imagine bearing the flag of the reaper's mark /s
Now imagine being there back when the older mercenary voyages were around and active.
@AShinyRayquaza's latest video talking about these old events were quite nice to watch. Since I joined during Haunted Shores, the June 2020 update, I had obviously missed out on such a wild occasion. While the rewards from that event will proceed to stay long gone from any of our grasps for the years to come, the concept of the voyages now live rent-free inside my head.
We currently know the only things we can do with the Reaper's Mark equipped, other than add it to our Reaper's Emissary Flag like it's cool, is run up to 30 voyages with it, hit other ships (skeleton ships included) with purple cursed cannonballs that affect the enemy ship in some way... oh wait that's it.
Yeah the Reaper's Mark lost its reputation over time as the "newbie" boats that don't understand what the flag can do just equip it cause it looks cool and it is the only flag that has the game's symbol on it. Nice.
The older mercenary voyages earned us unique rewards for such a risky endeavor, however, they became extremely exclusive to those that participated in those events, and like most live event items, they were time limited, upsetting players that are unable to complete certain cosmetic sets because they just simply "weren't there for it".
Instead, I propose that we reform the way Reaper's Mark is used within the game. Similar to AShinyRay's video, bring back the mercenary voyages, but rotate what islands they surround every season/month, similar to what happened with Wanderer's Refuge, and Shipwreck Bay, but instead with other large islands, like Smuggler's Bay, Plunder Valley, Devil's Ridge, maybe even an island like Flintlock Peninsula in the Devil's Roar.
On top of that, prevent the voyage from being started unless you are bearing the Reaper's Mark, and maintain bearing the flag throughout the full voyage. If the flag is taken down at any point, the voyage is canceled. (Alternatively, once the voyage is active with the flag up, the flag box is disabled from use until the voyage is canceled, or completed.)
"Gee, this sure seems to be a bit strict huh, but what do I get for it?"
...We're gonna have to sit down for a second and talk about this, you and me.
Exclusive rewards are beyond a terrible way to incentivize doing something, however, that's not to say a reward shouldn't be given. That's why for completing these newer versions of the Reaper Run Mercenary voyages, you get... a huge amount of renown for every voyage-related item you get turned in!
Okay, hear me out, maybe. Instead of incentivizing exclusive rewards that introduce FOMO, make it optional, you don't have to do these voyages, but they'll be just for fun, a good sum of gold and reputation to be made, but a massive boost to renown for your logged bravery tackling these re-doable voyages. This voyage would be better than stacking world events as a Grade V Reaper, or participating in the new content right away, and since the renown will be easy to complete, a lot of short-for-time users can participate on this voyage to reach renown 100 before the season is over in less time than just constantly doing the same world events (or lack thereof sometimes) over and over again.
Renown is much more easier to gauge how much people should log in and do things, as we are now learning with the upcoming Community Day for Season 6, where there will be up to a 3.5x boost to only Renown, while gold and reputation is just simply doubled for the whole day, making the incentive to log on weaker than Season 5's Community Day catastrophe.
The risk of doing this voyage is getting caught by other pirates who can steal the loot from this voyage and also get that same strong renown boost when they turn it in. Then, if you don't want to participate, you don't have to, you still have other options, but those that want to get to renown 100 the soonest, can go on a very risky voyage instead to obtain it.
At the very least, it would be nice to see the Reaper's Mark have some meaning to it with the reformation of these voyages that forced the usage of it, and Reaper's Marks can be targeted for PvP once more.
If you have any additions to this idea that would be appropriate for Rare to add to this, feel free to give it a go in this thread!