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Print at Aug 25, 2019 5:08:32 PM

Posted by scupperer at Dec 12, 2011 7:17:19 PM
Give the (meta) game back to the players.
I'm glad to see OOO's taking efforts to prolong the life of the game, and while I have no plans to return to the full blasting insane hard-core play mode I enjoyed before, I will probably be returning to have quiet fun trading & naving & memming. These self-challenging things are what drew me into the game to begin with, and kept me long enough to be sucked into the meta game.

Having been away a while, I have some thoughts I'd like to share. And since I'm an ego-centric author with delusions of self importance and self righteousness, I've started my own thread with glorious suggestions I'd like to see ignored implemented. Maybe this belongs in game design, but I'm seeking to appeal to the player base as much as any ringer who happens upon it.

With the recent acquisition by Sega, and the ocean merger standing as proof of purpose towards preservation of YPP, I'm hoping they're willing to look at the game with the same "fresh" view they took when originally creating it.

AI Game:
Hooray - there are sea monsters, BK's, haunted & cursed this and that. But honestly, I've always considered these distractions from the real core of the game. Basically, they're quests, with trinket rewards - which is fun, for a while, but in order to keep player interest, will always demands *more*, turning the game into little more than any other game of questing for this and that. IMHO, these are ultimately dead ends. In fact, I found Atlantis to be a great, tiring bore after about a week of it, and haven't tried any of the new spin-offs and probably won't.

Perhaps that's just me, but I'll stand by my opinion that, however entertaining they are, the AI games are not substantial to the draw or survival of the game, and in fact detract from the player meta games that evolved prior to their arrival and kept people hanging around in much more substantial numbers.

Economy/Shops:
Give the economy back to the players. Turn the "trading post" into a real shop - have people offer prices for trinkets, put in a puzzle to make the special doohickeys out of them. Do the same thing with the palace shop, for items that shouldn't have been put in the shop to begin with, like medals, cards, etc (but not badges).

Create a real trading post, and/or allow existing shops to buy and resell used items automatically. Get the hawkers out of the inns (if they still bother doing this) and forums and give them a tool to take a proper risk.

I'm excited about the market upheavals that are going to happen with the ocean mergers, but it's going to be temporary and will balance soon enough to regular old plodding economy.

Did I mention, put in more puzzles? Even if they're just place-holder puzzles, use them to expand market/game functionality.

Treat the game like it's in Beta again.

Pillaging/SMH & etc:
Allow all ship sizes to fill up with swabbies so you can move them right away. Waiting 1/2 hour+ to fill a ship really blows. Being abandoned to float a full bilge ship back to port really blows. The game shouldn't blow - so fill the ship up. Worried about people moving fruit and goods with swabbies? So what? It'll just even the playing field for people who can't log on and float crap during the reboots. Fine, make it *difficult* - just don't make it impossible.

Let people join a journey even when they're on the board in a fight, or in Atlantis, or a blockade, and whatever else has been added in my absence. The mechanics are there to split the chest according to time/effort - why keep the restriction? Remove it.

Make it as easy as possible to get player-run journeys/events going. Did I mention - give the game back to the players? Ironically, more swabbies will accomplish this.

Crews/Flags
Not much to say here - I think the mechanics work fairly well and have for a while. I still think the war mechanism should be changed so that it's used as part of the meta-game more frequently, instead of an obstacle that must be faced before blockading. Hopefully something along the lines of my recommendations, if someone wants to Faulkstone that ancient thread.

If crews & flags are to be more than glorified hang-outs, they need a method of competition between each other. Blockades provide some of that, but there's little for the smaller groups to aspire towards.

Blockades
Blockades need big fixing. I still believe they need to have more fixed boundaries; #ships, #players, $pay. They're simply too big, and too easy to lopside. That's no fun. It's a tired argument, certainly, but I can tell you it's why I retired.

With fixed limits, planning will be more fun, playing will be more fun, paying will be less painful, and as a result, more blockades will happen. I don't care how attached people are to their blasted islands and status - islands need to be challenged and flipped and be open to a much wider berth of players, and it shouldn't be done by an AI. In fact, I'll bet the AI has just entrenched the island holding flags even more, since they're the only ones who can stay organized enough to defend against the somewhat random BK strengths.

While I appreciate the talent involved in garnering 1/2 the active players to defend/attack, whatever - it shouldn't be sole determining talent.

Impermanence
Titans never happened, did they? Are they gonna? If so, good, but that's an AI solution, which is only 1/2 a solution.

My first governorship centered around the attempted destruction of an island, and it was *fun*; I believe for more than just me. Unfortunately, it broke the game and so far as I know, palace dusting hasn't been allowed since. This is a shame. What should happen is everything should go dark, and every shop on the island will dust in 30 days if a new palace isn't rebuilt. Or something that riles up the players.

But it's not just my desire for chaos and destruction that makes impermanence an important part of the game. Just as with items that decay and dust, it creates an air of constant renewal where each player feels they can leave their mark on the game, even if only temporarily. Titans, if ever implemented, were supposed to provide that - but trust me, players would be more than happy to play that role as well.
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Anyway, that's my take on how to breathe new life into the game - it's certainly not with more AI. It's with a better framework and expansive limitations(sic) for the meta-games that pit players against each other and themselves. I have no interest anymore in suggesting specific mechanics or details on how to achieve any of it, since such efforts generally fall into the forgotten pit of retired game design threads.

Maybe I'll go nav now. Either way, I doubt I'll be doing much more than that until the AI isn't a focus of game development and the players are brought back into it on a more substantial level than trinket collectors.
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I believe that we are all, openly or secretly, struggling against one or another kind of nihilism. - Ellen Willis

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