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Guide to solo piracy or how to hunt with a style


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CONTENT

1. Introduction
2. Hunting vs Trading
3. What makes you money
4. Hunting areas
5. Tools of the trade
6. Player skills
7. General notes


 
INTRODUCTION
There are number of ways you can get PVP in Naval Action. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of hunting in small fleet for example is that you could take on bigger targets and larger groups. The disadvantage however is that you need other people to hunt with and this could be limited at times. You will also have to share your fortunes and fame and sometimes limited to what your mates want to do.
I have been mostly a solo hunter ever since I have raised the black flag. The freedom to act, the thrill of being chased, earned fame, fear and respect gives second to none satisfaction.

As a solo hunter you will sink a lot at the start until you master the trade, so be ready and don’t worry about it. The good thing is that losing your ships won’t break your bank as most expensive parts of your ships will be the upgrades.
It may sound strange, but in your early solo pirate career you need to make sure that you sink a lot. This will achieve the most important thing - you will become ok with sinking. You will stop being afraid of sinking. Being ganked or losing the fight will not have a negative effect on your fighting abilities. And most importantly instead of getting upset and being salty with your enemies you will actually enjoy being sunk due to having challenging game and would congratulate your opponent, which means you will ALWAYS get pleasurable experience from the game no matter if you won or lost the fight.
Get the right attitude and not only your skill will improve, but also your gaming experience.

In this guide I will share some first hand knowledge that I’ve learned from my clan mates, from my enemies and what I have learned from my own experience sailing solo for a year and a half. I will teach you few tricks of the trade that will come handy, will help to avoid few mistakes and hopefully save you  a bit of money and time.

Solo pirates are a special caste. It requires lots of work and a long road to become successful, but it’s sure as hell worth it. And what’s more important the path itself is very enjoyable too.

I will not go into basics such as what rank you need to sail 5th rates or crafting level to craft Surprise or what building and the materials you need. If you haven’t figured this out yet then you might want to wait with hunting solo. All I will tell you is that you need to be able to fully crew your 5th rate (higher the rank the better it is) and be able to provide yourself with ships, cannons and consumables. Being in a clan also helps because your mates can craft you the ships and upgrades.



HUNTING vs TRADING
You can say that you have become successful hunter when your hunting starts paying for itself so you don’t have to trade or do PVE missions in order to afford your solo pvp gameplay.
As a trader you will always make more money. Always… Unless you keep running into me of course. Then its the other way around, but no one is that stupid :)
Before you decide to go solo you need to make a call of what is more important to you. What are your ultimate goals in this game. Some people play to accumulate in-game assets. They are awesome at trading, finding those sweet deals and avoid seadogs like you and me. They make millions of cash and every day that they play they make 10 times more than you do. I’m ok with that. Are you? The way they experience PVP is by setting aside a budget that they happy to invest into PVP experience. In their mind they have already lost or prepare to lose this money/assets. Because of that they don’t like to go over that budget so if they have sunk too many times we won’t see them PVPing as active until they fit within their budget again.

We are the opposite. We might be short on cash and this will make us go hunting more.

Let’s make this clear right from the start. You are not going down the solo hunter path to earn lots of money. In my humble opinion its not what its about. I hunt purely because of the experiences that I get out of it. Whatever assets that you have earned in the game will disappear when you stop playing (which will happen eventually), but your experiences, your achievements, the joy will all stay with you in your memories forever. Well that’s just my opinion. It also depends on how good your memory is too :P

Everything that we do in terms of earning money is dedicated to provide us means to pvp. This is the key attitude there. Do not be afraid to lose your assets. Below I will show you how you can afford to PVP all day long without trading at all.



WHAT MAKES YOU MONEY
As devoted PVPers you will come across few valuables that others will buy off you.

- Combat Marks. Fortunately PVP victories pays out well. Just make sure that before you sell them you have all the books, bow figures, upgrades, BPs etc. Saved Combat Marks could go be sold for a good amount of gold. Current price is a 1000 per mark. You get 200k gold for 200 marks.

- PVP fights also good source of income. That’s of course if you can win them. Most of the time I will sink the ship to get experience from the kill, money and combat marks.

- Sealed bottles may also come handy.  Relocating from one area to another means you are on long sail trips, might as well get some fishing done. You always must be alert though. If you meet the enemy fleet and get tagged you have little time to convert fish to meat and then get rid of it. Else you will be so loaded you won’t get away. A bit risky, but I was careful enough not to get in trouble yet because of that. Collect your sealed bottles. Open them in your friendly waters so they are as close to your capital as possible. You will have to collect them on a trader. Labor hours can be sold for some good easy profits if you lucky enough to get them.

- Capture player trading ships. You don’t get much rewards for sinking them so capturing them and delivering to your capital to sell in the shop is a good way to make money. Trader Brigs is your money making machine in the early stage of your hunting career. They are defenseless and provide good source of first PVP combat experience. You will need to learn how to cap them, how to turn them into wind. How to keep the tag. All this requires some training and there is no better way than to practice on traders that can’t sink you. Currently Trader Brigs can be sold quickly for around 50k which is a good income for the beginners. When you are an established hunter and just started your hunting day and got your trader brig captured, check the loot. Nothing valuable? Sink it. Keep looking for other traders. You will get some cash for sinking the ship + the Combat Marks. You will also get some experience that you need when you grind those skill knowledge slots of your ship. It’s not worth to go all the way back to your free town base just to drop off 50k worth of ship that you still have to deliver to your capital later. That of course is you are not short of money to get you the replacement ship, cannons and upgrades.

Remember we are not here for the money (they will come anyway if you do everything right) so unless you are wrapping up your hunting day and ready to go home, don’t bother too much. It’s better not to miss opportunity to tag a bigger fish.
Then there are your best finds - Indiaman. This is a true trophy stag. The ship itself has a lot of value even if its an empty trader. You should always bring it back home because it won’t get much better than that. Each India can be sold for 500k quick cash. Make a spreadsheet and start 8 column database. Collect your Intel. When you see players sailing one take notes. You want Name of the player, his Rank, his Clan tag, Ship - Fleet that he sails, Place and Time spotted. Also if you tagged him in distance from land then he is on a specific course. Work with your map. Note his Bearing, draw a line. Find which port he left and where he is heading to. Here is my version.        

