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This is an Official Player's Guide from the Pirates Online Website.
All credit goes to Pirates Online. This is merely a resource guide.

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Set sail to achieve a Quest goal, or just for the sheer adventure. You can captain your own ship or serve as a crew member on someone else's. Whatever your circumstances, High Seas Adventures are a risky business. From the time you leave port, a counter on the left side of the screen will count down 60 real-world minutes. You must complete your adventure and return to port in that time or your ship's supplies will run out. If that happens, you and your crew are lost at sea and all the booty you've plundered will wash away. And if you fail to keep watch on your ship's damage meters, you may sink, in which case it's back to jail for you!

As you plunder more on the open water, enemy ships begin to take notice of your activities. Aggravate the Navy or EITC ships and find yourself surrounded by swift enemy reinforcements. Prove yourself a real threat at sea and fearsome Bounty Hunter ships will next be dispatched to hunt you down! Soon islands fearful of your reputation as a "Scoundrel of the Sea" will even close their ports to your anchor.

GameTip
Game Tip: You can order your First Mate to belay all voice commands at sea by toggling them off in the Game Options Menu, Audio.

Ship-to-Ship Combat

The Caribbean Sea offers plenty of pirate targets: bothersome Navy warships, EITC cargo ships ripe for the picking, and marauding undead Skeleton ships. You may run into any of them at any time, whether you want to or not, so the name of the pirate game is fight to win. If you're the captain of your vessel, have your command skills down pat. If you're one of the crew, have plenty of cannon practice under your belt.

You'll have to sink most ships to defeat them, plunder their cargo, and obtain any Quest–related items. Flagships, however, must be boarded and their crews bested in hand–to–hand combat to be defeated.

Winning a Battle at Sea

Only flagships can be boarded. All other ships must be sunk to be defeated. Blast away with those cannons until your target goes under –– only then can you claim its cargo and earn credit toward any related Quests.

Boarding Flagships

Some Quests require you to board and capture a flagship. When you've dealt an enemy flagship enough damage points and green targets appear on her hull, it's time to board! Hit these targets with grappling hook cannon ammo and swing aboard. If you can defeat all the enemy crew members in combat, the ship is yours! Claim her cargo or other Quest–related items.

GameTip
Game Tip: The ship that deals the most damage will be granted the ability to grapple and board the wounded flagship. Captains can choose to not board a grappled Flagship, without waiting for the boarding timer to run out

Plunder

You never know what you may get when you defeat a ship at sea. Along with normal cargo that will translate into gold to fatten your wallet, you may collect treasure, rescue captives, or earn Quest items.

Dividing the Booty

Pirates at sea can plunder until their ship's cargo holds are ready to burst with booty. When the ship returns to port, booty is automatically divided between the captain and the crew. But certain conditions apply.

Each crewmember receives a full share of the loot for each ship his fighting helped sink. On top of the standard crew share, the Captain receives an extra Captain's Bonus.

At the end of every High Seas Adventure, a special Mission Panel will appear showing the results of the voyage (including the number and type of ships sunk, the number of cargo containers plundered, and ship status including necessary repairs). It will also open all cargo containers, identifying their contents and translating its value into gold, which is then added to each crew members' wealth. Any special plunder will appear in the appropriate Treasure category in crew members' Sea Chests, or be credited as an obtained Quest item in their Quest Journal. Lastly, a summary will tell everyone how much gold they've earned for that entire voyage, along with the rating the captain and each crew member has earned.

GameTip
Game Tip: After looting at sea, Pirates can take all items that do not take up Inventory space by clicking the "Take Small Items" button

Cargo and Cargo Contents

There are three types of cargo that you can obtain by defeating enemy ships: Crates, Treasure Chests, and Royal Chests. When you sink a ship, that ship's cargo is automatically looted and transferred to your ship's hold.

Crate

Contents Value Payoff Probability
WHEAT 5 Gold 35% Chance
COTTON 7 Gold 25% Chance
RUM 9 Gold 20% Chance
IRON ORE 15 Gold 10% Chance
IVORY 25 Gold 5% Chance
SILK 40 Gold 3% Chance
SPICES 90 Gold 2% Chance

Treasure Chest

Contents Value Payoff Probability
COPPER BARS 25 Gold 75% Chance
SILVER BARS 50 Gold 20% Chance
GOLD BARS 120 Gold 5% Chance

Royal Chest

Contents Value Payoff Probability
EMERALDS 90 Gold 80% Chance
RUBIES 140 Gold 15% Chance
DIAMONDS 250 Gold 5% Chance

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