[Mega Thread] Balancing Exploration and Player Combat

  • Hello there Pirates, old and new!

    Now that we are in the first week of launch we're relaunching (ha!) these Mega Thread Series, to ensure that we get your most relevant and up to date feedback on your gameplay experiences.

    One of the most important topics, the topic of inclusion as we all want to make sure that Sea of Thieves appeals to as many gamers as possible and everyone enjoys the game regardless of their own personal motivations.

    Discuss below.

    Thank you!


    Keep to the Code - The Pirate Code
    As a reminder, the Pirate Code is more than just guidelines (though the reference really never gets old), but the rules of the community and game that we expect all members to abide by when participating on the forums. Any member who fails to abide by the code may find themselves put in the brig, or removed from the community.

    Cast your good eye over the Articles here: The Pirate Code


    To read past pre-launch discussions, check out this topic here:
    Mega Thread - Part 4
    Mega Thread - Part 3
    Mega Thread - Part 2
    Mega Thread - Part 1

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  • On the subject of respawns and PvP.
    I once had a team who attacked me while I was digging for some chests on a remote island. They rammed my ship while I was on the shore, but I managed to kill them multiple times, steal their ship and sink it by crashing into rocks. (Losing mine to raising water in the process).
    I got teleported to my new ship by a mermaid and sailed back to finish the voyage. I was about to beach but then I noticed that they have returned as well to get revenge, I suppose.
    I was ready this time, but I was alone against them and they were smarter this time. We had a long 30 mins pursuit, but eventually I failed managing sails and wheel and got rammed and then killed.
    My point is: if they had spawned on another server after death and loosing ship (they were both awaiting respawn while their ship sunk), I'd never had this "revenge" from their side. On the other hand: it sure does add to the narrative and stories, but maybe not all of the players actually want that, I suppose.

  • How about designing a hidden system that connects more aggresive players with each other? For example if a player keeps attacking others, his variable of aggresion increased and next time he logs into the game, he gets thrown to the instance with more aggresive players. The variable would go down to zero over time.

  • Yesterday I encountered yet another troll crew that repeatedly came back to fight (clearly looking for us). It didn't matter if we took them out or if they took us out... they decided to keep coming for us no matter what. We're in the middle of a voyage so we can't just change servers in this situation. The "game" turned into "how do we throw them off my location on an island where I'm trying to complete a voyage", instead of "let's go enjoy some cool voyages and see what they're all about". This is yet another case of someone else's boredom (yes, they admitted that's why they kept coming back... nothing else to do, from their point of view) turning into a bad experience in your game. I'm not sure everyone quite appreciates what's happening in these situations: it's the poor design that creates the bad encounter because there will always be the unimaginative player that can't see anything else to do. And this does not even start to cover the crews that want nothing else to do other than what I just described... I'm referring to the truly broken personalities now.

    In any case, Rare, you're creating this situation by not fixing the respawn issue. Keep in mind, respawning our crew to a different server does not fix anything unless we get to continue our voyage with everything where it was (voyage maps still in place and hidden treasure still in bushes where I stash them away from the idiots)... not sure that's possible.

  • Update: Hopped on for a few more hours solo after being griefed earlier. Made NO progress because every time I got a few treasures on my ship, a Galleon showed up and sunk my ship and killed me (Hey, just scuttle your ship and you'll be fine!!! NO, if I have to scuttle my ship every time I collect anything I will make no progress in the game). Sloops are easy pickings for full crews, and it's very unappealing for solo players. I guess that's fine if that's what you want the game to be, but you're missing out on a big player base by making multi player necessary to progress in the game. In games like WoW, griefing was annoying, but never made you lose levels or items. In this game, hours of game play are wasted when you get griefed.

  • This game surely needs a persistent punishmet for loosing a fight. Not having this definitly leads in countless reengages by the sunken crew while the victorious team even gets a disadvantage (running out of stock while the other crew gets a new ship with supplies every 5-10 minutes).

    I suggest modifying the respawn system. let the defeated crew spawn further away the first time, give them a "isle-time" of 10 minutes before spawning the ship the second time and migrate them to another server after the third time.