Clan Name Rank Ship - Fleet Departed Bearing Place Time
BLACK Koltes Curse India - India, India Carl WbN, Savanna La Mar KPR 11:55 PM


Reason why I like to run spreadsheet is because you can sort your notes by columns and study specific area. It’s amazing how much and how fast you will gather the information. Soon you will be able to see which areas gets lots of activities. Make sure that you type names of the places first and then make notes, so when you sort by that column it sorts properly.


- Player loot. Sometimes you score the jackpot and get that India man with a good load of trade goods. I capped one with x4 Parisian Furniture. Sold the goods and the ship for little over 2mil.

- Capture player fighting ships. Yes, sinking it gives you experience, money and Combat Marks, however. Sometimes you will get lucky catching damaged players coming out from missions and you could get yourself a nice fighting ship. Mission grinders usually pimped up their ships well, which means with all the upgrades it will sell well. Good 4th rate could easily go for as much as million or even higher considering the installed upgrades.



HUNTING AREAS
Start with capital. Yes right away. How else are you going to learn? Remember you will need to sink a lot so you get accustomed to being ganked. This will help you to keep your cool in any situation later. I always say its better to lose lots of low rate cheap ships earlier and learn your mistakes than sink your expensive ships later to the same mistakes.
You need to practice running. Reading and predicting the wind. First thing I did when I become a pirate I got me half decent rattlesnake and went straight to Charlestone. When I joined BLACK on PVP2 I asked where is a good place to find PVP? I’m outside US capital at the moment. The guys were like, this dude is asking where to find PVP and he is outside enemy’s capital and his rank is only Raider. Yeah, he is BLACK material, get him in. He will learn fast… and I did. So be bold.

Hint #1. Every time you dock in free port check what trade goods are sold in the shop. Make notes of the most expensive ones.
Hint #2. Trader tool is your friend. Check it regularly (preferably straight after downtime as thats when its most updated). Take notes where are the most expensive trading goods usually are (dont forget to filter by “A” column (Available). That’s where you find lots of traders. Be smart. Hide, let them collect the goods and tag them on their way back. If they spot you they will stay in port.
Hint #3. Look for best and heaviest building materials. To pull out Live or White oak you need a large ship no smaller than LGV. Most likely will be India. When you find one don’t tag him right away. Note the bearing. Check where he is heading. Make notes. Often they sail afk on long sails. An easy afk catch. 
Hint #4. GB and US clans like to leave their capital and setup in some distant areas where they can develop safer. Again, work with trading tool and some online 3rd party websites that give you info where to find what. Obviously resource rich regions will have players naturally setup there or near by. Such port for example is Cartagena de Indias. It almost has everything in it. There you will find traders almost guaranteed… as well as few revenge fleets which is great because you want to be ganked as much as possible so you learn how to get away. At the end of the day what is a true pirate who doesn’t like challenges?
Hint #5. The whole Antilles Islands are packed with nations. Danes, Swedes and French. You sail North to South you almost guaranteed to meet few traders. You also have lots of free ports there to setup hunting bases and drop off you catch.
Hint #6. Most “young” traders will trade close to their capital as its just easiest way to make money despite competition. So do check other nation ports near capitals. Remember that no matter who those ports currently belong to they still produce trading goods of their original nation.
Hunt #7. Once you have decided on the area, sail there and work it for a day. If you spent few hours there and saw nothing or only couple of targets, then move to the next one. Good hunting grounds will give you targets every hour in average. Of course some days could be quiet, but in general if the area is busy its busy.
pnCLx71.jpg
 



TOOLS OF THE TRADE
There are few crucial items that a true solo hunter should possess. Just like in the real life dedicated hunter would have his trusted gear designed and tested for the specific type of work. Once you truly start hunting other players you will quickly realise that your gear is half of your success.

Ship
You want speed, speed and speed only. Everything dedicated to speed and I can’t stress this enough. No matter how good of a fighter you are you will get sunk by a revenge fleet if they can catch you. So they must not. Ask yourself how. The answer is simple yet complex. You need to be faster than them.

In pre-patch speed cap such a ship was Renommee. My black Brest Harbor Reno was a menace to sailors around KPR. Flying close to 17kn she was one of the fastest if not THE fastest boats on the server. Being so light she would take off easy very quickly increasing the distance. Today when even Connies are as fast on the same Point of Sail (POS) as Renos, this role have been solely taken by Surprise due to her wonderful sailing profile. Next time you take her out count how many stay sails she has. Nine of them. This allows her to sail against the wind very fast for a square rigged ship.


There are lots of crafter building tools online that will give you information on best speed setups. The best speed built in my opinion is Fir Frame / Bermuda Planking. It has same speed characteristics as Fir / Fir, but less penalties to armor, HP and leaks.
So Fir / Bermuda is your base Surprise built and you can work from there with upgrades.


If you have never sailed Surprise start immediately. Good thing is that you already given one for free as redeemable. It is Bermuda / Bermuda, but it’s good enough to start with. If you dont have one they are not that expensive to make or buy.


Be advised. The hidden information is pre 10.4 patch and is now outdated. New info pending.

 

(!) There is a myth that if you hit 15kn speed cap with your upgrades then throwing extra speed upgrades will be useless. That’s not true at all. Putting more speed upgrades is still very much beneficial, because it allows you to carry more weight at the same speed cap as well as travel faster in other Points of Sail. Read that last sentence again please and let it sink in.
Allow me to explain this with an example:


You’ve got your Fir / Bermuda Surprise that does 12.35kn base speed.
You put couple of upgrades and make it 15kn on spot with cannons, but no repairs. You have hit your speed cap right? Wrong.
Adding 100kg repairs will slow you down to about 14.6kn - 0.4kn loss of speed.
Then if you put an extra skill knowledge, for example Optimized Ballast that gives you extra 3% max speed your maximum speed becomes 15kn + 3% = 15.45kn less 0.4 for weight of the repairs = 15kn max speed.
This means that your maximum speed is actually not a hard cap. It has hidden values. Your ship can even be 17kn with all the upgrades. Yes in Battle it won’t travel faster than 15 due to the cap, but this means it has Reserved Power of 2 extra knots to carry more stuff. Meaning you can carry more and still be on 15kn max speed.
Does this make sense?
Hold tight! There is more. The faster your ship goes past 15 kn cap the faster it will accelerate. The cap only comes in place when your ship has hit 15kn mark. But all other parameters are treated as 17kn ship. It accelerates as 17kn ship. It turns as 17 kn ship. It carries weight as 17kn ship etc.

