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Beginning in January 2009 and during the following months, the main islands of the game (Port Royal, Tortuga, and Padres Del Fuego) underwent major major overhauls in their design, as the developers intended to minimize polygon count and thus optimise the game's playability on low-end devices. The new layout was designed to reduce the size of vis-zones and the render distance, the latter of which was compensated by adding fog. All-new mini-maps were also added for the new layouts.
The in-game canonical reasons behind these events (as provided by the Grog Blog) ranged from gunpowder explosions to dark magic.
The morning was quiet and still, until a series of explosions ripped the island's main town apart.An eyewitness account of the destruction of Port Royal as told by Captain Walter of the Marceline Guild
"The crew and I was just about to set sail for a day of plunderin' when we heard the first blast. Looked like Hades it did. Plumes of smoke and fire poured from the center of town as the very dock we stood on shook from the impact. Scared out of our wits we dove for cover. I followed me mates into the drink. Then I remembered ... I can't swim! Luckily, I was only in the water a second when my first mate Xavier hauled me to shore.
Within moments another blast, this one followed by a chain of explosions that seemed to cut through the island. The explosions continued for what seemed like half the day. When the smoke cleared, Port Royal was nothin' more than a steamin' heap of rubble. Save for the EITC dock, the Governor's Mansion, and a few small buildings, not a single shingle was left a hangin'! Fortunately for the townsfolk, most everyone was away on Tortuga -- for a weddin' -- of all things.
Rumor is, the East India Trading Company had been stockpiling massive amounts of gunpowder and other armaments for an all-out assault on us Pirates. A misplaced candle started the fire -- and the explosive chain reaction. Some say that Jolly Roger was behind it ... Be it candle or undead devil, me, I let time separate the truth from rumor.
In no time the Navy, as directed by the EITC, set upon rebuilding the town at a furious pace. Armies of craftsmen swarmed the island and rebuilt Port Royal almost over night! If I hadn't a seen it with me own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it - and I seen some strange things in this part of the Caribbean, I have! Regardless of who is to blame, let this be said... there is bound to be more stores of powder and ammunition on other islands. We Pirates best capture these weapons fer ourselves afore they be used on us.
The explosion which leveled Port Royal not only changed the town but set into motion events that would change the Caribbean forever. Many Pirates, merchants and townsfolk were suspicious of the official explanation Lord Beckett provided and wanted a thorough investigation. As his laughter echoed across the ocean, Lord Beckett refused - which left everyone in the islands wondering what the EITC were trying so hard to hide ..." - Pirates Online website
These were the Website's first signs of what's to come....
"Rumors travel fast in the Caribbean. Rumor was the EITC were planning an all out assault on the Pirates of the Caribbean. Believe what you will, but know this, Port Royal was destroyed by a massive explosion - one that could have only been caused if every cellar on Port Royal was filled to the brim with barrels and casks of gunpowder!
After the destruction of Port Royal, Pirates, merchants and townsfolk demanded an official investigation. Lord Beckett, the wretch that he is, passed the destruction off as a "blessing in disguise," and refusing further explanation, the EITC set upon rebuilding the town. The events and EITC's hesitancy to address them left most folks believing the EITC was concealing something much more than a plot to rid the Caribbean of a few troublesome Pirates.
Determined to discover the truth, the Pirate Brethren met in secret to discuss the recent events. They concluded whatever happened on Port Royal could happen again and they knew it was an omen for things to come. But why would the EITC destroy a town they depended on so heavily for trade? Something or someone else was involved but no one was talking. To complicate matters further, the EITC increased the number of ships patrolling the waters off Tortuga.
Eager to help turn the tide, Captain Walter, leader of the Marceline guild, has been leading raids on EITC ships and encouraging Pirates all over the Caribbean to do the same. Pirates now turn their eyes toward Tortuga where the EITC has been recently seen unloading crates and barrels of "goods."
To be continued ..." - Pirates Online website
"It was another perfectly fine day for sailing -- a fair breeze blew from the East, the smell of saltwater in the air and oddly, the scent of gunpowder. Almost a month had passed since the destruction of Port Royal and things were beginning to return to normal — or so it seemed.
I had just anchored The Magic in Tortuga bay, and we was ferrying our cargo to shore when we heard the first blast. I looked toward the sound and could not believe me eyes! Just like at Port Royal, a chain of explosions tore through the town — and then fire, fire everywhere! Splinters of wood, gold coins, and other bits rained down around our dinghy. They splashed down in the water beside us along with the remains of a cargo container with the letters "E I T C" branded on the side.
