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Eléazar de Damas

Increasing the player base by traders

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I am playing Naval Action for around thousand hours, my choice being to be a trader for the French EDR clan. This message just giving my present conclusions and feedback.

 

First of all, who are traders?
Two main types:
1- Players who are making money for their clan or for their own. This money will later be used for mining, crafting, purchasing upgrades and blue prints, etc. Finally, this money will go to PvP and RvR.
2- Players who are just accumulating money. They do nothing with it, but accumulating. Such people exist in real life, they exist in Naval Action too. They are simply playing the way they prefer, and this is fair enough for me! I do not want to blame them, nor to chase them out of the game, nor to oblige them to change (they would simply leave the game).

What are traders giving to the game?
When traders are sailing, they are targets for enemy PvP. Enemy players (let’s call them “Corsairs”) will try and chase them, because they are easy and valuable targets. As a consequence, defence squadrons (let’s call them “Cruisers”) shall sail out of allied ports to try and counter-chase Corsairs.

As a result, more traders you have, more PvP you create.

If you have more traders in game, you will have more corsairs,  more cruisers, more PvP, more fun and at the end, more players.

Increasing the number of traders can be a key for increasing the number of players.
With a difficult trading, the number of players will decrease.

 

What are the major difficulties met by traders?
In fact, the question is “What can you trade?”
You have two choices:
1- You buy goods somewhere and sell them somewhere else at a higher price
2- You craft goods and carry them where you can sell at the best price.

I am practicing both, but 85% of my profits are coming from solution 2 (using my own mines and plantations), and very little by solution 1.
This is probably what is discouraging a lot of new players, who are just discovering the game. Trying to make money to buy their first ships (intuitive choice isn’t it?), they sail from arbour to arbour, finding few things to purchase, requesting sometimes help on chats. At a moment, they are ganged by a corsair group and often, leave the game…

 

Buying contracts
In most French ports (and probably others), most of valuable goods for trading are “locked” by buying contracts placed by players.
Today, you can’t find anything to buy in Castries, Fort-Royal, Kingstown, Bridgestone, Saint Joseph, Carriacou, down to Guayaguayare, because there are contracts on everything.

One of the most toxic French “contract placer” was simply teleporting from port to port and killing all each existing contract placed by others by over placing another one, one single gold higher. His only movements, to free towns, were in basic cutter. From times to times and at moments when few people were in game, he collected his goods and transported it in Fort-Royal, using three Indianmans. Because of the quantity transported, the selling price of these goods were reduced to one gold the day after (and often for several days). We tried to negotiate with him, without success because his only target in game was to accumulate money. So, we decided to “kill” all his purchasing contracts, by systematically adding 1 gold on. The target was to oblige him to more fair-play, the result was he left the game...

 


How to increase simply the trading activities?
Simply by deleting the possibility of placing buying contracts on goods popped-up by NPC (non-crafted goods). This would cancel the toxic behaviours without obliging the “money accumulators” to leave the game.

Do not add limitations to “money accumulators”. These players have strange objectives in game, but they are participating to the game, they are traders, they are targets for corsairs, cruisers will defend them, etc. They are contributing to the fantastic story of Naval Action…

New players will find something to purchase and somewhere to sell, it will be easier for them, more will stay with us.

Please don’t forget that, with more players, the quantities of goods generated in ports will have to be adjusted.

 

Hoping that would help…

 

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Well presented, Eleazar.  Also a good summary solution.  Some here will disagree by saying that it's economic warfare and it's fair and not toxic.  However, the situation you described definitely is toxic IMO, and most of this kind of thing is usually accomplished via alts anyway in a cowardly fashion.  I hope the devs take note of your suggestion, because I tend to believe your are right that it causes certain players to leave the game.

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I can agree with some of your post, especially the part about trading being the way to make money to go PvP and RvR. However, the problem as I see it, with the logic of "more traders=more PvP" is that that is not always the case. Here's why:

  1. If a player is forced to spend time in a trader (because he needs money to go fight and afford gear) and they'd rather be fighting, that player will either quit (and then you'll never get PvP from him), or buy an alt and use it for trading (as I do)
  2. Think about when you sail a trader, I highly doubt you (or anyone) think "Hey, I've got several million gold worth of stuff in my hold, I really hope a couple of enemy skippers find me and generate some PvP!" most likely, you are timing your entry and exit from ports with good wind, watching your back, using "tow to port" when you can, and making your trade runs in secluded areas where finding enemy players is not likely. I know I use many of those strategies.
  3. This is an extension of the second point: when you make risky trade runs, you plan them for a time of day when PvP activities near your trade run are at their lowest (or the lowest that you get in your playtime).

For most players, trading boils down to this: when you are trader hunting, you want loads of slow, loaded, and poorly defended traders to capture before the enemy fleet gets its act together to chase you away; when you are trading, you want an empty ocean with safe sailing.

