I just thought I would start out by saying that I really LOVE Pirate101. I have played Wizard101 since it came out and I actually think I enjoy Pirate101 just as much. I hope to be a player for a very long time and can't wait to see what things Pirate101 has in store.
That said I would like to address and get feedback on serious issues that other players, friends, and myself have noticed about the game, particularly the significant increase in play difficulty starting around Cool Ranch.
I am an adult casual gamer who can beat most games I play on the hardest settings, and have played many MMO types in my time. Even so I can safely say that Cool Ranch is so difficult I would bet that 70% of new players wont be lucky enough or have the tenacity to make it through. Coming into Cool Ranch as a level 20 Witchdoctor, I had completed all side quests available to me, had a fully equipped Monquistan ship, and Nautical level of about 16. I am a fairly careful player and had quite a few nice companions and a pet. Even so if it had not been for some friends helping me out I would have not been able to complete more than a handful of quests. The issues present do not allow for any different approach or alternatives other than having to have lots of friends help you, and even then it can be tedious to say the least.
So rather than go into a long-winded rant about issues, I would like to just add some possible solutions/ideas to make Cool Ranch and the game a little less frustrating.
*Rare drop rates only increase difficulty and strategy slightly, but at a certain point detract heavily from the overall fun. If a person is solo, they should expect at worst a single quest item drop every other battle and in a group should have at least one or more drops per battle.
*Nautical levels, on top of being difficult to keep up with the changing worlds, seem to have little effect on overall performance against ships of equal or even slightly lower levels. Even with a good ship and good equipment and a sound strategy a person is likely to be boarded unless they get lucky or have help. Nautical levels should certainly show more improvement on ship battles and outcomes.
*Another issue with ship and normal battling is how frequent block and dodge reactions are applied and how little effect accuracy seems to compensate. The turn out of both battle types are heavily luck based, even with a party to assist. Dodge and block should be much rarer.
*Due to the necessity and value of training points, one feels penalized for acquiring more companions, since even with low appearance rates, they still are forced into battle sometimes and therefore must use training points. I personally can't bring myself to buy new companions from the Crown Shop for this reason. I think all these issues would be solved by allowing us to "bench" any companions we like.
Please feel free to add on what I may have missed, and try to make positive suggestion and constructive criticisms please.