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Derived from @admin's post here Here's my two cents to this: Creating some sort of subclass of the 5th rates, which arguably have the most variety in the game is definitely a good idea! If ship classes are limited to a maximum amount of 7, I hope you learn from that mistake for future projects. Whenever possible create code that is adaptable, bespoke solutions are good for fast results but they will likely trip you later on. I know it is tempting, I made that mistake far to often myself . So if creating subclasses 5a and 5b for lighter and heavier frigates is not an option, then reclassing them to 4th might work. IT hink it is more likely that the problem will just be relocated to the 4th rates. The Gap in that class will be as high. Killing an Aggy/Connie/Inger/Wapen in an Endy may prove quite challenging to the average player. Also, if you want to reclass the Endy and Trinc, throw the Indefatigable in as well. Before thinking about reclassing the Constitution to 3rd rate for increased variety, take a good look at what you have in that class currently. You have the Bellona and the "Third Rate" 74, which are basically clones with minor differences but hugely different Battle Rating and the Gustav Adolph (Wasa) which sees significantly less use since the BR change. Re-Adapt BR of the Bellona and 3rd rate to be closer together. And either lower the Wasa'S BR or give it a little Buff (Cue the "Wasa was too OP, never again"-faction). Now I know, the Wasa was once tremendously overpowered. I have no intention to see it go back to that. But as it is now it arguably is of not much use compared to it's compatriots in the 3rd class. It can't be used effectively in Port Battles because of it's extreme BR. It is somwhat viable in Open World but has not a single stat that makes it stand out from the other 3rd rates. It is weaker, has less Sail HP, cardboard masts, less crew and less broadside weight. It turns slightly better but not enough to make a difference. The speed is more or less the same although lower hold space makes packing sufficent repairs without losing speed a problem. I would suggest finding a way to make the wasa stand out a bit from the other two. A little buff on the masts, and a SMALL increase of the base speed (between .25 and .4 knots probably) should do wonders. It's chasers make it a good tagger, let it shine in that capacity because it can't shine in any other right now. I have 100+ hours on all three 3rd rates. The only reason I still have a Wasa is because I find it quite nice to look at. The variety can be there if you let it. Make the Wasa different from the other 3rd rates. Not better, not worse (as it is now) but different. Give players a reason to sail this beauty other than not having knowledge slot on the other two. After that you can think about further increasing variety.
The grinding for high rated ships takes entirely to long. Specifically it takes as more time to get 5 ship knowledge slots on a single first rate than it does to get max crew rank. When you consider the fact that all XP counts towards player rank while only battle xp counts for ship knowledge. Here is one example of a bucentaure 2nd rate just to get it to 4 ship knowledge slots. Assumption: you get 1500 battle xp per mission on average. Which is not likely for most people. Assumption: Average time per fleet mission 25 minutes. Xp required for 4th ship knowledge slot on a buc. 88,350 88,350 divided by 1500 = 58.9 missions x 25 minute= 1472.5 minutes divided by 60 = 24.5 hours of constant grinding, not counting sailing time or finding a partner. Just to get the 4th ship knowledge slot. Please consider reducing this time sink by at least half. After grinding 3 ships, Buc, Victory and Locean up multiple slots. I feel like nothing has been achieved and the game is getting incredibly repetitive. Especially when solo missions are even worse because you get 1 ship worth 700 xp at best. Even if you kill it in under 10 minutes. It still takes longer to level.