This is a tutorial for starting out in the game.
Creating your Pirate
After you've installed the Yohoho! client and chosen an ocean to play on (there is a guide to choosing an ocean here), you need to create a pirate before you start playing. Click on one of the three buttons labelled "Create new Pirate" and start creating your character. You can choose your pirate's gender, hair color, and skin tone, as well as the color and style of the clothes your pirate will wear. You can also choose facial hair (only for men). Once you've started playing, these features can only be altered through the use of special (and expensive) potions.
You must also choose a single-word name—choose wisely as other players may be less likely to hire a pirate with an absurd name (and it's a bit hard to intimidate your foes with a name like Nxcnzxccv, too). If you cannot think of a name, there are many random name generators on the web that can make sequences of random syllables to help you come up with name ideas. Pirate name generators also exist, but they tend to generate multiple-word names which are not supported. Pirate names cannot contain any filtered words.
The game window
The game window consists of a few different parts. Most of the window is taken up by the world view. Here you can see your pirate walking around (and clicking somewhere will move your pirate to that location), or the current game board, or other information such as user info pages, the notice board, etc.
Underneath the world view is the chat text box. You can type chat and commands here.
The small area in the top-right corner of the interface is called the minimap. The minimap provides a smaller view of the world around you even when you are playing a puzzle or viewing some other information.
Underneath the minimap you will find the sunshine widget. The sunshine widget is organized into tabbed sections that let you do many things, such as get help, view your inventory, view your crew and hearty lists, and other things like that.
Finally, underneath the sunshine widget, at the very bottom right corner, you can see how much PoE you have in hand and, if you are on a doubloon ocean, how many doubloons you have (doubloons not shown in above image).
Your first steps
After your pirate is created, you will see a menu with three missions to attempt. You can either start with one of these, or click on "More Missions" for taking you to a board showing many more missions to do. The first mission you should take is called "Learn about your items," which transports you to the Pollywog. After a short tutorial from a Non-player character, called an NPP (Non-player-pirate), you should have learned some basic game etiquette and have been taught how to wear clothing.
After you first disembark from the Pollywog, you should find yourself at the docks to an island, with a yellow arrow behind you. Somewhere near the docks you should spot the notice board, which brings up a screen similar to the first screen you saw before boarding the Pollywog.
Click on the notice board by the docks to view it. You can also view the notice board from anywhere in the game by clicking the "Ye" tab on your sunshine widget, and clicking the button marked "Notice board". Viewing the notice board brings up valuable information about jobbing for a crew, missions, featured shoppe jobs (for subscribers), and even island news and events planned by the governor.
Clicking "Go!" for a navy mission will instantly whisk your character to a navy ship, where you can practice puzzles and earn money with the navy. As you gain more experience, more missions will be available from which to choose. For more about missions, see below.
How to start earning money
Once on land, there are several options to earn PoE as a new pirate. First off, you can enter the inn and challenge any of the NPPs (they have white names) to a wagered fight. The NPPs will wager up to 26 PoE at a time.
You can choose to take a crafting mission from the mission section of the Notice board. This mission will instantly whisk you to a shoppe or stall requiring labor. By playing the puzzle at the shoppe, you are providing labor for the shoppe to produce its goods. The better your performance at the puzzle, the higher grade of labor you will provide. Higher grades of labor generally pay better than lower grades.
You can also take a mission with the navy from the notice board. Navy ships sail from their home islands to neighboring islands and give you the opportunity to practice the duty puzzles without the pressures of pillaging. You will be paid a modest sum per league that the naval ship travels. Better performance earns you better pay.
And finally, you can pillage with a live crew of pirates to earn your money. However, this is significantly different from jobbing with the navy. You only earn money if the ship you are on fights and wins one or more sea battles. However, it is expected that you puzzle before, during and after the battle or else the Commanding officer (XO) may plank you and dock your pay. Be willing to work hard and stay for an extended time if you are going to pillage. It is best to work with the navy for a while before pillaging to learn the various puzzles.
Some basic etiquette
When wandering about an island, it is generally considered rude to:
- Walk up to total strangers and ask for money or clothing.
