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Joined: Dec 16, 2020
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New ship: Schooner, the versatile Reply to this Post
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The Schooner; a western style long and narrow ship with a low profile, built for speed - and speed it had! It usually had two masts, but could have up to 6 (one historical Schooner even had 7). Historically, this ship was used mainly for carrying cargo or passengers but was also used as a blockade runner or for exploration. Size-wise it would be slightly bigger than a Cutter, which had 1 mast. It was also a favorite among pirates (alongside the Sloop) for its speed, maneuverability and its relatively large capacity for firepower.

I've seen a War Schooner and a Merchant Schooner on here, but neither sat quite right with me personally - so here's my take on the Schooner. Strap in, folks - I feel like I'm onto something good here.

In my mind, the general idea for this ship in game would be to have it be a low/mid-tier ship version of a jack-of-all-trades; a fighty cargo ship if you will. Versatile and definitely useful, but not quite as good as its more specialized counterparts. In combat it's a maneuverable and speedy vessel with an aggressive playstyle. Out of combat it's a fast ship with a good cargo hold capacity, though its size makes it slightly more expensive and harder to run compared to a Cutter and on the other hand it won't hold anywhere near as much as a Merchant Brig could.

Visually in game it would be similar to a Cutter. Same deck-count and the same frontal width for figureheads, but longer and with two masts. Oh and let?s not forget the 4 guns a side. It could possibly have a raised back-portion for a nice little Captain?s cabin, a raised position for steering and generally a more ?interesting? layout. However, it could just as well (probably preferably actually) be flat much like a Cutter or a Sloop. Having a raised back portion could be a future MK II idea, much like we have on the Sloop MK II.

For those that are thinking that Schooners weren?t inherently combat ships, I hear you and you are right. However to that I?d just like to say: we?re pirates. If it floats ? just put guns on it. If it?s speedy, all the better. That way we?ll be able to get in, grab the loot and be out before the fuzz gets there. Besides, as I said, pirates loved Schooners back in the days in real life - so let's bring it into our lovely game!

So why do we need a new ship? Because while we do have ships to cover our practical needs in the game, alternatives are always nice (which is a reason in itself) and sometimes you just want a capable and versatile ship rather than a bunch of specialized ones. Having another ship that can be run with a relatively low player count is also good, considering the state of the servers right now (unfortunately). Also Schooners are kinda cool and I personally like collecting ships for their aesthetics, so there's that. I can?t be the only one who likes ships from this era. Furthermore, I don?t think that each ship or addition to the game NEEDS to be unique in terms of their use or their stats ? adding something new simply for the sake of an alternative based on taste I think is a good thing in itself! It lets me and people like me spend our money on more cool things that we like. Additionally, as much as I like my Viking heritage, I?d like even more to have a ship with a similar sort of fast and aggressive feel and playstyle that fits in better with the era of the game.

Speaking of unique uses, here?s the concept variants with concrete stat suggestions:

Variant 1 (my favorite):
Basically a reskinned Longship but with less cannons on board and increased cargo cap.
Health: Same as a Longship or perhaps a Fanchuan
Mobility: 4 Moves per turn
Firepower: 8 Small cannons (instead of the Longship?s 12), 2 shots per side each move.
Cargo capacity: Same as or slightly lower than that of a Cutter.

This would make it a nice low-tier cargo ship and simultaneously be a neat alternative to a low-to-mid-tier pilly ship. However, though it?s capable, its bigger size and increased crew count would make it slightly worse than a Cutter at being a low-tier cargo ship partly because of the increased rum-cost etc. Equally, its lower cannon total it would be slightly inferior to a Longship in combat due to having to use the cannons more sparingly, unless you have a pair of super-gunners. If we opt for the health of a Fanchuan, that would also make it less combat capable than a Longship. All in all, I feel like this would neatly fit in its intended versatile role as a ?ship-of-all trades?. Perfectly useable for both trading and for pillys, but not quite as good at either compared to the more specialized counterparts. I personally also really like the thought of having to decide whether or not you should fire twice or just shoot once in a move. Just because you can doesn?t always mean you should with this ship due to the lower cannon count on board. One way you could use with this ship is to just shoot once, as with a Cutter, but if you?re in a good position and confident you will hit, you could unleash a good old broadside. If you prefer to be a bit more all-in, you could fire broadsides here and there, and then use your mobility to get away while reloading ? though this strategy will require a lot of balls of the cannon variety.

Variant 1.2
You could increase the health of version 1 to equal that of a Baghlah or slightly below, to make it a ship of its own class capable of taking on mid- to high tier ships. However, the low total cannon count could mean that this ship risks being stuck as a very OP low-tier combat ship as you would need very good gunners to maximize the damage output necessary to take down mid-tier and especially high-tiered ships ? not to mention the accuracy required. You?d need to stock A LOT of balls. By losing its significance as a combat/pilly ship, it would just end up being a somewhat underwhelming trade-ship, even if we were to increase the cargo hold to be slightly bigger than a Cutter. It could fill a gap between Cutters and Merchant brigs when it comes to being a trade ship, but not much more.

Variant 2
Same as version 1, but replace small cannons with medium cannons, and only allow 1 shot per side.
Health: Same as a Longship or perhaps a Fanchuan
Mobility: 4 Moves per turn
Firepower: 8 Medium cannons (instead of the Longship?s 12 small), 1 shot per side each move.
Cargo capacity: Same as or slightly lower than that of a Cutter.

Not as fun as having the ability to blast 2 shots per move or having to think economically with your shots, but has basically the same impact in combat only slightly weaker in terms of the possible maximum damage output in a given turn. Basically an upgraded Dhow with bigger cargo-hold. A slightly weaker version of the concept when it comes to combat ? but I still personally think having medium guns makes it feel abit too beefy and heavy for a ship of this size, especially one traditionally built for speed.

Variant 3 (more combat focused/bringing it up to par with mid-to-high tier ships):
Basically reskinned Baghlah but with slightly better speed generation and lower cannon count and increased cargo cap.
Health: Same as a Baghlah or somewhere between Baghlah and Longship
Mobility: 3 Moves per turn, but with somewhat faster/better generation of speed and sail tokens
Firepower: 8 Medium cannons (instead of the Longship?s 12 small), 2 shot per side each move.
Cargo capacity: Same as or slightly higher than that of a Cutter.

This version doesn't have the 4 moves a turn. Instead, the Schooners historical speed is interpreted with faster/better generation of speed and sail tokens. It can?t move 4 times a turn, but it?s gonna be less likely to run out of moves and be dead in the water. This variant is basically the middle ground to a Cutter and a Merch-brig in terms of cargo, but better than both at combat. It is worse than a Baghlah at combat due to the lower count of guns on board (and possibly lower health), but could definitely hold its own against one or even some of the bigger ships, using its higher sail token generation to help keep it out of line of fire while still being able to fire 2 medium shots per move. As with V1, it will have to use its cannons more sparingly due to only having 8 cannons on board. Personally, this variant feels abit too chonky and beefy for a Schooner, and so I prefer V1.

So my opinion is probably quite clear, I prefer V1 and humble as I am, I?m clearly in love with this idea (which is my own) and I really want it implemented so bad lol

What do you guys think? Which version do you like the best, or do you have an idea of how else this could be implemented?
Aerling on the Emerald Ocean. A friendly enough pirate, but ultimately just a filthy casual.
[Edit 2 times, last edit by Aerling at Dec 18, 2020 3:53:37 AM]
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