Bounty Bay Online Open Beta: My Impressions
I should probably preface my impressions of the Bounty Bay Online open beta by saying I’m not really into MMOs. It’s not that I have anything against them; I just haven’t seen one that looked like it could hold my interest for longer than the first monthly fee. But I thought, hey, this one’s got pirates, you get to explore new lands, and the beta’s free. That should be a lot of fun, right? Wrong. I don’t know if it’s my inexperience with MMOs, but I haven’t been this bored with a game in awhile.
You start out of course by creating your character, first by choosing between a scantily or conservatively clad male or female character. Then you choose from several faces and hair colors before hitting the open seas. You have the option of running through a tutorial at first, which introduces you to the basics of the game. By that, I mean the absolute, bare minimum basics of the game. It took only a few minutes to run through, before I was left on my own, totally confused as to what I should be doing. I guess that’s kind of the point — that you can decide whatever you want to do — but why bother. There’s no story driving this world you’re playing in. You’re just some guy trying to make his own way in the world.
There are essentially two play landscapes: land and sea. While at sea, you can travel around to different cities, fish, and battle other ships. The controls are kind of clunky, but you get used to them after a bit of practice. Still, even after you overcome this hurdle, the sea battles are less than impressive. Expect to spend a lot of time watching you and your enemy’s ships circle each other until one of you eventually sinks. Seriously, click “attack,” and then go to the kitchen and make a sandwich. By the time you get back, you’ll still be watching ships circling each other, but at least you’ll have something to eat.
On land, you’ll spend a lot of time in the cities trading goods, upgrading your ships, and basically searching for something to do. There isn’t much difference between cities though, except for the price you can get for some goods and the different items being sold. You can explore a bit outside the cities, but the most you’re likely to find are some animals to kill, plants to harvest, trees to chop down, and minerals to mine. I’ve actively played the game for about five hours (I’m not counting the time I left my character “working” in a tavern) and the deadliest creature I’ve encountered so far is a coyote. You can also pretty much set your character to mining or chopping down trees and just leave the room. Rest assured, he’ll keep at it until he runs out of room in his inventory.
I tried out a couple of missions delivering goods or escorting someone. This was made all the more cumbersome by a map that refuses to update from the initial four cities you have at the beginning of the game. You’ll be told to travel somewhere, only to find yourself wandering aimlessly on the ocean, hoping to stumble near a piece of land with the right name on it. Apparently you can get other missions from alliances and guilds, but most of them sounded like they were in the same vein, just for more money.
After all my time searching for it, I think I’ve given up on finding anything really fun to do in this game. I’d keep at it, but I can’t really see a payoff for my efforts coming anytime soon. What do I have to look forward to? A new breed of turtle to beat up? Yay. Who knows though? Maybe after a full-fledged community has built up and the full version is completed, there will be more things to do and an actual reward for it. All I know is, as a pirate and video game enthusiast, I was not impressed. If you want to check it out for yourself though, you can get the beta here.
Now when are they making an MMO about ninjas?