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Slim McSauce

The Newbro Problem

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So we have a bit of a dilemma here on NA. It seems to me like the conversation always revolves around pvp/pve and old v new players.

Right now we have a few protections for new players, mainly the reinforcement zone. Does this feature achieve in protecting brand new players from a toxic experienced pvp playerbase? Well....

There's 2 ways to make money safely as a new player. That is, missions and ow hunting, also trading and crafting but we'll leave those alone for now. You pull a mission, if it's in the safezone it closes instantly, OK that's good. If it's NOT in the safezone there's a chance you will get jumped and ganked.

Is that intended? It's a very fine line between being able to get destroyed by theoretically 25 ships, and being safe in your mission. It's luck of the draw where your mission is put, is it really fair to limit mission cancellations without addressing the fact being able to cancel a mission is a  very big factor to whether or not you get destroyed and lose all your progress? In other words should a mission pulled from inside the safezone always be placed in the safezone, and if not why?

"no, because you can just attack AI fleets")

Well not really, ow battles within the safezone that you initiate do not receive any new player protections. The battle stays open indefinitely, you could argue that that is in favor to the attacker who can get friendly people in his/her nation to respond and come to aid. I would agree with this too.

Is that reality though? What are the numbers, how often does a new player get ganked without a peep over nation. What would make these attacks not so discrete, is it even possible? Can we reasonably expect new players beg in chat for help because they're losing their progress to something out of their control?

Lastly is it logical that we prevent, but at the same time promote pvp from happening at in and around capital waters? For example, there's a massive safezone that protects you from getting attacked which is meant for new players, but at the same time new players get served on a platter for veterans when they attack OW ai because the battles stay open. Isn't the behavior we want to promote is going on OW and hunting ships? Why are we punishing players for doing so.

So is it a game design problem or is it a player problem, maybe both? discuss.

 

 

 

Edited by Slim McSauce
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Do the tutorials and finish the exams. Reap rewards and officer station with befitting ship.

That's the big step towards new players in the new upgrade.

Ain't hard to click "delete" and test the new changes fresh :)

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You cannot expect your game population to be white knights.  If they see a player, they'll sink a player.  That's why the game needs to put protections in place to protect these new players so they stick with the game and become old players.  Most of us, including a lot of the old "war dogs" on these forums that are anti-safe zones and anti-convenience were able to grind up to rear admiral back when missions and AI fleets were able to close, the AI were easier to kill and ships were far easier to get.  So while it's cute to say that its a "PVP game and people should get over it", let's remind these guys that back when they were grinding up it was a very different game than it is now.  

Most Open World MMOs, and by most I mean the successful ones, manage to protect their players through a series of zones.  Albion had Blue, Red and Black zones (no PVP, light PVP, full loot no holds bars PVP), PoTBS had red zones, World of Warcraft has contested and uncontested zones and I know EVE has multiple "secs" that limit PVP.  These areas ensure players can safely farm, craft and mission to their hearts delight and HOPEFULLY turn into old players who will then venture forth into the not so safe zones and go experience the game to it's fullest. 

Up until 6 months ago, Naval Action had nothing.  Zero protections for the new player.  A new player can level up in a basic cutter, use all his cash to purchase that first new frigate and then immediately sail out of the capital area into the waiting arms of enemy players and lose everything instantly.  This is/was a terrible way to introduce new players to your game.  This is one of the reasons...probably one of the biggest....why this game has sold over 120k copies and has only had a steady population of 1000 or less on at one time.  It's just an inhospitable environment for a new player.  I can't even count the amount of new players I've seen talk in nation chat asking questions, watching them figure out the less than intuitive UI...putting cannons on their ships and then watching them talk about losing that first ship they purchased....and then never seeing them again in nation.  Another one down the drain.

So now we have safe zones.  They're big, there's a lot of them....most people still don't know all the rules about them and they are imperfect.  The simple fact that I can roll up to KPR and jump into an AI fleet literally in front of the forts and gank a player in their own capital waters just flat out astonishes me.  In real life you would not be able to sail an enemy ship within sight of KPR and sink ships or traders right under the port noses.....why can you do it in game?

