Puzzle Pirates tips/walkthrough – starting out

I’ve been recently revisiting an old MMORPG that I played; Puzzle Pirates. It’s an interesting game where the players are pirates hunting the seas. Now life on the seas was hard work; there was bilgewater to dump, the hull needs to be repaired, and the sails must be manipulated to catch the wind. Puzzle Pirates has a rather unique way of representing this; each shipboard duty is a puzzle minigame, similar to titles like Bejeweled.

The first thing to do after loading the game is to name and customize your pirate. You can then go to the “Missions” page and start playing the puzzles. There are six basic duty puzzles: Sailing, Rigging, Carpenting, Patching, Bilging, and Gunning. It is a good idea to try each of the puzzles with the “learn to” missions to get comfortable with them. You’ll also get a small amount of pieces of eight (PoE), the basic currency of Puzzle Pirates.

Once you have learned the puzzles, you can then look in Voyages to see if anyone is hiring; those tend to pay better than the navy. It is a good idea to start with those under “Pillaging with a crew”. If you don’t get accepted to the first ship you try to apply to, try another.

Note that pillaging puts you in a team with real players, and you’d be expected to pull your weight. Only go on them if you have at least 30 minutes to spare. Watch your chat to see if the commanding officer would prefer a certain station to be filled. As noted, each puzzle helps the ship in some way; Sailing and Rigging helps the ship move faster, both within battle and out of it. Carpenting and Patching helps repair the ship; ships get a small amount of damage over time, and more damage if they get hit by rocks or cannons during battle. And Bilging helps pump water out of the bilge; if there is too much bilgewater in the ship, the sails would be less effective.


Fig. 1: Ship meters. The first (yellow) one is sailing speed; the second (red) one is damage; and the third (blue) one is the amount of water in the bilge. The number of guns loaded are also shown.

Note that sailing and rigging, though they are different puzzles, does the same thing for the ship and are activated from the same stations; likewise carpenting and patching. Some commanding officers may ask you to “sail” or “carp” (short for carpenting) due to habit (as those puzzles existed for a longer time) or briefness; they typically won’t mind if you rig when they ask you to sail, or patch when they ask you to carpent, if you’re more comfortable or better with those puzzles.

Do not abandon a puzzle just because you’re trying to look for a better board; abandoning and retaking a station gives a significant penalty to your effectiveness and subsequent duty report. (Gunning is an exception to this rule.)

Gunning loads the cannons of the ship, and is somewhat different from the others; on a pillage, you won’t be able to start it without a special order from the commanding officer. This is because gunning stations are very limited, and efficient loading of cannons is quite important for the success of the pillage. You typically would not be given permission to gun unless you have achieved a standing of Respected or higher.

After a while on a pillage, your ship would get into battle. When this happens, you will here a trumpet fanfare, and the top right corner of your screen would show a board that looks something like this:

sea battle
Fig. 2: Sea battle. The controls are only usable by the navigator of the ship, who usually is also the commanding officer.

As a newer player, you shouldn’t worry too much about what happens here; just continue puzzling. Avoid leaving a ship during battle; it greatly cripples the effectiveness of the ship, and is often frowned upon by other players. Your officer would attempt to steer the ship to shoot the enemy ship as much as possible, while avoiding shots themself. Eventually, the ships would grapple, and you move to the boarding phase of the battle. This is resolved by one of two puzzles that would start automatically: Swordfighting, or Rumbling. While playing these, do try to take note of the “teaming”; on each enemy pirate, you’d see a little circle next to their mini-board for each pirate that’s targeting them; if there are five pirates targeting them, there will be a bright orange dot. You can switch your target by clicking on their face or their mini-board. Generally, you should aim for teams of two or three when swordfighting, or teams of three or four in rumbling.

teaming
Fig. 3: There are two pirates on “Slimy Wench” and one on “Salty Bill”. The one on Salty Bill should probably switch targets!

If you win the fight, half the PoE “booty” extorted from the enemy ship would be divided among the crew; the other half would go to the “booty chest”. If you lose the fight, some of the booty from the booty chest would be lost; however, you’d still get credited a share for the battle when the chest is divided at port.

