Mercenary Voyages Highlight Why Cargo Run Rewards Need Revision

  • 19

    Like many other pirates, my crew and I immediately downloaded the newest update when it dropped and headed straight for Duke. Once we had acquired our Mercenary voyages, we stocked up a little, left port, and began our adventure.

    The server was buzzing with ships, nearly all doing the same thing as us. And while our voyage went smoothly, every time we hit an island that was part of the quest (be it ours or someone else’s) I kept noticing a pattern. The cargo run items were left behind…lots of them.

    Now, that’s clearly a sign that things aren’t perfect, but I think a good number of players can agree that cargo runs were a welcome addition to the Merchant Alliance’s repertoire. Up until their introduction, it had been a long-standing request that we be able to do merchant work while digging up chests or hunting down skeletons.

    Hearing this feedback, Rare gave us cargo runs where as soon as we picked up the items, the mission left our map radial and another voyage could be put down. At its heart, this is a great solution…but the payout for completing a cargo run is meager compared to the effort they require (350G per item for perfect condition, then 250, 150, and 50G for increasingly worse condition). As a result, if cargo is part of a mission (e.g., during Athena’s or Mercenary quests) it is often dropped and forgotten. The effort simply isn’t worth the pay.

    With these Mercenary voyages giving players missions from all three trading companies, this is an excellent time to reevaluate the reward for turning in cargo. I have talked to many pirates since cargo runs were introduced, ranging from brand new Sailors all the way to Athena 10 Pirate Legends. Inevitably some people love them and some absolutely hate them, but more commonly the opinion I get is “Cargo runs are cool, but they just don’t give enough gold so I can’t be bothered doing them”.

    So, if the perceived problem is that the quest is high-effort, low-value, why not increase the worth of cargo to incentivize completion? I mentioned earlier that there are four tiers of cargo condition:

    Tier 1: 350 (best condition)
    Tier 2: 250
    Tier 3: 100
    Tier 4: 50 (worst condition)

    I propose that these values increase to the following:

    Tier 1: 900 (best condition)
    Tier 2: 650
    Tier 3: 400
    Tier 4: 150 (worst condition)

    This value increase would likely make the extra effort associated with transporting cargo worth the risk, especially now that PVE encounters are more active due to the Shrouded Spoils update. At the same time, turning in cargo wouldn’t become the “best” way to level up the Merchant Alliance. Gold animals would almost always be worth more than any piece of prime cargo, but the catch is that they are harder to get in lower level voyages.

    At the proposed rate cargo would provide a reasonable path to ranking up with the Merchant Alliance, especially for players who have not put much time into the faction. As players increased their standing, animal quests would also become more palatable, improving the overall experience. Importantly, a Legendary Cargo Run (lvl 50) would, at best, have a pay out of 7200G (eight pieces x 900G). This is a much greater incentive for completion than the current 2800G, but I would argue doesn’t break the quest because catching black and gold animals (current practice) usually nets more gold.

    Like many other players, I love Sea of Thieves and want to see it continue to thrive. I made this post because I have observed and participated in a behavior (dropping/avoiding cargo) that I believe is ultimately detrimental to the game. It is my hope that the change suggested above generates good discussion on the topic and maybe, if I’m lucky, makes it to a developer’s computer screen. Thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear what you all think about this.

    -Hex


    Edit

    Even if the values were increased to:

    Tier 1: 600 (best condition)
    Tier 2: 450
    Tier 3: 250
    Tier 4: 100 (worst condition)

    I think that would be better than what we have now. As for the Devils’ Roar, the cargo is more fragile and faces additional environmental risks. That challenge deserves a fair payout, and if you managed to turn in every piece on time and in perfect condition I don’t see why at most a player couldn’t be compensated with 9600G. The risk/reward ratio isn’t going to be so good that it makes other voyage types in that area less desirable, and outside of the Roar it means that at most a player will be compensated with 4800G. Again, by the time you can obtain eight pieces on a voyage there are much more profitable ways to get gold from the Merchant Alliance.