Let’s have a look at other Points of Sail. The reasons why Surp is such a good choice for solo hunting is because of its excellent sailing profile against the wind. The simple fact is even if your speed stats reached 15kn max speed by throwing more speed upgrades you will increase your speed against the wind which is perfect considering that it’s the angle you will be doing most running at.
Here are the simple numbers to visualize this effect.
Surprise A has maximum speed 15kn
Surprise B has also  reached 15kn speed cap, but threw extra upgrades so the hidden value is 17kn.
Let’s have a look at Surp’s sailing profile. At 60° angle he has 25% of loss of power.
Surprise A. 15kn - 25% = 11.25kn on 60°
Surprise B. 17kn - 25% = 12.75kn on the same angle. 1.5kn faster. It still goes same 15kn speed downwind due to speed cap, but goes faster where ships cant reach the cap.

What does this mean? Your Surp can actually hit 15kn speed cap from 180 to 90 degree POS. No other ship can do that. Most ships that can speed cap do that strictly on 150°.
I have physically ran few tests outside Mort on different setups and made a comparison table.
xtVIKfX.jpg



Cannons.
One word - longs. If your ship = speed = distance, than your cannons needs to be able to hit from the distance. In NA shorter the range of the cannons more damage they deal, but this also means that you will receive more damage in return and your paper armorer ship will not like it. Simply put longs gives you more flexibility. They can hit at all ranges.

Repairs
Those a must have if you don’t want to sail back and forth wasting most of your game time on sailing rather than hunting. The amount of repairs is largely depend on how fast your ship is. You want to take as much as you can without sacrificing too much speed. For example if your ship does 15kn on 150° angle and your repairs slows you down to 13.5kn then check if there are any more upgrades / skill knowledge that you can throw in to increase the speed further and cap max speed while carrying more repairs.
Surprise eats 7 hull, 10 rig and 72 rum per repair in the battle.
This is why on long voyages I usually carry
49 hull = 7 in battle hull repairs;
70 rig = 7 in battle rig repairs;
216 rum = 3 in battle crew repairs.
If your Surp doesn’t go much faster than 15kn hard cap you will have to reduce these amounts of hulls and rigs. Rum weights little.

Sails
They are your single most important survival tools in the battle and in the open world. It may sound obvious, but you must ensure that your sails are healthier than your opponents so in SHTF situations you still will be in control if you need to disengage.
General tips on saving your sales:
- if your opponent is sailing fighting ship, but is a newb you can try to take on him right away and tag him close. If you appeared to be mistaken and he is in fact going to kick your butt you could disengage, get on to the right POS and hit repairs;
- if your opponent is sailing fighting ship and you think he is pretty good you could tag him in distance and work his sails down. Test him and decide if you want to stay or keep fighting.
- when enemy working your sails down it’s always bad. Try to mitigate damage to your sails by turning and lining up both yards with the line of fire to expose as little sail area as possible. Also depower during enemy fire to protect stay sails. During this phase you are testing what canons your opponent has, his shooting skills and if he has rig repairs. If he hit repairs early and you still have the distance don’t bother to repair. You will always have enough time to repair and get away. If he has mediums or carros you got an advantage of distance. Go 750 meters away (1.5 square on the in battle map) and work his sails down. He will be missing most of his. If he still hitting your sails increase the distance a bit. You want his sails to be badly shredded when you repair and get in close to get on his stern.

Perks
I have tried all sorts of different setups to fit various play styles and found that this one is the most efficient.
Prepared. When you get into battle you want to be able to start shooting right away. This will help you to get out from hard situations or shred sails of those nimble fore-to-aft traders before they have a chance to run away. Having this perk will allow for great flexibility at the start of the battle. Once you logged into battle instance, but before battle started you can switch loaded cannons to Double Shot or Chains however you like starting the battle all ready with an itchy finger on the trigger.
Double Shot. It is basically carronades loaded in your longs that deliver huge alpha damage in one go at short range. They even act similar to carronades in terms of aiming and accuracy and penetration. Beware your penetration will be greatly reduced so you can’t use them for sniping at long distances. In my view this perk  is more important for your type of fighting than Double Charge which has better penetration. Once you are ready to engage the target close and personal and rake his stern, load Double Shot and you will take it out in one go even if you miss few potentially saving you lots of time zig-zaging behind the enemy and reducing the battle time.
Rigging Specialist. Remember, your sails is your life. This one reduces sail damage taken by 15% as well as adds 10% to your sail repairs so when they are really shredded, it helps to fix them back to 100% again.
Emergency Master. Once you get into melee range and start fighting with the opponent for wind and angle positioning your ship’s turning rate will become just as important as your sails. Having an ability to reduce repair time by half goes long way in winning the combat.
Fleet control 1. This is needed in order to turn your hunting into money. At the end of the day you have to deliver that loaded trader to sell it. Common sense.

Upgrades
Speed upgrades are the most important ones here.
Bow Figure Gazelle +5% maximum speed
Crooked Hull Refit +6% maximum speed
Bovenwinds Refit +5% maximum speed
Those are what you need. Find them. Pay for them. They worth every penny. Whatever it cost. Better still get the BPs and be able to craft them yourself. Look up places where you can buy them. Work one night, make a trip and bring enough to make you few upgrades.
Copper Plating is cheap man Bovenwind replacement. It will do too

Skill Knowledges
If you don’t have at least 3 slots opened on your Surprise you have to start working on them now. Dedicated hunter will have all 5 opened in no time. I got all mine done through 100% PVP. Its doable, but if you can't win lots of fights then it's probably better to grind with AI first until you get your first 3 slots. I would even suggest making Surprise heavy on armor (Live Oak / White Oak) and go grind missions. Its that important to have.