We keep tailoring the PVP ROE to cater to all these wolves that refuse to fight other wolves and only want to sink sheep for PVP marks.  Frankly we should be saying screw them and let them fight each other.  They very rarely do.  The other day on these forums I saw a screenshot of about 10-15 pirates vs Spanish, Russians, BF and Prussians.  All the "elite of the elite" vs 1 group of pirates.  What a joke.  

Anyway....Successful games need to protect their new players.  Naval Action does not.  Which is why we don't have a lot of players.  Focus on making this game more casual friendly and maybe people will return.  More people = more PVP.  Problem solved.

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5 minutes ago, Christendom said:

You cannot expect your game population to be white knights.  If they see a player, they'll sink a player.  That's why the game needs to put protections in place to protect these new players so they stick with the game and become old players.  Most of us, including a lot of the old "war dogs" on these forums that are anti-safe zones and anti-convenience were able to grind up to rear admiral back when missions and AI fleets were able to close, the AI were easier to kill and ships were far easier to get.  So while it's cute to say that its a "PVP game and people should get over it", let's remind these guys that back when they were grinding up it was a very different game than it is now.  

Most Open World MMOs, and by most I mean the successful ones, manage to protect their players through a series of zones.  Albion had Blue, Red and Black zones (no PVP, light PVP, full loot no holds bars PVP), PoTBS had red zones, World of Warcraft has contested and uncontested zones and I know EVE has multiple "secs" that limit PVP.  These areas ensure players can safely farm, craft and mission to their hearts delight and HOPEFULLY turn into old players who will then venture forth into the not so safe zones and go experience the game to it's fullest. 

Up until 6 months ago, Naval Action had nothing.  Zero protections for the new player.  A new player can level up in a basic cutter, use all his cash to purchase that first new frigate and then immediately sail out of the capital area into the waiting arms of enemy players and lose everything instantly.  This is/was a terrible way to introduce new players to your game.  This is one of the reasons...probably one of the biggest....why this game has sold over 120k copies and has only had a steady population of 1000 or less on at one time.  It's just an inhospitable environment for a new player.  I can't even count the amount of new players I've seen talk in nation chat asking questions, watching them figure out the less than intuitive UI...putting cannons on their ships and then watching them talk about losing that first ship they purchased....and then never seeing them again in nation.  Another one down the drain.

So now we have safe zones.  They're big, there's a lot of them....most people still don't know all the rules about them and they are imperfect.  The simple fact that I can roll up to KPR and jump into an AI fleet literally in front of the forts and gank a player in their own capital waters just flat out astonishes me.  In real life you would not be able to sail an enemy ship within sight of KPR and sink ships or traders right under the port noses.....why can you do it in game?

We keep tailoring the PVP ROE to cater to all these wolves that refuse to fight other wolves and only want to sink sheep for PVP marks.  Frankly we should be saying screw them and let them fight each other.  They very rarely do.  The other day on these forums I saw a screenshot of about 10-15 pirates vs Spanish, Russians, BF and Prussians.  All the "elite of the elite" vs 1 group of pirates.  What a joke.  

Anyway....Successful games need to protect their new players.  Naval Action does not.  Which is why we don't have a lot of players.  Focus on making this game more casual friendly and maybe people will return.  More people = more PVP.  Problem solved.

Very well said and touched all the points I wanted to touch with. Your last paraphrase, "Succesful games need to protect their new players. Naval action does not" isn't exactly true, new players at the very least have been attempted to be protected in the way of safezones. Did it work? Not really, it's caused a bit of a mess with ideology and identity of the game.

I guess you can sum it up in two questions

-Is protecting new players a valuable move for NA?
-If not, how do we make up for it?

Edited by Slim McSauce

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While writing the above something came to mind.

I remember an old civics teacher of mine a long time ago said something that has stuck with me even to this day and has kinda shaped my adult view on the world.  A government's role is to protect the minority from the majority.  The majority will always take care of itself.  I view the role of the development team in a similar light.  They're job is to make this game playable and enjoyable to the new player and protect him from us old salty dogs.  The minority vs the majority.  The role of the developers is to make sure that new player makes it from the checkout screen and into the sandbox safely so he can go play with the other kids.  New player zones and capital areas should not be sandboxes.  The map is big enough to accommodate both styles of play. 

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9 minutes ago, Christendom said:

While writing the above something came to mind.

