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  1. Some people ask the open world to be more lively. Here is one way to add life to the sea and even connect a gameplay purpose with it: Generate small boats which appear randomly on the ocean, preferably closer to islands and shorelines, less so on distant waters. Upon sighting, you would need to close in and investigate further about the nature of that boat. Or ignore it completely and treat it as 'decoration' - your choice. When investigating, you find the boat to be one of three sorts: (1) fishing boat (2) smuggler boat (3) longboat with rescued crew of some sunk ship How you do interact with them? First of all, there is no battle instance with them, because they are too insignificant to enter fight with a big ship. They all get spawned in OW like AI fleets, but stationary and without a route for them. After ten minutes or something they vanish again. You just see them floating on a spot, waiting for you to contact or to ignore them. They don't show national flags, you have to get close to find out whose nationality they have. Fishing boats act as local 'memory' of the game, who store for a time a recording of who came across them and into which direction, within a certain diameter of their view. So you make halt at the fisher boat and interrogate them when you suspect an enemy was passing by. They will tell you size of ship (large, medium, small) and direction he took, roughly (West, Nordwest, Southeast etc). So when you are pursuing an enemy, the fishing boats, if there are any, give you clue where to head while chasing a disappeared enemy. This can be very helpful tracking a hiding opponent. Foreign fishing boats may give you deliberately wrong info or refuse to give any info at all if they have the same nationality as the chased enemy. You may now threaten to sink them if they don't tell. Chance will show if they do or still refuse. Upon refusing they get sunk. This hurts your reputation counter (I mention this here only in case we ever get a sort of 'honorable conduct counter' which measures actions according to honor of the captain). A cooperating fishing boat of your own nationality may even offer you information upon sight without you having to ask first, you will see them signalizing for you to come closer and get the message. Smuggler boats look just like fishing boats (they like to disguise) but serve criminal purposes along the shores and between islands. They give you some loot if you stop by and confiscate their illegal cargo. Cutters, Lynxes, Pickles and Privateers are far more efficient in arresting smuggler boats, so the loot will be bigger if you use small ships of this type to hunt smuggler boats (make small craft great again...). After arresting, smuggler boats disappear from waters, you don't capture a boat for use by yourself, as they are no ships in the sense of game mechanics, but local spawn tokens. To spice smuggler boats up a bit, let's have them carry sometimes permits from Admiralty they have stolen somewhere. Bringing up smuggler boats is honorable in the eyes of your government and thus brings you positive reputation too. You act as law enforcement (again, last remark refers to a honorable conduct counter we don't have yet). Longboat with rescued crew you may interpret as leftovers of any battles happening around you in open world. They head for the next shore to safety. If they share your own nationality, you may help them by giving some of your 'fishmeat' as provisions and thus get a positive impulse for your honor counter. Or you take them aboard and add crew this way to yours. In case they belong to an enemy nation, you may take them prisoner and receive a reward from Admiralty for it. Sometimes a famous person may be on board of that longboat, which will significantly increase the respective effect. You earn the gratitude of that celebrity, the gratefulness of your government - or the wrath of the enemy nation. As with the other boat types, you may simply ignore them and pass by, taking them for open world decoration and you won't be bothered. -- And before someone tells in the comments "we have other things to address now", I tell you suggestions don't have a "best consumed before XXX" date, but can be used any time and resurface from a drawer when they suit. Don't choke the flow of imagination. C'est même gratuit.
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