  • 1

    @golgari-hexmage I agree that they are not worth the time and I've wondered how it could be fixed. Without making huge changes and spending minimal time and effort, the reward being increased seems like it would help make them worth doing. Keeping the 2x reward for devil's roar items, you would make 1800 for a pristine piece of devil's roar cargo, which would put it up there close to some of the most valuable items in the game. Since these are the only items that require maintenance, the reward should be higher than other items so you have incentive to deliver them instead of just forget them and go collect treasure that doesn't require upkeep and also sells for more.

    Just today I had a discussion with one of my regular crewmates about how we liked merchant missions before cargo runs were introduced and that we miss doing them. We have both goldhoarder missions in athena voyages and now this mercenary voyage. So why not have both merchant voyages in them too instead of two cargo runs?

  • 1

    To make this cargo running fun they should remove the timer. Then i can hoard as many cargo runs as i like and plan a efficient route to pick up new cargo and deliver cargo i carry.

    Other problem is all plants are the same so it should not matter which plant i deliver but they linked the cargo to a customer making it a terrible organisation to store the cargo in groups which is totally stupid :D just ask for cargo and ill bring it dont reserve it for all cargo is the same its terribly annoying to store the different cargo not only seperate but also in groups.

    Remove the timer and labels. Just ask cargo and give it then ill transport it and deliver it on my way. Storing all plants downstairs and silk up and bottles save with no nonesence.

  • 2

    At lvl. 50 merchant, I get 8 pieces of cargo. That's 350g x 8c = 2800g, or if it's from the DR, it's 700g x 8c = 5600g. And that's just for the 1 voyage! I can do 2, or even 3, cargo runs simultaneously! Or in combination with other voyages!

    The ONLY thing wrong with it is that they don't give you enough cargo for the mercenary voyages or Athena runs to make it worthwhile. I think they need to do that or remove the cargo runs from those quests and return to capturing animals instead like they did in the past.

    Regarding the numbers many of you are suggesting, it would break the balance of the game to the point of cargo runs being the only thing people would be doing.

  • 1

    See it's simple in my opinion.

    They at some point in time will be adding in weapons and other things that you will be able to use in the game, like the CCB's. I wager you will be able to find these items in barrels and laying on the shores of islands and the like, but along with this or even without it potions and cooking are coming. Seems like a great way to revamp the entire Merchant System all together. Kill pigs for meat, kill snakes for venom, you still collect chickens like normal cause gotta have the pet chicken always( Rare, there better be a golden chicken pet).

    Then you could also have the venom be a turnable to the potions master/mistress and have them make poison you can coat your sword.

    All I know is Rare does need to do something pretty quickly to shake up the monotony and boredom of the current voyages and general feel of the over all game including PvP. It all needs to be revisited and maybe entirely reworked.

  • 1

    The Assassin's Guild shows up, looking all fancy in their white cloaks, sitting atop the stairs above the Order of Souls... ;P

    ...and offers you specially-made poisons that have a variety of effects. Sneak aboard an enemy vessel and put some of it into their food stores, so as they eat that oh-so delicious banana in the hopes of getting healthier, they instead find themselves poisoned, blind, and dying even faster.

  • 2

    Hmm... I don't see them being left behind that often but that is only my experience. Also, I like that you have the choice to bring them along or not.
    Personally I quite like them. You can finish them rather quickly and for that I think the rewards are reasonable. Maybe a slight increase in value but not your suggestions, that seems too much.

    But I have some thoughts of my own that might be something for you.

    • If possible track the time from 'pick-up' to the delivery and give a small bonus if you make it in 30% of the time you normally get.
    • Maybe introduce a possibility for follow-up deliveries. My idea here is that once you have delivered all goods of one voyage there is a possibility for the recipient to ask you to go another round, which will also be rewarded with a small bonus. (Could include shorter delivery times with each further step)
    • Maybe split the destination into multiple locations with higher payout.
    • Maybe give a little bonus on the accumulated value if the whole shipment is delivered (or just for the items in pristine condition?).

