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Akantos9

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Suggestions for Dark Seas Reply to this Post
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After playing Dark Seas for a while, returning after many years because I saw the game pop up on steam, I have a few suggestions for improvements to the game. Some of these suggestions may conflict with others, the point is not that I think all should be added to the game, but that utilising some may benefit the game. I am also aware some or all of these may have been suggested elsewhere, and if I suggest something anyone has suggested before, I am not trying to steal your idea, we have just had similar ideas, and I apologise in advance if suggesting it here offends you.

Name of the Game
First and foremost, Puzzle Pirates: Dark Seas is not the right name for the game, it certainly explains the basics of the game but it leaves out all of the nuances and alienates a whole demographic who would enjoy the game because of its name. I would suggest that some variation of the name would encourage more people to try it out, as I know quite a few people who don't want to play 'a kids game', an opinion formed based upon the name removing it immediately from their consideration set. A name like YPP: Dark Seas, or even just Dark Seas, with a tagline of 'a game of puzzles and piracy' would result in the 'kids game' assumption being reduced significantly.

Improving PvP
PvP was the intended focus of the new ocean, however in my experience that is not what most players are after. I feel like encouraging an environment where players have incentives to PvP against players who wish to PvP is the most effective way to improve PvPing.
To do this the PvP trinkets have been introduced, which are a great idea for jobbers, but for those risking their ships, and incentive to risk said ships, I feel like the following trinket reward from the black market for PvP trinkets would improve PvP.
A new ship type only available by design from PvP trinkets, or just a type of sloop that is PvP styled, which has the following features, would encourage people to risk their ship in sinking engagements.

  • The sloop/new ship has a 'value' internally to it, and upon reaching a threshold, say 1000, your ships guns turn bronze, the next threshold, 2500, they turn silver, 5000 for gold, 10,000 and the ships hull becomes black, or some other setup where PvPing on the PvP ship offers a unique reward to the ship owner. With this value internal to the ship, avid PvPers can 'level up' the ship and on sell it to ship collectors. Having the prefix change for each level up would be a good way to
  • Winning a grapple engagement gives 1 point, or 5 if it is another PvP ship.
  • Sinking a PvP ship provides you with all of the points that PvP ship has, making fighting PvP ships worthwhile. Sinking a PvP ship provides 0 points, leading to an environment where people who want to stay away from PvP are likely to have their ships sunk less, potentially keeping more people in the game.
  • Sinking a PvP ship adds 50,000 PoE to the hold of the ship that sinks it.
  • The design costs 100 trinkets + 50,000 PoE (the sinking loot is the same as the design cost for a net 0 effect on PoE into the system).
  • A PvP ship takes 5 extra turns to be able to disengage.
  • A PvP ship can always be sunk (if possible to code).
  • Relatively cheap to manufacture, the idea is to have most PvPers able to get their hands on one of these ships.

Another improvement in general would be changing the PvP sea battles. With strong incentives to PvP for ship owners with a PvP ship, making the following changes should help retain the PvE player base (the larger part of the player base from my experience).

  • The defender may disengage from PvP battles after 5 turns (10 for a PvP ship), whilst the attacker must wait 10 turns (10 or 15 for a PvP ship). This will result in less wasted time for both PvE players and PvP players in a situation where it would just be 10 turns of evading anyway, whereas PvP ships that are attacked don't have this luxury because they are designed around PvP.
  • Every 10 turns the board shrinks by 2 in all directions. Along with having soft walls to allow for this. Shrinking stops after x turns (when the board is say 6x6). This will help prevent excessively long engagements.

Basically, I think that making incentives to PvP, and then sectioning off PvP to have unique benefits when fighting other PvPers, it will satisfy most people. Players intent on fighting PvEers will still be able to do so, however will have more incentives to not sink their ships or seek out other PvPers.

Revenue Structure and Badges
At the end of the day the game needs to generate a profit. It is also easy for the game to turn into a Pay-to-Win style of game. Looking at many of the most successful steam games, the ideal structure is a free to play game with non-Pay-to-Win microtransactions, resulting in a larger playerbase, and strong revenue coming in.
I feel that there are improvements to puzzle pirates that can be made in Dark Seas which will remove some of the Pay-to-Win/Play features and result in potentially higher retention without sacrificing large amounts of revenue.
First and foremost is overhauling the badge system. Putting elements of the game behind a paywall is Pay-to-Play, which is not what encourages people to try a game, and puts people off when they play the game. I feel that if all puzzles were made available to play, it would improve player retention, and it is still easily possible to make the badges desirable whilst allowing anyone to play a puzzle any day.

