Uncharted Waters Online

PUBLISHER: Papaya Play | DEVELOPER: Tecmo Koei
GENRE: MMORPG | THEME: Historical
PLATFORM: Download | STATUS: Final
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User Rating
Rating: 5.3/10 (3 votes cast)

With Uncharted Waters Online, Koei tries to bring something new to the free MMORPG scene, and the Japanese studio succeeded. More than a RPG, this is an ‘Age of Exploration simulator’, with a lot more going on besides the usual role-playing tasks.

Although based in a historical premise, Uncharted Waters is a fictional take on the several timelines of this era, offering a romantic view of the 15th century. With 6 powerful nations at the players’ disposal – England, Kingdom of Portugal, Spanish Empire, Dutch Republic, Ancien Régime in France and Republic of Venice – there is much to choose from, with classes and over 75 professions, representing more than 100 skills to master. The player is free to change from one profession to another at any time, so things never get stale.

The developers boast over 3 years of playtime for Uncharted Waters Online, certainly impressive but depending on what they can do to keep things fresh. Events such as Great Sea Fights bring some excitement to the game, and the possibility of 100 Vs 100 PvP sea battles is something that will keep players interested.

With an economy system that fluctuates accordingly to supply and demand of goods, and several systems such as investment, politics and spice routes, Uncharted Waters Online is a huge game and a clever mix of elements. It could be technically improved, with more detailed and populated cities, but things are very appealing in the high seas.

Uncharted Waters Online, 5.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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  • Arc

    Newly released details show that Papaya Play, who will be hosting Uncharted Waters Online beginning October 18th, intend to wipe out the past
    seven years’ worth of player achievements and progress by resetting
    this game’s server to zero.

    This means there will be no player guilds to welcome newcomers, no experienced crafters to produce equipment necessary to play the game, including shipwrights able to produce better ships than the joke beginner ones you start out with, and the 200+ game cities will be largely inaccessible, or not give access to their content as players are supposed to invest their game money to build them up to a certain level of development.

    Additionally, access to the world will be limited to a tiny handful of regions, while
    the rest will take months to unlock by repeating long, boring fetch/delivery quests, being attacked by other players along the way. The return of item plunder means your equipment and items can be stolen by other players as well as your money, slowing down game progress even further.

    So, any returning players or news ones starting on October 18th can look forward to having no access to 98% of the game’s content, having their belongings at risk of theft from other players, and being told about exciting newly released game content, most of which will take about a real life year or so to build back up to and be able to access. The majority of the game’s user base are looking at abandoning ship at this point, and the few who remain will be ill-equipped to teach or help others on their voyage as they’ll have no
    money/levels to do so, assuming they even want to try — most confirmed
    players sticking around are the ones who wanted item theft put back in
    the game.

    If this reset goes ahead as planned, and barring an about face from Papaya Play due to mass player outcries which have so far gone unheeded, it very likely will, then I’m afraid this really is the end of the line for Uncharted Waters Online.

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    • That doesn’t sound good at all. Is this game actually good enough to stick around for much longer?

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      • Arc

        I don’t think so. And it really was a truly wonderful game, one where you could custom-tailor your game experience by picking the player skills you wanted to use, and getting to play alongside people from across the world — Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Americas. The spirit of the community was almost always bright and eager to help welcome new players with advice, instruction, and even taking the time to help them figure out what to do with their game life; I myself stuck around for five of those seven years despite avoiding MMOs, all because of that kind and friendly community, and made some wonderful friends in the process.

        But the news of this reset has broken the spirits of many in that same community, and nearly all of them are prepared to move on in the event that the reset does actually go through. With many of them having spent seven or so years of their lives raising their character and skill levels, acquiring rare items, raising up their in-game currency, often investing hundreds of thousands of their own real life currency into the game to sustain it and to improve their game experience/get top of the line items only available through cash shop purchases, building up top notch player guilds and getting to travel all over the world as freely as one wanted… if they took all that away and gave you a few tiny, slow-moving beginner ships, is it any wonder few, if any still wish to continue?

        There has been a promise that those who transfer their account details over will get special compensation packages (contents unknown at this time), but given the fact that one of those compensation items will reportedly be “Shipbuilding parts” which nobody will be able to use for who knows how many months it will take for shipbuilders to even get the shipbuilding skill, let alone level it.

        To explain: the process of shipbuilding involves getting a character job, which requires taking a quest. That quest cannot be taken unless a player first acquires and builds up a specific other player skill to a medium-high level, which requires hours of time, and will be difficult to do with beginning equipment.

        Even when you have the shipbuilder job and skill, it then must be leveled up to do any good. This process involves lots of time spent sitting in one place, and building lots of useless ships you must then sell to NPCs for a monetary loss in order to get experience for your shipbuilding skill. Pre-server wipe, it took about half a year, maybe less if you used cash shop items for extra experience, to build your shipbuilding skill up; that process costs close to 1 billion game currency units to do – you start the game with 50k units, however. The best ways to raise money come from selling items from other parts of the world in your home region, but those foreign regions will be closed off for months to come as they require weeks and months of concentrated work to reopen them, and other players can steal your goods before you get home to sell them. That doesn’t even take into account the need to invest hundreds of millions into the game’s cities to make most ship recipes appear.

        So, by promising shipbuilding parts as a compensation item to veteran players being forced to start over, it only makes it look like Papaya Play’s team don’t even understand the scope of their decision to reset, and think players can keep going on playing as if nothing’s changed.

        Probably the worst part is that, as I said, they are ignoring us at this point in time, and have yet to reach out and communicate with the user base despite claiming to “put users first, consistently reaching out to our gaming communities and keeping communication open”. There have been no official responses in the Papaya forums, no mention of anything on the official UWO Facebook page they supposedly now have control over, and emails sent to their support staff have largely gone unanswered as well, so far. The few answers given were not very helpful, either.

        In fairness, Papaya Play claims there was a data issue prompting this move. The fact that they have not yet been clearer on the nature of this supposed issue beyond blaming it on the former host, OGPlanet (which is conveniently closed down and unable to confirm/dispute their claim), or what happened to the data backups they should’ve had, plus the fact that Papaya Play reset the server of another game they acquired in the past, La Tale, while keeping a different game server intact after acquiring it, BlackRock, is leading to the rumor that they chose to push this reset to force players starting over/just beginning to have to buy cash shop items. Perhaps that speculation is incorrect, but again, without Papaya Play communicating to players, we’re left with nothing to do but look at the few facts we do know, and come to conclusions based on them.

        Whether or not any of that’s true, this much is certain: the Uncharted Waters Online game of the past seven years does not look like it will be returning at all. Certainly not in the well-developed and robust game world server that it once was, and neither in the form of its supportive and insightful community who made it a pleasure to play in the first place. Whatever takes its place will probably not last past the six months needed to unlock even a fraction of the game’s content. It’s a heart-breaking thing to see, really.

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        • I guess we’ll never know if the migration was problematic or if they chose to reset the server themselves. But your description tells me that they’re hoping to get people back in the game right from the start, which is really a problem. Even the compensation makes it seem like they don’t know their own game.

          I don’t think they’ll have many new players getting into the game at all. “Killing” their main, experienced player based could just destroy the game for good. But hey, games like Otherland barely have 2 players daily for nearly 2 years and they’re still going. Weird things happen.

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