Pirates of the Caribbean Online, or "POTCO", was a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) based on the series of movies and the Disney theme park attraction of the same name.
The game allowed each player to create his/her own customized pirate character, battle other online pirates, and complete pirate-themed quests both on ship and on land.
Disney's Mike Goslin said the game will feature interactions with the main characters from the "Pirates" feature films, both heroes and villains. Disney was in negotiations for the key actors to lend their voice talents to the game.
Common MMORPG features such as player guilds and a virtual economy were also announced.
The game was developed by the VR Studio, a group of technologists and artists that are part of the Walt Disney Internet Group. It was the second MMORPG developed by the VR Studio, the first being Toontown Online, which was launched in 2003.
The game was first announced by The Walt Disney Company on April 26, 2005. It was originally scheduled to be released in summer 2006 to coincide with the release of the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. But in April 2006, the company announced that the release date would be pushed back. Disney's Mike Goslin says the game will be available well before the third "Pirates" movie is released in May 2007. News about the game has been released via a couple of email newsletter updates from Disney. The most recent newsletter and website update occurred on December 11 2006. It provided more information about the game but did not announce a Beta testing schedule or a release date.
An early demo of the game was shown at the E3 trade show in May 2006. The game's official website was also redesigned at that time to include a trailer, some screenshots and some concept art.
On January 8, 2007, Paul Yanover of Disney Online showed video footage of the upcoming game during Disney CEO Robert Iger's keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show. He also announced that "we’re going to let you play this massively multiplayer online game for free for as long as you want." Also, several press accounts of the event state that the game will debut during the second quarter of 2007.
On August 20, 2013, it was officially announced that Pirates of the Caribbean Online would be closing on September 19, 2013.
"The Walt Disney Company is committed to offering high-quality, entertaining play experiences in both online virtual worlds and mobile apps. At this time, we are shifting our development focus towards other online and mobile play experiences, and a growing selection of Disney Mobile apps. We deeply appreciate your loyal support and hearty enthusiasm for Pirates Online, and sincerely hope you will continue to enjoy the large variety of online and mobile play experiences Disney offers - with more to come soon!" ~ Pirates of the Caribbean Online Closing FAQ
Player interaction took place in and around Port Royal, Tortuga, Cuba and Padres del Fuego with characters from the film series (including Jack Sparrow, Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann) as major NPCs. Gameplay also involved encounters with new characters and enemies unique to the game, such as Jolly Roger and his undead horde. In order to become a notorious pirate (the game's experience system), player's would be required to forge alliances, complete quests for reputation and gold coins, hunt for buried treasures, battle evil forces and outsmart enemies.
The level cap for the game was level 50, and there was a maximum skill level of 30.
In-game combat consisted of pressing F1-F4 on the keyboard to switch weapons, and clicking the mouse or pressing Ctrl multiple times to create combinations, resulting in more damage. The game had a limited list of weapons available — cutlass, broadsword, sabre, blunderbuss, bayonet, musket, pistol, voodoo doll, dagger (and also includes throwing knives), grenades, and voodoo staff — with each upgradeable.
Players could play Poker and Blackjack in taverns, with the ability to bet gold on each game. These games are be played against NPCs or other online players. The maximum amount of gold that could be carried was 200,000.
Ships were very important; providing a way to travel and to fight. Players assembled crews to run the ships while in battle. However, crews only last while logged in. If a player remained logged-out for more than five minutes, they leave the crew.
Leaderboards enabled players to compare scores with other pirates and guilds. The ranking criteria of Top 25 players and guilds include overall notoriety, enemies defeated, ships sunk, Pirate vs. Pirate battles, times in jail and Blackjack and Poker hands won.
Based on player feedback, extensive revisions were implemented in 2009 to optimize Pirates Online. Developers expanded the game by introducing new enemies and adding the ability to retrain weapons skills and revive fellow players. Also added were a stowaway transportation system, and the chance to defend Port Royal, Padres del Fuego and Tortuga against invading armies of "undead" pirates ultimately ending in a fight with Jolly Roger (the game's nemesis). Other Pirates Online changes concentrated on improving the website, adding weekly community events and improving customer service and player-to-player interaction.
The game's story occurred between the first and second Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The player's pirate was a central character in a story involving Jolly Roger and his desire to take over the Caribbean and get revenge against Captain Jack Sparrow for taking his place on the Brethren Court and causing him to become cursed and undead.
Story Quests (Chapters)
The game begins on the island of Rambleshack, where the character has been jailed for some unsaid reason. They are in luck however, as they share the cell with Jack Sparrow and he helps free them as Jolly Roger is laying siege to the island.
Before they leave, they met Will Turner - who gives them their first weapon (a Cutlass) and Sea Chest. As the player readies to leave, skeletons appear and attack William. The player escapes the warehouse through the back door, but must fight Skeletons that block their escape.
At the dock, a ship (The Grim Reaper) captained by Bo Beck is waiting. After confronting an unidentified Undead warship, the game's main villain Jolly Roger appears. It is revealed that Beck was to bring Jack to Roger, but Jack paid a higher bribe and offered the player as a substitute. Jolly Roger then turns Beck into a skeleton, but lets the player live as a warning to Sparrow.
