Punch A Pirate: Man O’ War – Corsair Adds Melee

I’ve only played Man O’ War: Corsair [official site] briefly, but I’ve enjoyed my time with it. A massive shark tried to eat my ship. Currently in Early Access, it’s a loose adaptation of Games Workshop’s out of print table top game of combat on the high seas, Man O’ War. It’s a more expansive game than its inspiration, playing out a little like Sid Meier’s Pirates, but with orcs and zombies and all that good stuff. The latest update adds melee combat, so that your boarding parties can really party, as well as Chaos Warriors and Chaos Spawn. You can also turn bits of sea monsters into weapons, which sounds nice.

We investigated Corsair back in April and while it captures its setting well and has enjoyable, if simple, ship-to-ship combat, we felt the trading and other ‘overworld’ aspects were lacking.

Atmosphere alone takes it pretty far though. Being terrorized by a giant shark in the dead of night, or having your cargo of plague refugees burst out of the hold and onto the deck as zombies, is as frightening and memorable as I’d want from a Warhammer game. But outside of those moments, as I sail from one port to the next, I’m left wishing there was more to do, and that the world would let me make a mark on it. A pirate is lured to sea by the promise of freedom and adventure. Right now, Corsair has half of that equation.

That’s to be expected, perhaps, in an Early Access game and this update is a step in the right direction. As well as bugfixes for specific quests, there are changes to the way that ports stock weapons – they now replenish supplies over time – which hint at a world that is becoming more dynamic and reactive, with persistent elements.

Initially, the game was expected to leave Early Access after four months, which would mean one more month before a ‘full’ release. The devs have also said they’ll maintain EA status for “as long as it takes”, however, and I suspect they might extend their stay. Judging by comments the team have made on the forums, the next big update will add wizards to the game. That should lead to some splendid sights, as spells shimmer and spark across dark waters. I look forward to diving back in a few months down the line.


  1. Lars Westergren says:

    It has single player? I thought it was online multiplayer only. Interest significantly increased!

    Will there be some sort of campaigns with endings, or is it just “trade, fight & explore infinitely” sandbox?

    • Flimgoblin says:

      It’s single player only at the moment – we hope to do some sort of multiplayer eventually (maybe a pvp skirmish mode but we’ve had a lot of calls for coop…)

    • karnak says:

      I sure hope that the game includes some sort of single-player campaign.

      “Mount&Blade Warband” is one of my favourite games. But the lack of a single-player campaign (aside from the “conquer the entire map” goal) has always disappointed me :(

    • Flimgoblin says:

      It’s always going to be more of a sandbox experience rather than a completely directed one but we’re going to put in some campaign progression – the world will change around you, and not only in response to your actions – if you sail around and do nothing the world will still change.

      • karnak says:

        Thanks for the reply.
        Please, do consider inserting some sort of “plot/main quest” which can be achieved during game progress. After which the game can still continue if the player so desires (I think “M&B – With Fire and Sword” had a main quest while the game managed to remain 100% sandbox).

        The game’s looking good. Keep up the good work :)

        • Flimgoblin says:

          It’s a good idea – and as long as we give you places you can choose to ignore or depart from it it’s not going to detract from the freedom of a sandbox.

          And thanks!

  2. Pogs says:

    This looks like it will be fun. Unfortunately my money has been blown on the recent steam sale, else I’d give it a whirl. One for later I guess. Good luck to the devs.

  3. Yachmenev says:

    This looks very interesting, it ticks many boxes for me as the fan of Sid Meier’s Pirates that I am.

    I have read up a bit on it, but I’m not sure whether or not it contains these things that I want from a Pirates!-esque game:

    *A set map, instead of generated one, where you would recognize the islands and ports.
    *Different factions/countries that you could join, with different standings (alied/friendly/hostile), and that the ports could be take over by the factions.
    *Character progressions – Not as much skill progression, but rather rank progression with different benefits for different factions.
    *Dynamic events – I want things similiar to the Silver Train, Treasure Fleet and Pirate Captains/Hunters.

    If this game contained some or all of that, then I would buy it immediately.