  • Labour/Labor Badge - By allowing people to play all of the puzzles, but providing 0 labour per day without a badge, along with the following limitations on the parlour badge, the Labour badge remains extremely relevant as you need to buy it to make money from your labour.
  • Parlour Badge - When you have no Parlour (or Labour) badge, you're considered Novice/Able, and your rank cannot change (no change at all occurs whilst not holding the relevant badge in crafting or carousing puzzles). This means people who want stats must buy the badge (Parlour or Labour), as well as those without a Parlour badge are unable to bet above the able limit. This limitation would be akin to the Labour badge's limitations, resulting in purchasing the badge being a necessity to make any real profit from the puzzles.
    Edit: Devonin is right in that the Novice/Able is abuse-able, perhaps just treated as a Novice is the way to go about it but have the rankings change (reducing the amount that can be bet and the poker tables that can be entered to the lowest values). Perhaps it is worth making trophies only possible to get as a badge holder?
  • Officer+ Badges - These badges currently work fine as is, the removal of the pirate badge was an excellent step in the right direction.

When considering successful games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Rocket League or Playerunknown's Battlegrounds, where you pay for the game, then there are microtransactions for in-game cosmetics, the games balance is not largely effected by purchases. The steam purchases have covered this quite well, however I feel that having a permanent parlour badge included, resulting in the WHOLE game being unlocked by 'purchasing' the game, is a missed opportunity.
When you look at Dota 2, where the only money going into the game is for microtransactions or crates, and the amount of revenue from the game is immense. This is further evidence that providing the whole game for free can be easily monetarised. Having no doubloon costs on functional items is a possibility that may help retain more players.
Contrary to Dota 2, Path of Exile, another successful game, has microtransactions for both functional (but tangentially) and cosmetic items. In the game you can purchase nothing which makes you more powerful, however you can buy extra character slots or extra 'stash' (bank) space. With this in mind, having no doubloon cost on functional items with no lower substitute is also an approach that could be taken, being the most basic chest for poe, wardrobe, sloop, etc having no doubloon cost, with anything above that (painted/LE sloops or cutters+) having their doubloon cost unchanged. Also selling a +3 pirate slots pack on steam for say $25-50 USD would be an effective way to boost revenue to make up for any risk of lost revenue on removing doubloon costs on sloops.
This would potentially destabilise the existing economy, however it is not a fully released ocean yet, so in the long term it may be worthwhile for short-term upset (personally I stand to lose at least 5 sloops worth of dubs, and have no monetary issues, so I am not making this argument because I can't buy a ship, I am making it because I genuinely believe it would help the server's size and longevity).
Also having a gender-altering potion costing say 20 dubs would be a nice little edition to the game.

tl:dr
Puzzle Pirates needs to focus on player attraction and retention to stay profitable. What has been done in the past hasn't really worked, so going forward doing something new is the best decision.

  • Provide incentive for PvP gameplay without overly harassing PvE gameplay through special PvP ships.
  • Allow free to play access all the time to all aspects of the game, finding monetarisation through the ranking system and money making.
  • Have increased pirates for an account as a purchaseable account upgrade to provide a balance for the risk to revenue from moving to allow all aspects of the game f2p.
  • A name that is more appealing to a broader audience.
  • Sex change potion.
  • Improved PvP sea battles.

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Akantos on Sage
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[Edit 3 times, last edit by Akantos9 at Nov 16, 2017 1:30:24 AM]
[Nov 13, 2017 12:15:25 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Prammy16

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Re: Suggestions for Dark Seas Reply to this Post
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The suggestion for badges is a really good one. I've known a number of people that I introduced the game to say they couldn't get into it because too many of the games or puzzles were behind the badge wall. Having no labor badge needed, yet produce 0 labor offline, would give new pirates the ability to explore the different puzzles while still requiring badges to run a stall.

Perhaps as more of an incentive, someone without a labor badge could still produce labor after actually doing the puzzle, with a limit of something like 8 hours per day. This would give them a taste of getting paid for doing a puzzle, but would be still freakishly impossible to abuse the system by producing labor for a stall without a badge.
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-Porglit on Emerald
-Shadetemplar on Obsidian
[Nov 13, 2017 10:41:50 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Devonin

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Re: Suggestions for Dark Seas Reply to this Post
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I definitely also suggested those badge changes, and found a more lukewarm reception.