I remember an old civics teacher of mine a long time ago said something that has stuck with me even to this day and has kinda shaped my adult view on the world.  A government's role is to protect the minority from the majority.  The majority will always take care of itself.  I view the role of the development team in a similar light.  They're job is to make this game playable and enjoyable to the new player and protect him from us old salty dogs.  The minority vs the majority.  The role of the developers is to make sure that new player makes it from the checkout screen and into the sandbox safely so he can go play with the other kids.  New player zones and capital areas should not be sandboxes.  The map is big enough to accommodate both styles of play. 

that very much reminds me of a developer interview for a popular mmo

"if left to their devices, players will optimize the fun out of their own game"

"it's the job of the developer to protect the player from himself"

also somewhat related

"an FPS is 30 seconds of fun repeated over time, if you don't have that 30 seconds of fun, you aren't gonna have a great game"

I agree the map is big enough to accommodate all types of play.

Edited by Slim McSauce
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8 minutes ago, Slim McSauce said:

Very well said and touched all the points I wanted to touch with. Your last paraphrase, "Succesful games need to protect their new players. Naval action does not" isn't exactly true, new players at the very least have been attempted to be protected in the way of safezones. Did it work? Not really, it's caused a bit of a mess with ideology and identity of the game.

I guess you can sum it up in two questions

-Is protecting new players a valuable move for NA?
-If not, how do we make up for it?

New players were protected.  The problem is it was too little too late.  By the time safe zones rolled out the majority of this games copies had been sold.  Steam reviews are abysmal for the most part.  New players aren't picking this game up really.  Returning players sticking around is a problem because they've already experienced the highest level of content this game has to offer 10x over.  

So really what needs to be done....

Fix the new player experience - grinding, leveling, UI, tutorial  etc
Fix the player retention through the addition of casual content.  More missions, mission variety, better and more complex economy and crafting and built in game mechanics that force players out of the safe zone.  

Address both of those things and once the game is released (if) hopefully new players will pick up the game and stick around....and old players will comeback and have new things to keep them engaged.  With more players on the water all our PVP ailments will be magically fixed.

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15 minutes ago, Christendom said:

While writing the above something came to mind.

I remember an old civics teacher of mine a long time ago said something that has stuck with me even to this day and has kinda shaped my adult view on the world.  A government's role is to protect the minority from the majority.  The majority will always take care of itself.  I view the role of the development team in a similar light.  They're job is to make this game playable and enjoyable to the new player and protect him from us old salty dogs.  The minority vs the majority.  The role of the developers is to make sure that new player makes it from the checkout screen and into the sandbox safely so he can go play with the other kids.  New player zones and capital areas should not be sandboxes.  The map is big enough to accommodate both styles of play. 

I guess your teacher was very "American minded". We in Europe prefer some like that "the role of a goverment is to let the majority rule without abusing the minorities". But maybe it's just semantics.

Edited by victor
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16 minutes ago, Christendom said:

You cannot expect your game population to be white knights.  If they see a player, they'll sink a player.  That's why the game needs to put protections in place to protect these new players so they stick with the game and become old players.  Most of us, including a lot of the old "war dogs" on these forums that are anti-safe zones and anti-convenience were able to grind up to rear admiral back when missions and AI fleets were able to close, the AI were easier to kill and ships were far easier to get.  So while it's cute to say that its a "PVP game and people should get over it", let's remind these guys that back when they were grinding up it was a very different game than it is now.  

...

 Naval Action does not.  Which is why we don't have a lot of players.  Focus on making this game more casual friendly and maybe people will return.  More people = more PVP.  Problem solved.

Bingo.  Quote edited for length.

There is no reason to help a newbie.  None of them make it.  And while tutorials will help some, it still won't help them lose the first ship they spent a week saving for.  And the next one and the next one.  If they make it that far.

There are no white knights because when there was population, you could not defend your people.  There (for me) was nothing better than when I was sailing my new, shiney Rattlesnake outside Cton.  (yes a long time ago).  Werewolf jumped me in his ganking Suprise.  I called for help, there was help there (Valentine I think).  I just had to live, get away.  Then we chased him down, I tagged him and slowed him down and Val sank him.  Amount the most fun 2 hours/satisfying two hours I have had in gaming.  In the post patch mechanics, if I had gotten away, I would not have been able to tag with the battle open long enough for Val to get in.  In those days you had defense mechanics (no forts if I remember) and people willing to defend.  For months you had zero ability to do the same in any reasonable fashion.  You might be able to do it now, but it's too late.

