How To: Guide on the Merchant Alliance Voyages (It's not broken/doesn't need fixed)

  • (TLDR version skip past the wall of text to the pictures...)


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    There's plenty of forum posts discussing Merchant Alliance in a negative light. Same sentiment from players on Reddit too. People are saying it would seem that the Merchant Alliance is poorly designed or giving suggestions for making the Merchant Alliance more engaging and I'm all for streamlining and enhancing the experience of this Trading Company but if we're being realistic about expectations they're not going to change or overhaul anything drastically at this stage in development and probably won't change something that isn't broken post launch either when they have a road map for additional content they want to add in addition to the launch content already.

    I honestly don't agree with the negativity in regards to this Trading Company being overly tedious or incredibly boring compared to the others.

    It's fine how it is, it's just more intricate and takes more to set up in advance. (Gotta grab excess crates/cage/coops/etc.) Sure it isn't quite as straight-forward and simplistic as the Gold Hoarder's voyages are where you just go to an Outpost, talk to NPC, buy a voyage, vote for the contract on the ship to start it and start sailing using the map or named island (riddle) that it AUTO gives to you to locate a often-not-so-remote island destination. Once you sail there you solve the riddle or find the X marks the spot and dig up the treasure chest(s) then you can return to 'ANY' Outpost on the map for your reward in gold. That is A to B then return to X, Y, Z or any. It's easy and anybody can understand that in a matter of minutes.

    The Merchant Alliance voyages are a bit tedious and aggravating with how you gotta buy the voyage contract from the NPC at the Outpost, go to your ship to vote to start the voyage at the table, then go back off the ship to the merchant again to get the required items to collect the animals from the NPC and you're only able to carry one at a time so you're making multiple trips to and from your boat whereas the Gold Hoarders quest items – maps(s) – simply spawns in your inventory when you vote for and start the voyage each time.

    Yeah they are more in-depth but like the complexities of them. Let me explain, I like that they do less hand-holding and require the player(s) to know the game world better. You gotta know where or what islands will spawn chickens. What Islands don't spawn animals or don't have the right ones. And trust me after just a short while of doing these voyages you will start to remember and just know which islands you wanna make a beeline towards.

    How to best multi-manage these voyages is doing more than what they are asking of you. Players just have to learn how to best do them is all...

    🌊⛵🌊|🌴🐔🐷🐍 Here's how you do it. 🐍🐷🐔🌴|🌊⛵🌊

    Step 1 : Visit any Outpost and talk to the Merchant Alliance NPC on the dock.

    Step 2 : Buy 3 Voyages from him/her.

    Step 3 : Return to your ship and vote to begin one of these voyages.

    Step 4 : Return to NPC and collect the cages and coops she will give you. Grab one and drop it on the dock right beside them, grab the next one do the same until no more. They only give you what the active voyage needs.

    For Example: 1 Black Pig, 2 White Chickens. They will give you 1 cage and 2 coops.

    Step 5 : Bring each of these back to the ship. You can only carry one at a time but work as a team and move much faster. Try to park the ship as close as you can.

    Step 6 : While on the ship, vote to cancel the voyage.

    Step 7 : Propose another voyage and vote for it.

    Repeat this process over and over again, gathering up all the excess Cages/Coops you want or that you have enough gold for since you'll be re-buying voyages a lot.

    Step 8 : Start another voyage and go to a larger island and capture EVERY animal you find. Store them on the ship. You'll eventually use them for completing a voyage.

    After awhile you can start to be picky and choose your voyages.

    You'll want to look at what you have on your ship first, then vote to cancel voyages and choose voyages to keep based on the stockpile of animals you have already on board your ship. Choosing based on what you already have for animals means you can sail straight to the outpost and turn it in for fast progression. Skip the gathering step. Eventually you'll need to stop at an island again to gather more animals when you run out but you should be able to chain together a couple at least. When you run out of voyages stop at any Outpost or do it when you are completing a voyage while you're already there to start over at Step 1 and refill your supply of cages too.

    For Example: You know you have 2 white chickens, a red speckled chicken, 3 black chickens, 2 gold chickens, and 2 black pigs on board your ship. You propose a voyage and it requests you get 1 pink and black spotted pig, 1 black chicken, and 1 white chicken. Instead of completing this quest and going looking for the pig you vote to cancel immediately and propose another. The game randomly generates another request and now they want 2 black chickens, 1 black pig, and a white chicken. You have all of that already so you mark the map and sail to the desired Outpost to complete it.

    That's how it should be done.