Again, keep in mind that you’re playing with real people; please be polite and courteous in the chat. If someone is bothering you, you can block their messages by typing “/mute” (without quotes), followed by a space and their name. For example “/mute Rudeperson”.

If you want to meet me in the game, I am Rhoaleper in the Meridian Ocean.

 

Desktop Dungeons – Ep 5 – Beginner Brigade

In this episode, we complete the Beginner Brigade mission by taking an elven wizard and a halfling fighter through the Den of Danger.

New race: Halflings – halflings gain a health potion for every 80 conversion points. Halflings are great with classes that have special use of health potions (like priests and thieves), or classes with high hit points (since health potions restore 40% of your max HP)

Know your subdungeons:

Yin and Yang
Yinyang

Eternal Yin and Immortal Yang are unique naga enemies, who are level 7, and have 42 attack and 90 HP. If you kill one, you must kill the other on the very next blow, or the dead one will resurrect. They do not provide experience, nor do they leave a blood pool (important for certain character types encountered later). If you manage to defeat both, you’ll get a pair of swords (Blade of Yin and Yang’s Sword); they are both small items, and each give +3 attack. They can also be expended to grant a layer of death protection.

Defeating Yin and Yang requires a suitably strong character and some management; hit one until they’re one hit away from death, then kill the other, then go back and kill the first one.

 

Desktop Dungeons – Ep 4 – Explorer’s Guild: Starter Pack

In this video, I demostrate the solution to the puzzles in the Starter Pack, to earn some much-needed gold. Spoiler alert: If you want to solve these puzzles yourself, do not watch this video or reveal the information below.

Note that despite the fact that the Explorer’s Guild, and the Starter Pack, unlocks before you get the Bank, you should probably wait till you have the Bank before completing the Starter Pack, or you’d be likely to hit your gold cap without anything to spend it on, thus wasting gold earned from dungeon runs.

Intro to Puzzles

  1. Kill 2 Meat Men
  2. Pick up the Spoon
  3. Kill 1 Meat Man
  4. Pick up and drink 1 Health Potion
  5. Kill the last 2 Meat Men
  6. Attack the Goat 2 times
  7. Pick up and drink the last Health Potion
  8. Kill the Goat

Enemy Matching

  1. Attack the Vampire once
  2. Pick up and drink the Health Potion
  3. Kill the Vampire
  4. Kill the Meat Man
  5. Kill Frank the Zombie

Strike Order

  1. Kill the Goat
  2. Pick up and cast GETINDARE
  3. Kill the Snake
  4. Attack the Zombie once
  5. Cast GETINDARE
  6. Kill the Zombie
  7. Kill the Goblin
  8. Cast GETINDARE
  9. Kill the level 1 Warlock
  10. Attack Aequitas once
  11. Cast GETINDARE
  12. Kill Aequitas

Positioning

  1. Pick up WEYTWUT amd cast it on Lord Gobb
  2. Pick up the Damage Booster
  3. Convert WEYTWUT
  4. Kill the northmost Goat
  5. Pick up PISORF and the 3 Mana Potions
  6. Drink 1 Mana Potion
  7. While standing north of the eastmost Goat, cast PISORF, pushing it southward
  8. Move south, then cast PISORF on that Goat again, killing it
  9. Move to the east of the previously buried Goat
  10. Drink 2 Mana Potions, then cast PISORF on that Goat, moving him westward
  11. Cast PISORF on that Goat again, killing it
  12. Go kill the two remaining Goats with normal combat. This will level you up.
  13. Kill Lord Gobb

Experience

  1. Pick up IMAWAL and cast it on the Goo Blob
  2. Kill the Gorgon
  3. Cast IMAWAL on a level 1 Goblin
  4. Kill the level 2 Goblin
  5. Kill the level 1 Goblin
  6. Convert IMAWAL
  7. Kill The Firstborn
 

Desktop Dungeons – Ep 3 – Of Elves, Dwarves, and Economics

In this episode, we will try out two new races, as well as complete the Venture Capital quest, which would construct a Bank for our kingdom. We also get invaded by a mysterious demon named Bezar, from another dimension… fortunately, he seems to only want to set up shops in our dungeons…

The Bank is a very useful building. At level one, the bank can keep a maximum of 1500 gold, and allows your adventurers to take 15 gold into a dungeon. Well worth completing the “Venture Capital” quest as soon as possible.

