i dont know if this suggestions have been admitted before, but let me give you an idea of mine idea/suggestion.
Iam playing now since two weeks and last days i started to craft more! The Trade Tool helps alot to find materials i need, but it could have a Expansion to make things easier!
Example: I need for my craft silver, i search a Production Harbour, using the trade tool, sailing there a long time, once i am there, i see the materials are sold out. This is a point where i am getting frustrated, sailing there for an hour or more to find out the materials are not available. So what's now, yes i can open a contract and wait for it to fill, and return then again to the outpost after a few days to collect the mats.
The idea is here to Expand the Trade tool, which shows the player the stock available in each Outpost, this way i can make the sailing to there worth it, and i am getting the stuff directly! Don't get it wrong i like Sailing but going somewhere for nothing is just a waste of time, which the most of us don't have!
Further more the trade tool could also have a delivery option, like we can now delivery from free Towns. Why not make the delivery possible to each OP in the Game. Choosing Materials in the Trade tool of choice with an extra function(button) to choose delivery. So i could buy directly from Trade tool and let the goods deliver to a OP of choice( An OP which are settled by the player ofc.) This saves alot of Sailing/Searching etc. so the player can focus more on crafting/combat etc. and just sail the short routes etc.
After playing some more and some longer distance sailing i would like to share my ideas some deeper into this trade/delivery system.
To keep it simple to read and understand my poor english i will use the term "let me"
> Let me hire AI NPC Traders from my Headquarters or any owned outpost.
> Let me send my AI Trader to any choosen OP(outpost) to buy materials i need(especially usefull on long distances). This AI Trader should be attackable by players(fits pefectly into PvP and PvE since on both servers are real players hunters etc. Once my AI Trader is attacked and defeated i lost, first my money becuase i hired him, second if he is attacked once he bought the materials i lost the goods too. A Great Extra Feature would be after he is defeated a wrack occurs with some left goods for a certain time, every player can find and loot it. Once the timer is depleted and noone found the wrack, it will disappear from the map/open world. This timer should prevent from overloads of wracks in open world!
> Let me be able to choose a route with Waypoints, which the AI Trader has to sail. Lets say i have send my Trader to an OP or he is on his way from an OP back to my delivery Harbour, but last 3 attempts i lost many gold and goods cause players always caught him. With this method there will be some tactical route planning gameplay involved, i would be able to plan another route, which is hopefully safier then the first route.
Like i mentioned and others did below in the comments i also would like to suggest this.
> Let me build my own Trade Ships(well i can already but i could assign them to a hired trader! Think about hiring like we have now the Officier. Once ship is attacked and defeated, one durability is lost, after 5 times i need to craft a new one!
After all, this should also prevent those really long Sailing distance like we have now, it's really a pain to sail about 2 hours just to get some of the mats i need and the possibilty to arrive and everything is sold out, like mentioned above!
Well thats it for my little suggestion.
I hope you can understand my bad english:)
Der Fliegende Hollaender!