Today I deleted my character. I no longer wish to participate in this game or contribute to the direction development is taking. This post is supposed to serve as a reflection of my game time and what I think could improve the game experience as whole.
The game is extremely dependent on other players and their actions. From my point of view when comparing this game to other mmos, there are simply not enough alternatives for gaining resources to compete with the actions of people who play this game all day every day. There will always be people on late night for night flips, and there really is no way to compete with that type of playstyle compared to a person with a life outside of this game. Another example and my favorite, you can only acquire a ship you want with specific trims through crafting it. I find this a limiting factor for developing fun, enjoyable game mechanics later on. In a game where the limiting factor is ships and time, having one single way to generate new ships you desire is ridiculous. This game with a few exceptions is the same game it was a year ago with almost no change in game mechanics and has actually been reduced from the game I liked when I bought it.
Some may not have had the opportunity to enjoy small battles, but when I bought this game they were all I played. I was not a rear admiral then, but the small battles were fun, and very rewarding. You could queue up, and after about 5 minutes or so, you were thrust into a battle with about 20 basic cutters, 10 - 15 snows, and 5 - 10 other small ships ranging from brig - trincs and they were all other players, not bots. As a noob player, not only did it teach me the fundamentals of combat on the high seas, it was amazingly fun and afforded me a casual gameplay experience. There were ships capsizing as they were rammed, and stray cannon fire demasting sails, and causing instant and savage explosions. As a player just beginning the game it kept my interest to play those small battles and pray for a lucky shot that blew an opponent up. The opportunity to enjoy Naval Action without committing great amounts of time to it were why i played. Then the rewards were nerfed, and the game took a new direction.
Very early on, the game was changed, and with the change the first wave of people left. At one time, it was not uncommon to see 5k people online. It was easy to find Naval Action then, and the help channel was alive with questions and other help requests as new players constantly logged on. Then after the changes, everything seemed to die off including the fun bits I enjoyed and the stream of new players. Small battles were vacant because the new nerf had made that entire system unrewarding to participate in. The devs had shifted the game's focus from a queue based system of gameplay to a sandbox one. One which required a significant investment of time to compete in. At first it was ok, it was new and like most new things, you want to try it.
But like new things, they just wear out. This game wore itself out because of the time required to play it. The game changed with the community and the community demanded change because it was getting old fighting the same people over and over again. Then the devs went into developing a new combat system which promised to be refreshing in its own new way. When new changes went live almost half a year later, it felt refreshing because of the server wipes and the reset to economy, but it still felt the same it was prior to the changes. Hardcore players still found ways to manipulate the system because they had the time to, and casual players still could not commit 12 hours a day to the game. There was still no accommodation for the casual player to play as they wanted when they to.
To me there has been little forward in the way of development of fun and lackadaisical game mechanics. Its almost as if the devs and players want this game to be hard to enjoy. It certainly is not a game you can casually log in and play for an hour and expect to finish a battle in that first hour anymore, and in many cases it takes atleast an hour of sailing before a battle vs. other players is even possible. Then another hour passes during combat, and then another as you hunt for another encounter or sail against the wind back to port. To me the time commitment is too steep. How can you say this game is fun when it is like a job to acquire the resources you need to play the game the way you want? Is it really a fun game when you sail for hours with the game minimized at your workplace? To me no, and that’s part of the reason I deleted my character.
Reduce the time commitment required to compete.
Reduce map size to accommodate the small player base.
Make the game easy to log onto and enjoy.
Make resources much easier to acquire by adding alternatives to producing them, including an alternative way to earn ships.
Seriously consider a queue up option that is an attractive option.
I would like to thank the players who made this game enjoyable, because without them I would have quit long ago.
Rear Admiral Crayon