Do not use Studding sails on Surprise. Those gives you push downwind, but negate upwind power which is canceling what Surprise is shines at.
Staysails should be used instead. It will negate some of the downwind push, but those maximum speed permanent upgrades gonna still get you to 15 kn max cap. Staysails will increase lift power against the wind making your ship traveling faster on various points of sale, not just downwind like everybody else, thus gives you very large room to maneuver and improvise. You will be able to race people downwind and at the same time will be much faster upwind if you need to disengage.
Optimized Ballast gives another 3% to maximum speed further increasing your racing capabilities.
Art of Proper Cargo Distribution is stackable with Optimized Ballast and gives additional 3% max speed.
Art of Ship Handling is what you REALLY want to get. It will make you an ultimate hunter and fighter.
NONE | SHIP_MAX_ROLL_ANGLE | -8%
NONE | SHIP_MAX_SPEED | 4%
NONE | SHIP_TURNING_SPEED | 5%
NONE | RUDDER_HALFTURN_TIME | -10%
Found as recipe. Needs:
1x Notes on the Best Rudder Angles
1x Art of Proper Cargo Distribution
(from Black Spawn’s [modules] ShipUpgrade book modifiers [Patch 10.3] guide)

In other words you will sail 4% faster while being able to turn on a dime and what's important maintain your speed while doing that.
Muskets and Pistols is an excellent skill to throw in. I would even sacrifice any of the 3% max speed skills above to take this one. Having paper thin armor you will be fighting in true pirate style - first crippling the enemy then approach and take them by abordage (boarding. - french). This means that most fights that you will be winning will end up in boarding. Having this upgrade gives you lots of shooting power and another offensive option.
(!) I would vote against Marines. They have been greatly nerfed. Taking them on board also cripples your crew, which you can’t really afford.

You can use whatever you like for the 5th slot. By this stage your ship will be mighty fast. It will be able to carry x7 repairs of each type and x3 Rum and still be faster than anything comes to race against you.
Boatswain - allows for faster crew transfer. Great for macromanagement of your crew when you have to switch between tasks. It also helps to prep for boarding faster.
Boarding Cannons (my personal preference) - if you have taken Muskets and Pistols it will help to deal more damage to your enemy. Good to have.


PLAYER SKILLS
This guide assumes that you already have some fighting experience and know the basics such as manual sailing and boarding. I will not go through basics of how you have to do those things. There are plenty other guides that you can use and train. I will just set the standard for you to look up to. I will also share some hints and tips and mention things to look out for. 

Manual Sailing is absolutely crucial skill you have to master and must be used every time when you want your ship to turn. Practice it always even when you are fighting AI in missions. This should become a second nature for you to the point that when you sail in OW (not in battle) and start turning your fingers will automatically want to manual sail. While Auto Skipper will set sail for the best position speed wise controlling your sails manually will increase your ship's turning ability, thus allowing you to win positioning in the duel.
You should master manual sail control to the point that you use it without thinking just like driving manual car. Your car won't move if suddenly you stop controlling its gear. Same here. You can't afford to be selective and lazy and not use it in “easy” situation like fighting AI. You must use it all the time taking every opportunity to practice. Its very easy to understand and learn and not so easy to master. Every little tiny mistakes you make will come at your own cost.
(!) If you turn your sails slightly, just slightly incorrectly it will catch on wrong wind and slows your turning, which often means you either have to re-approach (which takes more maneuvers and time and means you might do more mistakes) or take damage. And you can’t afford to take too much damage in your paper thin ship.
There will be a moment in every single fight when you have to outturn the enemy and you just can’t afford not to. Often you will only have one chance to approach and board before your ship falls apart.
Practice, practice, practice, so it's ALWAYS perfect and I just can’t stress this enough.
(!) Practice tacking through the wind. You are an amature sailor until you can do 8kn tacks on Surprise. What this means is that you can tack so fast that at the moment when your ship is directly facing the wind during the tack you are still doing 8kn speed. Anything below that and sooner or later it will cost you your ship believe it or not. If you hate tacking, learn it until you fall in love with it. Tacking should feel swift and easy. When you start feeling your ship so well, when you play in the same tune with her, you can execute perfect tacks without even looking at the wind indicator with your eyes closed then you can start using tacking to get away from your enemies or outmaneuver and win positioning. If enemy is on heavier ship or not too good at controlling sails manually (by that time you will be able to judge your opponents skill quite easy)   it will take him longer to tack no matter what he does. This means you will get on the other side faster and speed up for few seconds while he still finishing his tacking maneuver. Once he has done his tacking you already got enough speed to perform the next tack and so on. Each tack will increase distance between you and your opponent and there is nothing they can do to prevent that. They will have an option to give up tacking and give you broadside of chains and you need to be able to read their intentions and position sails so they take less damage and take off after that. Hit repair if you need. You have just escaped. Time to open that bottle of champagne trophy from French trader you took the night before.
(!) Do not drop sails to slow down. This is bad. There is no skill in that and you just wasting time. Good sailor will always predict his wind position. For example if you need to stop fast you would be in Beam Reach or slightly facing the wind. Then flip all yards onto the opposite side facing the wind and using your sails as stopping power. Don't forget to depower your stays too. You will stop 5 times faster helping you to arrive and stop where you need to be for the boarding. 
(!) Often your opponent will depower or drop sails trying to make you overshoot them so you could take a broadside of their “hospitality”. Using your sails for breaking will greatly assist in not overshooting the enemy. Watch the speed, flip sails back and forth to maintain the same speed that you need.
(!) Practice maneuver we are calling “Candle”. Its when you sail Beam Reach, depower and flip your sails onto the opposite side until your ship stops completely. Notice that your sails are still fully up. Once your ship stops it will be pushed backwards. You will need to line up your sails with the wind direction to cancel your sails power. Play around with it until you can reach completely stationary position 0.0kn while your sails are fully up. This maneuver allows you to hang in the air in one place and if you need to suddenly take off you just hit “F” for Auto Skipper and you will gain speed in mere seconds.

Raking is another skills you have to master. In sailing naval warfare, raking fire is fire directed parallel to the long axis of an enemy ship from ahead or astern. In our case it mostly will be from astern (behind the enemy). Of course not all your rakes will connect perfectly, but if you master them enough they will be devastating for the enemy. Again I assume that you are familiar with shooting and know when and how to use Locked or Unlocked firing modes. Some people use Unlocked firing when they rake the ship and I strongly advise against that. Unfocused means all your cannons aim at one point in a cone.

The best damage done to the stern and the crew is when each cannon’s fire connected directly perpendicular to the stern thus your shots will cover longer distance in enemy ship and cause more damage. Unfocused fire mode is best used when you need to take out rudder because you want you shots to aim at one point. However for Grape shot to maximize damage to the crew it is easier to use Locked fire mode. You cannons look directly perpendicular to your ship and enemy’s stern. Obviously you're firing needs to be set to Roll from the front cannons. As you pass enemy ship behind fire soon as your front cannon aim reached the ship. With a little bit of lag your first shot will connect in the center of the enemy stern. As you ship moves forward empty cannon will be replaced by the next loaded cannon which will also fire into the enemy’s stern and so on until you unload all cannons into the enemy’s stern.