    Notes:

    I prefer to do this in a sloop and sail alone. By myself I don't have any hindrance with playing with randoms that can possibly mess up my flow and efficiency but that being said if you got one friend (or 3...) that can work together effectively you could divvy out the different tasks at hand and go much faster when acquiring the animals from the islands and/or re-supplying the ship with crates at the Outpost. It can all be done solo but you take more time as it requires multiple trips.



    ⚓🏴☠️ TLDR VERSION ☠️🏴⚓



    Vote... Vote... Vote....


    Figure 1a : Make sure everyone votes to start the voyage, if your sailing alone this process goes much quicker.

    Figure1b : Go back to the Merchant Alliance NPC on the dock and grab all the coops and cages from them. They only give you what you need for that one voyage that you just started. Carry them back to ship one by one or leave em on the dock and carry them back later before leaving.


    Figure 1c : Return to ship and cancel the voyage. This destroys the voyage contract so you'll have to keep repurchasing more. You repeat the process by placing another one down on the table, voting to start, go back to NPC and getting the cages over and over again until you have no more voyages left to place down. Then you BUY more voyages! Yeah it's a lot of trips back and forth from the NPC to ship but this is da wae.


    Figure 1d : You can only carry 3 voyages at a time. As the old saying goes... You have to spend money to make money. Don't let this deter you though. This is the best way to do it. Buy the voyages and vote them in and out by canceling. It isn't that costly. It'll run you a couple hundred gold but the few hundred you spend you'll more than make up on voyage completion. Completing a voyage gives you at least 500+ gold and at higher levels up to thousands of gold back so you make out ahead in the long run anyways.


    Figure 1e : It's been brought to my attention it might be better to not purchase Promotion(s). This is due to the Level 1-4 voyages costing you 0 gold and also they only request chickens. Since the game is designed in a way (at least as of the Final Beta) that you can still progress and level up and the gold is fixed based on what animal and color it is you don't really need to promote yourself. Just grab 100 coops, go to any islands with chickens and take them ALL. Then start chaining voyages completing them left and right. Just focus on ones with Gold Chickens for the most gold and veto any voyage that isn't asking for one by canceling it and proposing another right away. No need to have a banana supply to keep pigs alive with as chickens stay alive forever.



    Hoarding Animals


    Figure 2a : Now you got a nice big stockpile of all the different cages and coops. You're ready to go then so head for any large island nearby and start collecting animals.


    Figure 2b : Next visit an island and capture EVERYTHING! not just only the ones you need for the active voyage. Grab everything there. You can save them on your ship and have them at the ready for upcoming voyages. Eventually you can vote to cancel any voyage that isn't requesting stuff you already have in your possession. Or hopefully you have 2+ of everything and then it doesn't matter.


    Figure 2c : It won't be long before your Sloop or Galleon starts looking like Noah's Ark as you stockpile animals of every color on your ship. Eventually you can just chain-complete voyages one after another without going looking for the requested animal.


    Figure 2d : Deliver the requested animals/gear to the specific Outpost in time.


    Figure 2e : Propose and Vote to start another voyage. Now check your Quests received paper to see the Registry of Goods requested. If you don't have the requested animals then instantly vote to cancel and try again until you find one you already have in stock. (or until you find one that gives better rewards such as Golden Chickens/Golden Pigs.)



    Pigs

    Pigs require a little more overhead than chickens to keep them alive for long periods of time since you gotta feed them bananas to keep them alive. If you're going to stockpile pigs on your ship make sure you are picking up all the 🍌bananas 🍌from the barrels you come across and try to keep at least a 30+ supply in your ship at all times.

    When they start to squeal and sit down as shown in figure 3a that's when you need to feed them. This feeding process is straightforward but sometimes you will see the feed pig prompt but it doesn't work. You just need to move closer or scoot around until you see both prompts like in figure 3a and 3b in order for the game to register your feeding them. You will know it registered by the feeding animation seen in figure 3c. The squealing stops and they stand back up in normal stance as well.

    Pro Tip : Banana Crates are another requested item from time to time for these voyages but they can be extremely useful to keep instead of turning them in. You can place them down anywhere on your ship for quick access to bananas. I like to keep them where i keep the captured pigs so you can feed your pigs quickly. Better yet carry and place them ashore which allows for you to transfer more than 5 bananas which was previous max you could take back to your ship barrel. This is extremely helpful for doing Skeleton Forts too! They hold 50 bananas so whenever you see barrels make sure your grabbing bananas emptying back into your ship barrel or crate.

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    Figure 3a : The difference between a pig who needs fed and one who doesn't. Poor banana...

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    Figure 3b : Move closer if feeding is not working. You need to see both the 'Feed' and 'Pick Up' prompts for it to work.