 

My opinion on contracts is simple: they work as-intended. If I have more gold than you, you'll need to go through me if you want whatever we are bidding on. Who knows, maybe I'll give you 20 of [insert rare NPC-only made item] for 3000 teak logs delivered to [insert port here]. It works well for me because I value the game-time I would have spent sailing to get that teak more than the gold I lose by buying 1 mil (example) worth of rare item and trading it for 700k worth of teak logs. Its harsh when you get in that 1 gold more bidding war, but in the end, the goal is for you to get the item and ultimately drive the other player bankrupt or away from that port. Whether we like it or not, running a monopoly is part of the game. 

Just to clarify though, I'm 100% against ALL limited-quantity NPC-only produced rare-upgrade-making materials (ex.: cartagena tar, crooked cedar, et.)

 

Many won't agree with me here, but I honestly miss the days of easy trading when I could harvest my tobacco, sugar, or compass wood plantation every few days, sail 15 minutes and make enough gold to go PvP and lose loads of ships without worrying about replacing them. Money was easy, and buying materials to make ships was easy. Nobody worried about losing ships because they could replace them no problem.

I think the reason I prefer that system is because, ultimately, I'm not a trader, I'm a fighter. When the trading changed and required me to spend more than 1-2 hours each week in a trader to keep up with my PvP/RvR expenses, I bought an alt so I don't have to waste my hunting time sailing in a trader. Now I have my alt making money and moving materials while I go fight. Once or twice a week, I go meet my alt somewhere and get the necessary amount of money and materials from him.

 

That's my opinion on traders in the game, perhaps its a bit narrow, but again: I'm a fighter first, a trader second. I'd rather engage a warship than a trader when I'm hunting.

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2 hours ago, Eléazar de Damas said:

Simply by deleting the possibility of placing buying contracts on goods popped-up by NPC (non-crafted goods). This would cancel the toxic behaviours without obliging the “money accumulators” to leave the game.

Sigh, already implemented on some goods and it failed.

An alter can control 8 ports with just one character, 16 with two.

For some reason nobody could obtain Historical Artifacts in Grindstone. :ph34r:

Just as you fight a ship with cannonballs, you fight on the market with money. To fight a money accumulator you need to be able to outbid him and turn away his profit, so he needs to seek a new market.

A fair trader knows his market and simply offers a fair price. He does not need to resort to penny trading the floor.

 

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I think there's a good middle ground here that could be explored. The idea that more traders = more pvp is valid, as is the fact that people moving vastly profitable goods frequently use any tactic they can to avoid vast stretches of sea. Personally, money trading is something I only do with an alt account, more of a "fire and forget" ship that I'll check on when it reaches its destination. 

To it; delivery orders as implemented are mostly unused due to the fact that their work is greater than the reward- 5 minutes checking the trader tool will find you a better port to sell to, often closer. Instead, they could be implemented as a purely delivery service - you get a "package" which is immediately loaded into your hold - removal or destruction cancels the mission. Successful delivery earns you a value based on the rate of trade ship - simply the weight of the package 500 kg, 1000, 1500, 3500 - and the distance travelled, while failure costs nothing - like a combat mission, there is no buy in, while failure most likely cost you the ship or at least a tidy sum in repairs. If the ship is captured, the "package" can be sold by the capturing ship at the destination, perhaps included in the item description, for the full price, or in another port for a drastically lesser price. more traders who are less likely to rage quit after losing a massive cargo, and a moderate incentive for the hunter. It would at least increase the number of people out and about in the open world trading - most traders as mentioned above do their 1-2 massive routes and are done. Those big money routes will still be their, but it would provide variety at the very least. Most will still sink the ship for the cm of course, but it's something. 

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2 hours ago, Willis PVP2 said:

I think the reason I prefer that system is because, ultimately, I'm not a trader, I'm a fighter. When the trading changed and required me to spend more than 1-2 hours each week in a trader to keep up with my PvP/RvR expenses, I bought an alt so I don't have to waste my hunting time sailing in a trader. Now I have my alt making money and moving materials while I go fight. Once or twice a week, I go meet my alt somewhere and get the necessary amount of money and materials from him.

 

That's my opinion on traders in the game, perhaps its a bit narrow, but again: I'm a fighter first, a trader second. I'd rather engage a warship than a trader when I'm hunting.

In fact, I agree with you.

And I do not want all players to be obliged to trade. Obliging every one to grind for upgrade slots is enough! :(:(

 

The concern is: what can be changed for keeping new players in game?

Typically, the new player:

  • Is often sunk in first PVE fights (on chats, we can see so many messages from low ranked players, requested help for progression)
  • Do not know how to trade for replacing lost ships (what to trade, from where to where?)
  • Do not have the money for placing contracts (in fact, do not have money)
  • Following advises given on the chat, grinds in basic cutter for making some money
  • Purchases a "big" ship (like a Cerberus), thinking that this would prevent him sinking.
  • Discovers that he does not have the money for canons and sends a discouraged message on the chat, because canons are expensive.
  • Is given the canons for free by an older player, plus a Snow for which he has the crew (I did it severeal times)
  • Looses the Snow because he does not know what about manual sailing.
  • Takes a 5th rate mission for the undercrewed Cerberus, faces a Frigate and sinks again.
  • Leaves the game.