Another reason why to use Locked focus is because you will not be required to turn into the enemy ship to connect all your shots like you would have to do if you would use Unlocked. Turning into the enemy ship will expose your ship for his broadside. Instead of turning into the enemy’s ship using Locked sector focus you would turn away and avoid most of his cannons, then re-approach again for next stern rake and repeat the process.

(!) When you have done your graping properly you will take out 150+ crew in one go.
You could also play “boarding whistle” mind game with your opponent. Hitting 9 for boarding whistle will let your opponent know that you are preparing for boarding. Often they will do the same and you will hear their whistle as well. After hitting 9 , hit it again straight after you done whistling. This means your crew is still on cannons and while he is preparing for boarding. More crew will be transferred to boarding more devastating your graping will be.

(!) Your best raking will be done in the samurai fighting style. Very little movement, two slices and your opponent is down. Here is how in step by step:
1. Before battle has started use your prepared perk to load Double Ball on the side that you will use for the first raking;
2. Load grape on the opposite side;
3. Give your opponent Locked sector rake with Double Ball taking his stern out in one go;
4. Soon as your ship passed his hit 9 to give him an early boarding whistle and letting him know you are preparing for boarding. Receiving such powerful rake will often make your opponent to start preparing for boarding as well and you will hear their whistle. Do not cancel your boarding;
5. Turn around and give him Locked sector Grape raking. By that time he will be half way prepared for boarding and if you done it properly you will take out 200+ crew in one go putting him into crew shock;
6. Turnaround, push him into the wind and board;

All this can be done in less than 4 mins sending your opponent to the nearest port with that “WTF just happened?” moment.

Boarding skill is just as important as everything else. Your ship is not setup for duels and exchanging fire. If you give your enemy too many opportunities to broadside you it will be a lost fight in no time. That’s why boarding is your main fighting style and this is how you will be taking out 95% of opponents. Outmaneuver, stern raking while staying away from his guns, kill crew, then boarding. In that order.
It's imperative that you are good at boarding. This is the time when your ship is most vulnerable. If you start losing boarding it will be incredibly hard for you to break away and run. You can get jumped by his friends too while in boarding. This happened to me also putting me in the worst situation possible (he is the video of what happened). He could also have some boarding upgrades or skills to make your life more difficult.

(!) Generally most of your solo hunting skills will be done by killing crew prior boarding to you can win 100% of the time.


(!) If you lacking crew, but still must board hit Rum repair the moment right before you engaged in boarding. It could be changed later, but now it works and for the first 2-3 rounds you will be gaining crew during boarding as some will be “fixed” by Rum.

Practice boarding with friends, on AI, or other players. When you have your friends with you ask them not to sink the guy, but let you board him. Get as much practice as you can possibly have.
Boarding is a pure mind game. Using offensive action in last seconds might confuse your opponent, but beware he might be able to use the same against you. This is where your Muskets and Pistols will become handy as they give you another option to attack and confuse your opponent.
Do not Attack when they are Bracing and have same or equal crew and morale because you will inflict just as much damage to yourself.
If you done your raking properly and he has lost lots of crew prior your boarding his moral will be low, but if you had to board early try to trick him into using his offensive skills in the last minute reducing his preparation (make sure to be on defensive. If your moral just as high you can take 2-3 attacks even while Bracing). Once he is below 50 in prep you can start shooting with Muskets in the last seconds without fear of being counter attacked.

After the battle this is when it become handy to be of a higher rank as you can restore your crew in the OW without using Rum.

The Wind Whisperer is who you must become. The wind is the only driving force that gives you power. It's also the same to everybody else. Knowing how and when to take correct wind positions will literally save your life. It's a little use to have a speed boat when you don’t know how to power it.
Read carefully, use and master Captain Collister's Escapomatrix by Pilgrim. Even though it’s outdated it is still true on most general POS. In my early solo career I used to have it open all the time constantly alt-tabbing to refer on which POS I should be running from the specific ship. Today its part of the nature. This knowledge has sunk in and burned into my memory core. I come up with the right answers instantly not wasting my time on checking the references. This means my response to any situation is also much faster.
Open World wind is constantly changing. As a true sailor you will always tell the direction based on where the wind is coming from. Not where its blowing to. 
Every 2 minutes the wind changes 1 notch. Make this a rule to note wind direction every time you enter the battle. After battle is over you can easily calculate where the wind is coming from without even leaving the battle instance. Sometimes you will get caught in a tricky situation surrounded by lots of taggers. Using defensive tag (when you know that you can’t escape and you tag the enemy early so he appears in the battle far away from you, thus allows you to run and escape the battle) you will often have your enemy’s mates waiting for you outside the battle. Because your best running away Point of Sail is beam reach or even slightly more into the wind it would be nice to have the right wind in the OW. If you are able to calculate the wind from within the battle don’t rush to leave. Calculate and if you have to stay until the wind changes to your preferred direction. This will give you an advantage when running through the blockade. Nothing worse to be locked with the wind blowing into the land on a such angle that you can’t run into the open sea. If you do get caught use defensive tagging again. Buy yourself some more time from within the battle, then exit on the right wind.
(!) When running turn on laud your Situation Awareness. See who is following you and what chances you have against them. Identify their tagging ships that will be racing you. Those are your priorities. Defensive tag again if you need to.
Also be aware what’s going ahead of you. They will try to use all sorts of tricks. Teleport to the port you are heading to to cut you off. Use wolf pack chasing to intercept and come at you one by one and keep turning into the bad wind. Again defensive tag, wait for wind to change then try again.
By this time you have sunk lots of times in your early career which is now hopefully helps to keep your cool. Enjoy the chase. Its also part of the game. This is your most dangerous time. Play with fire, but don’t be cocky. Nothing will make your chasers laugh louder when you’ve been so cocky and then got caught and sunk like a newb. During defensive tags talk back to them. It is ok to mock them a little, but don’t be a troll. Few jokes is enough. If you do get caught in the end, thank them for the wonderful chase. Tell them that you have enjoyed your time and the challenge. Congratulate them. Tell them that you will be back with wounds licked up and the revenge plan.