- Walk up to complete strangers and offer a puzzle challenge or a trade request without first talking to them.
- Enter the inn and repeatedly spam it.
Spamming is repeatedly typing the same line over and over in a brief period of time, such that innocent bystanders' chat windows scroll so much that ordinary conversation is impossible. Repeatedly shouting is just as aggravating, as the larger text causes the chat window to scroll much faster than normal as well.
When you find yourself aboard a player's ship jobbing for a crew, it is expected that you work at a puzzle to earn your PoE. If there are NPPs aboard the ship, it is rude to challenge them to a drinking, rumbling, or swordfighting contest. Serious infractions of crew rules such as lazing about, fighting or drinking while sailing, refusing to take a station, or leaving the ship during sea battle can incur the wrath of the XO who may decide to plank you and dock your pay when the booty is finally divied.
It is also considered extremely rude (not to mention degrading to your fellow sailors) to loudly boast that the only reason a battle was won is because of you. Typically speaking, no individual person wins a battle. If you did extremely well your fellow players will see this and congratulate you—give them this chance instead of proclaiming your own mastery. This is not to say that it is inappropriate to say "Wow! I think I did really well that time!" or to let everyone know when you've advanced in status. If you're happy about something like this, that's natural. What you shouldn't do is come out of a boarding battle saying things like "Oh, I saved all your butts! You would have lost if I wasn't here! You all suck!" This may seem very obvious to you—and if it does, congratulations, you already know this bit of etiquette and your crewmates probably appreciate your modesty. If it doesn't, think about how you would feel to have a friend you were playing a game with rub it in your face when you lose—that may give you some insight into why this is a faux pas.
Either on land or at sea
These are things that are rude in general, no matter where you are:
- Asking an officer (repeatedly) to be promoted (see ranks) (if you are already a part of a crew). If you feel you deserve a promotion, one request to someone high up is usually sufficient. If it bothers you that they still don't promote you, you are free to find a crew that has a faster promotion rate.
- Asking (repeatedly) to join a crew with the intention of gaining a high position (see ranks) immediately. Higher positions are given to people who have proven themselves to that crew—not to unknowns. If you feel you are good enough to deserve such a placement, join their crew and prove yourself.
- Stating that you deserve some sort of special consideration because of your status with another alt or on another ocean. Just because another captain has seen fit to promote you doesn't mean that another will, or should. You must prove yourself in each instance to each captain before they will feel you are ready for promotion. This is why many pirates focus on one alt (or, at least, one alt per ocean).
- Asking a Pirate how much Poe they have, Some Pirates may not mind but it is better not to ask a word about another pirates poe for some pirates get angry when asked.
Finding a crew to joinjobbing with a crew. Jobs available can be found under the pillaging tab of the Notice Board. Scan through the list of jobs, looking for one that attracts you. Once you find one, click on "show crew info" to learn a bit more about the crew and its policies. If you are satisfied, click back on the notice board and click "apply." A notice of your application will be sent to the commanding officer of the ship. The officer will then choose to send or not send you a job offer. Usually this process takes about ten seconds.
Once you accept the offer, you will be whisked off to the ship. Greet the others with a friendly "Ahoy! Which station?"—unlike the navy, you are now playing on a ship fully commanded by other real players. Jobbing for players is more lucrative than jobbing for the navy, and more fun, too. Beware though—it is also more dangerous, as your crew will now face sea battles against dastardly NPPs and players in sea battle.
Sometimes there will be officers looking for players on the docks or elsewhere on land. You could be offered a job before you have tried all the puzzles. It is your choice, but it is advisable to try a job. Remember, if the officer asked you to join in the first place, the crew is willing to help a new pirate get his feet wet. This can be a great way to earn some PoE and experience. If you feel you aren't ready, politely decline the offer and perhaps ask to remain in contact to see if the position is still open later.
"What do I do with all this money I've earned?"
So you have earned some money sailing the seas, how should you spend it?
- Note on crafting: Individual pirates do not possess the ability to craft their own items by obtaining the raw materials. All finished goods must be created at and purchased from a shoppe or stall. Let them worry about obtaining the raw commodities. When you have more experience in the game, and access to the hold of a ship, you may be able to work out better deals with certain merchants by providing the raw goods yourself. However, this is usually only of any use with the most expensive of items.