    • Flimgoblin says:

      – the map is fixed: it’s the old world of warhammer currently including the coasts of Kislev, The Empire, Bretonnia and later in EA to include Estalia and Tilea.
      – not so much join but you have faction standing and pissing off one faction can improve relations with another. Can’t take the ports over just yet but you can raze them to the ground. Current plan is for the factions to be able to conquer each others ports.
      – not yet, we’re planning character and crew skill progression, some of that might be faction dependent
      – Again not yet, but we are planning for there to be large world-changing events.

      • Yachmenev says:

        This sounds very promising, thank you for answering.

        A couple of more questions, if I may. :)

        1. I like what I hear about the map. Will the ports be the same over different playthroughs? I tried Windward on Steam, a Pirates! game, that generated everything for each campaign, and that just made the areas and ports less interesting.
        2. How much focus will you put on the campaign? As a contrast to the poster a bit up here in this thread I want to say that I hope that it’s not to much. I rather enjoy more freeform campaign gameplay, like in Mount&Blade and Pirates, where your goal is to amass as much wealth and rank you can during your career. I would gladly see an option that limits the gametime for each career/playthrough, even if it’s only an optional one.

        “Again not yet, but we are planning for there to be large world-changing events.”

        This sounds very good. But for me it’s also enough to encounter very rare but tough encounter, that rewards you. Like the Treasure Fleet in Pirates, that you heard of through tavern rumours and had to hunt, city after city, searching for it’s last known locations, until you finally could caught up with it.

        Again, I must say that what you’re doing with this game sounds like it’s very much a game for me.

        • Flimgoblin says:

          1. Same main ports at the start – some things like pirate coves and orc ports might move around a bit, but the main towns won’t move.

          2. We’ll have a hopefully internally consistent world with factions fighting and various events that can tip the balance (as well as the player sticking their oar in, sorry for the pun, but it’s an RPS comment thread… we’ve been slacking!) – there’ll be some randomisation in there as well so it’s not going to play out the same each time even if the player hides and doesn’t interact with it.
          If we do go down a “main quest line” route we’d want to do it in a way that makes sense with the world – if anything it’d be the sandbox driving the main quest rather than the other way, I’d want to avoid things where the world stays still until you talk to some NPC in a port.

          I guess at the moment we have something approaching the rare encounters in the sea monsters – there are occasions where they come to you but you can also sail out and try and hunt down a Black Leviathan… I’ll certainly have a ponder as to where we can fit more of that sort of thing in: preparation and planning leading to a major challenging encounter.

  4. Vacuity729 says:

    Nice to see the developer so active in responding. :)

    If you’re still around, I’d love to ask a small handful of Qs; I was a big fan of the tabletop game, but never got to play as much as I’d have liked; do you have the different races in there with roughly similar “ships” to what was in the tabletop game? If so, do they have similar abilities? For example the Dwarfish Nautilus, or the Dark Elf sea monsters.

    Second question is to then ask whether it’s possible to play in command of one of those relatively non-standard ships.

    Finally, and I know this isn’t terribly likely, but; will modding be possible? I’ve always enjoyed tweaking the games I have myself, as well as sometimes downloading other people’s stuff. I think it was someone at Paradox who said the Steam Workshop was the best anti-piracy device ever invented.

    • Flimgoblin says:

      Yep, all the ships are based on the originals from the tabletop, so you have Hell-hammers that propel themselves backwards as they fire, the Nautilus isn’t in game yet (dwarves will be coming soon though) but yes it’s got its own unique mechanics. Most crazy ones in game so far would probably be the orc Hulks, nothing quite so scary as being dragged in by one of those claws and smashed by the giant hammer…

      We’re going to release a skirmish mode which will let you play any race for a custom battle, but we’ve had a lot of feedback asking for sandbox play as any race – I’d really like to get that in too, but there are a few things we need to work around first for some of the races.

    • Flimgoblin says:

      We haven’t got any plans for mod support but we’ve not ruled it out either, will have to see what we can do down the line.

    • Vacuity729 says:

      If you’ve got the crazy stuff from the various races then you’ve definitely got me! That also makes mod support rather less urgent, though still desirable.
      Best of luck with your work!