Over the next few months WW and I crossed swords.  He was the better sailor, but I was always willing to sacrifice to get a team win.

That game is gone.  The most poignant comments are when elites from many nations pile into a fight and kill a small group.  That is this game in a nutshell and why I don't bother anymore.

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28 minutes ago, Christendom said:

Focus on making this game more casual friendly and maybe people will return.

 Devs already said in other post that this game is not for casual players nor casual gameplay.

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4 minutes ago, Christendom said:

New players were protected.  The problem is it was too little too late.  By the time safe zones rolled out the majority of this games copies had been sold.  Steam reviews are abysmal for the most part.  New players aren't picking this game up really.  Returning players sticking around is a problem because they've already experienced the highest level of content this game has to offer 10x over.  

So really what needs to be done....

Fix the new player experience - grinding, leveling, UI, tutorial  etc
Fix the player retention through the addition of casual content.  More missions, mission variety, better and more complex economy and crafting and built in game mechanics that force players out of the safe zone.  

Address both of those things and once the game is released (if) hopefully new players will pick up the game and stick around....and old players will comeback and have new things to keep them engaged.  With more players on the water all our PVP ailments will be magically fixed.

Indeed. Old players have the least amount of anything to do, it's your pick between rvr and capital zone pvp/ganking. Hardly anything promotes us to go out and use the map, pvpers, pvers and new players are all being cramped into the safezone areas, not by choice. But because game mechanics doesn't keep us from doing it all the time, nothing to promote us to go out and fight on for other areas, no objective besides sink and get marks

 

3 minutes ago, IndianaGeoff said:

There is no reason to help a newbie.  None of them make it.  And while tutorials will help some, it still won't help them lose the first ship they spent a week saving for.  And the next one and the next one.  If they make it that far.

There are no white knights because when there was population, you could not defend your people.  There (for me) was nothing better than when I was sailing my new, shiney Rattlesnake outside Cton.  (yes a long time ago).  Werewolf jumped me in his ganking Suprise.  I called for help, there was help there (Valentine I think).  I just had to live, get away.  Then we chased him down, I tagged him and slowed him down and Val sank him.  Amount the most fun 2 hours/satisfying two hours I have had in gaming.  In the post patch mechanics, if I had gotten away, I would not have been able to tag with the battle open long enough for Val to get in.  In those days you had defense mechanics (no forts if I remember) and people willing to defend.  For months you had zero ability to do the same in any reasonable fashion.  You might be able to do it now, but it's too late.

There is no reason to help a newbie but you were helped as a newbie and it probably kept you from quiting? That's quite on the edge for a game.

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36 minutes ago, Cabral said:

 Devs already said in other post that this game is not for casual players nor casual gameplay.

Then let's continue to watch population drop. Ui will drop we will get a bump up in population they will realize it's the same old shiz and leave. This game has the possibility to be casual AND hardcore but doesn't look like we will get that

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1 hour ago, Slim McSauce said:

Indeed. Old players have the least amount of anything to do, it's your pick between rvr and capital zone pvp/ganking. Hardly anything promotes us to go out and use the map, pvpers, pvers and new players are all being cramped into the safezone areas, not by choice. But because game mechanics doesn't keep us from doing it all the time, nothing to promote us to go out and fight on for other areas, no objective besides sink and get marks

 

There is no reason to help a newbie but you were helped as a newbie and it probably kept you from quiting? That's quite on the edge for a game.

Yup.  I got lots of help.  But the reason is does no good is newbies don't stay more than a month.  I can't recall a single newb that stuck after the great wipe.  Once I was able, I helped dozens of them.  Mostly giving tough Snows or Navy Brigs with Cannons when they could sail it.  Or cannon for a ship or carronides for a cutter.  That and 50k gets you going off to a great start.  I played with them in missions.  Maybe I take them out and show them how to cap a ship.  Sometimes we would let them fleet with us in a cutter... just for giggles.  You learn a lot sailing in much bigger ships trying not to get hit while getting in a little damage.  Maybe we would bring one down so they could capture it.   But when I realized it was futile, I slowed down and then stopped.

