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John Jacob Astor

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Everything posted by John Jacob Astor

  1. John Jacob Astor

    Buildings not magic

    The drop (instead of buildings) mechanic creates sectors in the economy that appear completely inaccessible to single-account players. I've changed my mind about alts. I cannot compete head-to-head against the labor hour, outpost, and perk advantage they provide. If unlimited supply is the concern, get rid of the ET mechanic (an unlimited form of drop) and give buildings a limiter. They should not be immortal. Stuff wears out in the real world. Mines and soils get exhausted. Facilities break down. Give buildings a diminishing return arc where after so many units of production they need to be replaced. The arc should be fairly long. But there probably ought to be one.
  2. John Jacob Astor

    Economic model design - Infinite Resources.

    I would agree with this. But of the two current production mechanics, drops are definitely the more passive. At least with buildings you actually have to hit the crafting button, rather than just camp and buy. I am definitely more interested alternatives than I used to be. My reservation here is has to do with the current PvP environment. This is my first game like this and I probably don't have the context to see how I do this as a merchant without serving as a clay pigeon for PvP. I have found escorts pretty much to be a non-starter. Probably due to a combination of time zone differentials, the actual hours I log on, and the dysfunctional clans I have been in. Fleets aren't of much use either. In order to compete against alts in crafting for market I have found I need to max out labor hour perks which means fleet and combat perks appear to be mostly out of reach. I could see this working, however, if raiders actually had to get my ship/cargo to port to get paid. Probably doesn't matter whether the captured ship is added to a fleet, some portion of the cargo offloaded, or the AI sails it to port with a portion of the raider's crew. Or some mix of this. The point is to get rid of the current completely magic PvP reward and restore some realism to the raider/trader equation. For a prize agent to pay out there needs to be a prize for the agent to sell off. The OTHER thing that would reduce the bull's eye on me would be to remove the teleport for upgrades. The econ alts then become actual targets on the water. Quit treating ship upgrades like they have no mass. This has always struck me as completely silly. I am all for this. Yup. As things stand currently the labor hour, outpost, and perk advantage provided by an alt is impossible to compete with in large sectors of the economy.
  3. John Jacob Astor

    Development plans for the H2 2018

    Probably. But I found maxing out outposts the only way to deal with the inability to know about player contract activity and ship markets without visiting a port. If the new UI addresses this there may be less need for them.
  4. John Jacob Astor

    Development plans for the H2 2018

    Thank you for the update. While I was attracted to the game by the age of sail theme, the player economy is what held my interest. Looking forward to the fixes.
  5. John Jacob Astor

    PVP rewards for ship return to port

    Partially correct. Single-account Econ Player doesn't grind fleets or grab resource drops because he can't compete head-to-head with labor hour, outpost, and perk advantages available via alts. Maximizes labor hour perks in an attempt to remain competitive building ships and harvesting building outputs (zero-sum vs fleet and combat perks). Can't coordinate escorts with dysfunctional clans. Turns down silly offers for escorts from PvPers because they never pencil out on the merchant side. PvPer clobbers Econ player in transit to sell ships and building outputs at market choke-points. PvPer pockets magic rewards. Consequently never makes enough money to buy much in the way of marks. Abandons crafting for profit, hoping things improve after the economy rework. Leaving one less clay pigeon on the water for the PvPers to shoot at.
  6. John Jacob Astor

    DLC impact on the economy

    @admin It appears that the DLC ships can be sold once every 24 hours for 26K each. This appears to work the same on both servers. Is this intentional? The DLCs unbalance the economy by reducing and potentially eliminating a player's participation in the craft and resource markets. The cooldown ought to have been a good deal longer to mitigate this. If the release status on Steam precludes adjusting that "upgrading" the DLC with some mutually exclusive choices might help. Such as allowing the DLC user to choose a blueprint instead of the ship itself.
  7. John Jacob Astor

    Economic model design - Infinite Resources.