I feel like you should maxmize ability to play puzzles, and then just gate competitive play behind the badges. You can practice every labour puzzle always, but only get paid with the badge. You can play every carousing puzzle always.

I -definitely- don't think you should stay novice/able while not holding a badge, because literally you can just practice games until you get good at them, and then buy the badge and shark tournaments until your standing finally catches up to you. I think your experience and standing should be able to increase, but you shouldn't be able to enter tournaments or wager without the badge.
[Nov 13, 2017 3:57:10 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Lylesnipah



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The labor suggestion sounds very interesting and shouldn't be hard to make, seeing as Forage practice mode already exists.

Heck, they can add a "Workshop" room into the palace which will have all the labor stations in it and will allow people to practice these stations, even without a practice mode they can just disregard the produced labor.

It can also be without a limit on amount of people using the station, like the cannons in the viking expeditions.

This will also add a new set of missions for practicing the labor puzzles.

I also like the idea of the name change, "YPP: Dark Seas" sounds very good.
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[Nov 14, 2017 2:53:27 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
cmdrzoom

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Re: Suggestions for Dark Seas Reply to this Post
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I think that Puzzle Pirates should be kept in the name.
One, in just two words, it describes both the core gameplay and the theme;
Two, I don't think it's anything to be ashamed of;
and Three, if it is a negative for some people, they're gonna find out soon enough and probably, if anything, be even more upset at being "deceived".
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[Nov 15, 2017 1:58:43 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Lylesnipah



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I think that Puzzle Pirates should be kept in the name.
One, in just two words, it describes both the core gameplay and the theme;
Two, I don't think it's anything to be ashamed of;
and Three, if it is a negative for some people, they're gonna find out soon enough and probably, if anything, be even more upset at being "deceived".


The problem isn't being ashamed of the name, it is more about the fact that "puzzle" is considered more as the game where you fill in pieces with a given set of pieces. "Puzzle Pirates" sounds more like a game where you have pirate themed pictures which are turned into puzzles.
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Obsidian - Snipah, Senior Officer of the crew Arctic Pirate Penguins.
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by Lylesnipah at Nov 15, 2017 2:05:52 AM]
[Nov 15, 2017 2:05:17 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
cmdrzoom

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Re: Suggestions for Dark Seas Reply to this Post
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I think that Puzzle Pirates should be kept in the name.
One, in just two words, it describes both the core gameplay and the theme;
Two, I don't think it's anything to be ashamed of;
and Three, if it is a negative for some people, they're gonna find out soon enough and probably, if anything, be even more upset at being "deceived".


The problem isn't being ashamed of the name, it is more about the fact that "puzzle" is considered more as the game where you fill in pieces with a given set of pieces. "Puzzle Pirates" sounds more like a game where you have pirate themed pictures which are turned into puzzles.


... what?
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Starhawk of Mad Mutineers, Azure
Catalina of Twilight's Sabre, Cobalt
[Nov 16, 2017 12:54:28 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Akantos9

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Re: Suggestions for Dark Seas Reply to this Post
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I think that Puzzle Pirates should be kept in the name.
One, in just two words, it describes both the core gameplay and the theme;
Two, I don't think it's anything to be ashamed of;
and Three, if it is a negative for some people, they're gonna find out soon enough and probably, if anything, be even more upset at being "deceived".


The problem isn't being ashamed of the name, it is more about the fact that "puzzle" is considered more as the game where you fill in pieces with a given set of pieces. "Puzzle Pirates" sounds more like a game where you have pirate themed pictures which are turned into puzzles.


... what?


For example, the game puzzle pirates creates an image in a potential consumers mind of a game that is built around puzzles, and from asking 2 friends I was told they thought it was either similar to the mobile games candy crush or puzzle quest, which whilst the core mechanic of the games lies in various puzzles, the game is about so much more.

The intricacies of a player driven economy, the level of politics that goes into a game, shoppe management, card games, socialising/standing around at the docks, managing a pilly or SMH, all of these elements have nothing to do with puzzles, and for many potential consumers, these elements may appeal far more than puzzling (I know I can't stand puzzling for an extended period of time and mostly play for the social elements and the economy/shoppes). The name however, does not at all suggest any of these things, any depth into the game, it is exactly as you said, it makes the game sound like it is a shallow puzzle-based game with a pirate theme.

