IGN's Australian news bureau has posted an article in which Flying Labs' CEO, Russell Williams, gives readers a short "primer" about Pirates of the Burning Sea:
Flying Lab on role-playing story arcs:
We always wanted it to be recognisably the Caribbean of the 1720s, but beyond that there's so much richness of story and genre that we can bring into the world, and we do that with something called the role-playing story arcs. We have over a thousand missions per nation, but we have other missions that are highly customised scripted encounters. For example, you go into a bar and normally there's other players there and NPCs, and you go talk to the other players and get missions from the NPCs. One day you walk into the bar and there's a big party going on, and there are no other PCs in there. What looks like a normal persistent instance is an individualised instance for yourself. You walk in and you've got two of your NPC friends there; this cast of characters that you accumulate as you play the game, and they say 'we're trying to decide who the prettiest girl in the place is - we need you to settle the bet for us'. So you walk around and flirt with the different NPCs and come back and make your decision. And that person becomes your love interest for the rest of the 50 mission arc... so we have these moments where it's a very individualised storyline, and the choices you make reverberate throughout that entire cycle.
There's a lot more in the article including discussions of gameplay, nations & classes and development mistakes. Head over and check it out.