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Blockading Against Notorious Fandango, and Then Supporting Them

One of the first blockades I ever participated in as a jobber (and, in fact, it might have been the very first blockade I ever experienced, but I cannot remember for sure) was one in which the now-disbanded flag Notorious Fandango was a contender. I remember without a doubt seeing Notorious Fandango's ships outlined in red on the sea battle board, which meant that I had jobbed for a flag that was opposing them in the blockade; unfortunately, today I can no longer remember the name of that flag, and can instead tell you only that the blockade occurred sometime from March 2006 to late June or July 2006, which was the span of my first play session of Puzzle Pirates.

Back then, I was still quite new to the game and entirely ignorant of things like war, island control, and flag politics. When I heard that one of those blockade things was underway, I saw it as a fun new activity for me and an alternative to pillages, which by then I had been jobbing for pretty frequently and was thus quite familiar with, at least from a jobber's perspective. This blockade occurred long ago enough that the game's official blockade pay mechanic had not yet been implemented, and it has also been so long that I can't recall how I even learned of the pay amount and got jobbed in the first place—most likely somebody was advertising for one flag and its pay rate in the game's chat, and instructed us to send a Tell to somebody else in order to get jobbed, which I probably did.

I can remember feeling at the time that the blockade was a marathon: for a typical jobber like me, it was at least three 45-minute rounds of almost uninterrupted puzzling (oftentimes playing the same puzzle), separated by 15-minute breaks. Thus, blockades could easily stretch to being well over 3 hours in length, unlike pillages, which were generally shorter and more often interrupted by the group swordfight/rumble. As I was most definitely not trusted to gun, I could only choose between the three then-existing duty puzzles of sailing, carpentry, and bilging; what probably happened was that I ended up playing one of these puzzles (I cannot remember which) nearly uninterrupted for perhaps an hour or more, and getting extremely bored of it as a result—I much rather preferred to sit back and watch the grand, multi-ship sea battle which was unfolding in front of me.

At the time, I did not think much of either side; I was getting paid by some flag, but whether they won or lost to Notorious Fandango was of little concern to me, as I certainly did not care about flag politics. It was only years later that I would take the time to learn about Notorious Fandango's history and ideology, and feel that, truly, it was a unique and exciting movement within the game that I regrettably missed out on. In particular, I agree completely with Notorious Fandango's emphasis on fun and on opposing boring stagnation, but it would seem that not everybody thought so as well, at least according to the YPPedia article concerning the flag:

Because the flag challenged the established powers on the (then) only server in the game, early opposition to the Fandango project was strong. Many members lost hearties simply for joining the project, and the complaints and forum outrage reached a peak some say has never been seen since, spilling all the way into internet interviews with Cleaver himself. The first and most cohesive anti-Fandango force in game was dubbed The Gladiators, an alt war crew composed of most of the most powerful players in the ocean and containing a massive war fleet, whose stated goal was to join any flag attacked by Fandango and ensure Fandango lost every blockade they attempted.

And all this for a relatively small online game in which no real-world money, possessions, or reputations were at stake! It would seem that the players being described in the above quote perhaps took Puzzle Pirates too seriously, and what fun is there if a game is taken too seriously?

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This page last modified on 29 March 2021.