Note that this article is subject to change
One of the things to both love and hate about Puzzle Pirates is the variety in the puzzles. Not only are there a large variety of puzzles requiring different ways of thinking and playing, there are also lots of different learning curves to each one. In this article I'll start off by describing what I mean by a learning curve and then go on to some examples of common places to get stuck on these learning curves in Puzzle Pirates.
A learning curve is the rate at which you will gain experience or skill at something. So for example, in Bilging the learning curve is very linear (it goes in a striaght line). You learn how to do basic clears, then you make them a bit more efficient or effective by adding another small skill, then maybe some small combos. The general idea is that each thing that you learn adds to your skill in a very linear fashion. Puzzles such as Sailing and Swordfighting I think also have these straight forward, linear learning curves to them. There are of course other ones that are more difficult, and I'm going to cover two examples here.
One of the most difficult learning curves in the game that people often get stuck with is in rumble. Firstly people often struggle to get started and move off able, but the biggest lesson that you can take away from this puzzle is the challenge of transitioning to a good Legendary and Ultimate. Up until legendary, the learning curve is fairly straight forward, you just learn how to sprinkle faster and more efficiently. However, this isn't usually enough to beat a good legendary or ultimate rumbler. They know how to punch well, which if done well, is very difficult to beat with sprinkling alone. The problem, is that changing from sprinkling to punching isn't as simple as adding another technique to your arsenal like it is in Bilging or Swordfighting, it's a complete overhaul of your skill set. This means that if you were a grand-master or low legendary, you aren't going to be performing anywhere near that level when you start learning how to punch, you might even struggle against able opponents. Eventually, once you learn how to punch effectively and add bruises to make them harder to clear, you can beat these sprinkling opponents with some perserverance and practice.
Distilling has got to be one of the hardest puzzles I have learned in this game. Once you have gotten past learning how the pieces move, which is a challenge in itself, you have to learn how to improve. Improving at this puzzle almost goes against every natural instinct. For example, one of the key parts of a good distilling strategy is doing the hard parts first, not something that most people think to do. The learning curve itself is particularly demoralising and I felt that it took a lot of faith and confidence to do what was needed to push through and get my ultimate. In rumbling, when you want to make that last leap you have to do an overhaul of your technique and effectively go back to the bottom again. In distilling, you have to do that almost every step of the way. Once you have finally learned one stage, you have to take another step which almost pushes you right back to the bottom again. The key to learning how to distill is ignoring the duty report and using a different approach to measure your success. How close did you get to that next CC? How much faster were you able to do a new technique? Focusing on those questions and not what your score was is what will push you up in distilling. You have to constantly push for that next CC and to clear that extra row of black and brown pieces before your masterpieces, even though it means that you will get a bad score, it's the only way to improve.