Frequently Asked Questions
There are a number of different aspects of Puzzle Pirates that might be of interest to a new pirate.
Three Rings is the company that made Puzzle Pirates. They were a self-contained studio within the SEGA family, and made several other swell games. You can learn more about the company and their other projects here. Puzzle Pirates is now owned and operated by Grey Havens.
Our most frequent questions relate to pricing. For subscription questions, please see our Subscription FAQ. If you have a question relating to our doubloon oceans, see the Doubloons FAQ. If you have any specific issues that you need human help with, please don't hesitate to contact us using our official Puzzle Pirates Support Form.
What is Puzzle Pirates?
Puzzle Pirates is an online game in which you create a pirate character and sail the seas, gathering booty as you go. Whenever your pirate sails, works the bilge pump, gets into a sword fight, indulges in a spot of drinking, or takes part in one of many other actions, you play a short puzzle game. Your own skill at these puzzles determines your success, not an abstract "character level" or "stats"!
Our primary design goals when creating Puzzle Pirates included...
- Fun over realism.
- Usability over technology.
- Bring the player into strong social and political groups quickly and elegantly.
- Provide a rich set of rules for interacting with the environment and other players.
- Support high-level player politics to generate gameplay and competition at all levels.
- Encourage different play styles, don't require a substantial time commitment.
- Simplify, abstract, simplify. Simmer. Add secret spices.
We applied these in the context of the general patterns of massively multiplayer game design, keeping in mind our desire to create a fun and accessible universe powered by puzzling. We hope you enjoy the result!
Can you be more specific about Puzzle Pirates' gameplay?
Puzzle Pirates has unique gameplay based on a combination of persistent MMO-style online games and fun puzzle games! While you can explore and interact with your character like in any online game, any time your pirate accepts a challenge or attempts to accomplish a task, you will launch a themed Puzzle game. For example, if you accept another pirate's challenge to a swordfight, you'll both pop up the Swordfighting puzzle and play head-to-head. When your opponent clears blocks to strike a blow, pieces will rain down on your board!
There are a large variety of puzzles to enjoy, both competitive, like Swordfighting, and more relaxing, such as Drinking or Poker. In addition, when you and your friends sail a vessel across the seas, each of you will man a "duty station" with an associated, such as Sailing, Navigation, or Bilge Pumping.
What you won't find in Puzzle Pirates is repetitively hitting a key, having to kill the same poor beast over and over again to go up a "level". Puzzle Pirates doesn't have numbered levels, and it doesn't have "experience points". Puzzle Pirates does have monsters, however, but the only way to defeat them and claim the rare treasures they guard is through skillful puzzling with a group of your best mates!
Are there missions or quests?
Players can take on a variety of missions in the game, ranging from learning how to play the puzzles on the high seas to fighting skeletons on a far-away island. Players can also sail as part of the Navy, eventually commanding their own vessel to attack and pillage brigands. These jobs provide good practice for a new player and can pay a handsome wage of gold. These missions can be found on any Notice Board, conveniently located on your pirate's "Ye" panel.
Will there be global events or an ongoing storyline?
Rather than trying to stuff all of Puzzle Pirates' society into a pre-planned storyline, we're much more interested in observing what the players on each distinct ocean will get up to, and then facilitate and foster those endeavors with support and grand events.
We've also run a number of global competitions and events in the past, which you can read more about here. For more information on player-run and Three Rings-supported events, you'll want to check out the appropriate forums here on our website.
Do pirates have experience or levels?
As you travel the world and improve your puzzling abilities, you will increase a couple different "'ratings'" for your pirate: standing and experience. These ratings indicate your general proficiency at the game's various puzzles, as well the sorts of deeds and adventures your pirate has taken part in over his or her career. As your pirate gains the respect of his or her crewmates, you may also be offered greater rank within your crew, and perhaps even an honorary title, such as "Gunner".
Your pirate's puzzle standings are determined relative to other players in the game, like a chess rating. They can therefore go up and down relative to the distribution of player skill on your ocean.
Your pirate's experience ratings are a more traditional measure of your activity in the game, and simply indicate how much time you have spent playing each of the game's various puzzles. The game does not have an overall 'level' or other generic experience rating.
There are also a large number of trophies for players to collect by accomplishing admirable feats of piracy. Many of them have been catalogued here. Can you earn them all?
Is there a tutorial?
Each new pirate is given a quick overview of the areas of gameplay available to them when they first wash up on shore. For many, their first experiences will be on an island or in the Navy, where they can practice the game's puzzles in a pressure-free environment, safe from the interference of other pirates. The Navy also provides a tutorial introduction to each of the major puzzles included in the game.
Are there updates to the game?
Yes, new features and content are added all the time! When a new update is available, the game client will automatically download the latest release. You can view details on all the game's past updates in the Release Notes.
Will my pirates remain forever?
Unpaid accounts have their pirates deleted if they remain unused for a period of 6 consecutive weeks. Accounts that have purchased a subscription or doubloons from us are permanently safe from being purged.
What do the puzzles do in the game?
