Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates is an MMO created by Three Rings, Inc. In it, players take the role of Pirates in a cartoonish world. The game is divided into a number of servers, called Oceans; each Ocean consists of a number of islands separated into archipelagos; within this framework, players can partake in a number of activities, from sailing the high seas with fellow pirates in search of treasure, to working in or even owning and operating shops, to playing classic games like Hearts and Poker.What makes this game unique is that all of its major tasks, from sailing a ship to distilling rum, are staged in the form of Puzzle Games. These include things like Match Three Games (for tasks like pumping the bilge water out of a ship, digging for treasure, or hauling it from a shipwreck), Falling Blocks (operating a ship's sails, as well as Swordfighting, in the vein of Super Puzzle Fighter), pattern-matching games (shipbuilding, for instance), and other, more exotic fare.Another hallmark of the game is that its economy is almost entirely player-driven: players buy or forage commodities from islands, sail them back to their shops, and use them to manufacture goods using player-provided labor. This results in the game economy being remarkably similar to that of the real world.
This game contains examples of:
Allegedly Free Game: While you can certainly get a lot out of the game without ever paying a cent especially if the standard duty puzzles are your favorites, you'll need to pay if you want to play puzzles beyond those basic duty puzzles more than 2-3 specific days a week, buy better than entry-level weapons for swordfighting and rumbling (which do matter, as they affect your drop pattern), have any sort of standing within a crew, own a ship, or even buy most kinds of clothing.
However, as noted below in the Bribing Your Way to Victory entry, Doubloon oceans allow premium currency to be purchased for regular game currency, enabling effective free play for some extra effort.
Amusing Injuries: When a ship sinks, everyone on it has a chance of getting either a peg-leg, an eyepatch, a Hook Hand, or a starfish stuck to their face. These can be removed using special potions, but they're frequently seen as badges of honor among the playerbase.
Bribing Your Way to Victory: Doubloon Oceans use Doubloons as a premium currency, which needed to buy most high-end goods. Players can exchange regular currency for Doubloons, but that leads to players with money to burn buying lots of doubloons and making a killing off of selling them to others.
However, some things cannot be simply bought, such as high puzzle standings, trophies, and skill at certain aspects of the game, so Bribing Your Way to Victory is only possible for some definitions of "victory".
Breakable Weapons: Clothing and weapons last for a set amount of days, ranging from a month to several. This can be avoided by putting the item into a wardrobe or rack when it is not in use.
Difficulty Spike: The first few star difficulty levels of Bilging are quite easy to get a high ranking for your duty report in, oftentimes the RNG will be very kind to you and give you free chains as it generates more blocks. But the moment you gain enough experience that the game adds a sixth type of block to the rotation maintaining high scores in Bilging requires considerably more skill at identifying large potential combos with minimum moves made. It does get a little bit easier when the game throws in the 3x3-area-clearing blowfish and the crabs that give you a fairly high amount of points for clearing, but that time spent during 4 star difficulty is definitely going to see a lot of Fair, Poor, and even Booched scores for newer players.
Drop In Nemesis: The Black Ship. Pound on weaker players too often, and it'll show up to kick your ass to Hell and back.
Lord British Postulate: El Pollo Diablo, the Black Ship which appears to punish players for attacking ships significantly weaker than themselves, is meant to be undefeatable. It has been defeated several times, and each time the developers have given it a major upgrade.
Obvious Beta: Most releases follows a predictable pattern: A version of the release is put on the test Ocean (read: server), Ice. Several bugs and glitches are found. Some of them are patched; some of them are not, despite being pointed out on the game forums. Then the features are released to the production Oceans, where the playerbase deals with the unpatched bugs and discovers even further bugs. Several emergency bugfix releases follow.
Pirate Parrot: Are occasionally offered as prizes in competitions run by the developers. (Other shoulder-mounted pets obtainable as competition prizes include monkeys and, for some reason, octopi.)
The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: semi-averted. There's plenty of pillaging and treasure-thieving to be had, but no one ever gets killed. Given the target audience and the fact that it's an MMO, this is not surprising.
When the war mechanic was first introduced, it was highly controversial, as many players didn't want to sink other players' ships or conquer their islands.
Treasure Map: It's sometimes possible to obtain maps that unlock special areas of the game — which, yes, generally involve an opportunity to load up on treasure.
Unusual Euphemism: Swear words are, by default, replaced with various nautical/piratey terms. These Unusual Euphemisms have thus crept into the language of long-time players, who'd use them in places like crew names and forums.
Walk the Plank: Ship captains are able to hand out this punishment to crew members who are being particularly unpleasant. (In line with the game's no-death policy, they'll immediately wash ashore on the nearest island, but it means you don't have to put up with them for the rest of the trip and they miss out on collecting a share of the booty at the end of it.) A captain can even inflict this on himself. Somehow.
Wide-Open Sandbox: This is one as far as MMORPGs are concerned. Do work for the navy, or become a member of a pirate crew. Gamble at the Inn or do work for the stalls. It is a very player driven economy, so there are plenty of things to craft.