I would like to raise a thread regarding the economy, including all its sub-branches(crafting, hauling etc..) and the effects of every aspect translated into open world game play, particularly, but not limited to the Realm vs Realm aspect of the game.
I will be taking experiences from previous games in which I have played quite a bit, and which have influenced this post; Pirates of the Burning Sea and Eve Online.
Economy vs Open World/RvR/PvP Balance
The developers at Game Labs, as we know, have been working on the crafting system, they plan to merge it along with the current market system and upgrade it into a fully operational economy. So far so good, but I would like to stress areas which have lacked in previous game economies, rendering game-play less fun. The system Pirates of the Burning Sea had (Initially, before they completely messed it up) was a very good balance in terms of realism and game-play necessity, what I mean is that the economy allowed for relatively easy production of frigates and 4th rates, but got exponentially harder as you tried to produce 3rd, 2nd, and 1st rates. If pirates had gone for a more realistic approach, (understand I am not a history expert) we would have probably all been sailing in even smaller ships then frigates for PvP as it would've been too expensive to take a frigate to PvP constantly. Very few people would have 1-4th rates and frigates, especially of the caliber players liked to run around with constantly-- in PvP.
So I go back to the topic of balancing, between realism and the necessity of keeping the game-play fun and refreshing, because nobody would like to sail in small schooners for a long time and nobody would like constant open sea fighting in 1st rates. This is why, in my opinion, Pirates of the Burning Sea excelled at having such a great pvp atmosphere. Open sea combat, throughout almost the entirety of the game, revolved around frigates, easily disposable if you were a great captain, and not that big of a loss if you were a newbie. Which finally brings me to my 1st suggestion; 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st rates should be exponentially harder to make, requiring your organization/society (whatever you like to call it) to work together to produce it. Where building a 4th rate wouldn't be that much of a hassle, transition to a 1st rate, and you've got some work to do. Sticking to this idea, when designing the economy, will keep more frigates in the open sea and increase the value a 1st, 2nd and 3rd rate have in major operations, ex: Port Battles, nations will be more reluctant or more daring when choosing to summon their beastly weapons of war.
Capturing Ships- NPCs
My next suggestion, and keep in mind, I have not heard anything regarding this, so it could be outdated already, and yes, I am ready to dodge fire balls just in case. Players shouldn't be able to capture NPC ships, the contrary worked fine in Pirates of the Burning Sea, but only because NPCs sailed weak frigates in comparison to what players actually used for PvP, and even then, you could not capture any 4th, 3rd, 2nd or 1st rates from NPC fleets. Yes, I know players in Naval Action would eventually be able to craft better versions of ships which NPCs used but it still would not out-weigh the fact that the open sea and port battles would suffer a massive inflation of rate ships, which I strongly believe would turn the game dull and less immersive, not giving it the dramatic feel of loss. Games such as Star Wars: The Old Republic advertised open world pvp, and it ended in massive disappointment simply due to the fact that when you died you lost nothing, you could just respawn and go back in. This mechanic strongly resembles any mainstream arcade FPS shooter out there, NOT an open world MMO.
There needs to be a risk, and there needs to be hard work to acquire those ships, not essentially a grind, but still. I say this, and I do understand there would be a money loss in regards to the ship upgrades when you died in a captured ship. If we allow the capturing of ships, the devs would need to balance the cost vs loss ratio in order to make both options equally monetarily viable, taking into account the durability of bought ships. It would be a massive headache and only cause drama among the players, plus, it would make ship prices go either down, due to ship builders trying to make whatever minimal profit they can or way up in order to make a decent sized profit from the minimal sell orders. The prices could also fluctuate heavily if the developers failed to balance the cost vs loss between both methods of acquiring ships. Either way, it would discourage people from manufacturing ships. So I strongly recommend the end of capturing NPC ships, for the sake of keeping the game strictly supply and demand, based off of an economy ran by econ players and defended by PvP players. It worked well in Pirates of the Burning Sea and EXCEPTIONALLY well in EvE online, there is absolutely no doubt about it. I see no issue with capturing enemy PLAYER ships though, but I would suggest putting a very minor cap on that like PotBS had, where you could capture one ship every couple of hours.
The Cycle of the Economy
In an open world game like Naval Action, it is essential you follow certain rules, rules that keep the cycle of the game running. Haulers/traders and manufacturers produce ships, consumables, upgrades --> PvPers (the main consumers, who die all the time) buy the ships and equipment ---> ? D: How will players who love to PvP make a living? Once again, PotBS had an answer, not a historically realistic one, but one that kept the cycle going, and that was Marks of Victory/Trade/War. These marks were rewarded to players after killing an enemy player, the player could then sell those marks for quite a bit of money. If you haven't played Pirates of the Burning Sea, you may ask, "But who would want to buy those marks, what was their purpose?" well, in Pirates, the Marks allowed you to obtain special ships or equipment at your factions admiralty, players who didn't PvP or were simply bad at it, bought those all the time, there was a big market for them.
But I am not suggesting the same should be true with Naval Action. What I am suggesting is we have a similar mechanic in place, possibly more realistic, or immersive than the one PotBS had. I am not a particularly creative person, so I invite you, if you agree with this idea, to suggest a possibility, but just for the sake of an example; players could get a document/certificate for sinking a ship which could be turned in at the admiralty for different prizes. This document/certificate could be turned in for a prize which could benefit various other play-styles; explorers, haulers, PvErs, and especially the econ people, which could turn those certificates into something that would allow them to craft better ships/equipment (Mastercraft and such) by bringing in materials from the mother country.
Why would I bother suggesting this? Certainly, a PvPer could go do some econ, or grind NPC fleets to make money. Well, the one simple answer is that, each and every one of us has a play-style and I personally would hate to grind for money so that I could PvP, I'd rather do what I love and get paid for it.
This has been my suggestions post, I would like to invite people to add to these if they got any ideas from it and I am completely accepting of constructive criticism.
Also, sorry if some of the paragraphs turned out to be walls of text, I tried separating them as best I could.