Hey, I wanted to address a problem regarding the experiences which many players have been through whilst playing the game and the sorts of behaviour this encourages.
The current design of the game is one which many of us can agree is exciting and fun.. the whole concept of undertaking an adventure to obtain treasure and hand it in to earn your rewards is fun, but the idea of making it PvP and adding that element of paranoia and risk on the open ocean makes it even more thrilling. Personally I am making this thread as someone who enjoys voyages and likes PvP occasionally, and being chased when you have loot is very exciting! I will go into this in quite some detail because I want to address what may be on peoples minds when seeing this. Please read the paragraph below if you don't want to, or don't have the time.
TLDR: This idea is about awarding some BONUS reputation earlier in the voyage, in order to stop players experiencing a loss which is currently so extremely deflating, and encourage other methods of play than simply running, if you possess loot and you're being chased perhaps you want to fight back for instance. I will add further information on the reasons and consequences of this, but this is the core idea which will be open for discussion. At the moment I am thinking an amount of reputation which is equivalent to roughly 50% of the current hand in value for loot now. I think this value wouldn't be too big, but big enough to make a positive difference. Note: this is a BONUS, so it wouldn't be deducted from the loot, the loot still holds the same value.
I think one major issue is the concept of loss. There is nothing wrong with losing your loot, and I would never want to remove the aspect of loss and risk from the game. Having said that, I have seen several threads of people literally just complaining, angry, frustrated, even upset that they have lost their loot because currently your loot represents 100% of your time investment for a particular gaming session. Loss in itself, is a part of any game, but in this game loss can potentially mean that at the end of your gaming session you haven't got anything to show for it. I think this encourages a few unhealthy behaviours:
1) Hostility from the PvE community towards PvP players. Players leaving and uninstalling the game. Asking for their own server and as I've seen quite a few times on the forums, referring to anyone who enjoys PvP as 'trolls'. This isn't fair, all players should be able to experience the game as they want and create their own adventure, PvE, PvP, or PvPvE, and Rare want to support this. My point is I think a large part of this isn't necessarily game design, but partly due to players stealing 100% of your loot and you suddenly dont' have anything to show for it. Even in players who enjoy the game, this isn't a nice feeling.. and although loss is important I just feel this is a bit extreme.
2) A lack of options. If you have loot on your ship, PvP is NOT an attractive option for you, because yes it is fun, but if you lose, you lose everything from the time you have put in. There have been many times whereby I have been chased by PvP players who have nothing on their ship, and I want to turn and fight, but why would I? Fleeing is an easier, less risky option, and why would I take that risk to fight when I risk losing all my loot and they don't? The current system encourages fleeing as your only real option when encountered by someone hoping to steal your loot.
So, in solution to this I'd like to suggest being awarded a little reputation earlier in your voyage. This was initially being discussed on another thread which is no longer available, however many people agreed that this could be awarded on 'voyage complete'. So you dig up your chests, or kill the skeletons, and when you have finished and the VC sign comes up on the screen, you and all your crew instantly receive some reputation.
Benefits of this idea
1) Better experience
The system of loss and risk would be maintained as most of the value of the voyage is STILL within your chest, but any loss is cushioned. Players who are concerned about the idea of risk loss need not be, players will not suddenly be handing their loot to you or unafraid of losing their loot. They will still have to think about their actions and make decisions. The majority of reasonable players don't mind losing their loot, it's the TOTAL loss which is so deflating to some players.
2) A healthier system for players to consider taking risks
Currently if a player complains about any issue relating to this they are told 'visit an outpost more frequently', but where does that end? Are people expected to do two voyages per outpost visit? One voyage then hand in and repeat? With this idea players STILL need to think about when they visit an outpost and weigh up risk/reward but if they make the wrong decision, are a bit too greedy, or get bested by another pirate, they will still feel like they have gained SOMETHING. Of course it is still a disappointment, but it's a healthier system from a players perspective than the total feeling of loss which is currently experienced.
3) Players are encouraged to finish their entire voyage
Some players will just obtain the most valuable items from their quest then cancel a voyage half way through, this will encourage players to actually complete their voyage.
4) More reason to PvP
I obviously can't speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself and several others who commented on the previous thread and we all agreed that with a system like this we would feel far more comfortable with engaging in PvP even with loot. This would make for much more interesting game play and player encounters. At the moment many people feel if they have loot, PvP is an instant no and must be avoided like the plague. Obviously some people may still feel this way but I'm sure in general PvP will increase as players know they will still have made progress on their account even if it goes badly. I know I would!
