I went online to find what HAS been changed since PR2 and if it's worth it to buy PR3, but I couldn't find anything specific. I'm a big fan of PR2, but I don't see any reason to purchase a new Port Royale if nothing major has changed--the simple 2d and 3d graphics of PR2 are perfectly fine. The naval battles are fun (attacking towns is tedious, but you deal with it because that's not the best part of the game).
The number of ships you can choose from are well and good--if you think about it, you're ALWAYS going to get the best ship for your operation, whether it has 100 cannons or a massive cargo hold, so in that regard you only really have 2 ships (sure, you start out with a small ship, but if you have any common trading sense you can purchase your way up pretty quickly) and historically you're limited on your ship types.
Trade routes, are difficult to set up and adjust to get just the right balance, but in PR2 that FORCED you to really think about changing your system or if there were alternatives you didn't think about, like building a colony after winning a war and having that colony be in the perfect location for your trading.
What really made PR2 into such an awesome game for me was how business oriented it was. There are a lot of S!@#ty games out there that call themselves business simulators but really they're more about unrealistic behavior and ability at pointing and clicking than anything else. PR2 let you go through all of the processes: start out by buying all of your supplies and transporting them, improving your business processes and operations and reducing your costs, expanding your territory, then lobbying to improve your market dominance... Sometimes I felt like I should write a business plan up before venturing into the garments industry!
The swashbuckling part of the game came second, in my mind. The name is in fact "Port Royale," not pirates of the caribbean... Not only was it expensive to live off of gunpowder and cannon balls, it was also insanely difficult.--just like real life. We hear plenty of stories about pirates, but the real pirates of the day lived in such different time periods that it was as if there were five to 20 years of peace before a new pirate came into play. I think in PR2 the fact that there were TONS of adventures to go on and things to do compensated for the fact that if you didn't have 5 galleons and you still wanted to be a caribbean jerk you could almost eck out a living doing it. I typically saved that for when I reached the lobbying phase and needed to impress the King of France in order to extend my business in the caribbean.--I think that's quite realistic really. Some of the biggest pirates were probably patronized and flew one country's flag, just like some of the biggest corporate pirates of today fly under one country or another's flag...
Now that you know what I loved about PR2 and how I saw the game, let me offer my suggestions (kinda late I imagine...I wish steam would have informed me that PR3 was in planning... I probably logged more hours in PR2 than any other game, including the total war series').
1. Make it more intricate: certain rums are better than others...maybe a grading system would be nice and the higher #orA grade/quality of the product the higher the price.
2. Add more types of products. I want more industries.
3. Concerning the charts and information that you can access in PR2, I think it would be best if that kind of information were limited depending on either how big your enterprise is, or how much you talk to the locals in the bar or the governor's mansion, or how many ports you actually have warehouses in.
4. More happenings in towns. They were dead in PR2. Ya, you'd get a mission occasionally, but how many times did you make a town so upset because you were hording precious goods in your warehouse and not selling and then they burned down your warehouse and stole your goods? How often did the governor order you to do something, become disappointed in you and then kick you out? This goes along with...
5. I know this is difficult to do, but there were so few types of missions. It was either follow the glass bottles, attack this town, kill this person, help so and so get into a certain town (which was just like the kill this person missions because there was always someone to kill before you got to town), save this person from a raft, etc etc. I would have liked to see massive multi-level missions, i.e. go find this for me, then rescue my son, then deliver this to me and if you do I'll laugh in your face and you'll have to duel me to get your money out of me, but you never know if this is the time that he'll actually pay or not.
6. More "characters". Every governor was the same basically. Every pirate was the same--I would have liked some governors to be as vile as pirates, and some pirates to be nice as gold, but to be surprised by whether he was coming to kill me or coming to beg for my assistance. I also think having characters for your competitors would be neat--when one enterprise gets powerful enough you'd probably hear a thing or two about their leader, if not meeting him or her in person (though I may be politically incorrect in saying that there were businesswomen of that day).
7. Upgradeable building tree... This would probably go along better with my first idea, but I think there should be two paths: mass production or quality production. As in, increase the size by 1 and number of workers or improve the quality of goods by 1 or do both. With the farms you could at least connect them for increased production power (I suppose that's how it worked) but not production buildings.
8. Request goods from afar... Tools are ALWAYS hard to come by late in the game when you dominate the tool required industries such as dyes, cigars, and cocoa. And when you have that much influence you'd think you could make deals with Europe to send you tools directly...
If the new PR3 doesn't have at least 75% of these things I don't think I'll purchase it--at least not until the price drops to $5-10. Multiplayer mode sounds cool, but I like to play for LONG periods of time and dominate the economy, so a lan game is out of the question. And I was perfectly fine with the graphics of PR2...their simplicity made it easy to focus on the business aspects of the game.
P.S. A campaign mode sounds silly to me. That's what people do to learn the game and, granted, the campaign in PR2 wasn't 100% clear, in a game of this caliber, the freeplay mode is more important than any structured campaign.