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    Figure 3c : Orville here is being a real pig and getting bits of his banana everywhere.



    Use this map to quickly get your bearings on the Outposts and what direction to head for. Since Merchant Alliance voyages have specific Outposts to turn in at you can save time by marking them on the map before sailing away or just have this up on your phone or another screen if you got a multi-monitor set up like me. I just glance over at this map when I cant remember the location or name and it takes all of like 5 seconds to find it and know where i gotta go. Northeast to Galleon Grave Outpost. Okay got it. 👍

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    Also you can use this as a aid for where to look. It's not 100% but it does work a lot of the time as a list for where you can find possible locations for snakes, pigs, and chickens. Once you've played for awhile you'll start to remember what islands have what.

    Generally though I've noticed the LARGER the island the more animals that i find. Most medium to large islands will have 2 animal types and plenty of them.

    The small tiny islands either have one or the other or none.

    For example: Tiny Island will have chickens but not pigs. Or Tiny Island will have pigs but not chickens. And a lot of the times Tiny Island will have no animals.

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  • yeah I've been complaining about this a lot on the forum. Nobody seems to listen. It's even worse if at the start you don't upgrade your voyages so that you get the cages for free. There isn't really any reason to upgrade them anyways since the only difference is the number of animals that you will have to acquire and the price so it is actually really a bad idea to upgrade those.

  • oh, and you can start your missions at the corner of the map so that you have the shortest distance to travel (from my experience you only get missions to nearby outposts)

  • also doing the missions the way they were intended was way more fun to me then doing gold hoarder missions (except for a few bad experiences that I had like that one time when I searched the entire ancient sea + a few more islands in order to find 4 chickens of 2 colors. I searched every island, big and small). These missions are more flexible than "go to this point and dig".

  • @Cipher-8 I wouldn't call it broken but more that players can exploit and will exploit it. I agree we can't fix the problem much at this stage until post launch if the problem isn't fixed already. If I was Rare Id at least have you have to buy cages and stuff, and you can just resell them for the same value if you don't use them. Kind of how we do Soda cans for plastic and Aluminum. This would stop how easily abused can be and would keep people from stacking a 100 cages cause if they get sunk they lose all that gold they invested. "No one here can agree that this is a good gameplay design choice making the player want to stay at the cheapest quests just to get free cages." "Just a side note if it stays this way I'm not against it, however I'm not leveling my faction up unless it's needed at the end."

    Love the detail you put into the guide also, but maybe a bit to soon since you never know things can change from the beta tests.

  • Great guide, thanks!

  • @pigeonman-beam said in How To on the Merchant Alliance Voyages (It's not broken/needs fixed):

    @Cipher-8 I wouldn't call it broken but more that players can exploit and will exploit it. I agree we can't fix the problem much at this stage until post launch if the problem isn't fixed already. If I was Rare Id at least have you have to buy cages and stuff, and you can just resell them for the same value if you don't use them. Kind of how we do Soda cans for plastic and Aluminum. This would stop how easily abused can be and would keep people from stacking a 100 cages cause if they get sunk they lose all that gold they invested. "No one here can agree that this is a good gameplay design choice making the player want to stay at the cheapest quests just to get free cages." "Just a side note if it stays this way I'm not against it, however I'm not leveling my faction up unless it's needed at the end."

    Love the detail you put into the guide also, but maybe a bit to soon since you never know things can change from the beta tests.

    I wasn't calling it broken. I was saying it doesn't need fixing just because it's a bit tedious more or less. If they make us buy cages i hope they don't let you resell them. That way you forced with the risk of do i buy all these extra ones what if my ship sinks and now i wasted all that gold. It's kinda like now, do you do the vote/cancel thing and keep buying voyages to gather a bunch in excess so it's easier to complete them once you get going but there's always that risk of getting sunk or someone climbing aboard stealing them all when your off on the island chicken-searching.

    I'm 100% fine with the way Merchant Alliance voyages are... and I plan on sailing with a stockpile of animals on-board giving away to friendly pirates the ones that they need but don't have. Perhaps doing some trading, give me a chest for this here golden chicken you need to complete your voyage.

    Now that's a player driven economy and pretty awesome stuff. You just gotta look past the rough edges of it all to see the potential for greatness.

