I have a few suggestions for fixing the pirate nations. First off, a little bit about me, the most recent wipe will have been the 3Rd wipe I've been through. My first outing as a player was on the pve server getting my sea legs. Soon after I transferred over to global to start sinking players! I'm not by any stretch an expert at pvp and I rarely participate in rvr as I find it rather boring so take the following observations and suggestions for what they're worth.
1. The Pirates as a "national power" is simply absurd. How this managed to make its way in to a game rooted in so much realism is simply beyond me. This should not and can not be. As it stands, smaller nations act more as pirates (or privateers if you rather) than the Pirates do themselves. They should be based around open world pvp with the occasional sack of a town here and there.
- Pirates should be a faction based solely around pvp where only the most veteran players find success and Profit, thus pirates should receive higher rewards for capturing and or sinking ships. Furthermore pirates should also receive a significantly higher sell price for ships back to the port. To offset this, pirate pve missions should remain open and visible for the duration of the mission, as any ship being attacked would certainly be signaling frantically for help while being attacked. Player engagement timers are fine the way they are. Other national factions should receive a slight buff in income of pve missions, and a significant buff in income from sinking pirate players as they are a scourge on the open seas. (maybe also receive a slight buff to income for sinking war targets if the alliance system were to come back, which I think it should, pirates would not be able to participate in diplomacy)
2. Pirates should neither be able to capture nor lose ports.
- Suggestions: pirates should not be holding regional capitals, that's absurd. Instead the Pirates should have a total of 4-6 ports spread across the map from which to base out of, free towns would be a good idea, they would also be the only faction able to teleport between free towns so they may move around and plunder different areas with impunity. Raising hostility would do 2 things. First stolen or contraband good would be produced only in ports that the Pirates have raised hostility in. The goods would be extremely cheap and have very high sell prices in other portions of the map which does 2 things, brings more traders to the are where the hostility is raised and offer more gentle players in the pirate nation a valuable trade good to generate cash. The amount of these goods available should reflect the amount of hostility in the region. Another interesting thing would be to raise pvp rewards for killing pirates where the hostility is above a certain percentage. The weight of said goods should reflect the value. Should the Pirates set a port battle, the port battle should be a "raid". If the Pirates succeed in the raid, they should hold the port for 3 days after which it reverts back to its original nationality prior to the raid. After the port reverts, the port can not gain hostility for a week and the hostility will drop x amount per day back to 0 before the 7 days has elapsed. During the occupation, pirates receive a 25% discount on all resources in the port both npc and player contract items. This could extend to ships on sale as well. Pirates also would have free repairs and crew replacement in the port during the occupation.
3. Pirates in lineships
-Suggestions: pirates should be limited to the construction of a level 2 shipyard. With a discount on the amount resources for crafting 5th and 6th rates. I would say that pirates should have no access to lineships at all but I feel that would take out a lot of fun for the faction, perhaps pirates sailing a sol would suffer speed, reload, and maneuverability penalties. National powers should receive a discount on the crafting of 1St, 2ND, and 3Rd rates. These discounts would also vary a slight amount based on the amount of regions held by the nation.
4. Victory marks
Suggestions: since pirates would have no way of obtaining victory marks, I think a variant of the conquest mark system should be implemented. Once a region reaches 100% hostility, pirates should get an injection of x amount of combat marks instantly, however only players that get a certain percent of the hostility will receive them. Also, if the port battle is won they should receive x amount of additional combat marks each day the port is in their possession which would again apply to only the players present at the pb. This would hopefully encourage the Pirates to open up multiple fronts against multiple nations.
These are a few of my suggestions and ideas. Let me know what you think.