Reading In-Battle wind is also crucial. If you are chasing, try to be between their best wind direction. This way pointing bow at them will put you in better wind position and you will have better chances catching them. If you are running from the enemy you want to face the wind slightly and the enemy to be behind on the other side of the wind. This way they have to stay parallel to you, but won't be able to shot. Every time when they turn away to give you a broadside they will be sailing away from you. Coming back will be harder and harder each time they do that. Pointing bow towards you is also not an option. Not only this is not their best wind position, but also they have to be facing sharper into the wind, thus getting more resistance.
During the fights you need to watch your opponent and how he uses the wind. In the past when leaks were much more powerful it was imperative to win the position. If you could get to the enemy’s leeward side his ship will be heeling away from you exposing his lower hull. Placing 20+ holes under the water line would ensure a fast sinking ship and used to make people call you a cheat. We very much hope that leaks will be rebalanced again and come back to its glory.
Even without leaks winning the wind is still important  because it will allow you to stern camp the enemy ship and not take the damage.

Know your limits. If you get too cocky you will get caught. Know when to retreat or disengage from the fight. If the enemy is really good at manual sailing and you already took couple of full broadsides maybe it’s the time to let him go. You are not sailing on the fighting dueling ship. You are sailing the “glass cannon”. Always remember the terms that you are prepared to fight on. Don’t let the enemy to dictate their terms. If they do - disengage. Look for weaknesses, not challenges. This is what good fighter will do to kick stronger opponents. Being faster than your enemy allows your to play by your rules. Remember that you are in control. If you can sink them they can’t run. If you can’t sink them they can’t catch you.

Knowing your limits also means don’t give up too early. I had people chasing me for hours and I would identify the weakest target and work my way to separate them in the OW. Pretend to give up, but always be alert. If there is a mistake on their part then hit fast and finish rapidly. They won’t know what just happened and how you have ended up tagging someone while they were chasing you.
Sometimes you get lucky and chasers make a mistake escaping too early leaving some of the their guys behind in the battle. Usually it’s the fastest ship that is the weakest so keep an eye on the rest of the party. Tag your closest chaser once others start leaving. If they were tagged they are now 1 on 1 with you. It’s very disturbing for them when they came hunting you in numbers and you still managed to sink some of them.


GENERAL NOTES
Show good personality to your enemy. In my early career when people didn’t know me I used to hear lots of trash talks. Now, people start recognising me as a decent person and I start having nice conversations in the battle. When I sink people they seem to be less salty. They even congratulate and thank me for the lessons. I do the same in return. Little bravade in global is allowed if you don’t troll and thank them.
Remember we are the special caste. We live and fight by our own rules. If people start trolling you badly in the battle or global, just ignore.
Bigger the trolls - smaller the balls. You can trust me on that. If they get too loud challenge them for a duel and they get quiet. It works like a magic. All of a sudden they need to go. Pirate Magic!

Don’t be an assh..le. Let people go too. If you see the guy clearly don’t know how to sail because it is his first week in the game and he asks to let him go do it. You can tell if people are new. He probably doesn’t have anything valuable in his cargo hold anyway. Breaking people’s bank is a sure way to get them upset with the game.

During our war with CKA before October patch, we used Port Antonio as our base for hunting in the area. I personally used it to help GB newbs. When I saw person could not really afford the ship he just lost I would ask them to come to Port Antonio on basic cutter and give them money, often time more than what they lost.

There were multiple instances when a new person is trying to fight you and get stuck in irons and just can’t get out of it. I would start talking to them, we cease fire and I would explain how to get out from the irons. We would use the battle instance as training ground for some basic manual handling.

Sometimes I let people go even if they are the highest rank. Not that long ago I tagged a trader and he said that he really needs to go on appointment to see vet. His cat was suffering from pain. You don’t know if they are lying or not, but its them who will have to live with their conscience not me. This one wasn’t lying. Even sent me in game main telling me that his cat is now doing better.

Don’t be a DH rule is what will make you a better player in the long run too.

Be adventurous. Check different areas on the map. Don’t be lazy to sail. Pre-plan where you want to be the next day and start sailing a bit early. Watch a movie in between. Get into destination and log off. The next day soon as you logged you can start hunting and “working the area”.

Screenshot everything. You hunt for personal achievements and challenges and we don’t have a killboard. I use imgur.com. Making albums by area where I worked. If I sink / capture someone, I take a screenshot with their name and then place it in the album under that area where he was tagged. So later if I need to check who I was catching around Cartagena de Indias for example I just select Cartagena album and voila. Sometimes I do the same with specific clans or even individuals. Nothing more satisfying to answer to someone’s trolling in global with an album of screens where you sunk him number of times.
I suggest checking ScreenCloud app. It allows to set hotkeys combination to take screens. It will allow to take a screen of just a specific part of the screen. And what is more important is that you can link to your imgur account (or other image storage provider) and ScreenCloud will automatically upload your screen and copy the link. So when you take a screenshot you can place the link to it in few seconds without doing all the work. Great tool.

I wish you best of luck in your endeavors. Hope this write up have been helpful. Hit me up if you have any questions. I don’t do personal training outside clan, but will be happy to answer any questions.

Sail dangerously my friend.

 

Koltes


 

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CONTENT 1. Introduction 2. Hunting vs Trading 3. What makes you money 4. Hunting areas 5. Tools of the trade 6. Player skills 7. General notes   INTRODUCTION There are numbe

So, I made my way through the guide to see if there was anything I could learn myself, or add. First:  There are always things you can learn.  I don't know if Koltes has ever learned anything fro

Really great guide @koltes, and good additions as well from @Prater, @Iroquois Confederacy and @Hodo. All players whose posts I can see great wisdom in, reinforcing my own experiences as a solo hunter

I of course prefer the Lynx, but the Surprise would be my ship if I were sailing frigates.


Be aware that traders can now be armed.  If you are in a Lynx, that Trader brig is now a formidable opponent if it has cannons.  If you are a low level player, I recommend starting out in a Privateer.  A surprise will probably cost too much money, because you will lose it.  The privateer gives you 60-78 crew, and possibly 15 knots at 45 and 90 degrees.
 

