Puzzle Pirates is an excellent MMO puzzling game that is past its prime, yet still very playable and a good way to amuse yourself for hours. It is also a game I have played on and off for over 9 years now.
You get to be a pirate, and you perform your tasks(Sailing, carpentry, navigation, swordfighting and many more) by playing puzzles. The puzzles done interact with eachother, making it a unique challenge to run a functional ship together with others. While you can play it for the social aspect of puzzling together and having a great pillage among friends, it is equally possible to just puzzle on your own, or to join easily accessible pickup groups('Jobbing') just for the puzzling.
Sadly, due to its age it is now unlikely that you'll find a large amount of people - An issue in any social game.
With your rewarded or pillaged money you can buy outfits for your pirate, customising your pants, hat, shirt and boots with plenty of different clothing and colour options - As well as allowing you to buy a fancy house, paint it, furnish it, and just have yourself a humble abode, a shack, or a magnificent mansion. The customisation in the game is excellent, with many years of content to keep you busy furnishing, clothing, painting and customising every bit of your pirate, house and if you have the money even your ships.
But sadly, you won't be able to do too much with it, as the ingame economy has almost wrecked itself. This game has a very good economy model, with supply and demand, freight trips, and commodities being produced and moved all by players, fashioned into their end products by players, and bought by players. However, to deliver anything but the most basic of goods you need to pay a delivery cost. There are two currencies, Pieces of Eight(PoE), and Dubloons. PoE are the money of the world, you get PoE from your pillaging, from working for the navy, and as payment for labour(Also a puzzle!), and Dubloons, a currency you can only buy with physical money from your own wallets outside of the game.
Of course, nothing is ever truly fully free, is it? There are two kinds of servers for Puzzle Pirates. The first is a subscription ocean, where you have to pay a monthly fee to have access to just about anything(But you do get to play and puzzle for free as an unlimited trail), the economy on there is actually pretty decent, but if you aren't subscribed and do not plan to subscribe you will be locked out from a large amount of content. The other is dubloon oceans, where you are free to play - But you need dubloons to deliver anything more fancy than a broken crate and a bedroll, and you need to buy badges with dubloons to unlock content such as anything rank based in your crew(Read: Pirate version of a guild/group), Sea Monster Hunting, and playing some of the puzzles and parlor games(All shipboard working puzzles are always free. On-shore labour and parlor games are free only a few days a week depending on the specific puzzle).
Luckily, dubloons can be bought using PoE in a market system, so you can technically get everything without ever paying anything for a dubloon but your ingame currencies. Sadly, this means that you will need to spend -A LOT- to get them. As demand for them is set incredibly high, with almost everything of any note costing you dubloons and a large part of the remaining playerbase being rich their prices have gone up to nearly 4000 PoE. To give that some context, you gain about 20 for an average performance with the NPC navy for one league point, on a trip that lasts 20 or so minutes. At this rate, you have korean MMO levels of grinding just to be able to afford the basics for your pirate, and it is not at all uncommon for an item's cost in PoE to be negligible compared to the dubloon costs. Dubloon costs for everything has sunk the economy for all but a few, but at least the puzzles themselves are enjoyable, even if the MMO part of the game is a mess.
As long as you have your expectations right this is not a problem, with well designed puzzles you can surely find ways to enjoy yourself
As you might tell from the economy bit up there, it is not very friendly to newcomers, mostly thanks to the prices becoming impossible. Aside from that though, it is a very friendly game and easy to pick up. Easy controls, easy to learn but difficultt o master puzzles and an appealing artstyle are part of the draws. The population on server is friendly, helpful, and tries their best to enjoy a good game, but without reaching for your wallet it is unlikely that you will ever get far these days - And if you plan to make your own crew you are out of luck as this is one of the most expensive (in dubloons) things one can do. In addition, if you do not buy dubloons or subscribe, you have around 6 weeks since your last login to come back. Else your pirate will be deleted.
As amusing as the chatfilter is with pirate-y-fying your swears, and as amusing as the puzzles are, as friendly as the community on server are, and as satisfying it is to build up your home and move somewhere bigger over countless pillages, Puzzle pirates is on a straight track to the cliff of abandonned old games and nobody seems to know if the developer has plans to slow down and save it, or given up hope to just let it fall while hoping to get some final payments out of it for dubloons.
If you do join the game, please get on the Emerald Ocean, it's getting lonelier by the day
Edit: A guide to get you startedhttp://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=115409864