- Note for non-subscribers: If you are not a subscriber, you will be limited on the items that you can buy when you are playing on Cerulean. (The doubloon oceans operate differently). Please take the time required to make sure that nothing you are buying says "Subscriber only" in its description at the shop. At present (and likely indefinitely), the only way to sell back items that you have acquired and either can't use or don't want is to find a player that wishes to purchase them from you—and you will likely not get as much as you paid for it. A word to the wise—read the fine print before you buy!
Buy a New Sword
The first sword you are given (a foil) does its job, but perhaps you've got an inkling to become a famous swordsman. A good first step is to buy a new sword. You can buy swords from iron monger shoppes or stalls. Full details about individual swords are covered in the swords article. Note that trial players have only a few swords to choose from: foil, short sword, long sword, and rapier. The subscribers can choose from any of the finer blades.
Buy a New Bludgeon
At first, you will use your bare fists to rumble with. Over time, as your skills develop, you may desire to take your rumbling to a higher level. Bludgeons can be purchased at shipyard shoppes or stalls. While trial players are limited to a gaff or rope coils, subscribers have many additional bludgeons to choose from.
Buy some New Clothing
Feeling a bit chilly in those rags you have had since leaving the Pollywog? Perhaps it's time to visit your local tailor and buy some new clothing. There are many to choose from; you can either order clothes from the tailor or purchase them premade 'off the rack.'
When you deliver a sword or some clothes to your inventory, you will notice the item in your 'booty' tab. Hovering over the item for a few seconds will give you some more detailed information about it: its name, color(s), condition, and who can use it.
As you play, items in your inventory will decay.
- New items are fresh from the shoppe and have full lives ahead of them.
- Good items are older but still in fine condition.
- Old items are near their end; now is the time to buy another outfit or sword.
When the last of your clothes crumble, you will be given new rags. If your last sword crumbles, you are given a stick—not a very good sword at all! If your last mug crumbles, you are given a wooden cup— not a very good mug either!
Buy your own ship
Now you have been pillaging for many weeks and have saved up quite a bit. Perhaps you've had your eye on your own ship or starting your own crew. Purchase one from a shipyard. Though there are many to choose from, your first ship should probably be a sloop, as they are generally easier to sail. Bear in mind when buying that you will also need charts, rum, and cannon balls before you can set sail. You will also need to have achieved the rank of officer or higher in your crew to sail your own vessel. On a Doubloon ocean, you'll need an Officer Badge as well.
Therefore, if you are at pirate level you need to be made an officer in a crew before you can run a ship, even if you own the ship.
If you are not in a crew, buying a captain's badge does not make you an officer, nor does it let you sail your ship. You must be in a crew to sail a ship. If you buy a captain's badge and start your own crew you can start sailing immediately. You can sail your ship even if no one else joins the crew.
Buy a Pet
A rat will find its way into your shack during the "Get loot for your home" mission. Your free rat can be given a name and will follow you around in most buildings. You may acquire only one rat per pirate as they are not sold anywhere and are not tradable between fellow pirates. However, you can purchase additional pets from the palace shoppe to keep you company.
Buy a Larger Home
If you find that a one-room shack no longer suits your lavish piratey lifestyle, you may purchase additional housing. The larger the house, the more roommates that you may have. Only certain islands have specific house sizes, so some searching may be required to find an abode that's to your liking.
Buy a Badge
On doubloon oceans, buying badges will allow you special privileges. You can buy badges at the palace shoppe. If you are in a crew with the rank of pirate or higher you will need a badge to gain the privileges of the rank. Some badges you don't need, but to accsess special parts of the game you will need to have that badge. A labor badge is one example. The labor badge allows you to work at shops or stalls to provide labor for that shop. The labor badge has an hour limit, 24 hours of labor for a basic labor badge and 72 hours of labor for a deluxe labor badge. Another badge that gives you a privilege is the bravery badge. This badge lets you help fight off sea monsters. The last type of badge that allows a special privilege is the parlor badge. It allows you to play any parlor game at any day.