But as a rear admiral I realize I should be marching out of Charleston in ships, 3 or 4 a night.  Sorry.  That sounds like less fun than helping newbies just getting started who won't stick with it.  And I 100% get why they don't stick with it.

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Here's a theoretical question for you guys:

What would you do if, when the game finally launches, ALL of us were reset to absolute zero? No XP, no gold, no craft XP.

Would you be happy looking forward to the incessant grind and vulnerabilities that the new guys are currently going through or would you end up moving on to something else?

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2 hours ago, Slim McSauce said:

Indeed. Old players have the least amount of anything to do, it's your pick between rvr and capital zone pvp/ganking. Hardly anything promotes us to go out and use the map, pvpers, pvers and new players are all being cramped into the safezone areas, not by choice. But because game mechanics doesn't keep us from doing it all the time, nothing to promote us to go out and fight on for other areas, no objective besides sink and get marks

 

There is no reason to help a newbie but you were helped as a newbie and it probably kept you from quiting? That's quite on the edge for a game.

if only we had more people to play and help/protect noobs

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16 minutes ago, The Wren said:

Here's a theoretical question for you guys:

What would you do if, when the game finally launches, ALL of us were reset to absolute zero? No XP, no gold, no craft XP.

Would you be happy looking forward to the incessant grind and vulnerabilities that the new guys are currently going through or would you end up moving on to something else?

If the game was playable, I would play.  I don't expect anything from the other side.

Some would leave for sure.  Many left after the Great Wipe just because of the grind to get back into a first rate.

But it won't matter, depending on the mechanics.  The current slot meta makes such a gulf between those starting and the experienced captains that in a couple weeks, we will be back to where we are now.

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42 minutes ago, The Wren said:

Here's a theoretical question for you guys:

What would you do if, when the game finally launches, ALL of us were reset to absolute zero? No XP, no gold, no craft XP.

Would you be happy looking forward to the incessant grind and vulnerabilities that the new guys are currently going through or would you end up moving on to something else?

Keep playing.

Even putting aside my tester mindset ( until release that is ) of hardwiping my account at every major upgrade, the feeling of starting a "new world" is one of the big attractions in gaming overall.

In NA it is represented by a new naval career. In a flight sim is a new plane to learn and a new career to survive, in a wargame is to represent the what-if scenario and try as many of them as possible ( would love a literal prussian original kriegspiel in computer format ), in a rpg to explore and learn a new world created, in a mil sim fps to do the mission.

Maybe if too much meta then it gets thin, but fortunately I don't dwell in that so novelty is always a factor. There's no grind for me, evolution of slots and character/ships just happen naturally as I go do stuff which I like and...ermm... I must say some of that stuff is actually getting in the way of a fat trader with my schooner *shrugs*

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51 minutes ago, IndianaGeoff said:

If the game was playable, I would play.  I don't expect anything from the other side.

Some would leave for sure.  Many left after the Great Wipe just because of the grind to get back into a first rate.

But it won't matter, depending on the mechanics.  The current slot meta makes such a gulf between those starting and the experienced captains that in a couple weeks, we will be back to where we are now.

Well I would try to pass the M&C permit, get my Hercules, then do some BC missions to fit the cannons, rum and repairs, and then go kill any newbie I can for marks, xp, gold, loot and whatever. I would NEVER be a Brit in such conditions.

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12 hours ago, Christendom said:

You cannot expect your game population to be white knights....

The question is how you make devs understand this?

...

The PvP in this game is Carebear PvP. It is supporting veteran players in every possible way. Expensive wood types, mega upgrades, ultra rare mega books, etc. Gear is to support veteran players to win new players in PvP, which is the core of NA PvP today.

The wolves not fighting other wolves. The veteran/elite players scared to lose their shit, lose their face in battle. The rich players made their money farming new players and now devs want decreased protection for green zones. PvP fights versus equally skilled opponents mean that you on average win 50% from these battles.

New players win 10% or 0%? They are soon back to PvE for more money and wolves want to hunt them on green? Devs making it easier. Don't really know if this is the right thing to do.

Rarely I see screen shots from veteran players fighting each other.

