The US Navy is hoping to find new ways of stopping Somalian pirates by crowdsourcing ideas from a multiplayer online game.

It seems that the pirate-repelling laser isn't exactly doing the trick, and more ideas are needed to foil the scourges of the seven seas with the game intended to "encourage out of the box thinking about contemporary pirate issues."

The catchily-named Massive Multiplayer Online WarGame Leveraging the Internet (MMOWGLI) will see players posing as naval officers or commercial ship crews, and has no connection with The Jungle Book.

Yarrr, I've a degree in contemporary pirate issues

Players can also take on the role of the pirates themselves, although it's not clear exactly what that will achieve other than fulfilling childhood daydreams and that kind of thing.

The idea behind the Warcraft-alike game is to come up with new ways to tackle the pirates so any strategies that work well in the game may be tested in real life.

There are three scenarios to play out in MMOWGLI: protecting sea lanes, sea attacks and hostage rescue. We already have Peter-Pan-inspired ideas for all three.

Unfortunately, it's not a free-for-all; only around 1,000 military personnel and some specially chosen civilians will be allowed to play the online game, so it's back to World of Warcraft with you.

Update: Looks like there's another version of MMOWGLI set to go live in which you - yes, you! - can suggest pirate-tackling ideas in a brief, character limited text box, Twitter-style. Other users can then vote on or amend your idea, leaving the Navy with onehumongousflow chart chock full of pirate-busting game plans.

Register on the MMOWGLI website now if you want to get involved.

From ONR via Kotaku