  • @cipher-8 Sorry wasn't saying you were saying it was broken I was commenting on you saying its not broken. You are right it's NOT broken however its bit exploitable. I agree with you I'm fine with how it works also how you can gather the cargo before you even start. I don't think that should change it at all makes it better for the people who play more tactical, and smarter they can do them faster its like playing gold hoarders and getting good with riddles better plays bang it out faster while other ones who don't put effort into it will be more time consuming. "I however think maybe a gold price on cages and boxes would give more value to not abusing the level one quests for them." In the end I love the guide it has great detail. I also while I play do the same as you and keep stock pile of chickens and pigs, I didn't think that was the problem. I felt as if I was abusing the free quests to get cages. Something to keep in mind the "FREE" word is key here. That's where most of the abusing comes in.

  • @cipher-8 I have two problems with the system as it is now.
    The first is that you can't keep your chickens when offline so you are forced to do this when you have a day just for this.
    The second is that it forces you to never upgrade in order to fully abuse it which is clearly not desirable.
    During the beta I wasn't exploiting the cage farming by cancelling voyages but I did collect some cages scattered around the islands and form sinking ships so I had spare chickens of every color which helped me do the missions faster.

  • @svetli97 said in How To on the Merchant Alliance Voyages (It's not broken/needs fixed):

    @cipher-8 I have two problems with the system as it is now.

    @svetli97 said

    The first is that you can't keep your chickens when offline so you are forced to do this when you have a day just for this.

    Well you cannot keep your treasure chests, skulls, or anything you pick up in a session once you leave. It's meant to be a session to session thing. I don't see that ever changing but it's not just a problem for Merchant Alliance voyages it's an every Trading Company thing. Turn your stuff in before you gotta go or you lose it.

    I will say though having extra chickens and pigs sometimes you do lose them when you gotta go since it's not like turn in at ANY outpost (well i suppose you could sell em to any Merchant Alliance NPC at any outpost for like 50g or something pointless but I'm fine with losing minimal gold if i gotta get off.

    @svetli97 said

    The second is that it forces you to never upgrade in order to fully abuse it which is clearly not desirable.

    If you don't purchase the upgrade that's on you. You get more progression from the higher level voyages, as well as a lot more gold. So it's beneficial to upgrade. Sure the requests get more complicated as they start asking for more than just chickens but even if it auto updated and you didn't have the choice all you would do is have another player join your crew who is lower level in Merchant Alliance, have them buy the voyages and you vote for them. Give them a chest to replace their gold lost for their troubles type of thing.

    During the beta I wasn't exploiting the cage farming by cancelling voyages but I did collect some cages scattered around the islands and form sinking ships so I had spare chickens of every color which helped me do the missions faster.

    Yep, i was giving chickens away to friendly pirates that would come near me at Outposts. I would ask if they were doing Merchant Alliance voyages and what they needed. Some even gave me a chest as a form of trade which was neat.

  • @pigeonman-beam said in How To on the Merchant Alliance Voyages (It's not broken/needs fixed):

    @cipher-8 I however think maybe a gold price on cages and boxes would give more value to not abusing the level one quests for them.
    I felt as if I was abusing the free quests to get cages. Something to keep in mind the "FREE" word is key here. That's where most of the abusing comes in.

    Ya i didn't even think of that aspect because my whole focus is progression within the Merchant Alliance. I guess one could just keep leveling it but never purchasing the upgrades so they never have to BUY the voyages and just keep doing the 0 gold ones.
    And if I'm not mistaken those ones are only chickens (which you can keep forever) you don't even start seeing pigs until like the 5 or 10 level voyages.

    I guess there really is nothing they can do to fix that exploit though. They shouldn't force you to buy the upgrade. How would you suggest fixing that?

  • @cipher-8 my point is that the higher level missions DON'T give you more gold per time spent so they are NOT better in any way. You don't need to upgrade your voyages if that stays the same. You will still lvl up and get all the unlocks.

  • @svetli97 said in How To on the Merchant Alliance Voyages (It's not broken/needs fixed):

    @cipher-8 my point is that the higher level missions DON'T give you more gold per time spent so they are NOT better in any way. You don't need to upgrade your voyages if that stays the same. You will still lvl up and get all the unlocks.

    I thought they did.

    It was like one animal turned in would give upwards of 600-800 gold but another the standard 100-200.

    I bet they do give more gold...

  • @cipher-8 the gold and lvl that you get from the animals depends on the type of animal.

  • @svetli97 said in How To on the Merchant Alliance Voyages (It's not broken/needs fixed):

    @cipher-8 the gold and lvl that you get from the animals depends on the type of animal.

    So vote to cancel until you find a voyage that requests gold chickens?

    That's the best way to do it?

  • @cipher-8 yes, many people did that during the beta. Stacked lots of gold chickens on board by farming cages and only did gold chicken quests.