  • I quite like the balance you guys have, and hear a lot of more casual players agree. I can handle myself in PvP just fine, enjoy it even, but I enjoy the healthy balance of not too many players that it looks like there's a ship at literally every island, but enough that you might go see no one for an hour, or you might see 4 people in sight at all times.

  • We need two things, a spawn mechanic that let you spawn further away if you lose your ship repeatedly and a mechanic which gives friendly behavior more reason.

    That would put aggressive players on check so they only have 1-2 chances to „spam“ people and the other mechanic which i dont have an example yet would people play together more often.

    People would still attack even playing together would have a point.

  • There probably should be safer zones and more dangerous zone. It's like high risk - high reward system. Maybe devs should look into the systems like EVEs zones.
    Those zones are even marked on the map, but not utilized. In safe zone a ghost ship could start attacking the offender (not instakilling, but attacking). Let's say the ghost ship could not be dealt with in the safe zone (or at all), but could be fled from. It will keep the attackers busy for a while and will let more peaceful players time to escape. The ghost sheep should not be an auto-spawn either, but possible a thing that responds to a call (like shouting out loud: "Guards!" for some time. It means, that there are no "glass walls", but there are rules which will be enforced.
    There could be some autoranks like in the old Ultima Online (I didn't play a lot of MMOs since then, sorry :D). PK (player-killers) were marked red and it made their intentions very clear for everyone. Then we could have somebody like "Pirate Code Watchers" (PCW) as a guild players could join. They would have an indulgence to hunt down PKs. So PKs have red tags, PCWs have blue tags. Regular players can see who is who easily.
    PKs, then, should be restricted from easily entering any port, so they are welcomed only in some truly dangerous places (maybe having their own line of voyages\quests).
    PCWs on the other hand can't take voyages, but are circled through the servers on a patrol. Maybe they are randomly thrown to servers with a specific PK vs Normal players ratio. The only thing they can do is essentially PvP, so it's kind of fun. But they will keep PKs busy and PKs could gang up on them in more dangerous waters.
    THIS IS A HARD AND COMPLEX SYSTEM. But it's what we want - systems that make life more interesting for everyone. PvP is fun, PvE is fun, I want a bit of both at the moment. It's not a unique challenge, just one that needs work.

  • @pituszly said in [Mega Thread] Balancing Exploration and Player Combat playstyles:

    How about designing a hidden system that connects more aggresive players with each other? For example if a player keeps attacking others, his variable of aggresion increased and next time he logs into the game, he gets thrown to the instance with more aggresive players. The variable would go down to zero over time.

    A respawn fix would void a need for this.
    Nice idea though keep brainstorming!

  • Also its important that the game understands who is the aggressor, people which are defending themselves shouldnt be punished as aggressive player.

  • Why dont make it like in reality? Put some bounties on that agressive Pirates, and mark theyre sail Black. So you got a new playstyle called bountyhunters ;)

  • If you add safezones and add incentives to stop players from being pirates, as the game is about; hence "sea of thieves". Then I would personally like a refund for false advertising. If you go to the "about" official homepage of the game, the first thing that comes up is a title saying, "be more pirate". Afterwards it says, "Exotic islands. Hidden treasures. Riddles, battles and shanties. The essential pirate experience". And under that, "Sea of Thieves is a new type of multiplayer game that delivers all you need to live the free-roaming pirate life. Whether adventuring as a group or sailing solo, you'll encounter other crews... but will they be friends or foes, and how will you respond"? This is the first thing that comes up and people try to lecture me how this is griefing to kill other crews.

    Seems like MANY players don't know the game that they purchased and I don't want the game to go down a path that was not originally advertised nor planned. I did my research, they did not. They're free to play however they want, but they're not free from risk. This doesn't mean I don't support balance, but these guys aren't wanting balance, they want punishment and give less incentive to PvP. I personally feel PvP players should get more out of battles, because they're not easy as many people believe. I want barrels of their resources floating, and maybe give PvP titles, PvP quests, even PvP clothes. Loot for sinked ships need to also be more noticeable and not despawn so fast as they do currently. Having bounties on players is also problematic, because you're punishing people for doing what they want, therefore giving them less incentive to play the way they want. If that's the case, then players I kill, should have their gold that they use for cosmetics, be consumed or even stolen by the pirate that killed them.

