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John Jacob Astor

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About John Jacob Astor

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  1. John Jacob Astor

    True Economy: An Experiment and Vote

    The ET is a set of training wheels for new players. The mechanic probably ought to be limited to ports in the immediate vicinity of a capital. It's another form of safe zone, only in the economy. Its effect on the the player-to-player economy is to throttle average returns on the sale of basic resources to well below that of dropped trade goods. Which discourages new production. Labor hours become impossible to factor into the return from the transaction. Experienced players do not need it. Couple changes to this with putting player contract activity on the same footing in the trader tool with port stock and we might not need it at all. Any potential price gouging goes away when the player can see contract availability in a nearby port. Training wheels. Which I needed my first 30 days in the game. I haven't used them since. Even when I was running solo.
  2. Crafted ships compete with captured AI, ship notes, and DLCs for the same thing in the economy: dock spaces in the acquiring player's inventory. If a DLC is similar at the same rank, or provides significant capabilities unavailable at at the same rank (i.e., Le Req.), there is less reason for buying a crafted ship. This is unlikely to have a positive effect on player-to-player transactions.
  3. John Jacob Astor


    Stuck might be too strong a word. But I think it rather a lot to expect someone a few weeks into the game and still sorting out how the economy works (such as it is) to have to sort dodging enemy vessels so they can get at their shipyard or associated resource production. As the loss of a port might very well be accompanied by the collapse or dysfunction in whatever clan they are in, a fairly new player might be suddenly without much in the way of resources or support. Six months later I would not see this as an insurmountable problem. But it's easy to forget how confusing this game was when I first started playing. This is what is fundamentally wrong with the player economy at the moment. Something I am hoping is addressed by the upcoming patch. Players with alts do not really need to buy much, if anything from other players. Nor do single-account players with the new Admiralty DLC. Both alts and the DLC allow players to have a completely asymmetric relationship with the player-to-player economy. They might be sellers. But they do not need to be buyers. I completely agree. The player economy is what attracted me to the game. But all sellers and few buyers results in not much economy at all. Regarding dispersion, put player contracts on the same footing in the trader tool as the port stock and the dispersion might happen all by itself, without much fiddling with the economics of the reinforcement zones. And as I said above a good bit of the green zone arguments might just become irrelevant.
  4. John Jacob Astor


    What about starting everyone on the PvE server and allowing a character transfer (below a certain rank). Possibly simpler to code? I don't have an opinion on that but it might be an alternative. Then the Caribbean server could be wide open.
  5. John Jacob Astor


    It actually is dependent. Possibly not if the new player is a mostly PvP guy, but most definitely if the new player is going to craft ships and sell resources/goods at contract. Clan collapses or just can't get it together and the port goes away. And you get to figure out how to retrieve your stuff. And start over elsewhere. If the debacle in my first clan had also cost me access to what I had spent a month learning how to put together, somehow I doubt I would be still playing the game. Which I could support. Then a new player could actually learn the game. But this is not the zero crafting I was responding to. I am all for this.
  6. John Jacob Astor


    I'm not advocating for zero risk. But zero crafting in protected zones is not a recipe for new player retention. Outposts with shipyards and other buildings are not trivial acquisitions for a brand new player. Starting up in capture-able port makes the new player's game hostage to the misfortune of being recruited by an incompetent clan. With all their stuff stuck in an enemy port. If you actually want zero crafting in the green zones, new player activity in the open world needs to be less dependent on a clan's ability to hold a port.
  7. John Jacob Astor


    Perhaps I am misunderstanding you but what do new players who want to do crafting do? I've been playing as a crafter/merchant pretty much since I started. Without that capability in the green zones I would have never gotten off the ground.
  8. John Jacob Astor


    If I could see contract activity without visiting a port I would be hauling to markets all over the map. Rather than being stuck doing contracts in the small handful of locations where they actually get filled. You place a contract for repairs, I bring them to fill it. Of course there needs to be actual player buyers, something which I assume the economy re-balance is going to address. Which means getting rid of the game mechanics that compete directly against player production. Like repair drops. And the Eurotrader. Which becomes irrelevant if a buyer can see a lower contract price in a nearby port. There would be some actual organic dispersion of players. And some of the current green zone arguments might also become irrelevant.
  9. John Jacob Astor

    Storm weather in port battles?

    Most folks I run into in the US nation appear to have no idea there is a developer forum. If they read anything at all it's on Steam. But usually not even that.
  10. John Jacob Astor

    The state of the game and how we might move it forward.