    These are only some suggestions. The problem I see with those is that all of them make cargo runs more complicated and I think they were intended to be something simple.

    Also there is a feedback mega-thread for cargo runs.

    Cheers!

  • 1

    @testakleze That's an interesting point about the merchant missions. If I had to guess, I would say that cargo runs replaced the animal missions in Athena voyages because losing crates made completing them problematic. I don't know how players would react to having one animal and one cargo run for the merchant portion of an Athena but you're right, it would follow the riddle theme.

  • 3

    @Galactic-Geek

    It’s possible that my initial numbers could be a bit high for maintaining balance, but that's why these kinds of discussions are helpful. I think your idea of having more pieces of cargo per voyage is interesting, but it would depend on how many we're talking about. If it were, say, 12 pieces of cargo (at lvl 50) and you managed to deliver them all in perfect condition that would be 4200G (or 8400G in the Devil's Roar) at current price.

    Yes, you can stack multiple cargo runs unlike other voyages, but the more cargo you stack, the more risk you incur. There is a point where the ratio leans too far towards risk to justify hoarding. Plus, let's not forget that 4200G is about the same as five captain's chests that don't need any maintenance and that voyages often have chapters at higher tiers leading to larger payouts. Ignoring any pirates who come looking for loot, the increase in PVE encounters we saw with Shrouded Spoils has also made it more difficult for players to reach their destination unscathed (especially for bottles of rum). I’m not suggesting we turn that down because it makes the world feel more alive. We just can’t forget the impact it has on player decision making.

    I think it is also important to note that the players who would most benefit from only increasing the number of cargo pieces are going to be Pirate Legends. Now, we shouldn’t ignore the impact on this population but it is probably safe to say that, in general, Legends aren't hurting as much for gold compared to some of the other player populations in-game. For Pirate Legends, excess gold isn’t so much the issue as having alternative sinks for spending it is (and that’s a topic for a different discussion).

    If a leveling player tries doing cargo runs they get fewer than eight pieces to turn in. Due to the nature of cargo, the player also faces a “higher stakes” turn in, and if they have an encounter along the way the value can go down fast. This doesn’t have to happen too many times to drive player behavior towards other primary means of income and leveling.

    Given the commendations we have in-game, a quantity increase would make hitting grade V less tedious. However, I think some kind of value increase would make cargo runs more enticing, and therefore a more viable option instead of something you do to be a completionist. Even if the values were increased to the following:

    Tier 1: 600 (best condition)
    Tier 2: 450
    Tier 3: 250
    Tier 4: 100 (worst condition)

    I think that would be better than what we have now. As for the Devils’ Roar, the cargo is more fragile and faces additional environmental risks. That challenge deserves a fair payout, and if you managed to turn in every piece on time and in perfect condition I don’t see why at most a player couldn’t be compensated with 9600G. The risk/reward ratio isn’t going to be so good that it makes other voyage types in that area less desirable, and outside of the Roar it means that at most a player will be compensated with 4800G. Again, by the time you can obtain eight pieces on a voyage there are much more profitable ways to get gold from the Merchant Alliance.

  • 3

    @golgari-hexmage The reason I hate doing these is because a perfect rum bottle is almost impossible to deliver in the current game state and they don't count as completing a merchant alliance voyage. (Hopefully they at least give rep, I was PL before they came out so IDK).

    So besides the commendations, I have almost no reason to do them because the pay out is just not good enough for the amount of effort. I don't necessarily want the payout to increase. I would much rather have ship damage be localized so that rum bottles don't break automatically, and perhaps have subsequent voyages be more likely to be on islands where you have a delivery.

  • 1

    @Shurthugal

    I agree with you that my initial values may have been a bit high. What do you think about the second set I just posted? In my mind, they're a bit more fair while still keeping balance.

    I also like your idea about follow-up deliveries. It wouldn't address cargo inclusion in something like an Athena's, but it would make doing cargo runs for the Merchant Alliance feel more fluid. That could be an interesting mechanic if it were ever implemented.