5) More loot for PvP
This one is more speculative but I've been saying players should be a bit more encouraged to take risks, one risk is to do more than one voyage before visiting an outpost. Now obviously that is currently an option but if you lose after doing multiple voyages the loss is that much more crippling. Players are more likely to visit more islands or do more voyages if they know they won't get nothing if it goes badly, thus potentially PvP players may find that ships will have slightly more loot than usual if people start doing this. Obviously speculative but several people came to that conclusion when reading this idea as a possible effect!
Problems with this idea
Like I said, this was discussed on another thread so I'd like to address some of the problems which were raised and my replies to them.
Retaining risk - core to the game
Some people are worried this would remove too much risk - having loot which you want to protect is obviously core to this game! This could easily be achieved by awarding a sensible value of progression. For instance, lets say your combined loot is worth 100 rep points and 100 gold. If the bonus rep in question was 200 rep points, obviously that is ridiculous and people are not going to care about their loot as much, removing the fundamental aspect of the game... If the bonus rep is 10 points. This isn't much and so the loot will still be something every player wants to defend and hand in at an outpost!
Having said that, I honestly feel like 10 isn't enough. Obviously this is subjective but I feel like something hovering around the 50 mark would be a far better value. Big enough to be meaningful, but not enough to provide a lack of incentive to defend your loot.
Some players are also wanting to separate rep and gold - 'voyage complete' = all your rep/XP, hand in at an outpost = all your gold. Personally I think this is a bad idea as it removes too much incentive to defend the loot. Personally I am more interested in rep than gold, so for me I need some rep from handing in the loot otherwise to be honest I won't be too bothered if I lose it or not, and every player needs incentive to defend their loot!
Some people have raised the concern that with this change PvE would look far more attractive and have far more incentive than PvP. I would beg to differ, I honestly believe this change would ENCOURAGE PvP because if you have loot, if the correct rep bonus is chosen, players are more likely to weigh up their choices and consider whether PvP is their best option or not. At the moment the only logical thing to do is flee, because the system is all-or-nothing to such an extent.
As for players who ONLY like PvP, well as far as I'm concerned that already lacks incentive. PvP is a less efficient way to get loot than PvE only, you don't know who has loot, how much, where it is, what faction the loot is for... Thus I think this needs addressing any how and I've seen several posts on the forum purely for this purpose, to add incentive.
Just hand in at an outpost more frequently
I agree, this is good solid advice. However there are a few issues with this...
- This won't help unless you have successfully completed one+ voyages and handed in the loot, and it is always possible to be attacked while doing this.
- So in other words, the current system is enforcing a 'fleeing' style mentality even if people enjoy PvP but just don't want to make a loss... yes going to an outpost is a good strategy, but at the moment I don't feel like it is a strategy, I feel like it is the only real option. With this idea, going to an outpost is still important!! But considering choices such as taking on more voyages before handing in, or engaging in PvP, are suddenly also viable options, and if you make a poor decision, yes you will make a loss, but it isn't such a deflating experience as it currently is.
- In addition it essentially discourages players from undertaking multiple voyages at once, because literally, every item of loot obtained is another item which comprises the 100% you will lose, if you are attacked by a PvPer. It sort of encourages Outpost to voyage to outpost, second voyage then outpost, third voyage then outpost. Because if people did all 3 voyages before handing in they have so much more at stake and the loss is even worse! Surely it is better to encourage players to take risks, and they will still pay for it if they make a mistake, but they won't lose 100%!
But this will make the grind so much easier..
This can easily be adjusted... either the total rep from the bonus + handing in at an outpost can equal the current hand in amount, or the total rep required for 50 of each faction can be increased. It shouldn't be difficult for Rare to adjust the grind according to how they want it whilst also incorporating this idea.
The merchant alliance functions differently though
I don't think it would be difficult for Rare to either award rep on each animal captured (obviously only if they are required for the quest, for instance if you needed two gold pigs, you'd get rep for one, not two, even if you captured a second) OR add a 'voyage complete' sign when all the items/animals have been successfully collected. The bonus rep could then be awarded here.
Just to clarify this idea does primarily concern via PvP losses, however the benefits would also apply to being killed by any AI threat e.g. the kraken or any of the upcoming AI threats in the next few months.., or disconnecting, etc.
Any more problems with this idea I will write on here, and I intend to update this post frequently to make it as relevant as possible. If you disagree with this idea please feel free to voice your objection and reasons for it, perhaps proposing a different solution, or maybe you don't feel this is a problem at all. Any opinions welcome. Thanks.