I have a different opinion about repairs, probably because my hunter isn't a fighting ship, though I have taken heavier combat ships with it.  I carry 3x more sail repairs as hull repairs.  I also carry few repairs because of the loss in speed (though, I am in a Lynx to begin with).  My cannon weight + repair weight typically doesn't exceed 10% total cargo weight possible.

I also carry lighter guns (mediums), and the smallest caliber possible.  I prefer longs, but not enough for the loss in speed, so I go with mediums.

My perks are Rigging Specialist, Control, Double shot, double charge, prepared.  

Control is a must if you are hunting in a ship that doesn't have chasers.

If you want to be able to catch trader Lynxes, you must have control and a max speed Lynx.

I also keep fishing off, I don't want any extra weight at all.

If I am near an enemy capital, I always sink the enemy trader, because I will not get away overloaded.  If I am out a bit, I will take expensive items, but will always be prepared to destroy them if enemies approach.  Today I netted a Trader Brig with over 200k materials on board.  I don't have fleet perks so I couldn't capture it.  Instead I had to overload my Lynx with about 170k worth of materials.  I was only 3-5 minutes out from port, but I continually scanned the horizon for ships and was ready to dump my prize if need be and high tail it.

 

Don't get too greedy.  Being greedy will be what causes you to get sunk or captured.  Know when to run and when to fight.

If you don't want to get caught, Lynx is the way to go.  My Lynx goes 34-35 knots (OW speed) at 4 points of sail.  I outran a French Revenge fleet outside Fort Royal today even though they were waiting for me at my best points.  When invisibility expired I was at the edge of their picket and still had invulnerability so they couldn't catch me (you can see about 30 km on the open world, by the time 30 seconds had passed, I had sailed almost half the distance you can see).  Then I left them in the dust.  Of course, they could have been further out, but even if they caught me in a battle, I doubt they could have actually caught me.  

 

Edited by Prater
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This is all great advice, especially about attitude; there is no merit in getting salty when you go out looking for trouble and lose. Expect to sink, and using cheaper ships will help you keep rolling and absorb losses.

I also enjoy the Snow for solo (and group) PVP, it is quite good while being replaceable for younger/less funded captains. It also has a very unique sailing profile, that I suggest any captain who wants to sail it (or against it) to study well. The Snow can almost always escape from a pursuer.

Of course, take targets accordingly, you won't always be able to capture the same ships as a Surprise.

Edited by Doug Maoz
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This speed meta is awful. I would like to see all speed upgrades strongly connected with HUGE penalties to the other attributes, Tank, integrity, even maybe with number and class of guns. Do you want to be fast. OK, but PAY, pay alot, but your 15kn surprise can be melted down by even snow. The same shit applies to the officer perks. There is no variety, only one legit build without pros and cons into it. This game is sadly empty and flat without any depth into the mechanics.

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Speed meta breaks the game at the moment, and breaks the ships as well.

"Surprise A has maximum speed 15kn
Surprise B has also  reached 15kn speed cap, but threw extra upgrades so the hidden value is 17kn.
Let’s have a look at Surp’s sailing profile. At 60° angle he has 25% of loss of power.
Surprise A. 15kn - 25% = 11.25kn on 60°
Surprise B. 17kn - 25% = 12.75kn on the same angle. 1.5kn faster. It still goes same 15kn speed downwind due to speed cap, but goes faster where ships cant reach the cap."

This is breaking the sailing profile, which is incredibly stupid indeed.

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On 7/10/2017 at 8:20 PM, Rychu Karas said:

This speed meta is awful. I would like to see all speed upgrades strongly connected with HUGE penalties to the other attributes, Tank, integrity, even maybe with number and class of guns. Do you want to be fast. OK, but PAY, pay alot, but your 15kn surprise can be melted down by even snow. The same shit applies to the officer perks. There is no variety, only one legit build without pros and cons into it. This game is sadly empty and flat without any depth into the mechanics.

 

On 7/10/2017 at 8:30 PM, Cmdr RideZ said:

Speed meta breaks the game at the moment, and breaks the ships as well.

"Surprise A has maximum speed 15kn
Surprise B has also  reached 15kn speed cap, but threw extra upgrades so the hidden value is 17kn.
Let’s have a look at Surp’s sailing profile. At 60° angle he has 25% of loss of power.
Surprise A. 15kn - 25% = 11.25kn on 60°
Surprise B. 17kn - 25% = 12.75kn on the same angle. 1.5kn faster. It still goes same 15kn speed downwind due to speed cap, but goes faster where ships cant reach the cap."

This is breaking the sailing profile, which is incredibly stupid indeed.

And your rant about the game mechanics is related to the guide how?

 


 

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27 minutes ago, rediii said:

I made the experience with a reno that you get slower downwind if you take negative mainsailforce upgrades. Are you sure that they don't affect it if you are way above cap?

How do you mean mate? Can you give example and upgrades?

EDIT:
You mean if you put skill knowledge like Staysails that have positive to Jib and negative to mainsail and reduces your top speed to downwind?
Yeah totally, thats why you need to throw more max speed upgrades to increase your downwind too.
This is your indicator. Just check the Maximum speed. Once you did all three permanent upgrades and hit 15kn put staysails and see how much Maximum speed will be dropped. It might get to 14.0kn. Then put Optimized Ballast and with its 3% it will get to around 14.4. Then throw another 3% max speed you should see that you hit 15 max speed again
MYMTGpP.png

Personally I would not want to make Reno go against the wind because he has too much penalties going upwind. The benefits that you would get with her upwind are minimal. At 90° you already have -15% penalty which means your 15kn - 15% = 12.75kn + bonus from Staysails it will be about 13.5kn

SailingProfileRENOMMEE.png

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18 minutes ago, AlteSocken said:

You spent a lot of time and dedication to that. Really cool! Good guide with the right spirit!

Thnx a lot :-D

Thank you! No worries! Happy hunting :) 

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1 minute ago, Pelennor said:

No Renomée... you are disapointing me so much, Koltes

https://media.tenor.com/images/1ae941be5d90e31e37bb5679ab292671/tenor.gif

HAHAHA :lol:
I promise dude, soon as they throw away the speed cap BS and re-balance speed, this guide will be updated in the following hour :) 

Reno deserve to be there on par with Surprise, but today unfortunately its been nerfed due to the speed cap

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So, I made my way through the guide to see if there was anything I could learn myself, or add.

First:  There are always things you can learn.  I don't know if Koltes has ever learned anything from me, but I've learned a few things from him, and I think I even have some ideas brewing off some things in here.

