Lost in Translation: The Hole in the Pirate101 Plot

The Pirate101 storyline has always been fascinating. Sure, it's another "I'm going to remake the Spiral in my image" story, but it's so much more complex than that. Speculation points to a Valencia expansion with the next update, and that has players asking, "What are we doing there?"

Woah, What Just Happened?

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Long Story Short

The simple answer is that we're there for the map pieces, right? But this is book 15, so if we steal the map pieces now and then need only two more. But what would the Armada be doing for last quarter of the story besides chasing us? No, there has to be something more, but I do believe we'll be returning to Valencia to steal the final pieces. That heist will be much grander in scale than our first.

Blind Mew Ignites Interest

Trimond297 on the official Pirate101 message boards asked Blind Mew and interesting question:

Rooke said that he would see to the Map piece's translation after General Tso presented it to him before he had his urgent business in Marleybone, in Book 11's end, but that would mean using the Scroll of Secrets, which was located in the Library of Contemplation in Subata. Governor Umeboshi said that they would be heading there to do so, but judging from what happened when we visited the Library in Subata to pursue and stop them, the Amber Horde was there first. I think they must have driven the Armada out, so they didn't get to translate the Map. Amazing! For a bunch of robotic puppets, they sure don't know how to handle a group of fierce, tough barbarians. 

Did Quan-shi said it was taken? Yes, but who? Was it either the Armada or the Amber Horde? If it was the Amber Horde, then we would've been entrusted to take the Scroll back from them and return it to the Library of Contemplation during our quest to receive the 5 Turtle Balls in the storyline. Do we get to recover the Scroll of Secrets back from the Amber Horde? I was hoping for that to happen. 

I was sure we would find the Armada troops in Subata, but they're not there at all. And when we finally reached Cao Tzu on Maruzame at Book 12's end, he was fine, as if he'd never gotten a visit from the Armada at all in the first place, and taught us the translations of the markings, which I haven't truly seen how he does that, by the way, though I'm sure it's from the Scroll of Secrets. I'm guessing he's one to avoid the enemy so easily. Clever legendary entity, he is.

Blind Mew, leaving us nearly totally in the dark, responded with this:

I don't think any Clockworks went to the Library of Contemplation - they'd be unusual enough visitors to warrant mention in the dialogue. There is another possibility here you're not seeing. [The Scroll of Secrets] was taken, by the Amber Horde. [If we had recovered it], that would definitely have been mentioned. [Cao Tzu] wrote the Scroll of Secrets. He knows how to translate the markings - where do you think Pollo learned them? He was very hard to get to. Not the kind of thing Rooke would bother himself with. Again, there's a solution here you're not seeing. 

Considering that content has been live a year without it being mentioned, the gap may seem bigger than it is. That said, there is a logical answer to this mystery.

Upon further questioning, Blind Mew noted this:

As I said in the post that she responded to, this is another possibility regarding the whole Scroll of Secrets theft, that does not involve a dangling thread (plot hole is a little extreme of a term), a possibility that you aren't seeing. That's what she was responding to. Nobody comments on it in game, but this sort of thing happens from time to time. But even that can be explained, if you're willing to infer... 

Besides, perhaps Quan Shi didn't want to send you guys to get it for him - you are Outlanders, after all. You asked for the scroll, he didn't have it. True, he never asked you to get it back, he sent you someplace else to get the same info. Why didn't he ask? Maybe he had reasons. What happened to the Scroll? I believe I said we'd be getting back around to it at some point. Revision of the existing quest is not required.

The Hole in the Plot

This whole topic has since died down, but this "dangling thread" is huge. It means a few things:
  • Rooke and the Armada never translated that piece or any part of the map and do not have the resources to do so.
  • The Armada did not so much as attempt to steal the Scroll of Secrets for translation purposes from the Library of Contemplation.
  • Quan Shi didn't ask our pirate to retrieve the Scroll of Secrets, but had no problem sending us the long way to one of the most mystical beings of Mooshu (therefore the reason cannot be because he wishing to protect the information or scroll, unless he assumes we will fail).
  • The Scroll of Secrets is still missing and in the hands of the Amber Horde.
So what does the Armada actually intend to do with their map? Without the ability to read and use it, it's worthless. Rooke didn't want to bother himself with the task of so much as defeating a few Amber Horde ships to find a location from which to retrieve the Scroll of Secrets. This might have something to do with the Nefarious Tower, but the scroll itself is sure to be revisited later.

Simple Solution? This Would Be Telling.