    As a single-account player I view this as a very partial picture of the current economic design. Large sectors of the shipbuilding and concomitant upgrade economy originate in dropped resources and not in buildings. The more limited (and valuable) they are, the more likely they are to be dominated by alts. The outpost and labor hour advantage provided by an alt provides leverage unavailable to a single-account player. It appears to be impossible to compete with. This is not the case with buildings which I why I voted yes. Are there problems with the building model? Yes. It is currently crippled by the inability to see contract activity without entering a port, which stovepipes the markets. And the ET (as currently implemented) overly suppresses the ROI on building production where it is applied. But you can't lock new players out of the building model by using alts to kick the ladder down from the tree house. Do not misunderstand me. I am not anti-alt. But I will not be a fan of any alternative to buildings that creates an inordinate structural advantage for them.
  8. John Jacob Astor

    DLC ships

    That being the case I am withholding a final opinion on this until after the crafting and economy reworks. Presumably there is a plan to address the structural issues the DLCs appear to introduce.
  9. John Jacob Astor

    DLC ships

    Why bother putting mods on it? Just clobber a player trader for PvP rewards, sell it a bit of cash, and churn a new one out the next day in hopes of a ship with more capabilities. The churn in the real incentive. But getting cash in the process doesn't help. It just adds to the incentive to churn the DLC. The 24 hour respawn is the problem. It makes them a disposable ship. If you are using mods that might make you more conservative, but a lot of folks might not even bother with them. The disposabilty adds a new structural problem to the economy. It cuts into demand for player-crafted ships. A month after DLC introduction ships are sitting in the Charleston market a good deal longer than they used to. Address the disposable nature of the DLCs and I suspect this might mitigate some of the port battle issues as well. I am guessing some of the tactics described are not dependent on having upgrades. Just on using a ship you can replace the next day. The respawn clock ought to be tied to what the ship can get in terms of bonus. So many days since the last. Just to be clear, not since you last had one, but so many days since you last redeemed one. I don't have an opinion on how many days, but at a minimum, next day, zero bonuses. For that matter, a churned ship should be a sub-par ship. Too many days in a row and the quality drops to zero knowledge and upgrade slots. Which is not going to affect players that spend money and crafting effort on upgrades. You aren't the ones churning the DLCs.
  10. THE PROBLEM: One of the structural problems in the current economy appears to be the constraint the Euro Trader mechanic places on the growth of a nominally healthy contract market. Changes to the ET have been previously mentioned by @admin in the context of adjusting taxation: In order of priority the ET mechanic ought to be addressed first. At the present the ET places an effective boundary to price rises in core commodities used to craft ships and cannons. As the as the price of a contract to sell approaches 4x production costs the length of time to complete the contract increases. This is to be expected. But the result unfortunately appears to be that the maximum that a seller can charge and have the contract complete in a reasonable amount of time appears to range between 2x and 2.5x the production cost. This does not allow the merchant to factor in labor hours as a cost, and is not competitive vs the money to be made in the transport of dropped trade goods. It seems possible to consistently maximize hold values of trade goods at approximately 3x purchase price. This decreases the incentive for new entrants into contract markets where the ET is active. Why invest in production capacity to sell at contract when better money can be made elsewhere that does not require labor hours? There have been exceptions. There was a player who seemed to be consistently placing stone contracts Charleston at 8x production cost. I've concluded this was intended to exploit the ignorance of new players. Not all seal-clubbing occurs at sea. But then again, stone is a market with very little contract activity to begin