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Introduction Let us discuss the grind.. Is it too easy or quick? Too long and boring? Gold versus XP? PVE versus PVP multiplier grind? Your powergrinding tricks and sweetspots? I will bring up some controversial topics in the wall of text that follows, so there is the potential for panties to bunch up, but there are more appropriate topics if you want to moan or sperg about PVP vs. PVE, premium ships or pay-to-win. I’ll get us started: Assumptions and limitations (skip if you’re easily bored) I’m making the assumption that most players will grind XP and gold mainly fighting bots. One reason is the low risk for loss of durabilities fighting bots, secondly it often proves difficult to find a player you have a fair chance of beating that can’t successfully run away from you. I also assume that most players, even those in guilds or clans, will do the bulk of their grinding solo. The grind is designed as a mechanism to give players a purpose to populate the servers. It serves as a timed limiter to end-game content and thus provides variety to the game world and slows powercreep. The grind is also there to give players an incentive to support the developers financially by purchasing content that will speed up or alleviate parts of the grind (Premium ships, premium account, gold packages…) I can only vaguely speculate how officers, trading and economy, crafting, missions and other things planned will affect how we perceive the grind, so that “black box” is quite large. Though I try to figure out what’ll be best for the majority of players, the game’s longevity and the developer’s funding, I am limited by my own tastes and approach to this game. I’m almost exclusively PVP oriented coming to this game. I treat the grind, PVE and the economy as fluff or necessary evils I have to wade through to get the the essence of my gaming experience; Fighting other human players. Fun factor Grinding should be set up to be as fun as possible to maximize player recruitment and retention. I found the first ranks and the first few thousands of gold to be fun to grind through, you get to capture and buy new ships and stuff, it had me distracted from the chore a grind is. I’m currently sitting 3k XP into the Master and Commander rank and it feels like the grind has slowed down and that exposes the drudgery of it. I have had sessions where I’ve sailed around hostile ports for 15-20 minutes without finding a target I could realistically farm, for me that is a problem. I’m a casual player with the occasional opportunity to play longer stretches and so I get frustrated if my shorter sessions are filled with not only boring PVE farming but also longer stretches of completely unentertaining displacement of virtual seawater. Solutions Premium ships When given the opportunity to buy a capable ship (I’m thinking in terms of something comparable to the Surprise at least) that I cannot lose, I will gladly throw my money at the screen. Premium ships might be a blanket fix to the PVP aversion we’re seeing currently. If there’s nothing to lose except a moderate amount of easily recoverable gold, I can accept fights I most likely won’t win in exchange for the XP I want. If I think like that, others might too and suddenly the seas are filled with XP grinders taking any and all fights. I know the realism buffs and role-players will detest this, but everyone else will be PVPing their heads off and having fun not even noticing the grind. Premium account/time If I can invest money into further compressing the time needed to grind I’ll do it. Skirmish mode If I was given an option to grind XP in a PVP skirmish mode I’d do that most of the time when in XP grind mode, for me that would be max fun coupled with max XP per time unit (To get the job done I’d even stoop to skirmish PVE farming… inorite, spenk mi!). There is a danger that skirmish XP grind availability might leave the OW empty, if that holds true it is obvious that the human nature finds OW grinding too boring in the long run and something needs to be done anyway. PVP and battle rating XP multiplier We already get more XP out of fighting players and fighting stronger ships in weaker. But I wouldn’t have known unless told so, so that incentive isn’t strong enough. Black box stuff and poorfags I’ll leave it to others to envision how the economy++ will keep us entertained and affect the grind, I haven’t a clue and can’t see that I will ever care. Then there’s those who won’t pay a dime other than the asking price to get in. These players are probably more important to take good care of than me. While they won’t contribute much directly as far as money goes, they will keep the game world populated and alive. That in turn will keep whales like me interested and the developers have the option to farm our disposable income. Others can chime in on how not to scare off poorfags, I just don’t know how they think.