Wolves are hunting around KPR or MT or name your green zone. Areas are/were really popular and it is hard to find targets outside green zones?

There has to be content to make wolves to fight wolves. Should be bound to RvR and OW PvP. Not sure if current player base even wants to play competitive PvP.

 

Edinorogs are something that veteran players have more than enough and new players have 0. Hard to understand why to support this.

 

Asked signaling perk for all more than a year and have not been the only one. This is one feature that could decrease amount of ganking and give us better fights. Cannot test?

PvP mark count and reward could be decreased for the side that has more BR. For example if you have 2.2xBR you get no reward. The side that has less BR would always get 1x reward.

These 2 changes would help in gank and new player issue.

Can we see gear level, sum all so that you can see how good gear and ship your enemy has. Why not?

 

Today if you say that we have to support new players devs say this is HARDCORE MAN!

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The solution that has been proposed, finish the tutorial and get a new ship with M&C rank, is a serious underestimation of the value of rank.  A M&C who has only fought the tutorial will be a lamb to the slaughter in his new gift ship.  I cant wait to meet one in OW!  Rank does not give you the experience needed to fight in a PVP environment.  I have over 700 hours in this game and love it, but im still not able to compete with the wolves in their super ships.  I'm getting better and I don't mind losing ships, but im always very glad when I get back in the green zone alive. 

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3 minutes ago, Oberon74 said:

The solution that has been proposed, finish the tutorial and get a new ship with M&C rank, is a serious underestimation of the value of rank.  A M&C who has only fought the tutorial will be a lamb to the slaughter in his new gift ship.  I cant wait to meet one in OW!  Rank does not give you the experience needed to fight in a PVP environment.  I have over 700 hours in this game and love it, but im still not able to compete with the wolves in their super ships.  I'm getting better and I don't mind losing ships, but im always very glad when I get back in the green zone alive. 

And that is how we ALL have done it....   I’m not understanding why people feel the need to assume that by making life “easier” for newer players that they’re really helping them out.  This game will NEVER be mainstream. It is NOT one click to “get back into the action”.  It is a semi-niche game for people who are passionate about immersion and the age of sail experience. 

I, for one, am glad that it’s this way.  

Its really ok for a game to be not for everyone.  

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Solution for new comers and veterans alike.

Hard wipe on release.

Solomon's law never fails.

Cannot think of anything better. Any mechanics changed will be explored by veterans in a blink of an eye and we will get back to yard zero.

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15 hours ago, The Wren said:

Here's a theoretical question for you guys:

What would you do if, when the game finally launches, ALL of us were reset to absolute zero? No XP, no gold, no craft XP.

Would you be happy looking forward to the incessant grind and vulnerabilities that the new guys are currently going through or would you end up moving on to something else?

You mean like some of us have done 4 or 5 times already in a much tougher environment than it is now?

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13 minutes ago, Tac said:

You mean like some of us have done 4 or 5 times already in a much tougher environment than it is now?

Yeah seriously pre steam. No missions no safe zones. Steam release 1500-2000 players online a night in prime time with No safe zones and missions had hello kitty all xp. Ultimately it is easier in its current form for the new guys and the safe zone needs to exist but don't try and validate the arguments with "well put yourself in there shoes" We all have and it was much harder back then with player numbers for us.

PS
FYI i'm all for safe zones :) The new players need protecting.

 

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2 minutes ago, Capt Trashal Early said:

Yeah seriously pre steam. No missions no safe zones. Steam release 1500-2000 players online a night in prime time with No safe zones and missions had hello kitty all xp. Ultimately it is easier in its current form for the new guys and the safe zone needs to exist but don't try and validate the arguments with "well put yourself in there shoes" We all have and it was much harder back then with player numbers for us.

PS
FYI i'm all for safe zones :) The new players need protecting.

 

That’s a fair statement and I agree, the thing is all these good players even the top 5% were made by being sunk , they may not get sunk a lot now but I guarantee all were trash at some point, but were hardened like steel over time through setbacks, grinding , and getting sunk.

There were  a few ranks in the old days that took an eternity to grind through and that’s without missions or safe zones but when you hit that next rank and earned the right to sail that next level ship you felt like you had earned it.

Last guy in our clan who was really low rank took him 2 weeks of grinding, boom done 1st rate pbs here we come.

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