with, which is what makes that sort of nonsense possible. The ET also appears to exacerbate price collapses in those resources where a healthy production capacity exists. As an example, the iron market is currently in overproduction in US ports and seems to consistently price below 2x production cost. But as the ET limits the price rises elsewhere there is not a lot of money to be made transporting iron out of the US reinforcement zones. The iron market is saturated and is likely to stay that way for a while as a result. Inventory appears to be getting dumped into port stocks, further depressing the possible contract price. A PROPOSAL: 1) The ET should automatically suspend operation in any port where the total sold count over time for all resource contracts reaches a set threshold. Reaching the threshold signals the existence of healthy contract markets and the ET is no longer necessary. Price rises in in production resources will then be mitigated by the entrance of new producers into the markets as the returns become competitive with dropped trade goods. Some server-side data collection will be necessary to establish the threshold, but one possible set-point might be an average of current sales contract volumes in from all capital ports on the Caribbean server. This might not work, however, on PvE, where the player population is probably too low for the average to have any meaning. 2) The ET should resume operation in any port where the total sold volume falls below the threshold. This provides a safety net in the event of a regional population collapse, allowing players to obtain resources, and limiting exploitation in markets with a limited number of sellers. 3) The UI should signal the presence of an active ET mechanic, with the appearance of some sort of flag in the shop screen. 4) Once the ET threshold has been successfully set the stamp tax can then be applied in the reinforcement zones to activate in concert with it. When this threshold is reached a healthy regional economy exists that will support taxation. The tax will now generate an outward pressure on player production toward ports outside of the reinforcement zones where applying the tax in the absence of a healthy economy would merely hasten implosion. AN OBSTACLE: There are not currently enough types of necessary or desirable production buildings. My thinking on this has shifted somewhat since posting here: At that point I thought it was possible for a non-alt player to compete in the economy against a player using one or more alts. I have since concluded that this is in reality quite difficult. Alts have an effect on the economy that reaches beyond direct competition against another player. They enable a player to opt out of contract markets, or exploit them without fulling participating. They can sell in a market, and in some cases manipulate it, but do not actually have to buy anything from it. Some players with alts might buy at contract but there is no inherent need to do so. Having (briefly) been the resource manager in one of the newer clans I am also not convinced that players with alts have any inherent incentive to cooperate in stocking a clan warehouse. But that is a separate issue. This ought to have been blindingly obvious at the time. But the effect wasn't completely clear until after I purchased the Admiralty DLC and discovered I could do something similar. The difference being the DLC provides a slight brake on this in the form of labor hours and outpost permits, but as a practical matter there is no difference between the two when considering the actual effect on the economy. Alts and the Admiralty DLC become weeds on the hull. The economy can tolerate a small amount of this but at some point, the drag created will cancel out any meaningful forward motion. Any sort of adjustments to the contract markets are unlikely to have a visible positive effect, as long as a players have a way to sell resources without being obligated to buy any. The number of types of useful player production buildings needs to be radically expanded. It probably ought to be at least double what can be controlled by a player using the Admiralty DLC, or a player using a single alt. The only other alternative to radically expanding the number buildings appears to be abandoning the contract system altogether. But this removes an entire tier of player-generated content from the game and seems to me to increase the onus on the developers to develop more.
  11. John Jacob Astor