  • @khaleesibot To give chance players to reclaim their stolen treasures, but solve problem with near respawn, purchasable tracker item along with special compass (Pirates of the Carribean style) should be available. Player can attach such tracking device to item of choice. It it gets stolen, compass can be used to navigate to it until it gets sold. New tracking device can be bought but once attached to new treasure, compass will show direction to new item only.
    Ship respawns should be distant, at least 10 minutes of sailing away from death location.

    Kill penalty -
    Some kind of Most Wanted announcements should be purchasable. Player can specify gold reward (paid by said player) for sinking specific ship (after ship names implementation). Other players could add additional reward to existing announcements.
    Such announcement will be bound to ship name and travel along with ship across servers. On message boards available in each outpost, announcements for active ships with bounty should appear. Since number of ships on any particular server is limited, such message board will be quite short.

  • I was thinking that gamer tags are white for all and firing your cannons ect act of aggression show as amber and kill someone red and you have to be none aggressive for a period of time a cool down and return to white .and you ship should have a small signal flag which does the same .just a thought

  • @piasecznik said in [Mega Thread] Balancing Exploration and Player Combat playstyles:

    @khaleesibot To give chance players to reclaim their stolen treasures, but solve problem with near respawn, purchasable tracker item along with special compass (Pirates of the Carribean style) should be available. Player can attach such tracking device to item of choice. It it gets stolen, compass can be used to navigate to it until it gets sold. New tracking device can be bought but once attached to new treasure, compass will show direction to new item only.
    Ship respawns should be distant, at least 10 minutes of sailing away from death location.

    Kill penalty -
    Some kind of Most Wanted announcements should be purchasable. Player can specify gold reward (paid by said player) for sinking specific ship (after ship names implementation). Other players could add additional reward to existing announcements.
    Such announcement will be bound to ship name and travel along with ship across servers. On message boards available in each outpost, announcements for active ships with bounty should appear. Since number of ships on any particular server is limited, such message board will be quite short.

    But this isn't a form of griefing? You lost, your loot is stolen and gone. If you get lucky, you might find them, but you lost the battle. Also punishing PvP players is ridiculous at best. It's why many people play and it's not fair for multiple ships to attack one player because of their playstyle.

  • Can we punish players for over using the mermaid when they fail to board ships? Not going to lie me and my mates use this tactic. We fire one person in the cannon if they miss we keep pursuing the enemy and they mermaid back then we fire again. If they make it on the ship and get killed we wait and fire again. The enemy gains no benefit from killing us or us making mistakes but we can continue to fire people at them to try and hit their anchor and once that happens it's over. It's a huge advantage for a galley over duos and solos because they don't really have the luxury of being a man down so

    • Increase the time between mermaids or make them cost gold to use after say 2 free mermaids per hour per ship
      and maybe also for solo only
    • Allow invincibility after death for a short period after dying twice in a short period of time
      This would give them a fighting chance one they are killed and have their anchor dropped. At the moment there is little counter play to being killed once as a solo and you just get respawn to a point blank blunderbust while the enemy team slowly brings the galley around.
  • Problem with "being more pirate" is that pirates were outlaws and murderous thieves. And they were also killed brutally and completely, when they've became too much of a problem for the trade.
    I guess this game is about some kind of a pirates "limbo", where they are stuck in the neverending cycle of loot and death and rebirth and the only things that they can kill and loot are their own kind.
    This is quite sad and deep, actually, but do I care if I get griefed? Nope. I want to have some fun and have options to choose what do I want to do.
    So, to rephrase for @Trenix90: being "more pirate" also means being dealt with, eventually :D

  • @pituszly said in [Mega Thread] Balancing Exploration and Player Combat playstyles:

    How about designing a hidden system that connects more aggresive players with each other? For example if a player keeps attacking others, his variable of aggresion increased and next time he logs into the game, he gets thrown to the instance with more aggresive players. The variable would go down to zero over time.