    In regard to the mega-thread, would a double-post be frowned upon? I have no problem submitting a revised version there as well if that is okay.

  • 1

    What about Devil's Roar Cargo?

  • 1

    @nintenkid9000

    If you mean values, it would be double the gold at each tier.

  • 0

    @golgari-hexmage

    Cargo Runs are in serious need of a buff. I gave my feedback on that back when Cargo Runs were first introduced.

    I hope they look at the data for Cargo Picked Up Vs. Cargo turned in. That should tell them everything they need to know. It's a shame, I find the concept of Cargo Runs really fun and charming. I enjoy the act of doing them, but I shouldn't feel as though I better off skipping them while on an Athena, I should feel compelled to do them like I'd be missing out on a significant profit if I don't do them.

    I think the values you suggested are a tad bit on the high side, but its no secret that Cargo Runs are probably the least completed voyages out there and are in dire need of more value.

  • 1

    @chronodusk I agree, but it's also a little nuanced. Most players are just trying to get the Athena chest, so they are cutting corners wherever possible. Sending one person to do riddles, one-tapping x-marks-the-spots chest and not keeping them. Cargo runs suffer from being the fastest one to complete if you don't want the loot and being the longest to complete if you do.

  • 2

    @xcalypt0x Yeah I can agree with that, but at the same time even when I'm not speed-running the Athena and want to get all of the rewards I feel no reason to spend the time sailing/putting water in my ship for the minuscule reward that Cargo Runs offer.

    I mean the fact that we can pick them up and leave them makes speedrunning so much easier if you want to do that, but even those who want all of the voyage rewards would rather just drop them just because of how little of a reward they offer for the effort.

  • 3

    @xcalypt0x said in Mercenary Voyages Highlight Why Cargo Run Rewards Need Revision:

    @golgari-hexmage The reason I hate doing these is because a perfect rum bottle is almost impossible to deliver in the current game state and they don't count as completing a merchant alliance voyage. (Hopefully they at least give rep, I was PL before they came out so IDK).

    So besides the commendations, I have almost no reason to do them because the pay out is just not good enough for the amount of effort. I don't necessarily want the payout to increase. I would much rather have ship damage be localized so that rum bottles don't break automatically, and perhaps have subsequent voyages be more likely to be on islands where you have a delivery.

    I don't believe they count for voyage completions, or mileage (once they are collected). This is a deterrent on its own, but then you get the Rum Bottles... When we first started these Cargo Runs, I thought my rum would be safe in the crows nest if attacked as nobody is going to fire a cannonball up there. We were wrong, the slightest bump to the ship from a rock or cannonball will cause them to take damage.

    Unless they are in the immediate area of effect, they should not take damage :?

  • 4

    @archangel-timmy You're right. Rum bottles are the only cargo item you can't easily keep safe while they're on your ship. Plants require a little preparation, and cloths will only take damage if you really start to sink (assuming you keep them somewhere high). But if Meg/Karen attack you even once with bottles, your only chance is to dump them off the side of the ship and pray. Localized ship damage would fix that.

  • 0

    Right now we can have 8 items (2 per 1 Galleon person) per the cargo run and that is not enough in my opinion. It would much better to increase it to 12 or 16 and the number should be static for each reputation level. Then the players can decide how many of them they want to load up. Increasing the pay off is also a good idea considering the Shrouded Spoils.

    It could be also less tedious if the cargo runs always started at the closest location (maybe even sell the voyages at all the cargo run NPCs) to shorten the duration of travel. The cargo runs also need more variety - something like the chicken that doesn't require any maintenance and then another low maintenance item that would require sun or the lantern light.

  • 0

    We now have cargo runs found in messages in bottles/ books/ barrels and they appear on our wheel like all others. Up until this point, a cargo run would be placed on the table taking our active voyage slot. What if cargo voyages voted on didn't stay on our table and just went straight to the voyage wheel like picked up voyages do?

    A solo slooper could, in best case scenario, buy and activate six cargo runs at once. These would be picked up from different places and delivered to different places, essentially turning your ship into a cargo freighter. You might have one or two at the outpost you start at to collect which will likely be delivered to two different places, at which point you would start planning your voyage, trying to map out a good path to take to collect and deliver it all.