The crew seemed like they be ready to mutiny — thinking I was cursed and bringing this all upon us! I explained I just have me a terrible knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They was just about to toss me into the drink when we heard that laugh — that dry, hollow, wicked laugh. Jolly Roger! What did he have to do with this mess?
After the smoke cleared, the EITC and Navy set upon rebuilding the town almost immediately. And like Port Royal, both the EITC and Navy denied any association with the incident.
Those days have passed now and the new Tortuga is being welcomed with open arms. Aye, I think back to the day of the explosion and that eerie laugh. It be Jolly Roger just enjoying the mayhem, says some. But in cahoots with the EITC, says I. Is that fiend Lord Beckett dealing with the undead? If that be so, we Pirates in some serious trouble, mates." - Captain Walter from the Pirates Online Website
Padres Del Fuego
Immediately after the destruction of Tortuga, with the EITC denied a start in a huge sea offensive against pirates, the leaders of the Marceline guild along with several pirates from across the Caribbean joined in a show of strength against the growing armada of the EITC around Padres del Fuego.
Battle of Padres
The EITC sent its best ships to counter the Brethren's threat, and there were confrontations between many warships outside Padres del Fuego. Almost immediately, the strongest of the Company' ships were sent in, and the battle was inflamed into a massive naval confrontation around the island. The Marceline decided to fight valiantly as it suspected that something similar to the previous two affected islands was about to happen to Padres. Townsfolk noticed a rise in activity of the EITC on land. The battle raged on for days as the Marceline leaders lent their ships to other pirates to counter the EITC's warships. The skirmish was so intense that clouds of smoke could at times be seen from the island. Although the pirates managed to fend off the Company's mighty fleet in the end, even that wouldn't prepare them for what was yet to happen.
Destruction of Los Padres
The next on the destruction spree was the volcanic island of Padres Del Fuego, already a cauldron of instability, when barrels of EITC gunpowder somehow ignited, breaking loose all hell on the island....
"The explosion rocked the entire island and sent a shockwave as far away as Devil's Anvil. Some think the explosion was the work of another devil - Jolly Roger himself - while some would rather believe the fault lies on a careless EITC soldier that forgot about the large, underground stash of explosives the Company intended to use on Pirates. Nonetheless, Padres was the last island to be destroyed in a chain of explosions that also reshaped Port Royal and Tortuga. Things were changing in the Caribbean and at a quick pace.
After the destruction of Padres, curiously the EITC were seen less frequently around all the islands and had significantly reduced their numbers at sea. Most Pirates attributed this to the successful attacks led by the Founder brethren in the days before Padres was destroyed. Whatever the EITC's plan was, it had backfired - in more ways than one. The Company it seemed was now returning to backroom plots and conspiracies for another way to rid the Caribbean of the Pirate scourge.
Some savvy Pirates believe Jolly Roger is in cahoots with the EITC, since his undead ships were also seen in the fray. But why would Jolly interrupt the EITC's plan? If anything, would Jolly Roger not benefit from a war where poor Pirate souls lost in battle add to his ranks? It just didn't add up - something else is afoot.
To this day the EITC continue to deny any accusations that they were planning an all-out assault on the Pirates of the Caribbean, meanwhile Pirates wonder what alliance has been forged between Jolly Roger and the EITC - and how the union will affect them." - Pirates Online website
Every Death has a New Beginning
After Padres Del Fuego was decimated by the volcanic eruption, which was most likely exacerbated by the ignition of gunpowder stored for an attack on pirates, a sizable chunk of the volcano's mass had seemingly disappeared, thinning out the volcano's width. The island's primary town at Los Padres was redesigned in a short span of time by the EITC.
After having dealt with a massive blow to their operations in the region, the EITC entered into a deal with the power-hungry undead captain Jolly Roger, while simultaneously setting out to hire as many pirates as it could to serve as its spies on their brethren. It also started levying heavy taxes and duties on the populace to make up for their losses, and meted out severe punishments to pirates who were involved in the sea offensive. With Jolly Roger's help, the EITC's Black Guardnow made their way to Port Royal to interrogate several pirates, and no magic or weapon was able to withstand them. However, the Black Guard's toughest lieutenants and agents led by Captain Ellison Shaw to track down the Marceline guild were fought off by valiant pirates. In the end, the attempts made by the Black Guard were mostly futile. Several 'competitions' against the Undead and EITC enemies were organized by the Marceline to stand up against the growing tide of enemies that stood against piracy and the freedom it stood for.