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Print at Nov 24, 2020 5:04:56 AM

Posted by muffy at Jul 28, 2003 2:10:43 AM
PvP, game design, and what's fun
Chatting with me crew while hunting skellies last night, we found we felt much the same way about many recent changes to the game. It feels like we keep finding fun things to do in the game, and they keep getting taken away from us, mostly in the name of "encouraging PvP" or "encouraging hiring of junior Pirates" (junior Pirates is me new name, post tournament, for new people).

We're bewildered by this, as what it feels like to us is that it's being made harder and harder to have fun in the game. The only thing that remains about as fun is skelly fighting, and even there, the lack of money whisking means that they're poorer than they used to be, since not as many people can run over to fight 'em. Luckily, we're not worried about the money, we just like the challenge and the occasional cool weapon. It was also fun to see one climb out of the chest last night, and fun to see another walk out of a building in town the other day. Yay for skellies.

Now, maybe it's just us (people can post to agree or disagree), since I've always been a non-PvPer, and I've probably collected a crew with similar views (for the most part - certain members are quite bloodthirsty...*smile*), but it really doesn't matter how much ye put in the game to encourage PvP, I just won't be all that interested in doing it. Meanwhile, there are definitely crews who want to do PvP (such as the Mariners, who I'm really starting to miss - I never thought I'd say that!), but it's simply not profitable for them, and in these days of expensive and rare rum, it's ridiculous to even try.

In the old days, as I was sailing along peaceably kicking brigand fundament, it actually did add to the fun of the game to see Spleen comin' along after me and have to evade him (or die horribly under the dogpile of npps on his larger ship), until the one time when the rum bug hit me. This latter was (mostly) corrected by the "grace period" (and the rum bug fix, which I devoutly hope is permanent!). Every so often I would sign up a new pirate, sail with them a while, and probably add them to me crew. It was fabulous. A lot of puzzling, a little bit of PvP, a reasonable flow of new crew members, and the occasional skelly fight on the side (as there were no ferries, hunts took a lot longer, so we engaged in them rarely). When trading came in, that was fun too, when there was a couple thousand in profit to be had for a medium-length voyage. No camping, no running a shop and desperately trying to supply it.

If PvP was like skelly fights, I'd do it much more often. Barroom brawls, let's say. I'm there. Let 'em pick me pocket while they're at it - maybe kick me out of the inn if I don't come in with a certain amount of booty in me pockets. Ye could use this to make inns profitable for the owners as well - they get a percentage of yer pocket as ye walk in (for yer rum), and a percentage of any winnings in the fight (to pay for the damage, of course!). Arranged sea battles, also fine, with a "purse" for the winner, similar, perhaps, to a bet on drinking or swordfighting. I'm sure a lot of people would be interested in this, my crew among them.

That's assuming the cost of shot and rum made it reasonable to put to sea, which right now it doesn't - I can't make a profit pillaging on fine rum at 70 per unit, particularly as we're suckin' down the rum even during the sea battle, and the profit from the battle is low enough that I'd have to take a HUGE percentage from the booty to cover the rum used just DURING the battle, much less the rum used to get there in the first place.

About all the new changes to make ye take money to sea. I do it every so often, bury it, and then spend me life 'porting money for people by takin' it at one place and givin' 'em some from me stash at another place. I also finance most of the skelly hunts. So I take significant money to sea quite rarely; maybe once in 20-30 times that I take a ship out. Sure, there's the booty, but these days that's so tiny that the 20% of it is not as much as ye'd likely get from hitting a bandit. So I really think this idea has failed to have any impact other than an annoyance factor for everyone, but particularly those with very little money (which is why I help them out when I can).

About encouraging hiring junior pirates. Well, I still like to sail mostly with me experienced crew - me crew is like a tight-knit group of friends now, and for the most part, it's very relaxing to sail with them, as everyone knows what to do and does it well. And that is FUN. Win or lose, brigands or no brigands, it's just fun to work with a group of people who work well together and have compatible personalities. The chat is great, and the stress is low. Yes, we'll take on junior pirates, but no change ye make is going to make us take them on at a faster rate. We have our own way of training, which involves a lot of one-to-one interaction, and it's simply not feasible on a huge ship full of junior pirates. One-to-one, with a bunch of experienced people on board, training adds some interest. One-to-many, the questions are overwhelming, the order-giving is exhausting, and the losses are discouraging. I'd do it every once in a while, but as a public service, not to have FUN.

What does this all lead up to? I'm not sure exactly. There are various ideas above, but I think me main point is, ye can't force me to have fun yer way. If all me opportunities for having fun my way are taken away or made hard, I'll go do something else. Maybe that's fine, maybe I just don't have fun with the game as it is intended to be, and that's life, but maybe in fact ye are working too hard to realize a particular vision while many people actually like what ye already have. And I personally don't think the changes are working for anyone. Implement bar fights (as above), and ye'll see a lot more PvP than ye will by disallowing whisking of money. Limit junior pirate influx to something related to the number of active crews and ye'll see a lot fewer junior pirates on the docks. Make trading fairly profitable, and shop owning not too onerous, and ye'll see more fat trading vessels at sea available for pillage. Right now, market production is so low that, again, maybe 1 in 50 player vessels even has anything worthwhile on board, and it's not worth the rum to seek 'em out and catch 'em.
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