  • @svetli97 said in How To on the Merchant Alliance Voyages (It's not broken/needs fixed):

    @cipher-8 yes, many people did that during the beta. Stacked lots of gold chickens on board by farming cages and only did gold chicken quests.

    I wanted to experience a little bit more of that Trading Company but now that I know better how they work I might do that second time around. IDK though I don't mind paying the little gold for voyages because you make it up so easily and i don't plan on spending gold on clothing/ship customization for awhile. I will just wear my preorder set.

    I think in the long run you probably make more gold from golden pigs, golden snakes, etc and the higher level voyages even if they are more complex to complete than just chickens... veto until you get golden chicken requested, etc.

    But what was the average gold for turning a golden chicken in?

    And the progression on leveling up is that the same or do you think completing higher level voyages gave more progression xp as well? (i didn't really pay attention.)

  • I am planning to do a version of this myself however getting attacked and sunk after spending all that gold stocking up on crates is going to feel so bad lol

  • Game designers etc said themselves this was broken on the 08/03 Youtube video....but are working hard to fix it.
    Love some of those extras you posted though, thanks!

  • @bookoftheblade said in How To on the Merchant Alliance Voyages (It's not broken/needs fixed):

    I am planning to do a version of this myself however getting attacked and sunk after spending all that gold stocking up on crates is going to feel so bad lol

    I was a little upset at first but i got over it... just went back to the grind.

    Yep... It already happened to me in Final Beta lol

  • @cipher-8 golden chickens were I think about 1.7 k gold which was the same for the pigs. the black ones were half that, the red ones were 1/3 of that and the white ones were worth practically nothing.

  • I dont want to be that guy however the guide seems to be more with trying to deal with it then explaining how its actually functional as a design. If you have to go on a 10 step convoluted grind including cancelling voyages it feels pretty broken to me. Its just really not novice friendly either from my experience.

  • @svetli97 said in How To on the Merchant Alliance Voyages (It's not broken/needs fixed):

    @cipher-8 golden chickens were I think about 1.7 k gold which was the same for the pigs. the black ones were half that, the red ones were 1/3 of that and the white ones were worth practically nothing.

    Thanks. I didn't even notice that I just figured it was like first turned in was a couple hundred gold and then ones after that diminished in the amount of gold you got based on the voyage level of promotion and all that.

    So you think a level 2 turning in a gold chicken would receive the same amount of gold as a level 15 cadet turning in a gold chicken then?

    If so then yeah there's really no reason to buy the promotions. Unless the higher level voyages earn more XP towards progression and leveling up for that trading company? Like a starter voyage only fill up one fourth a chunk towards the next level but a level 15 voyage would give you half or more towards the next level? I don't know how it is, i guess we'll have to test that out.

    But just focusing on chicken voyages and even if it's smaller portions of progress you are still leveling up so just don't promote yourself until way later when you wanna start doing all the other stuff like snakes and pigs and crate and explosive barrels.

    Power leveling with chickens though seems to be da wae.

  • @cipher-8 I'm not sure what I would do its a hard spot, I think maybe a price for the cages would help a bit but for how long right once someone has 10,000 gold 100 a cage is nothing? I don't think they can really do anything. I think that's one of the reasons why they chose to have players go to a different outpost for the cages so you can't just abuse it.

  • @pigeonman-beam said in How To on the Merchant Alliance Voyages (It's not broken/needs fixed):

    @cipher-8 I don't think they can really do anything. I think that's one of the reasons why they chose to have players go to a different outpost for the cages so you can't just abuse it.

    I agree. I think they should make it also non-beneficial or impossible to turn in animals that aren't on your ledger or registry of goods requested. That way you cannot just go turn in a bunch of chickens for gold you're forced to hold onto them and only turn them in for a specific voyage by request. Though that kind of hinders anyone trying to do real piracy of sinking an enemy ship and stealing their chickens and other loot to turn it in for your own rewards. Idk either...

  • @cipher-8 well in both cases this is how the exploit works. You get free voyages to sell your chickens which you either acquire yourself or you steal them. But it is not pointless to have extra chickens on board.

  • If your "best method" is to repeatedly vote and cancel voyages until you've ammased so many cages that you can have multiple of any animal AND then you start doing voyages for real, you're either bring ironic or you're missing how that's broken

  • @a-moldy-stump said in How To: Guide on the Merchant Alliance Voyages (It's not broken/doesn't need fixed):

    If your "best method" is to repeatedly vote and cancel voyages until you've ammased so many cages that you can have multiple of any animal AND then you start doing voyages for real, you're either bring ironic or you're missing how that's broken

    working as intended

    I like how OP showed the broken nature of Merchants Alliance whilst trying to refute it. There's no two ways around it. It's a sad, broken, horrible addition to the game.

