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Early Experiences with Pirates of the Caribbean Online

Unlike nearly every other video game I have played, my early experience with Pirates of the Caribbean Online (POTCO) was not a positive one. I first began playing POTCO in April 2008, and compared to its later years, it was in a pretty rough state in those days. The main issue was not anything to do with gameplay (which was generally fine); instead, it was the very frequent crashes due to disconnections from the game, which would always force me to close the game client, log back in, and then spend something like 2 or 3 minutes waiting for everything to load again.

You might be thinking that I was simply being impatient, and that a wait of a few minutes is hardly a big deal, but the issue was that the disconnections happened far too often: every other time the game loaded an island scene—even if it was the same island I was currently on—it would disconnect and crash. Hell, at times it would even disconnect me if I launched a ship and it tried to load the High Seas, or if I merely went to a new scene within the same island (e.g. going to Fort Charles on Port Royal).

The worst part of it, though, was that, back then, if you disconnected (or even just logged out) while your pirate was on Tortuga or Cuba, and thereafter tried to log in, the game would disconnect and crash every time as soon as the island loaded, meaning that, in effect, you were locked out of that pirate forever, and all the time and effort spent playing it and leveling it was wasted. This is what happened to my first pirate after around a few days of play, when I had reached the part of the early game where I needed to venture to Cuba; I believe I sailed to the island only to disconnect (as usual) upon arrival, and afterwards I could never again log in to that pirate without immediately being disconnected. I then made a second pirate and played it for perhaps a few days to a week, the entire time avoiding Cuba like the plague, only to encounter the exact same problem when I sailed to Tortuga and logged out (or disconnected on arrival—I cannot remember which) while on that island. When I lost my second pirate to this absurd bug, I quit the game in anger and vowed to never return. (Port Royal was not affected by this bug, and I don't believe Devil's Anvil was, either; I am unsure about the other islands, as I did not visit them the first time I played the game.)

It was quite surprising to me at the time that a game developed by a company as large as Disney could be plagued by such a disastrous bug. The game was released to the public on 31 October 2007, so you would think that after being live for more than 5 months, something as basic as being able to establish and maintain a stable Internet connection would have been nailed down. No other online game I had played prior to it had connection issues even close to those of POTCO back in April 2008, and they certainly never locked me out of my character at any point.

Despite all the connection issues, there were times when I genuinely had fun playing the game. Fortunately, I decided to give POTCO another chance at the end of July 2008, hoping that, at the very least, they had fixed the Cuba/Tortuga lockout bug and I could access my old pirate again. I was extremely happy when I discovered that, in fact, the bug had been fixed, and my second pirate on Tortuga loaded without issue; I would return to playing POTCO many times before its closure in September 2013.

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This page last modified on 28 March 2021.