Arriving In Port Royal, voodoo mistress Tia Dalma warns of dark forces of the EITC and Jolly Roger rising in the Caribbean, and that the Black Pearl is needed; but unfortunately the Pearl has been captured by the Royal Navy. As Elizabeth Swann is approached for help, she tells the player that the release of the Pearl would not be easy, but instead gives the player a ship (Light Sloop).
Jack asks the player to help gather the Pearl's old crew so they can free her and they must perform a number of quests for each crewman before they will join. The first chapter of the story ends with the Black Pearl Boss Battle, in which players have to team up to sail the Black Pearl out of the fort it's kept in on Black Pearl Island by blowing up enemy forts and the main boss ship the Goliath.
After obtaining much notoriety, Jack asks for the player's help once again. Jolly Roger has set up a rum blockade to drive Jack out into the open. The Player must find one of the Cursed Blades of El Patron and use it against Jolly. The Blades are located at Raven's Cove, a haunted and desolate isle that was turned into ruins by Jolly Roger and the EITC. The player meets Crazy Ned, the only living inhabitant of Raven's Cove. In order to get into the mines, the player must gain the trust of Ned by helping the friendly ghosts of Raven's Cove. After doing so, the player will obtain a key to an elevator to the mining area of Raven's Cove. This Ends the first part of the quest and starts the second in which the player finds 2 ghosts in El Patron's Mine named Dr. Bellrog and his bodyguard, Kudgel. The doors that lead to El Patron's Ship, where the Cursed Blades are is sealed, so the player must do a series of quests given by Bellrog to unlock the doors. Once the player does so, the third and final part of the quest begins, the El Patron Boss Battle. Dr. Bellrog no longer has any need for the player and orders Kudgel to kill the player. After defeating Kudgel, the player must leave the cave and Battle El Patron himself. Afterwards, the player is able to choose 1 of the 3 Cursed Blades El Patron used himself. By doing so, the player receives an Evil Curse of Doom.
It began with the war between Garcia de Avaricia and Pierre le Porc for claiming the sea for their Spanish and French motherlands respectively. Players have to launch from either one of the islands to take on their privateering enemies, as privateers. This 'war' continues till today. With this, Spanish Undead and French Undead were found on wild islands, raised from their watery graves by Jolly Roger
Around Halloween of 2008, Jolly Roger created the Curse of the Muertos Moon. This voodoo spell would cause all pirates caught in the light of the full moon to be turned in to undead and battle each other. In time, the Curse was stopped - credited to Jack Sparrow. It was a recurring event, that took place every Halloween or Friday the 13th.
The islands of Port Royal, Tortuga and Padres del Fuego, began falling one by one to mysterious explosions, after which they were immediately reconstructed. Was Cutler Beckett behind them all? Was it a failed plan at attacking pirates? Did Jolly Roger have something to do with it? Find out more about them, the epic Battle of Padres, and its aftermath by clicking the title!
Jolly devised a new plan. A mysterious guild known as Casa de Muertos arrived on the shores of Port Royal and gave quests to Pirates to bring them artifacts and defense plans of the Royal Navy, after which they left. Sometime later, Port Royal faced an attack from Jolly Roger's undead armies, who came in brigades to capture the Governor's Mansion. The final wave was Jolly Roger himself who could kill scores of pirates with a single attack. Invasions of Tortuga began soon, followed by the last main island - Padres Del Fuego. The battles happen every now and then till date.... Click on the title for more.
The Invasion of Padres del Fuego was to find a hidden cache of weapons. But, it was later discovered (by the Casa de Muertos, again) that the weapons were hidden at the mysterious Raven's Cove, a place off the known map. Cutler Beckett brought down the alliance with Jolly Roger by launching the Imperial Expedition Fleets to find the cove. After stopping several EITC Expedition Fleets, the weapons were uncovered during a battle between Jolly Roger's army of undead and the Black Guard. The weapons have been scattered about as more and more pirates 'find' them from their enemies. But what of Raven's Cove? Click on the title for more information about the weapons.
The Kraken Story Quest?
Little is known about what new adventures and quest await, but part of a cinematic cut scene was removed from the Pearl Boss Battle when Jack and Mr. Gibbs talk of going to Padres del Fuego. Also, talk has circled around the possible arrival of Davy Jones and the Kraken - but all of that may be merely rumor even with screenshots to say otherwise.
According to the official website, the target system requirements are:
- Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7
- Pentium 3 800Mhz processor (P4 1Ghz rec.)
- 256 MB RAM (512 recommended)
- 400 MB disk space available
- 32MB graphics card (64 MB recommended)
- DirectX 9 or better
- Broadband Internet Connection
There is also a client for Mac OS X
- Pirates of the Caribbean Online - Official site
- PC Impressions - Pirates of the Caribbean Online - Joystiq article about the E3 2006 demo
- Game videos - Game trailer and behind the scenes videos
- Savvy Pirates - Excellent fan site with active forums
- Founder's Association Forums - Great fan site with active forums
- Pirates Online Timeline in Relation with Films
- Gallery of POTCO Images
- Gallery of Pirates of the Caribbean Online Videos