"I'm bored, what else is there to do?"
Start your own crew
If the urge to lead and command is your style, perhaps you would like to start your own crew. On established oceans you first need to own a ship and to have obtained narrow experience or greater in all the piracy puzzles except gunning, rumble and treasure haul. On a doubloon ocean you must also possess a Captain's badge and pay a one-time fee of ten doubloons.
Captainship is not for everybody. By starting your own crew you become a representative of the game. Other players, generally new players, will depend on you to provide them with a fun experience. It is recommended that you should have spent some time as an officer of another crew before attempting to create your own.
Become a trader
After you have bought your own ship and become at least an officer you may decide that you want to earn money by moving goods around. If you are good at sailing and have a keen sense for a good deal, this may be the life for you. You'll want to memorize the various routes, swoop in a good deal when you find it, and be able to avoid the brigands and PvPers who haunt the seas or else they may steal your goods.
It is harder to get people to join you since you won't be pillaging to make them money, so you'll want to recruit those who you know well and advise them that this won't be a pillage run. You'll probably need to promise to pay them some of the profits. Or else, you can learn to solo sail a sloop or cutter with only swabbies for help.
Become a merchant
Some pirates enjoy the calm life of a merchant. It is advisable to talk with your crew captain and see what types of stalls might be advantageous. You can buy a stall for an initial fee and weekly rent while you learn all about shopkeeping! If you are really adventurous, speak with the island governor about purchasing a shoppe. Be aware, though, that shoppes often cost hundreds of thousands of PoE to purchase.
Get on the ultimate list for one or more puzzles
Each duty puzzle, crafting puzzle, and parlour game tracks your experience separately from your puzzle standing, and ranks your score against all the other pirates on your ocean. As your ranking increases or you gain experience in a puzzle, it is possible that you might be listed amongst the ultimate-ranked pirates for that puzzle. Each ocean keeps separate lists for the ocean as a whole and for the individual archipelagoes. These lists are viewable by clicking on the icon of a puzzle on any pirate's info page. Many players work hard in order to appear on several ultimate lists concurrently.
If you do not log onto Puzzle Pirates for ten consecutive days, your puzzle ranks and experience are considered dormant and you will no longer appear on the ultimate list. All you need to do to re-activate your score is to log into the game and play that particular puzzle again.
Get involved in politics
As you gain notoriety amongst your crew, flag, hearties, and the ocean, it is possible to find yourself involved in the world of ocean politics. Most commonly referred to as "the social puzzle", this involves working out deals between fellow pirates in order to accomplish goals no individual could accomplish alone. The largest examples of these machinations include wars, blockades, and alliances. You may collude with an allied flag to take over an island for yourself or to work with an ally to deny an island to an enemy. You may go to war with a rival flag for many reasons, and the politics involved will determine how much support you receive from friends or neutral parties.
The political game is for pirates with a deep social bent and the ability to follow through on promises given.
Many players regard PvP as the ultimate puzzle because of its inherent risks, rewards, and the associated need for understanding human psychology. Given that most fighting in a blockade is done between brig-class vessels or larger and involve multiple ships, blockades can become the ultimate adrenaline rush. Many blockade navvers are asked time and again to navigate for a variety of flags during blockades. Being a great blockade navver can bring you a level of notoriety greater than the top ten lists, greater than being the king of a flag, greater even than owning a familiar.
Parrots, Monkeys, and other familiars
Sometimes you will be wandering around a popular island and notice a pirate with an octopus, parrot, ippolito, snake, monkey, dragon, skeletal monkey or toucan on his or her shoulder. These are called familiars.
They are special prizes given away during game events, creative contests or found in boxes, either in Sea Monster Hunts or otherwise. You can read more about how to acquire familiars, about upcoming game contests with a familiar as a prize on the official events forum, or about upcoming art or writing contests with familiar prizes on the "Mariner's Muse" forum.
- Pirate language will teach you how to talk like a pirate.
- Category:Gameplay — links to all articles about things you will see and interact with during a typical gameplay session.
- Category:Terminology — links to articles explaining the myriad terms and vocabulary used in Puzzle Pirates.