Races determine your conversion bonus. You should choose a race and class combination whose strengths work well together. You can also choose a race specifically to shore up a class’s weaknesses.

  • Humans gain 10% bonus damage per 100 conversion points. Thus they’re good for classes that rely on physical damage, like Berserkers and Warlords.
  • Elves gain 1 maximum MP per 70 conversion points. Thus, they’re good for classes that rely on spellcasting, like Wizards and Sorcerers.
  • Dwarves gain (1 × level) maximum HP per 80 conversion points. Thus, they’re good for classes that rely on percentage healing effects (e.g. potions), like Priests and Bloodmages.

We also see our last basic glyph. More glyphs will be unlocked when we unlock the tier 3 classes.

  • PISORF PISORF (4 MP) is the knockback glyph. This pushes your target back one square from the direction you are standing. If they collide into something, they will receive physical damage.
    • If they collide into a wall, the wall will be destroyed, they will be pushed into the square, and they take 60% of your base damage.
    • If they collide into another enemy, neither enemy moves, but both enemies will take 49% of your base damage.
    • If they are in front of the dungeon edge or an unbreakable wall, the spell has no effect, however your MP will be wasted.
    • PISORF can be used in place of the BURNDAYRAZ glyph as a damage dealing spell, if you haven’t found BURNDAYRAZ yet. PISORF is also useful against enemies with magic resistance, as PISORF ignores magic resistance and deals physical damage. Positioning is key though, as you need a wall or enemy behind the target to deal damage. If you also have IMAWAL or WEYTWUT, it may be possible to place that wall or enemy yourself.

Tidbit: The BURNDAYRAZ glyph always spawns in randomized dungeons. Finding it, however, is another matter…

Catapult /ˈkæ.tə.pʌlt/ n. [Desktop Dungeons slang] (also level-up catapult) A technique used to fight monsters of a level higher than you normally can, thus earning more bonus XP. Here are the steps:

  1. Get close to leveling up
  2. Find a monster at least 2, ideally at least 3 levels above yourself, that you can reduce to about 60% health without needing to use any potions.
  3. Kill popcorn to level up. This restores your health and mana.
  4. Kill the monster you injured.
 

Desktop Dungeons – Ep 2 – City Expansion, Dangerous Investments

We shall now continue our Desktop Dungeons adventure. In this video, I defeat the other two goat overlords surrounding the city in Vince’s Vault and the BAAdlands, and then dive into the first “full” dungeon, the Den of Danger, to defeat the level 10 “Banker” boss within.

In Desktop Dungeons, whenever you enter a dungeon, you have to pick a race and a class. Races determine your reward for converting items. Classes give you more specialized abilities. By the end of this episode, we would have unlocked and played with all four “tier one” classes:

  • Fighters have:
    • INSTINCTS: Monsters of an equal or lower level always have their location revealed
    • VETERAN: Fighters earn 1 extra experience on any monster kill, 10% less exp required to level
    • PIT DOG: Dungeon runs start with 1 level of standard Death Protection on the character
    • A fighter’s chief advantage comes from being able to level up quickly; Instincts isn’t very useful, as fighting enemies of equal and lower level doesn’t give you any additional experience advantage, and Pit Dog’s death protection can only be used once. Given the lack of combat-relevant abilities, a fighter is typically weaker than any other class at the same level.
    • Note that if you have death protection, the combat prediction would say “barely alive” or “barely win” if that attack would use up your death protection.
  • Thieves have:
    • STABBER: Deal an extra 30% damage on the first attack against any new monster
    • HOARDER: +33% more items on dungeon maps
    • SURVIVOR: Health and Mana Potions restore both health and mana
    • Thieves are a rather balanced “jack-of-all-trades” class, and its bonuses are rather passive; you just get more boosters and potions, and can make better use out of the potions. They are generally best played as a “hybrid” build, relying on both spells and physical damage.
  • Wizards have:
    • MAGIC SENSE: Can see locations of all glyphs from level start, all glyphs are small items
    • MAGIC AFFINITY: Skills cost -1 mana, glyphs donate 10 points to other conversions
    • MAGIC ATTUNEMENT: Starts with the BURNDAYRAZ glyph, faster burn stacking
    • Wizards are, obviously, built for spellcasting. Reduced spell cost is incredibly useful, as it allows you to cast two fireballs from your starting mana pool. Do not however, discount physical damage; there are many spells that still rely on having a good amount of physical damage.
    • One powerful way of playing wizards later in the game, especially once shops are unlocked and items become more prominent, is to pick up all the glyphs in the dungeon early. Holding the glyphs in your inventory would increase the conversion point yield of all other items, even the cheapest ones.
  • Priests have:
    • GOOD HEALTH: An extra 3 health is gained per level
    • GOOD DRINK: Health potions heal 100% (instead of 40%) of your health
    • GOOD GOLLY: +100% physical damage against undead
    • Priests are a “tanky” class, having more health, as well as better use of health potions. The extra damage against undead is situational, but often means that priests can defeat undead about a level higher than they would be able to normally. A source of first strike (like the GETINDARE glyph) is useful to this end.

We also see a few new glyphs:

  • BYSSEPS BYSSEPS (2 MP) is the “pump” glyph. Casting it gives 30% more damage to your nextphysical strike. It also erodes 3% of your enemy’s physical and magic resistances, if they happen to have any.
    • Note that you can cast this and “hold” it while you explore. This allows you to perform one powered strike at full health and mana.
  • ENDISWAL ENDISWAL (6 MP) is the “mining” glyph. Cast this on walls to destroy them. It also gives you 20% resistance from the next attack that hits you. This stacks, but you can only have up to amaximum of 65% resistance.
    • Finding this early is useful to avoid getting stuck. You can also spend spare mana points just destroying random walls, to build up the resistance for your next strike.
  • GETINDARE GETINDARE (3 MP) is the “first strike” glyph. Cast this to gain “first strike” for your next attack. It also grants you 5% dodge chance
    • Whenever you click on a monster, you exchange blows. You normally strike first against monsters of lower level, but monsters of equal or higher level will strike first. So, getting “first strike” will negate that, saving you a lot of damage. However, this is useless if the monster also has first strike, e.g. goblins.
    • The dodge chance means that you can repeatedly cast this before each strike if you don’t have anything better to spend your mana on. Hopefully you get to dodge an attack, saving you some damage.
  • IMAWAL IMAWAL (5 MP) is the “petrify” glyph. Cast this to either petrify a non-boss enemy (basically having it act as a wall), or create a wall on an empty space. Petrifying an enemy gives you 50% bonus experience on your next kill, and removes 1 stack of Curse. Creating a wall on an empty space refunds 2 mana.
    • Petrifying enemies forgoes the experience you get from killing them, so at first glance this glyph looks rather useless. However, if you petrify a low-level enemy before killing a high-level enemy, you would then get much more experience than the enemy you petrified would have given!
  • WONAFYT WONAFYT (5 MP) is the “summon” glyph. Cast this to summon a monster of equal level (or lower if unavailable) to one of the four squares adjacent to your character. This also slows them.
    • Unlike what the glyph name would suggest, you probably shouldn’t fight whatever it brings you. Instead one should use it much like WEYTWUT: to set up a supply of popcorn for later in the game. Be careful where you cast it, as you might easily block yourself. This should generally be converted on about the mid-game, when the monsters it summons aren’t quite useful as popcorn anymore.
    • Popcorn /ˈpɒp.kɔɹn/ n. [Desktop Dungeons slang] Low-level monsters that you leave around for later levels, as an easy source of XP to level-up in the middle of fights. The ideal popcorn should be killable with a single hit. It is also preferable that they don’t deal any damage to you; thus, first-strikers like goblins can be troublesome. Fortunately, slowing them with WEYTWUT or WONAFYT negates their first strike. Slowed enemies also give you 1 bonus XP if killed while slowed, thus, either of these two glyphs are often used to create a “popcorn bowl”.