  • @lizardheart said in How To: Guide on the Merchant Alliance Voyages (It's not broken/doesn't need fixed):

    @a-moldy-stump said in How To: Guide on the Merchant Alliance Voyages (It's not broken/doesn't need fixed):

    If your "best method" is to repeatedly vote and cancel voyages until you've ammased so many cages that you can have multiple of any animal AND then you start doing voyages for real, you're either bring ironic or you're missing how that's broken

    working as intended

    I like how OP showed the broken nature of Merchants Alliance whilst trying to refute it. There's no two ways around it. It's a sad, broken, horrible addition to the game.

    Lizardheart how would you propose it be if it were better to your liking? What's the best way? Simply to be able to buy the cages with gold so you end up amassing them on ship just like this strategy does. Instead of having that clunky extra step of going back to the ship to cancel and then back to merchant to buy voyages you simply just buy the cages from merchant but you still gotta carry them back one by one to ship and you still end up grabbing all the animals when you visit an island. Why all the hate?

    But no I'm serious, how would you prefer it to be?

  • @cipher-8 Copied from a thread I posted on the subject:

    What I'd like to see is actually having a destination to pick up the items, particularly the animals. Explosive barrels are fine because they're plentiful in forts but animals just feel random to find and frustrating. I've looked on islands with reported animals, particularly chickens supposedly being on Thieves Haven, but I have never seen a chicken there once. Some consistency would go a long way in improving its feeling.

    Second, please make it a passive voyage, similar to a message in a bottle, rather than active and therefore, taking up the slot of an active voyage (such as through the Gold Hoarders). That simple change would go a long way in just happening upon the right items while out voyaging for something else. I had a message in a bottle with a Merchant Alliance mission last night and it felt less tedious to find the items as I went along rather than be forced to go island to island not finding what I needed running around like a hapless chicken.

    Third, please just give us an item on the ship to store resources such as coops. There's no two ways around it: getting coops from the shopkeep is just plain bad. Hoping to find a coop on an island isn't much better either. There are plenty of unused barrels on both ships, so having a universal coop would be fine. There's no reason they should be segregated by chicken/pig/snake anyway.

    Lastly, remove the specific outpost to turn in the items for the current voyage. How annoying would it be if Gold Hoarders and the Order of Souls required you to turn in the chest to a specific outpost? For some reason, that stipulation is exclusive to the Merchant Alliance.

    A potential idea to make the voyages more engaging instead of how it works now is to get the items ahead of time from the Merchant Alliance, instead of having the ability of selling the animals/explosive barrels, and deliver it to somewhere else. In other words, you get the items from the shopkeeper instead of the coops, load them up on the ship, and deliver it to a different outpost. Just an idea on that.

    If ALL else fails, please greatly increase the payout for just selling items without a voyage. It is painful at present; I don't even think one receives credit for selling animals by themselves. This renders picking up animals out in the wild for sale entirely pointless. I would like to be able to have some incentive to actually acquire money for them instead of lost hopes and dreams and feeling like I just wasted all that time.

    I love this game but man, right now, the Merchant Alliance is such a drain. Right now, I just despise it and hope that it either gets an improvement or a non-requirement from acquiring Pirate Legend in the full game.

  • I like to think I was the 1st to do this.. glad to see others know the ways of merchant hoarding.lol

  • @lizardheart said in How To: Guide on the Merchant Alliance Voyages (It's not broken/doesn't need fixed):

    @cipher-8 Copied from a thread I posted on the subject:

    What I'd like to see is actually having a destination to pick up the items, particularly the animals. Explosive barrels are fine because they're plentiful in forts but animals just feel random to find and frustrating. I've looked on islands with reported animals, particularly chickens supposedly being on Thieves Haven, but I have never seen a chicken there once. Some consistency would go a long way in improving its feeling.

    Animals should feel random to find. I'm sorry you feel that exploring the world is frustrating but I would hate it if it were set and everybody knew the list of islands that chickens spawn at and which one pigs spawn at. This would lead to certain islands being hot spots and now you're inviting PVP players to go there more because they know it's a Tier 1 location for farming animals from and there will be players there. Nope... it should be random like okay today chickens are on this island but not tomorrow or next week. Maybe you went there 30 minutes ago and got a bunch and when you come back they are not respawned. Idk how RARE's system works exactly but I don't believe the players should. They've said they can dynamically change or tweak things behind scenes so for example all the voyages go to one specific island if they want players to run into each other more. I would imagine their system has settings for animals spawn locations that allow them to tweak it and change it up where they're located. And that's awesome! You should have to go in search of them. It's tedious, it's probably frustrating when you visit a few islands and no chickens but it forces you to learn the game and understand the chances of possibly finding them at what locations. I know I went to larger islands knowing the chances of finding both chickens and pigs were greater. Rather than visiting five small islands and only finding the chickens i needed on the fifth stop.