The duty puzzles are played while aboard a vessel and do various things which help keep the boat afloat: increase its speed, repair any damage it may have, as well as keep its cannons loaded for upcoming naval engagements! The game also features a variety of carousing puzzles, which can be used to unwind between pillages and make friendly wagers with other pirates, and crafting puzzles, which are performed in shops to produce various types of items.
How can I tell if I'm doing well?
Each puzzle gives you plenty of feedback. As you play the game, you'll see textual updates flashing across the screen that will let you know how well the puzzle is going. In most cases, you'll also be able to see information from an icon next to the puzzle that will turn golden as your performance improves.
Do I have to play puzzles against other players?
No. On land, you never have to play a puzzle against another player. If someone challenges you and you don't want to play against them, simply refuse the challenge.
You can also avoid player-versus-player play at sea by sticking to the Navy, as Navy vessels cannot be attacked by players. Any other vessel at sea bears the possibility of player-versus-player puzzling. Even so, the chances of being attacked at sea by other players are generally slim: most pirates prefer to pick plunder from the wealth-laden and computer-controlled brigands instead!
Crews and Flags
How do pirate crews work?
A crew is a persistent group of fellow pirates who team up, share resources and frequently cooperate together to sail vessels. Indeed, Crews in Puzzle Pirates operate much like "guilds" do in other, less whimsical online games. While a crew has a captain and other officers, players can also choose to run their crews democratically, much like they were in the Golden Age of Piracy.
How big is a crew?
Successful pirate crews range from around ten pirates to over a hundred scurvy dogs. Larger groups are generally coalitions of crews represented by a flag.
What tools does Puzzle Pirates provide crews?
We've included a bevy of tools to support budding crews. There are three types of crew (democratic, oligarchic and autocratic) and each has a different mechanism for distributing power and making important crew policy decisions, whether it's giving all decision-making capabilities to the captain, or making all decisions as a group. Crews also have access to a global crew chat channel, individual chat channels for each of their ships, and both public and private in-game web pages upon which they can outline their philosophies and any other information that they consider important for current and prospective members.
What's a flag?
Each crew can choose to sail under a flag. A flag is a political structure representing an affiliation of crews under a common banner. Flags are headed by a King or Queen, and their major function is to conquer and administrate territory for their member crews: flags can colonize untamed islands, build new settlements and shops, and even seize existing ports by launching a blockade against the incumbents!
Trading and Commerce
Can I own property?
Absolutely! All pirates start the game with a personal hideaway: a shack! As your adventure continues, you can upgrade your home to something more luxurious, as well as furnish it with a wide variety of amenities and treasures. You can also own your own fleet of ships and, if the trading bug gets you, you can purchase a stall or shop from which you can produce and sell various wares.
What kind of shops can I own?
Puzzle Pirates supports a variety of lucrative trades, such as shipwrightery, tailoring, and ironmongering (for the making of those indispensable cannon balls).
How does trading work?
Islands in Puzzle Pirates produce commodities, which may be loaded onto ships and sailed between ports by industrious pirates. Shops require these commodities to produce numerous finished goods which are needed by pirates. As an example, sugar cane is grown on certain islands, harvested by those islands' markets, sold to the highest bidder, and then acquired by a distillery shop to be turned into rum, an important pirate good. As any fool knows, rum is required to keep a ship of pirates sailing happily, and woe betide the captain that runs out of rum on the open seas.
For more examples of supply chains found in Puzzle Pirates, check out the official documentation.
Can I be a trader or merchant rather than a pirate?
Puzzle Pirates doesn't distinguish merchants or traders as a separate "character class", but there's nothing to stop you from avoiding the trappings of piracy and sticking to an honest (or mostly honest) existence as a merchant.
What about treasure and unique items?
There's all sorts of treasure to be gotten on the high seas. You can trade or forage for gold or precious gems, pillage rare commodities from brigand and merchant ships, and earn all manner of priceless prizes fighting fierce sea monsters in their distant lairs!
The World of Yohoho!
Where is Puzzle Pirates set?
Puzzle Pirates is set in the fathomless sweep of the Great Ocean. Climbing from beneath its waves are the archipelagos, chains of green and golden islands. The pirates of the game make their homes there, far away from the vast mainland and the oppressive influence of the Continental Empire.
How big is the world?
The Great Ocean is vast, unfathomable, and terrifying. It is made up of numerous smaller oceans, each with a variety of archipelagos and dozens of unique islands to explore.
Are there multiple oceans?
Yes! A Puzzle Pirates ocean is the equivalent of other games' "servers" or "shards". The game currently includes five oceans: Cerulean, Meridian, Emerald, the German ocean Opal, and the Spanish ocean Jade. Each ocean is entirely distinct, and so their geography, politics and culture have diverged over time. It is not possible to transfer pirates, crews or other entities between oceans.
How many pirates can sail on one ocean?
A single ocean can accommodate thousands of pirates!
Can I get lost at sea?
No! To sail between islands, you must have access to a sea chart showing the route to take. Once you've charted your course, you'll be able to follow it without getting lost
Can players change the world?
Absolutely! Players can establish new settlements and outposts, and old settlements may fall into disrepair.