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There is famous quote from Pirates of Caribbean:

Officer: That's got to be the best pirate I've ever seen.

Norrington: So it would seem.

I already learned that it basically is same as saying "seems so", as to agree, but with added fatalism and annoyance of admitting something that you hate.

But grammar of this phrase was always bugging me... I can't understand why it uses would? As far as I know would is past form of will, so it's something used to express "future-past". So, this would mean that Norrington considered "seeming" Jack as best pirate in future, some time ago, but this didn't actually happen? In this case, he doesn't actually agree to this statement at all! This really confuses me...

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'Would' is sometimes used in English to express uncertainty or tentativeness about present situations:

Would

  1. Used to indicate uncertainty:
    He would seem to be getting better

Would (YourDictionary)

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