    DLC ships

    This came from a DLC ship? So not only can you sell both DLCs every 24 hours for 26K each, you can churn them until you get a bonus ship. So hit a trader for PvP, offload the cannons and repairs and sell before logging off, and redeem the next day. Stash cannons and repairs at outposts and you effectively also get a cash-positive port tow. Am I missing something here? Might partially explain why ships are sitting in the Charleston market longer than they used to. Fewer buyers.
  12. @Norfolk nChance Would knowing the total in-game crafting cost of a ship give you this? If a ship value is being used as common the point of reference. Assuming I am properly understanding the question you are asking. For any of the (limited number) of ships that I built for sale I ran the crafting recipes out to the individual resource level and then ran totals based on 1x, 2x, 3x, and 4x building production costs of basic resources. Once that was known option woods for planking and hull could be factored in. 1x is the minimum cost, assuming all basic resources are owned. 2x gave me a rough way to gauge when I was overpaying for the resources I didn't control without having to track inventory. Between 3x and 4x I was making money on the ship and able to factor in labor hours. 4x is the ET price. Much above that the ships tended to sit too long in the market. Because too far above 4x a player might as well put up a shipyard and buy everything from the ET. Didn't actually need to do much with the option woods though. My bread and butter turned out to be fir/fir T-lynxes. New players found them to be an ideal gank evader.
  13. I actually WAS having fun until I started smacking into stuff that undercut what attracted me to the game when I started playing around the first of the year. First MMO, first sandbox, and what actually interested me was competing in the player economy. Being chased around now and again after moving to PVP was a bonus. But it's not what holds my attention. I`m on the sidelines until after the crafting and economy reworks. If the game holds my interest thereafter I will be back. (with your commission) 😁
  14. As a recently very active merchant, I view the fundamental problem in the economy as not so much what is needed to build with as whether a crafter needs to buy any of it from other players. Right now the DLC enables them to produce most everything for core shipbuilding in-house Except for specialty woods and stuff used in upgrades which, incidentally, is where the alts provide an inordinate amount of leverage these are dropped and not player-produced. Cotton being the exception to this where I had no problem competing. Put up a building, acquired the blueprint, and undercut the current quarter-million offer price for the upgrade in Charleston by half. And sold everything I produced, with the ROI being well north of what I could get out of a trade run hauling dropped goods. There's those pesky buildings again. And in some cases player production competes directly against the AI, as @Jean Ribault pointed out is the case with repairs. If the shopping list looks like what @Hethwill posted, what I've run smack into will cease to be a problem, provided it comes from player production, and not from AI drops. In-house production will be insufficient for the core of what a crafter does. If it does I've clearly misunderstood the developer traffic on the crafting reworks, which seemed to be headed toward much simpler builds with a lot less in them. I am hoping I have misunderstood them.
  15. @Norfolk nChance thank you for posting this. It may be the first place I've seen everything gathered together is a coherent fashion. I see this addressing some of the current disconnects where marks and money seem to run at cross-purposes. I guess what I am not understanding is how the currency redesign addresses the demand problem at the very bottom of the economy. Unless there are plans to broaden this beyond the current pyramid that puts ship production at the apex. Increasing the variety of end products (beyond one) might make the fall in resource trading irrelevant. One player plus DLC or same-nation alt will no longer be self-sufficient. I expect after the redesign I will look back and it will make sense.
  16. I do hope you are correct on the currency matrix. I am commenting on what I see at the moment while trying to work with these markets. I am not convinced but am perfectly willing to be proven wrong. Bought the DLCs on the summer sale. Additional copies of the game were actually cheaper but I am not interested in running an alt account. I do not have the time. And I am not actually anti-alt. What I am having trouble with is apparent inability to compete with them in certain market sectors. I used the Admiralty DLC to open additional building types. Which is when it occurred to me that I could completely withdraw from buying in the resource markets. And here we are, a month later, and look at the markets. That took way less time than even I thought it would. Whether this works depends on the nature of the merchant activity. I can see this working for a highly mobile buy and trade. Pretty sure I couldn't do this. What was doing (until the resource markets started imploding) was integrated shipbuilding and resource sales. Found a niche and went to town. And started developing repeat buyers. Which you really can't walk away from for 30 days. There is the matter of the infrastructure (the level 3 shipyard cost about 2.6M to build when everything is factored in) and your customers go elsewhere. My long-term plan was to shut down one of the production buildings as I had gotten pretty efficient at acquiring what I needed at contract. And open a 2nd shipyard in a the Bahamas. Except it's academic because there are no customers. Again, I really do hope you are right about this.
  17. John Jacob Astor

    Deliveries between your own outposts.

    Except that the Admiralty DLC enables pretty nearly that for single-account players. Add up all the buildings in the game. You can get pretty near self-sufficient. You only need to wait for your labor hour wallet to recharge.
  18. John Jacob Astor

    Deliveries between your own outposts.