    There is a fair bit of magic in the game, and not just in the reinforcement zones. Like the notion that ship upgrades are like software and have no mass. If there is going to be an actual connection between warfare and financial loss there needs to be an economic incentive to actually take the cargo. Create a game with some old-school mercantilism involving some actual strategic thinking and you will have my complete attention.
  11. John Jacob Astor

    Captin, we're safe! .. Are we?

    Seriously. I have heard this before. And have yet to see it actually work in practice. What exactly would you charge to escort my single t-brig from the Bahamas to Charleston? What would you consider a reasonable payout for that? If the raiders were actual thieves this would make sense to me. But you all get to pocket your magic PvP rewards, slap on repairs, and move on to the next target. How about a bit of realism and deliver an actual prize to collect?
  12. John Jacob Astor

    Captin, we're safe! .. Are we?

    Yup. And this is definitely a new player issue. This is an unusual game. It is apt to attract actual new players (like me) because of the age of sail theme minus lasers, demons, magic, and first person role play that seems to dominate most of what I see pushed at me in Steam. This is my first MMO. First sandbox. As in "what's a clan" and and I have no idea (as of six months ago) what TS and Discord are. And we really have zero idea what we are actually interested in doing in the game. Missions are likely helpful to new players. I did a few combat missions fairly early on. Needed to do that just to learn how to operated the canons. But some of us find we are actually interested in different things. What hooked me was the player economy. Never played anything like that before. I actually like doing that stuff. And it is what gets me out of the safe zones. Which are more of a nuisance to me than anything because the structural bottlenecks in the economy create choke points I have to figure out how to get through. Not the missions. Not the port battles. Not the stupid clan and national political drama. The economy is what gets me out of the safe zones. And I've run into some others. We are looking forward to actual fixes in the upcoming re-balance. I am NOT looking for risk-free econ or "safe pve." I expect to be chased around now and again. And occasionally caught. But serving as a PvP clay pigeon is frankly not very interesting. It's just not fun. Judging from what I have been reading the mindset among some of the veterans appears to be to bludgeon players into doing PvP. You'll learn to love PvP. The beatings will continue until morale improves. Actually no. We will just leave.
  13. John Jacob Astor

    add DLC suggestion or CM buy of the 2 big books

    Safe zones are a new player issue. They need them. But this is not my problem as a merchant. It's rather that serving as a clay pigeon for magic PvP marks doesn't yield a particularly interesting game. If you want traders out in the open world, fix THAT, and reintroduce some realism to the raider/merchant interaction. I expect to be chased, and occasionally caught. But what goes on at some of the economy chokepoints is quite the incentive to exploit the heck out of stuff like teleports. Over several months of play I have found fleets and escorts problematic to actually use. I have no opinion on PvP rewards vs warships. But regarding traders: 1) for a prize agent to pay out, there ought to be a prize, either added to a fleet, or sent to port via the AI with some reasonable portion of the raider's crew. 2) or, if no prize taken, whatever cargo can be salvaged from the hold. And if upgrades went into the hold where they belonged instead of being teleported as if they had no mass #2 might actually be quite valuable.
  14. John Jacob Astor

    Success as a solo player

    Solo is not my first choice. It's something I've had to adapt to. But as it happens port battles are really a non-issue for me. There really isn't time to do that and work the player economy (such as it is). The first two clans were debacles (for different reasons). In my contact with additional clans what I'm finding is that the some of the more visible US ones really have no apparent need for merchant-focused players. They are looking for combat buddies to chatter at on TS. Or they have alts to do all of their econ and generate their port revenues. I've actually been toying with the idea of a 2-3 person clan. We would operate out of ports controlled by allied combat clans. But I probably won't actually do that until after the September patches and I see what the economy looks like. Or if the new UI includes some sort of clan directory with some way to contact an officer.
  15. John Jacob Astor

    Success as a solo player

    Which I've found problematic with timezone differentials and the hours I'm online. I've found I'm better off solo and low-profile. Never EVER talk about where you operate. It attracts raiders. Particularly when your clanmates insist on putting detailed rosters with player assets up where everybody can see them. This is a bit more difficult than you might think, based on my experience since starting last Winter. New players are pretty much at the mercy of whoever recruits them. I am hoping this improves with the clan leaderboard that @admin promised last spring. Well, yes. But it's actually better than being in a problematic clan and getting sucked into drama. Particularly as a merchant. If any of you are aware of a merchant-friendly clan, I am all ears.