vendors in Cool Ranch! Sound, Art, and General updates are included. For the full list of updates, visit THIS PAGE.

What do you think of the updates? Thanks for reading, and see you in the Spiral! Credits: Thanks to Alric Ravensinger / Brave Sam Laveer for the badge photo, powers photo, "Turn the Tide" photo, and Second Wind photo.

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