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atteSmythe

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Frustrations of a Medium-sized Crew Reply to this Post
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Setting aside wholly the question of whether or not my Flag gets an island...

What is there left for the runners up to do? It seems to me that there is a huge gap in this game between pillaging and island ownership, and I think I've identified it.

There are two paths to success in the game - pillaging and trading. Both involve the puzzling and social aspects of the game,

The route of the trader is to start with a small ship, finding lucrative trading routes, learning where to forage. Learning the time on different routes, how best to evade the enemy, and where to get the most bang for his buck. Trading is a highly individual route - you may rely on a crew to power your ship, but ultimately one person does all the route figuring and uses the real trading skill - the rest are there to power the ship. The next stage is shop ownership, which is also a highly individual affair - it may take a crew to supply the shop, but the shop is owned and run by an individual. Last step in this chain is island ownership - Islands are owned by a flag, but knowledge gained in running a shop seems to me to be essential here. Likely, as a shopowner, you have some experience wheeling and dealing, and most of a governor's responsibilities are in what shops to place and who will run them.

The route of a pillager is also to start with a small ship. Rise up through ranks in the crew, like the trader. Time is spent learning what routes are lucrative and which aren't - which ones have brigands of each size and difficulty, to determine where you'll spend your time depending on what crew is online. Eventually, upgrade to a large sloop to fit more of your crew. Pillaging is a group endeavor - success or failure depends on everyone on board your ship. It's been my experience that this is the route that leads to captains and senior officers - being able to choose your crew, promote, and train your crew are essential to the pillager. In theory, the chain goes that the pillager works for larger and larger ships, for a bigger and more active crew.

Unfortunately, I think the pillager's route is broken. Right now, I can see little incentive to buy big ships. The vast majority of the brigands I see on the seas are in sloops, but moreover, I haven't seen that the booty scales well. Since the size of the ship you're on is factored into your might rating, a crew with 20 people online will do better to go out in two large sloops and pillage than in 1 war brig. The brigands they'll encounter will be easier to defeat, leading to a larger booty overall. If I can go out with my crew in a small sloop and be defeating brigands in war brigs, what incentive is there to go out and buy a brig of my own?

The result of this, at least in my experience, is that the pillager tops out too quickly. After getting a couple of sloops, there's little else for the pillager to do. This, in my opinion, is why everyone wants to be running a shop. This is my opinion why everyone wants and island so badly. It's the only thing left to do. I can't imagine a crew going out pillaging in a galleon, let alone a frigate. Even for the most organized crew, it seems an overly daunting task - and if you accomplish the task, the rewards don't seem to scale. On a ship that size, it would be impossible to tell who came and left throughout the fight for accurate booty distribution.

I admit that I haven't done too much pillaging on anything the size of a brig or larger. I have done a bit, though, and this is the impression with which I was left. If I can head out for an hour in a small sloop, and distribute the booty evenly, and everyone on board profits 2000 PoE each, there's just no reason to keep upgrading ships. Without a reason to upgrade ships, there's nothing to spend your poe on, but people desperately want to spend it on something. So, people clamor for shops and islands. Frustration comes in because the pillager spends a lot of time online, and has built up a lot of skill, and rank, and has nowhere to go.

Just my impression of the situation.

atteSmythe,
who's spent a lot of time over the past few days trying to determine why he's so frustrated about an island that he doesn't even personally want
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Attesmythe receives loot: [Gauntlets of Social Responsibility]
Attesmythe receives loot: [Ring of Mandatory Selflessness]

[Sep 27, 2003 3:39:07 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://attesmythe.com [Link]  Go to top 
atteSmythe

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Re: Frustrations of a Medium-sized Crew Reply to this Post
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It should be noted that the above is a gross simplification, and I realize that. There are all sorts of generalities, and the truly successful crew should have plenty of both going on. It's long enough as it is, though, without going into more subtlety, and I think the main point would stand even with those other factors added in.

