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Celebrating Cool Ranch

Gunner's Mate
Feb 22, 2011
I've been playing through a musketeer recently and, as I finish up Cool Ranch, I realize just how excellent this world is. Every skyway covers a different aspect of the Wild West myth and history; Santa Pollo mimics the mask of Zorro with the brilliant El Toro; Big Sky pays homage to the Native cultures of the Wild West; Tumbleweed explores the classic Western movies- obviously including the Magnificent Seven- and, in my opinion, is an exciting (if short) sidetrack before getting to Blood; and finally, Haunted Skyway uses creepy aesthetics and the story of Captain Blood to take a look at the often-overlooked ghost stories of the West.

I have my reservations about MooShu, Skull Island, and Monquista's storylines- but Cool Ranch, for how long it is, never fails to impress me. Each section of the world's story is different enough to feel fresh, but still maintains that Wild West, Cowboys and Indians, ghost stories around a campfire feel. Along the way, you get some brilliant companions- El Toro being the highlight- and level up quiet a bit. Plus, the interlude to Port Royal gives a brief respite from the Western world.

I've also seen people complain that Cool Ranch isn't pirate-y enough for a game about pirates. Fair enough- in the real Wild West, there was a significant lack of naval battles and piracy. However, I counter with the fact that the essence of piracy is still a part of the Wild West. Raiders, thieves, and bandits are one of the most foundational parts of Westerns. Plus, it's important to consider that this is the Spiral. Cool Ranch isn't meant to perfectly emulate the Wild West or the legacy of Pirates, but to blend the two in a way unique to the world of Pirate101.

My only complaint is the lack of complete, in-game history about the world. We get a decent amount from the puppet shows, but I wish they connected better- the birds came to Cool Ranch from "The West" (??), followed shortly after by the dogs of Marleybone. The dogs left after taking what they could, leaving the birds to tame the skyways on their own. But what about the Mustangs? What happened with the civil war that seems to be taking a toll on Haunted Skyway? What are Cool Ranch's ties to Darkmoor? These are all questions I hope to have answered at some point, even if we don't revisit Cool Ranch.

All in all, I just wanted to appreciate this world for what it adds to Pirate101. It really is the apex of world design in this game, the perfect blend of real-world history, classic fictional stories, and the unique world of the spiral. To the designers, thank you!

Dread Pirate
May 27, 2009
I love Cool Ranch! Thanks for sharing your enjoyment of those beautiful stories and skyways.