    I agree with this (it's basically something I've been suggesting since the Tech alphas).

    @moristar said in [Mega Thread] Balancing Exploration and Player Combat playstyles:

    Problem with "being more pirate" is that pirates were outlaws and murderous thieves. And they were also killed brutally and completely, when they've became too much of a problem for the trade.
    I guess this game is about some kind of a pirates "limbo", where they are stuck in the neverending cycle of loot and death and rebirth and the only things that they can kill and loot are their own kind.
    This is quite sad and deep, actually

    True :) ...and I'm ignoring the rest of the post, because I don't agree with the rest ;P

    Anyway, so basically, one solution to give a chance to PvE in this PvP ruled game would be to move a sunken ship (+ crew) to a new game instance, as being the closest thing in-game as "permanent death", at least looking like it to everyone else in that game instance.

  • @spaeckbeard said in [Mega Thread] Balancing Exploration and Player Combat playstyles:

    This game surely needs a persistent punishmet for loosing a fight. Not having this definitly leads in countless reengages by the sunken crew while the victorious team even gets a disadvantage (running out of stock while the other crew gets a new ship with supplies every 5-10 minutes).

    I suggest modifying the respawn system. let the defeated crew spawn further away the first time, give them a "isle-time" of 10 minutes before spawning the ship the second time and migrate them to another server after the third time.

    Alot of players are experiencing this same experience especially at skeleton forts! Please Rare address this situation pronto!

  • @trenix90 You can seek revenge on your own or pay others to do it. Most Wanted announcement is not mandatory since there is no government and no announcement will be issued automatically.

  • Last night we came across the worst trolls yet, they boarded our sloop killed us, dumped our booty into the ocean and sailed off laughing. To say it annoyed the hell out of me is an understatement, if this is how some of the players of this game are going to act then I can see the player base dropping fast, this level of toxicity doesn't belong in any game community ever.

    I firmly believe that a passive mode needs to be implemented.

  • @squ1ffy-v2 sagte in [Mega Thread] Balancing Exploration and Player Combat playstyles:

    Last night we came across the worst trolls yet, they boarded our sloop killed us, dumped our booty into the ocean and sailed off laughing. To say it annoyed the hell out of me is an understatement, if this is how some of the players of this game are going to act then I can see the player base dropping fast, this level of toxicity doesn't belong in any game community ever.

    I firmly believe that a passive mode needs to be implemented.

    This is neither griefing nor toxicity.

  • @moristar said in [Mega Thread] Balancing Exploration and Player Combat playstyles:

    Problem with "being more pirate" is that pirates were outlaws and murderous thieves. And they were also killed brutally and completely, when they've became too much of a problem for the trade.
    I guess this game is about some kind of a pirates "limbo", where they are stuck in the neverending cycle of loot and death and rebirth and the only things that they can kill and loot are their own kind.
    This is quite sad and deep, actually, but do I care if I get griefed? Nope. I want to have some fun and have options to choose what do I want to do.
    So, to rephrase for @Trenix90: being "more pirate" also means being dealt with, eventually :D

    Yeah and the merchants that were robbed and killed never came back from the dead to get their loot back, either. I'm not punishing you for PvEing, don't punish me for PvPing.

  • @khaleesibot
    This feels as though it's turning into another thread about griefers & trolls, which there is another megathread for, running in tandem with this one...

    To clarify, is this what you are asking on this Megathread?
    If you want to sail around, explore & do quests, should you be able to be left alone to do so?
    If you want to be a terror on the waves & pick a fight with everyone, should you be able to do that without backlash?
    If you want to do a mixture of both, in any different number of combinations & ratios, how does SoT let you do that?
    Ultimately, in the name of inclusion, how can we keep everybody happy at the same time?!

    Big questions... Being able to play SoT the way you want to, right now, really comes down to plain luck, it seems... The population of your particular server, how often you encounter these people, & what they (& you) then do seems to be the deciding factor on whether you get to play SoT how you want, & ultimately, enjoy the game or not...

    I've played for hours & not seen anyone sometimes- which suits my personal 'sail solo & enjoy myself' play preference... Other players are bemoaning never seeing a soul to engage in a sea battle with, or, on the flip-side, being turned off the game because they can't be left alone for 5 minutes to do anything because they keep getting killed...