atteSmythe,
who just wants to ensure that there's at least one reply on his thread that doesn't accuse him of being a whiney little tart
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Attesmythe receives loot: [Gauntlets of Social Responsibility]
Attesmythe receives loot: [Ring of Mandatory Selflessness]

[Sep 27, 2003 3:45:51 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://attesmythe.com [Link]  Go to top 
Thanos

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Re: Frustrations of a Medium-sized Crew Reply to this Post
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I started out with a small sloop just like everyone else, those were fun times. However, once my crew reached a size where we could run a war brig, it brought in more money, quicker, than a small/large sloop ever could. Sure you pay more wages, but you aslo WIN more booty.. quickly. And now with the new arches, any sized ship can make a killing, fairly easily. For easy money, pillage in emerald. Diamond isn't THAT hard.. but the tendency to fight brigands who destroy you while still being green are greatly increased. If you can get to jet/coral/opal, pillage there in ANY sized ship, you will get 1500+ hauls on even the easiest of wins for the time being. There's a lot for pillager to do, you just have to be willing to relocate if need be.
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Thanos - of Midnight? Cobalt? Hunter? Malachite!
[Sep 27, 2003 3:47:15 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Sugarpie



Joined: Aug 15, 2003
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Re: Frustrations of a Medium-sized Crew Reply to this Post
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The bigger brigand ships out there seem to have more poe and better commodities aboard. In all my pillaging on small sloops I've gotten 1 kracken's blood. The other day we got 8 in one trip on I think a war brig. That to me is motivation enough to use the larger ship.
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Sugarpie
The Violet (er... Violent?) Pirate
Member of Black Death
Former Governor of Orca
Piggy Josiah R.I.P.

[Sep 27, 2003 3:56:06 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
triskaideka



Joined: Jul 16, 2003
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Re: Frustrations of a Medium-sized Crew Reply to this Post
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I think what atteSmythe means to say (and if he doesn't, then I'll say it) is that there should still be something to interest players who want to be in small or mid-sized crews/flags, or who don't actually have any interest in island ownership.

Adventure Islands are the big thing that I'm hoping/assuming will fill this void. In the meanwhile, one idea for a smaller crew would be to try making a place for itself by offering its services as mercenaries or traders for hire. Any other thoughts?

I'm also hoping that small and medium crews aren't shut out of the shoppe and island ownership route entirely. Already the Libertarians are offering unaffiliated crews a shot at shoppe ownership, which I think is great. It would also be nice to see the Midnight islands vary in size, so that a smaller flag could take control of a small island and maybe not even put up a full complement of shoppes, whereas a large flag could own a large island and have four or five shoppes of each kind.
[Sep 27, 2003 4:45:26 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
atteSmythe

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Re: Frustrations of a Medium-sized Crew Reply to this Post
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That's sort of what I want to say. My argument, in a nutshell, I suppose, is that as a pillager, owning an island thoroughly disinterests me. I see that as the culmination of another route of gameplay. What does interest me is crew building and pillaging, honing our group play, and I don't see the incentive to do that.

Granted, it's been a while. Perhaps we'll have to fire up a brig and go test that theory again.

atteSmythe,
who'll be happy once this colonization is over, whether we're successful or not
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Attesmythe receives loot: [Gauntlets of Social Responsibility]
Attesmythe receives loot: [Ring of Mandatory Selflessness]

[Sep 27, 2003 5:00:04 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://attesmythe.com [Link]  Go to top 
cmdrzoom

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Re: Frustrations of a Medium-sized Crew Reply to this Post
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It sounds like you had a lot of personal, emotional investment in getting an island (as well as the in-game investment of silver and stone), and when it looks like you might not get it, due to circumstances you don't feel you control, you started to bitterly question why you ever wanted those grapes anyway. And perhaps it's just that someone somewhere along the line told you you did, and you believed them.