    A galleon could throw down so many voyages at once, collecting large amounts of cargo they would have to micromanage not only for quality like always with cargo, but to keep track of where everything needs to go.

    This scenario would reward hard work and planning that isn't really present in other voyages. Other voyages are collect until you turn in. These would require planning to pick up different cargo and deliver to different places instead of just dumping it all at an outpost in the end like you would chests and skulls. Voyages would be a bigger endeavor with more risk involved and with the possibility of your treasure being damaged unlike other loot. Without a worthy reward, it's logical to disregard cargo runs all together. It's more efficient to do animal runs. Without voyage completes and earning miles only before you collect the loot, it seems being changed to a voyage on the wheel and not on the table to be a good step for cargo runs to become something more appealing for players. It would definitely open up gameplay giving a different style for people to play.

  • 0

    Didn't fully read through this but agreed the cargo, for how much ai is in the seas, is too cheap and almost unwanted.
    I'm a completionist so I have no choice but to do the commendation but it was rough to see 350 in the regular seas.

  • 1

    @golgari-hexmage

    I initially didn't plan on including a comment about your rewards being to high. Those numbers are just placeholders to me but some like to discuss them or use them as a starting point so I can understand why you included them. I'm operating more with the goal to improve on what we currently have and the end reward is just one factor for that.

    Some posts here seem to suggest rare cargo items (or generally items of different values) to be introduced into the pool, which I think is a good idea.

    You could also track the net distance one needs to sail to deliver them and reward accordingly.

    Back to raising the rewards to whatever amount. Yeah that might work. It might also not. Athenas are fairly time consuming so I understand if people choose to shorten them a little by neglecting the cargo runs. But that is rather an issue of being 'forced' to do them. So in that scenario you could raise the rewards to whatever you like, they might still be left (or at least might end up being not delivered) because here the 'goal' is the chest of legends and not how you can earn the most gold in any given timeframe.

    I would like to see more variety to the available quest types as well as more variety in how every single quest of one type can unfold. I hope that is A possible and B comes with the quest update (or at least a first step in that direction). So that is what I'm here for.

    About reposting being a problem. Don't know about that, you have to ask a moderator for that. I suggested it because it should be easier to find it in the mega thread (should, we might need some adjustments to the forum to make that happen) and have a more directed discussion over there (although this one seems to be going well). And also there are a lot of our suggestions already posted over there but the discussion just stopped at some point. I'm glad someone brought it back up. I would rather discuss these topics as opposed to what we are currently arguing about.

    Cheers!

  • 0

    cargo too low to bother with the effort

  • 1

    I'm more on the side of collecting them for commendations than money. Would be nice to see some value come back to the merchant alliance before cargo runs.

  • 1

    @Shurthugal

    Fair points.

    Also, I looked into the Cargo Run Megathread business and given the date of the last post there I would have been dangerously close to necroing it. There's been some good discussion here, and it seems to have helped spark interest in the topic again around the forum. I'm happy with that.

  • 1

    I'd like to see alternate uses for certain things I.E 20 cloths to a shipwright for a small extra sail to add to your boat.

    Maybe crates of bananas, wood ect could also be included onto these.
    I wouldnt mind seeing a few banana trees scattered around the map.

    Another way to continue the cargo voyages would be to add small shack on certain islands with a little old lady with a loom making cloths and silks or a old drunk guy in the DR who makes bottles using the volcano as a furnace. Maybe you could do a mission protecting these people from incoming skele ships who send skeles out the cannons and then have to deliver some stuff to or from them before or after.
    Perhaps even players could come to attack as well.

  • 0

    @golgari-hexmage

    Not sure about this but I don't think that reviving a mega thread is an issue.

    For now I'd say let's see what they have planed for the mega update. Not that I like the way they have chosen to handle that.

    Cheers!

  • 2

    They've heard the feedback we've all been putting out and are adjusting!