    I don't have any answers, which I know is unhelpful, but it seems like compromise for one camp is going to upset another, somehow... (Henry Ford- pleasing all of the people all of the time, comes to mind...)

    Can Rare change people, fundamentally? Can they encourage players to coexist, even if they want different things out of a game, & play nice together? Does the Pirate Code do enough?

    Could some players sail under a flag of neutrality, so that they can declare their intention (I'm just a merchant- spare me!) Would that be open to abuse?
    Could a 'wild' stretch of sea become where bloodthirsty pirates go to fight amongst themselves & decide who is the strongest? Ideas off the top of my head...

    Do we, as players, just need to treat each other with more respect & consideration?!

    I hope a balance can be struck, I really do... Good luck, Rare, I hope you can manage it... :D

  • Well if you choose to do anything in the real world it also needs a curtain amount of luck. You cant just sailing around excepting everyone ignoring you until you are willingly or ready to engage them. Honestly no PvP game can provide you such feed!

  • @khaleesibot said in [Mega Thread] Balancing Exploration and Player Combat playstyles:

    Hello there Pirates, old and new!

    Now that we are in the first week of launch we're relaunching (ha!) these Mega Thread Series, to ensure that we get your most relevant and up to date feedback on your gameplay experiences.

    One of the most important topics, the topic of inclusion as we all want to make sure that Sea of Thieves appeals to as many gamers as possible and everyone enjoys the game regardless of their own personal motivations.

    "Inclusion". Funny you mention that when the game seems purpose built to repel PvPers and PvEers alike.
    I will start by saying PvP is a joke of epic proportions. There is no incentive whatsoever to kill enemies or sink ships. There is no progression for PvP, no upgrades to unlock and no ships to acquire.
    There's only two ships which means long drawn out boring chases that can go on for time eternal. The ships turn so slowly that two people can repair until the ship runs out of boards unless you anchor next to each other and have three or four cannons tearing into you.
    PvP gets old fast.

    PvE is even worse, your only enemies are skeletons which are few and far between. The copy/paste skull forts rapidly become boring as well.

    It seems your "vision" is four people sailing around the barren landscape playing instruments and lobbing the occasional cannonball at passing ships. Digging up a chest here and capturing a chicken there merry pirates we be.

    Lame, pathetic, laughably juvenile "role players". Yeah that's a huge demographic you are appealing to RARE, what shrewd people you must actually be.

  • Everyone keeps complaining of safezones or high risk high rewards by putting safer people with each other and more dangerous people with each other.

    When I last remembered pirates they didn't sail around under rainbow imaginations digging up treasure with no threats around.

    High risk high rewards is at any moment someone coming up to you stealing your precious loot. It makes the end result when you achieve it that much sweeter (legendary)

    On a more personal note I myself have both good and bad experiences, but that isnt going to change my mind on the game.

    My crew works hard at stealing or sinking for treasure, but unless the opposite person or crew comes back for revenge we just move on.

    Then you do have some like my cousin and I run into we had to be at dagger tooth for a merchant trade in we still had timewe,could have sailed to the oppoaite end of the map and back in hopes the galleon wouldnt be sitting there still, but decided we need the ship gone this was only like her second game but I am proud its hard to boom a ship without being apotted first but she did as we come by the crew failed to repair and it was sunk. However 2 guys boarded 1 I got but the second I was reloading I made sure at least of where our ship was going. But they come back and the one guy took one of our chickens. But it happens I just said ok cancel it and lets do another it was late and I wasnt gonna go coop hunting though its not hard. But we did die after she jumped over again with a boom got their ship this time it didn't actually sink. It was a back and forth death massacre. Our ship wasn't sinking as we were sailed onto the beach marooned and was being spawn camped. Scuttled but being marooned it wouldn't physically sink to respawn. We had no treasure but constantly 3 people was on our ship my cousin I had her climb to the crows and said just blow one up fall down and do it she was worried on the ship but I said its done gone and got 2. Of them. We finally called it when the game recognized our ship sunk

    But this was just a story I been down the griefing and geiefer mode. They may would have been friendly if we didn't attack first but the point is with the new alliance and no choice with which outpost sometimes attack mode is a must. Not always but its a choice and chance.