You do have an excellent point. Getting a Big Ship is considered the prize for a pillaging crew, but it has its drawbacks; you can get the whole crew aboard for a MegaPillage(tm), which is fun and team-building and usually profitable, but on the other hand, you have to have the whole crew... or you sail with swabbies, or it sits idle while you use smaller ships. Prey for a Big Ship is sometimes hard to find. Stocking it up for a cruise is tremendously expensive. And at this point, you can't even pick the color(s) you want. In some ways, it's a white elephant.

In the end, I suspect both Big Ship ownership and island ownership come down to sheer prestige for your crew/flag. That, IMO, is the reason that most people want shops and islands - not for any imagined and mostly imaginary Piles of Loot, but just the prestige of pointing at a piece of the game landscape or the biggest ship in harbor and saying "This is Mine." And if that motivates you enough to put in the real time and real effort, great. If not - and especially if you only realize it after you've done it, like a hapless new captain - it can seem rather hollow.
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Starhawk of Mad Mutineers, Azure
Catalina of Twilight's Sabre, Cobalt
[Sep 27, 2003 8:49:34 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
atteSmythe

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Re: Frustrations of a Medium-sized Crew Reply to this Post
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Aye, I think you're close on the mark. Personally, I couldn't care one way or the other about this island - but many of my crew and former crew in my flag have wanted it for quite some time. As the leader of my crew, it's my responsibility to see that it happens, or at least that we put forth our best effort to making it happen.

I do sort of wonder what draws them so much to it. In a way, I understand, and in a way, I don't. Things were just so much simpler, mostly a lot more fun, when I was just an Officer - working on an training new crew, experimenting with targetting and swordplay theories, following the pillaging route...

atteSmythe,
who's really a lot more at ease about this, but does wonder what sort of feat it would take to get enough active crew on to take out a galleon on a regular basis...hmm...
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Attesmythe receives loot: [Gauntlets of Social Responsibility]
Attesmythe receives loot: [Ring of Mandatory Selflessness]

[Sep 27, 2003 10:04:51 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://attesmythe.com [Link]  Go to top 
Hanns



Joined: Aug 2, 2003
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Re: Frustrations of a Medium-sized Crew Reply to this Post
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Sigh..I've got enough crew members to run a War Brig, but they never come on at the same time, even when I schedule a crew event, and give them a week's notice, they don't come. *groan*
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-Spolto, some random guy of millions of people in the Midnight ocean.

-Ayrus, Senior Officer in the La Giustizia Implacabile.
[Sep 27, 2003 10:56:46 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
quixmix

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Don't Worry Just Yet.... Reply to this Post
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From what I gather from Cleaver and what I gather from speaking to people in general, he wants to keep everyone who bothered to *try* to bid, happy. He said there might be new shoppe opportunities opening for only those handful...so don't get all frustrated just yet.

Also, the game may have been around for a while, but new features are on the list which will make it so much more fun. Flag wars, blockages, etc...there is alot to look forward to.

Right now I would suggest working on a tight knit crew and flag, so when Midnight does roll out, and you get the chance again... you can start right off with a well trained crew. This time you'll have the know-how, you'll have had the experience, it will be very advantageous to you.

Considering what all is coming in the game, I wouldn't give up hope just yet. The developers are doing their best to fix issues that we don't even see on the surface.

Granted, there are some things I do and don't agree with in how the Island Colonization effort went, but I will voice those opinions when the waters have settled, and we actually can take a breath of relief (and start working on a contingency plan).

I think we're offering a rich amount of information for the developers so that next time they will have a better idea of what makes people happy and what ticks them off.

I am glad you're voicing your opinion on the matter though, I think people deserve to hear it. I think you speak for a lot of unlucky souls who worked hard and feel very left out.

Let's not forget though, it's still in testing, it's just a game ;) I feel great just being able to play with the people I've met, and knowing that through great leadership and organization, things can get done. Its a tough recipe to follow, but it does lead to success.
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Ace o' Hearts
Captain of The Last Exiles
[Sep 27, 2003 8:40:32 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
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