Brigands and barbarians are spawned by the game to engage and fight player controlled ships. Brigands fight opponents using the swordfighting puzzle, and barbarians will fight opponents using the rumbling puzzle. The frequency of spawn and relative might will depend on the particular league point a pirate's ship is traversing.
Attacking brigands or barbarians is the primary PoE fountain in all production oceans. When such an opposing ship is defeated (assuming no one has beaten it), PoE and/or commodities are transferred to the victorious players' ship. The amounts are relative to:
- The players' ship's current might
- The number of pirates aboard the players' ship
- The opposing ship's crew rank (sailors, imperials, etc.)
Generally, higher might, more players, and tougher opponents (as determined partially by their crew rank) increase payouts. However, having greenies on board decreases payouts.
Because brigands and barbarians are the primary PoE fountain on all production oceans, much energy has been used up trying to work out how best to beat them and therefore earn the highest possible payouts. This thread, which attempts to explain brigand behavior, is a good example. Some brigands and barbarians will attack immediately, while others will allow players to attack first.
Brigands and barbarians are one of the few sources of Kraken's blood.
Methods for intercepting the brigands or barbarians depends on two factors: Approach directions and speed. It is important for any navigator to know how to respond in these situations.
For example, assume both ships are going in the same direction. If the target ship is ahead of the intercepting ship, the intercepting ship must increase its speed. If it is going about the same speed as the target, chances are that the intercepting ship will never catch the target before it reaches the next league point. If the target is behind the intercepting ship, it should turn about twice to reduce speed and let the target catch up.
If the ships are going in opposite directions, timing is key. It is ideal for the intercepting ship to turn about before the target can pass it. If its timing is too late, they must try to catch the ship from behind, with the 20% speed penalty from turning about.
With Release 2007-03-21, ships matching the voyage's desired settings will be automatically targeted. This aspect was modified in Release 2007-03-23 with a checkbox so officers can toggle auto-targeting of ships.
- Barbarians were released onto the production oceans on 7 June 2006.
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