We all know this sad story, I read in this forum that +10000 players resigned since the wipe. :blink::wacko::(

My proposition is not to oblige everyone to trade, but to give a chance to new players, to change :( in :).

Edited by Eléazar de Damas

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4 hours ago, Eléazar de Damas said:

Typically, the new player:

  • Is often sunk in first PVE fights (on chats, we can see so many messages from low ranked players, requested help for progression)

Very hard to help out here. You could take a new player along in your mission, so he gets some experience and some cash.

4 hours ago, Eléazar de Damas said:
  • Do not know how to trade for replacing lost ships (what to trade, from where to where?)

No real information anywhere and too little from Trader Tool. Starting up in Iron is usually a reasonable way, but then you need to know out of which port to get it. You also needs enough working capital.

Next thing is Oak Log to get Charcoal for going into Iron Ingots and potentially Iron Fittings. After that go with Oak Planks to Hull Repairs. Everybody needs those.

Do not go for combat until you can actually finance it.

Get cannons through contracts. A lot of players are willing to fulfill those orders, if they know those exist, so broadcast your needs on Nation chat.

Buy a cheap ship and continue on Midshipman missions until you can manually sail. Finance everything through your Hull Repairs / Iron activities.

Last but not least, persevere and do not leave the game. ^_^

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Magic reinforcements for trader? If a trader makes lots of income, he can spend it to hire escort (pay players to escort you). If you are working for clan, then ask clan for escort. If you don't want escort because you are greedy or want to maximize income, you take the risk and you know it.

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1 hour ago, Peter Goldman said:

Magic reinforcements for trader? If a trader makes lots of income, he can spend it to hire escort (pay players to escort you). If you are working for clan, then ask clan for escort. If you don't want escort because you are greedy or want to maximize income, you take the risk and you know it.

Another way by which increasing trade would increase PvP and by consequence, the player base. :)

Thanks.

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What would happen if a trader could put a contract up for anything in any port (including enemy ones, via smuggling)?

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do people buy a game like this to trade? I bought it for naval action and not the time sink it has been for a while now. 

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1 hour ago, HachiRoku said:

do people buy a game like this to trade? I bought it for naval action and not the time sink it has been for a while now. 

o/

I try to spend roughly equal time on as many careers as I can.

http://forum.game-labs.net/topic/15026-pvp1-july-tobbies-tobacco-imperium/

Currently I focus trade on Hull Repairs.

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7 hours ago, HachiRoku said:

do people buy a game like this to trade? I bought it for naval action and not the time sink it has been for a while now. 

Initially I tried the action part.  Although it became boring for me.  But then I get bored with action type computer games fairly quickly.

After the last wipe I fished for a while, then salvaged a shipwreck to earn enough cash to start trading.  Been trading ever since and haven't been bored at all.  Before the wipe I used to play on all of the servers.    But since the wipe I have been mostly on the PvP Euro server, so I have to keep my eyes open for hunters.   I haven't fired a shot ... yet.   NA is a very interesting game (graphics and tactics) with lots of fine people to interact with.    There is  lots more content to explore when I begin to craft.

I would recommend this game to someone who has very limited time and is primarily interested in trading.   The best trading involves other players.

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8 hours ago, HachiRoku said:

do people buy a game like this to trade? I bought it for naval action and not the time sink it has been for a while now. 

I like the fights, I like the crafting, I like the RvR, I like the trading. There's more than one way to play the game and my preference depends on my mood, the time of the day and sometimes by the feelings of my hemorroid that's been acting up like it owns the place.

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Yesterday, I was kept in a battle launched by a young captain trying to capture a Le Gros Ventre.

In spite of advises given on the chat and of the fantastic help given by my powerful Trader Lynx (LOL), he could not achieve the capture in 45 minutes, when I was obliged to leave battle.

His left side was out, and he was unable to bord the LGV, whose crew was reduced to 67…

I promised him to do this video to show how to capture properly...

Hope this will help new players to stay in game. :):):)

Edited by Eléazar de Damas
Add video.

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22 hours ago, HachiRoku said:

do people buy a game like this to trade? I bought it for naval action and not the time sink it has been for a while now. 

Actually I bought this game in the first place because it popped up as relevant to Port Royal 3... don't get me wrong, I didn't put in several thousand hours for love of trading with the Ai, the RVR and pvp held interest, but theres no reason not to flesh out a side of the game that is currently barren

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I very much agree with you. In this open world game there should be various potential career paths. I think there is a huge potential in trading and it would attract a lot of people. If there were more traders to travel the caribbean, it would populate the game enormously. 

The economy and trading possibilities right now are a mere shadow of the potential this game has. If there would be greater rewards for traders and a great overhaul of the economy, a lot of people would find a lot of satisfaction in it. 

From what I can gather from the forums, there is an unfortunate culture here of players using derogatory names (for example "care bears") for people whose main concern is not PvP. That culture needs to change. It only represents a small minority of the potential player base. Trading needs to be identified as one of the pillars of this game and its community.

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