    Or upgrades, for that matter. As if copper plating has no mass. If you all want targets that might generate a few.
  19. @Norfolk nChance This is exactly my point. What is not needed to buy, nobody is able to sell. It's not that there are no markets, or even no successful ones. But the market at issue is for contracts in player-produced resources. The Admiralty Connections DLC enables an individual player to become completely self-sufficient in this sector. It used to be quite active and where I did both quite a bit of buying and selling. Now, a month after introduction of the DLC, this is what it looks like. There are additional factors playing into this problem but you cannot keep undercutting the fundamental logic of a market without crippling it. Self-sufficient individual players are unlikely to be beneficial for the game in the in long-term. I suspect this is likely to adversely impact clan cohesion. It probably won't affect clans that are successful at team-oriented combat, but some of the larger ones may very well start having problems keeping their warehouses stocked. Although that problem may be easier to mitigate than what's going on in the markets.
  20. John Jacob Astor

    My reasons why this Game will never Succeed....

    US nation.
  21. John Jacob Astor

    My reasons why this Game will never Succeed....

    US, but I would consider changing nations to join one where the play styles were friendly to merchant activity. The first one was a bad fit in that regard. The second one was better but it recently collapsed. According to one of the remaining members, an officer looted the clan warehouse and skipped town to join a different nation. The founder didn't appear to be very picky about who he gave officer status to. I am hoping the planned clan leaderboard provides enough information. This appears to have been a long-standing weakness in the integration of new players. Very few of my fellow clan members in either of my first two appeared to have any awareness of these forums. Which means new players are pretty much at the mercy of whoever happens to recruit them. Not a good plan for player retention.
  22. I am hoping as well. But the comment from @admin about a "national reputation grind" is indicative of a regulatory layering approach to economic issues, rather than engagement with the underlying structural problems. I would like to be wrong about that, but this is what the ET appears to be, as currently implemented. A regulatory mechanism layered on top of an existing structural problem. I completely get the purpose of the ET. But the byproduct is to mostly throttle the markets in basic resources by making the returns uncompetetive with dropped trade goods. As a single-account merchant I have been up close with this for about six months now. And being in clans really hasn't mitigated the obstacles I encounter. If used at all this sort of thing ought to be viewed as training wheels. Your children might need them to learn to ride. But later they are something of a problem when they try corner their bycicle at speed.
  23. John Jacob Astor

    My reasons why this Game will never Succeed....

    Because once you get outside of the capital zones the PvE server is a player desert. And one of the reasons is the inability to see contract activity without visiting a port. It stovepipes the player econ inside capital region ports. Which means no players in the open world, so nothing but AI to interact with. Might as well be a non-multiplayer game that happens to be mostly devoid of content. Would YOU play that game? The same structural problem is present on PvP but it is masked by the larger player base and the player dispersion from the PvP activity. I get the distinct impression that very few of the posters in these forums have any interest in how the player economy actually works. Or fails to work. If the player economy doesn't function on PvE, it really doesn't function at all. It is merely propped up by other game factors and the whole thing probably ought to go over the side and be done with it. My discussion on the matter from EXACTLY this question from @admin I am flabbergasted this keeps getting asked. If this game is going to have a player economy, get it working on PvE. That will benefit both servers. Or don't have one at all.
  24. John Jacob Astor

    DLC impact on the economy

    The economy is what held my interest when I started playing last spring. We might differ a bit in what we view as important. But your point is on target. And not revolutionary at all. The game will be better off with no economy, than with one with serious structural issues. Given the apparent small size of the development team they might actually be better off pushing the whole works over the side. Won't my game. But that's fine. I'll find other things to do.
  25. John Jacob Astor

    My reasons why this Game will never Succeed....

    And... clan #2 in my first six months is now a bust. The whole clan thing IS a nice theory, though. Not real wild about signing up for #3.
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