As Blind Mew states, there's an easy solution that no one is seeing. That might not be MY solution, but I've got an idea as to why exactly the Armada isn't concerned with translating the map themselves - something that'd be essential to their El Dorado journey.

What if the Armada doesn't intend to beat you to El Dorado? What if... they intend to let YOU, as the pirate, do the leg work, and collect all of the map pieces (including the last two which are likely in dangerous areas and one of which is related to your own parents)? What if the Armada was going to let you steal their pieces to get to El Dorado?

It's crazy, I know. But why else would the Armada be ignoring one of the most important elements of navigating to the final world? This would also explain not only why the Armada isn't pursuing the scroll, but also why they aren't frequently ambushing your pirate for his or her pieces. What it doesn't explain is why Quan-Shi didn't send you after the scroll. There are a few possibilities:

  1. Quan-Shi doesn't trust Outlanders with the task of obtaining the Scroll from the Amber Horde
  2. Quan-Shi actually has the Scroll of Secrets and simply doesn't want to share the artifact itself
  3. Quan-Shi is a double agent who already sold the scroll to the Armada.

The problem with each of these is that he actually sent us after the same information. Perhaps he hoped we'd die along the way.

Road to El Dorado

Our trip to this mystic world of unknown terrors (that apparently are so fearsome that even returning crew members have yet to speak of them) is supposed to be the hardest part of the journey. Once we're actually there, we can return. For whatever reason, the Marco Pollo crew can't do the same (but that's a plot hole for another day).

As it turns out, this "hole" may actually tell us exactly what's coming next that puts all of the pieces of the puzzle together. The question is, will we steal all of the map pieces in the next story segment in Valencia? Surely they'll not make it easy, only possible. But do they really want us to have the pieces and do it ourselves? It would explain why Blind Mew mentions that not all of the Armada elites may be dead when we reach El Dorado. What do you think?

Bonus Points

On the subject of translations and cracking codes, I've got a little circular navigation chart up in the very first image. It's not the faded map piece on the left, but the bit on the right. If anyone can be the first to correctly translate any of the three different messages there, they may or may not receive a prize.

Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral! Credits: Thanks to Trimond297 for posting the original question on the official Pirate101 boards.


  1. I translated the message on the far right, I came up with "The chimpanzees are responsible for this nonsense"?

  2. The very left messages (the two small ones that are the same) were solved by Evan Silver.
    The very right message (the largest one) was solved by Destiny Devereaux.
    The middle message in the circle has not yet been solved.

  3. Swordroll, you're missing something here. Here's my take on the story:
    The Armada won't let us do all the legwork because we are too dangerous. Our own efforts to achieve the pieces have already lead to the death of Rooke and Deacon, and Bishop's greatest creation, Beachhead, was blown up from the inside not by explosives, but by Beachhead's weakness. We are simply too dangerous to be let loose. The reason the Armada isn't going after us? Easy.

    They can't. Up until Deacon's death, the Armada knew where we were. They knew what we were doing, and they were always one step ahead. But with the death of Deacon, the Armada's intelligence network fell apart. We fell of the radar, and the Armada could only assume where we would go to get the next piece. And after we defeat Rooke, they now no longer have a General. They have completely lost track of us, which is why we were able to gallivant around Aquila without any Clockwork interference.

    So, this is what I say about Quan-Shi. He gave the Scroll to Rooke. What other choice did he have? He had absolutely no loyalty to the Armada, so when the Pirate comes along, he willingly gives us the second best variant: seek out Cao Tzu.

    1. That's quite insightful! Didn't ...Blind Mew... mention that the Scroll of Secrets was stolen by the Amber Horde?

    2. The Amber Horde sold Subodai to the Armada, why not the Scroll? I mean, if anyone will find uses for it, it will certainly NOT be the horse barbarians. (Same person responding)

  4. There is a simple explanation- the Armada paid the Amber Horde to steal the Scroll for them so that we would never know they had it. They are allowing us to believe that we are two steps ahead of them when they are actually right behind us.

  5. I've been thinking that the rest of this arc is going to be 1. Going to Polaris or Grizzleheim to find Eric the Red and attempt to get his piece. 2. Go to wherever our parents' graves are (Darkmoor?) to get their piece. 3. Wage war vs the Armada (Monquista? Polaris?) until we can go to Cadiz and steal the Armada pieces, defeating Kane in the process of stealing them.

    I just feel like El Dorado will be Pirate101's Celestia (Arc 2 and new mechanics).


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