What Lylesnipah was referring to was a jigsaw puzzle.

I understand that change is something people resist, but if what has been done in the past has failed, change is required to fend of stagnation. One thing that needs to change is the drawing of more new players into the game. You will only get a small segment of the potential market testing out the game if its appeal stays the same, so to get people trying the game, you have to change the appeal.

I don't know what percentage of the ocean it would be currently, but I know a for a fact that a few, if not more than a few, of the biggest dub buyers, spend a lot of time on the deeper elements of the game than the puzzles, as you don't need to invest much into the game to play the puzzles. So to attract more potential dub buyers, you need to broaden your reach.

That is the intent of the suggestions, to give the game some more width in its draw, and to keep satisfied the widest types of players. If Greyhavens can do this without alienating their biggest dub buyers, then the game can only benefit.

I am not claiming I am right, not at all, and as someone with a lot of nostalgia for the game, it would be a shame to see the name change, but I am suggesting a name change and other ideas from a basis of an undergraduate education in marketing and half (still going, which is why I have puzzle pirates time) a postgraduate education in business administration, so I hope that gives weight to the discussion around these ideas and development of the best solutions, because I would like to see the game succeed and these are what I believe to be, the biggest points of failure for the game going into the future.
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Akantos on Sage
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[Edit 2 times, last edit by Akantos9 at Nov 16, 2017 1:28:54 AM]
[Nov 16, 2017 1:25:47 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Lylesnipah



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Re: Suggestions for Dark Seas Reply to this Post
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I think that Puzzle Pirates should be kept in the name.
One, in just two words, it describes both the core gameplay and the theme;
Two, I don't think it's anything to be ashamed of;
and Three, if it is a negative for some people, they're gonna find out soon enough and probably, if anything, be even more upset at being "deceived".


The problem isn't being ashamed of the name, it is more about the fact that "puzzle" is considered more as the game where you fill in pieces with a given set of pieces. "Puzzle Pirates" sounds more like a game where you have pirate themed pictures which are turned into puzzles.


... what?


Try to search Steam for "Puzzle" and see what results you get together with PP. Those games have near nothing in common with PP.

If I didn't know PP for over 10 years I doubt I would have tried it when I saw it pop up on Steam.

YPP: Dark Seas or even Pirates: Dark Seas would be a very good change for PP in my opinion.

To add on what Akantos9 said, a friend of mine said he doesn't plan to play a Tetris game on Steam (and the fact that he sees a black screen when he tries to watch me play doesn't help either).
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Obsidian - Snipah, Senior Officer of the crew Arctic Pirate Penguins.
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by Lylesnipah at Nov 16, 2017 4:29:21 AM]
[Nov 16, 2017 4:27:38 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Scarpath

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I tried to invite a friend to play with me. I told them the name of the game first, which turned out to be a mistake, as he just burst out laughing at the name. Honestly, it caught me off guard, but looking back, I'm sure many people feel that way. I was never able to get my friend to play it, mostly because of the name.

The name Puzzle Pirates really does not bring to mind some epic pirate themed MMO. No, it brings to mind one of those stupid $1 games that my mom used to play and are absolutely BORING. The name just doesn't serve the game any justice.
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Scarpath on Emerald, Cerulean, and Meridian!

Also Scarpath on Obsidian, Defiant to the core.

Your grammar should at least be as good as mine, take the time to make it decent!
[Nov 16, 2017 9:13:20 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Devonin

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I mean, in all fairness, this game bears more resemblance to the stupid 1 dollar games your mom used to play than it does to an "epic pirate themed MMO" and to suggest otherwise is sort of kidding yourself.

It's like a very limited Kongregate with only 15 games on it, with an attached chatroom and Sims dressing room.

Why this is somehow -bad- to accept I don't understand. The people for whom this is more than a cute dress-up flash puzzle game are like the half a percent of players who have the ambition to play politics and govern islands and dive into the deep economics.

Or rather, it WAS the half a percent until the shine came off, and most of the casuals left for shinier casual things, and now we just have 500 people who want to be governors of 2 islands.

We'd probably be better off as a community if we could advertise MORE as "Look, bejweled with pirates!" because filling out the bottom ranks of the game again is what makes room at the top for the ambitious to have space.

The game is built around the presumption of a pyramid-shaped hierarchy except fully 90% of the players on this ocean are FOs, SOs or Captains.
[Nov 16, 2017 3:05:06 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
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