Fun fact: “Gharbad the -Whoah!” is a reference to “Gharbad the Weak” from the Diablo game. Gharbad the Weak is a goatman NPC that will plead with you for his life and gives you a magic item. He will then tell you that he’ll make a better weapon for you soon. When he does make the weapon he decides not to give it to you and attacks you instead. However, true to his name, he is pretty easy to take down. Gharbad the -Whoah, however, is considerably less weak.

 

Desktop Dungeons – Ep 1 – Tutorial dungeon & Thousand Cuts

The first game I will demonstrate is Desktop Dungeons, a rather unique roguelike (or possibly a puzzle game with roguelike elements) from QCF Design.

  • The objective of Desktop Dungeons is to kill the “boss” monster(s) of the dungeon.
    • Boss monsters have a higher level than the rest of the monsters of the dungeon
    • They are usually level 10. The goat bosses in these introductory dungeons, however, are only level 5.
    • They are surrounded by visible piles of bones and gore, and will give you a monologue when you uncover them.
  • You start as a mere level 1. As you kill monsters and gain experience, you can level up. Leveling up fully heals you and replenishes your mana. It also gives you +10 max health and +5 base attack.
    • If you can kill monsters that are higher level than yourself, you gain bonus experience!
  • You regenerate health and mana by exploring. This is obviously a limited resource, so it should be conserved. Note also that while exploring, monsters will regenerate health as well.
    • You can also find Booster-hp health, Booster-mp mana, and Booster-atk attack boosters as you explore. These usually should be picked up as soon as possible, as they don’t do a lot of good on the ground. Mana boosters are especially important, as mana capacity does not naturally improve as you level up.
  • The Desktop Dungeon spell system is based on “glyphs”; a type of item found in the dungeon that gives you the ability to cast a single spell using your mana points.
    • The BURNDAYRAZ BURNDAYRAZ glyph (6 MP per cast) is a standard fireball spell. Click on it, click on your enemy to burninate them! This is usually weaker than your normal attack, however, they can’t retaliate (unless they have a specific ability which we’ll cover later), and give the enemy a stackable “burning” effect, slowing their regeneration rate! Making a normal attack on any enemy ends the burning effect.
    • The WEYTWUT WEYTWUT glyph (8 MP per cast) is a teleportation spell. It works by swapping your position with a given enemy (therefore, it requires a target). This is really useful if you get stuck… however, more useful is the slowing effect it gives to the affected enemy. You can thus spend MP (that would be normally wasted as you explore with full MP) to create a supply of slowed, low-level monsters that you can easily kill; if an enemy is killed while slowed, you gain 1 extra experience point! Its usefulness diminishes toward the end of the game and thus should be converted then.
    • The LEMMISI LEMMISI glyph (2 MP per cast) is a scrying spell. It reveals 3 tiles upon casting. It’s not terribly useful, but it can be used to help replenish health from those inaccessible tiles after you have the dungeon explored.
      • I probably should have saved one for that subdungeon though; this would have allowed me to reveal that hidden monster, WEYTWUT it, so that I can explore the rest of the subdungeon.
  • Unneeded glyphs and items can be destroyed / “converted” for conversion points. Reaching a conversion point threshold would give you a bonus based on your chosen race.
    • Humans gain 10% bonus damage for every 100 conversion points. Thus, they work best with classes and items that boost your base attack power. (e.g. Fine Sword, which gives +4 damage)
  • Subdungeons appear as a downward ladder. They’re often worth checking out as they can give you great bonuses. They can also be a valuable source of exploration. (It is typically prudent to enter a subdungeon first with full or nearly full health and mana though, as some subdungeons block your way out and force you to fight something)
  • Once you kill the boss, it leaves behind a trophy item. These are automatically sold to the Taxidermist, gaining you gold to improve your kingdom with.
 

Welcome

Welcome to Let’s Play with Spheniscine! This blog will consist of video playthroughs of various games, and relevant gaming tips for the situations demonstrated in them. Stay tuned; the first video should be up soon.