    Now same goes for a friend last night but took the opposite route 2 sloops were docked at a outpost we had our guard up I spoke they could hear but,couldnt be heard and I met a friendly someone who didn't know the game well showed me his map I asked if he needed help he jumped up and down I asked may I board to mark the spot for you I did and thanked me. We were able to turn in our loot the other sloop at that time was minding their own business until later then on the seas hunted us. It took us hitting them a good 5 times going through a storm to navigate back to the outpost to see a ship leaving noticing their sloop sunk I noticed one was on bosrd,the other,on the island I had to make a quick choice I jumped over to protect my mate. Hot him then we seen the other boarding our ship he managed to go below deck grabbed a skull and jumped out the back I followed and blundered got my skull back. After they left us alone.

    Now long story short it happens but its the beauty and gotta learn to make choices and lose all your gold well now you know for next time. Use the rocks to hide, a sloop can get away easily yes a galleon can catch up but only on a straight path
    Just because a galleon is a bigger ship doesnt make it better. And try a galleon with random people that way you can learn its strengths and weaknesses. So as a solo player you know how to get away!

  • @trenix90 I think the main commentary here is that there should be a balance. There should be a little of everything in your game. Sometimes that means voyages, sometimes that means PvP.
    But I'm afraid you're in a pot calling the kettle black situation. You want the game to be more heavily geared towards PvP. I do agree that if you sink a ship their chests and things should remain there for a reasonable enough amount of time to collect. But the reward for PvP is already there, the loot someone else got. You think PvP is hard? Take on a high level order of souls voyage. I'd put money down you die more frequently.

    And a bounty system isn't punishing PvPers it's actually incentivizing it. Because guess what you have to do to collect that bounty, PvP! it just shifts the focus from the only targets being explorers, to other PvP ships becoming valid targets as well. Which in itself will give more freedom for people to do as they wish because competitive players will go after other PvP for the bounty, while explorers can go on their voyages.

  • I think there needs to be a check system for excessive PvP. Not as in a punishment, but like a bounty system. Then those interested in PvP can seek bounties to gain gold for their PvP.
    It would even open up new form of pirating. A pirate crew, knowing they'd receive a bounty for killing could instead make a demand. "We could kill you for all your loot but that would be a hassle for us. Give us half your gains and we'll let you continue on!"
    No downfalls, more immersion, better gameplay.

    Even pirates had rules.

  • @pituszly said in [Mega Thread] Balancing Exploration and Player Combat playstyles:

    How about designing a hidden system that connects more aggresive players with each other? For example if a player keeps attacking others, his variable of aggresion increased and next time he logs into the game, he gets thrown to the instance with more aggresive players. The variable would go down to zero over time.

    I like this idea. Then all the griefers could just try and grief each other.

  • @finanzminister really? Then what was the point of the exercise? Why kill a crew dump their booty in to the sea and sail off? Please explain how this is not a toxic/ griefing way of playing!

    Are you saying that going out to basically ruin someone's hard work with out taking the spoils is acceptable?

    Is that the type of gaming you enjoy and promote? Ruin a guy's fun by destroying his hard work for nothing but a deep sadistic need to bully?

    That is probably not how Rare expected the game to be played, but hey who cares if players are just out to ruin other people's game time on the high seas.

  • @xxxxnoodlexxxx Interessante mas isso iria tirar a rivalidade dos mares com um tempo

  • @darthvaly said in [Mega Thread] Balancing Exploration and Player Combat playstyles:
    Seria interessante aplicar sistemas de combate diferentes ; possibilitando cada jogador escolher seu estilo favorito, como por exemplo : sequencias de atks diferentes ,e não apenas espadadas padrão e comportamentos especificos e não apenas ficar parado,piratas possuem trejeitos engraçados e inusitados e sem isso o jogo está sem identidade ,que fique bem claro o jogo não é ruim,mas isso daria um ar muito exclusivo ao game!!!

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