    Second, please make it a passive voyage, similar to a message in a bottle, rather than active and therefore, taking up the slot of an active voyage (such as through the Gold Hoarders). That simple change would go a long way in just happening upon the right items while out voyaging for something else. I had a message in a bottle with a Merchant Alliance mission last night and it felt less tedious to find the items as I went along rather than be forced to go island to island not finding what I needed running around like a hapless chicken.

    LOL now you're just not making sense. They are not going to take out 1 of 3 Trading Companies just because... Let's be realistic. Pirate tropes of attacking Merchant Ships means the Merchants should be a major faction in this pirate themed world. I've even heard suggestions of having NPC ships (or non-player controlled ships) that are sailing from point A to point B. That way it gives PVP focused players a way to attack other ships for their loot. Not always having to search for other player vessels but plunder these ones deliberately put into the game for that reason.

    As for your message in a bottle mission yeah I've gotten ones for all three factions in the different betas. I've received ones that just give me treasure maps for the Gold Hoarders, then in the stress tests I've received quests that tasked me with going and finding a Skeleton lord or whatever fighting the waves of skellies and then bringing it's skull back to The Order of Souls (even though they weren't in the beta to turn it in.). So why shouldn't you receive quests from messages in a bottle for the third major faction? You DON'T HAVE TO CHOOSE TO DO THEM, JUST IGNORE THEM. If you don't like doing M.A. voyages because you think they're too tedious and complex then that's fine. Stick to what you like doing and enjoy your time in game doing that instead. You're not forced to do anything you don't want to besides maybe combat at times.

    Third, please just give us an item on the ship to store resources such as coops. There's no two ways around it: getting coops from the shopkeep is just plain bad. Hoping to find a coop on an island isn't much better either. There are plenty of unused barrels on both ships, so having a universal coop would be fine. There's no reason they should be segregated by chicken/pig/snake anyway.

    This i strongly disagree with.

    I'm not saying the current way of doing it is perfect but they shouldn't just give you a location on the Sloop/Galleon that you go to and pull a new cage out of. As many times as you want...

    RARE doesn't want you to amass a boatload of cages. They intended it to be the way it is where you start a quest and they give you what you need to finish it. The reason you find the other ones on islands sometimes randomly is because they think having a few extra is fine but no they don't want you to carry 100 cages.

    And they punish you for doing so because it's a backwards way of exploiting the system to cancel voyage after grabbing the items and then starting another to grab more then repeating it until you have a 100+ cages. Plus it costs you gold for buying voyages so they're trying to make it so you don't do this. If they did what your suggesting then it would completely break the system and everyone would do this as the norm.

    I've read a lot of people saying you should be able to just buy them at any time you want from their NPC for gold. I fail to see how that's any different than what we have now? And there's a reason why it's not like that and you have to cancel and do all the extra steps. Because RARE doesn't want players to amass the cages and do this... It's not how they intended.

    Lastly it should be segregated by animal. You ever try to keep a pig in chicken wire cage and it's going to break out. You ever put a snake in a pig cage it's going to slither out. Why is this even a point of contention?

    Lastly, remove the specific outpost to turn in the items for the current voyage. How annoying would it be if Gold Hoarders and the Order of Souls required you to turn in the chest to a specific outpost? For some reason, that stipulation is exclusive to the Merchant Alliance.

    You know there's a reason for that right. It fits into the story arc or narrative of this Trading Company. Have you ever clicked the other options when talking to their NPC and read the text? It's all about the people in the region wanting specific supplies and they have the pirates of the region go out and find them and deliver them to the people who want them (hence a specific Outpost location).

    Next you're going to want them to remove the time limit or something so you have all day to look for chickens i suppose.

    Just stick to Gold Hoarders if you want the flexibility of turning them into any Outpost. But if you want to actually listen to some advice, as soon as I get a quest I mark the specific Outpost on my map and start sailing in that direction stopping at island along the way to find the animals i need to complete the voyage. That way I'm not sailing to an island in an opposite direction and only making it harder on myself.

    A potential idea to make the voyages more engaging instead of how it works now is to get the items ahead of time from the Merchant Alliance, instead of having the ability of selling the animals/explosive barrels, and deliver it to somewhere else. In other words, you get the items from the shopkeeper instead of the coops, load them up on the ship, and deliver it to a different outpost. Just an idea on that.

    This I LOVE!

    I think they should've had both actually.

    I think that's more similar to how Gold Hoarders voyages sometimes give you X marks the spot maps of an island and other times give you a named island riddle. They have two quest types and the Merchant Alliance should give you two quest types as well.

    The Merchant Alliance delivery quests should be like this specific Outpost needs a delivery by this date at this time, hurry! Then you load the merchandise on your ship and gotta keep it protected from thieving pirates along the journey sailing there.

    Then the other type of Merchant Alliance voyages is the ones we have now, the normal ones that are more about exploring the world and collecting wild animals. (And yes they should revamp it and add Fishing!). These ones they give you a request paper and enough empty cages (or if they added fishing they give you the nets you need to catch the fish with) and task you to go out and find them searching the various islands then deliver them.

    (I guess for these ones it would maybe make sense to let you turn them in at ANY OUTPOST to complete them. But only any Outpost if they added in the other quest type that uses a specific delivery Outpost.)

    That's a great idea for how to make the Merchant Alliance trading company better.

    If ALL else fails, please greatly increase the payout for just selling items without a voyage. It is painful at present; I don't even think one receives credit for selling animals by themselves. This renders picking up animals out in the wild for sale entirely pointless. I would like to be able to have some incentive to actually acquire money for them instead of lost hopes and dreams and feeling like I just wasted all that time.

    Again I think RARE doesn't want players to grind and farm animals and just be able to bring them back in troves and sell them all. I think there's something to be said though about selling off your extras you may have at a reduced profit of course. Maybe enough to recoup the lost gold for acquiring the cages is enough? Just I don't think they should make it profitable. That means there's no point in even doing their voyages if you could just sell the animals back to them without a voyage.

  • @crude-jc-gamer said in How To: Guide on the Merchant Alliance Voyages (It's not broken/doesn't need fixed):

    I like to think I was the 1st to do this.. glad to see others know the ways of merchant hoarding.lol

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    It's catching on for sure... :)

  • For the first point, you even admit to finding animals to be tedious and "probably frustrating" since one must island hop haphazardly in the off chance that MAYBE what they need is there. While at least you have some argument for it being that PVPers could camp an island, I sincerely doubt that many PVP crews would be determined to camp an island for MA-related items. That sounds like a complete waste of time when loot can be had elsewhere. It's just another fetch quest made unnecessarily more annoying by RNG. That's all there is to it.

    For the second point you address, I didn't say to remove it. I said to treat it as a passive voyage akin to message in a bottle. This has been brought up by other people as well, as you can actually do something else and happen upon the things you need for MA while doing something else actually fun.

    Third is an opinion piece, fine but again, the main difference is that the way it's currently integrated is that it's very much an exploit to get infinite cages and as such, is prone to being patched or nerfed in some manner. Then what?

    Nice strawman on my last point by the way. I get that the time limit makes it at least somewhat of a challenge (albeit arbitrary since it gives an absurd amount of time). Frankly, I don't care about lore reasons if it isn't fun to do. The game's not even fully released and certainly not voice acted, so there's no reason for the specific outpost to be a permanent thing.

    Also, there's already no real point to doing Gold Hoarder voyages either. You can find chests in the wild, on others' ships or, most notably, from Skull Forts, which substantially dwarf any other method of acquiring gold or XP for the Gold Hoarders. The difference with MA is that there's nothing to be gained at all from selling animals, which makes absolutely no sense. At the very least, MA gives additional XP and money for doing voyages whereas Gold Hoarders' voyages purely just spawn a chest in the world. That's it.

    And I'm really getting tired of saying it but it's very, very likely to not be optional. It is almost certainly going to be a requirement to reach pirate legend and therefore, reaching endgame requires one to participate in the Merchant Alliance.

  • Ok, so we need to exploit the quest system to get more cages than we are supposed to have. Then, we use a cheat sheet of locations to find the animals (because it is a pain and takes way to long to do the missions without it).

    OP conclusion: Nothing is broken or needs to be fixed.

    Seriously?

    To begin with, we need the quest to tell us a few locations (2 or 3 islands) where we can find what we are looking for (so we don't need to google it every time or print the list and have it next to the keyboard). After that, I think the designers need to decide what to do with the cages. I can think of 2 options right now:

    • Allow us get as many cages as we want, but maybe lower the reward for delivering animals as now we can take as many as we want in a single trip.
    • Keep higher rewards, but then they can't allow us to keep the extra cages.

    So please, fix this. Soon.

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