Otherwise, some added thoughts:

Staysails are critically important, because while he didn't say this explicitly, sail force is calculated for each individual sail.  If you need to slow someone down sailing with the wind, shred their square sails.  If you need to slow someone down that's running against the wind, shred their staysails.  Similarly, it is important for you to preserve your staysails, less so your square sails.  (I suspect that you could theoretically shred your square sails, keep your staysails intact, and actually escape upwind faster than if your square sails were intact, because you wouldn't have as much of their negative force counteracting the positive force of your staysails.  Never tested it, though.)

Repairs:  How much you carry really depends on how close you're operating to resupplies.  I keep a cache within a 10 or 20 minute sail, so I can always top off.  I carry 35/35/150ish, typically.   When you use them?  I sincerely believe that 90% of the time, repairs should only be used to escape a fight.  If you need to repair, it's time to leave.  Because that repair is now gone.  Remember, that hull repairs and sail repairs are tied to the same timer.  Sails > Hull.  You always need to preserve your avenue of escape.

Perks / Skills Variance:  So, I actually prefer control and double charge.  Control may be a vestige of me using the Niagara (which I still have a couple storebought ones sitting in dock that may reappear), but I like not having to worry about shots landing.  If I can see their name (roughly speaking), they cannot leave the fight.  I also use double charge over double ball.  I agonized over this decision for a while, but, a lot of little reasons make a compelling one:

1.  Double Charge has the same flight path as regular shot.  You don't need to change aiming for it.

2.  Double Charge can wreck cannons on a stern rake, and knock out a fair few crew.  It helps.

3.  Double Charge works very well with my medium 6lb cannons.  "Medium 6's??" says you.   Yes.  For good reason.

Cannons:  I use medium 6's on both my gundeck and my weatherdeck.  They're cheap.  They use nothing for crew.  Their penetration values are similar enough v. my targets to longs to not matter.  They weigh less.  They reload faster.  Certainly, they don't do as much damage as the 9's would, but I'm not exchanging broadsides anyway.  If I am exchanging broadsides, they're already down to 1/3rd crew or less.  And medium 6's at pistol shot range will penetrate even a Constitution.  (Yes, I've done it.)  So this frees up crew for a fair few things.  1 - I can soak up that crew damage that you tend to take with a Fir/Cedar build.  But 2...

Marines:  I use 'em.  Yes, they use up extra crew, but with my medium 6's on broadsides, and long 6's fore and aft (I've not found anyone carrying long 4's to use those for chasers), I only use 60 crew for sailing, and 94 on guns.  154 crew to manage the ship, leaving a whopping 86 crew to play with.  And honestly, nobody expects the Free Tribes to carry a company of Braves ;)

On the question of fire mode, Koltes suggested maneuvering around your fire mode.  I just swap fire modes, a lot.  Sometimes I use unlocked 100, sometimes unlocked auto, most the time locked, occasionally fire from stern.  Basically, worry about maneuvering your ship first, and firing guns second.  The latter should be dictated by the former.

On the subject of good relations:  Here's the deal.  If you're hunting solo, odds are you're hunting out of a free port.  Free ports are lonely places, and you're going to have cargo to hock.  Either you sell it at the port at a loss, or you smuggle it somewhere to sell it yourself.  But you're a hunter, not a merchant.  Get someone else to move those goods.  If you have good relations with players, suddenly they're willing to buy the things you took.  I sell mine for 50% of what I think they're worth, so they get the other 50% as pure profit.  It works out well.  And if your relations are good enough, well... maybe they give you some intel about who is sailing where, or where hotspots are, or if there is a fleet out looking for you.  Sometimes they even help outfit you.

These are just my own thoughts.  I think all are viable, and I appreciate Koltes taking the time to write this up.

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6 minutes ago, Iroquois Confederacy said:

So, I made my way through the guide to see if there was anything I could learn myself, or add.

First:  There are always things you can learn.  I don't know if Koltes has ever learned anything from me, but I've learned a few things from him, and I think I even have some ideas brewing off some things in here.

Otherwise, some added thoughts:

Staysails are critically important, because while he didn't say this explicitly, sail force is calculated for each individual sail.  If you need to slow someone down sailing with the wind, shred their square sails.  If you need to slow someone down that's running against the wind, shred their staysails.  Similarly, it is important for you to preserve your staysails, less so your square sails.  (I suspect that you could theoretically shred your square sails, keep your staysails intact, and actually escape upwind faster than if your square sails were intact, because you wouldn't have as much of their negative force counteracting the positive force of your staysails.  Never tested it, though.)

Repairs:  How much you carry really depends on how close you're operating to resupplies.  I keep a cache within a 10 or 20 minute sail, so I can always top off.  I carry 35/35/150ish, typically.   When you use them?  I sincerely believe that 90% of the time, repairs should only be used to escape a fight.  If you need to repair, it's time to leave.  Because that repair is now gone.  Remember, that hull repairs and sail repairs are tied to the same timer.  Sails > Hull.  You always need to preserve your avenue of escape.

Perks / Skills Variance:  So, I actually prefer control and double charge.  Control may be a vestige of me using the Niagara (which I still have a couple storebought ones sitting in dock that may reappear), but I like not having to worry about shots landing.  If I can see their name (roughly speaking), they cannot leave the fight.  I also use double charge over double ball.  I agonized over this decision for a while, but, a lot of little reasons make a compelling one:

1.  Double Charge has the same flight path as regular shot.  You don't need to change aiming for it.

2.  Double Charge can wreck cannons on a stern rake, and knock out a fair few crew.  It helps.

3.  Double Charge works very well with my medium 6lb cannons.  "Medium 6's??" says you.   Yes.  For good reason.

Cannons:  I use medium 6's on both my gundeck and my weatherdeck.  They're cheap.  They use nothing for crew.  Their penetration values are similar enough v. my targets to longs to not matter.  They weigh less.  They reload faster.  Certainly, they don't do as much damage as the 9's would, but I'm not exchanging broadsides anyway.  If I am exchanging broadsides, they're already down to 1/3rd crew or less.  And medium 6's at pistol shot range will penetrate even a Constitution.  (Yes, I've done it.)  So this frees up crew for a fair few things.  1 - I can soak up that crew damage that you tend to take with a Fir/Cedar build.  But 2...

Marines:  I use 'em.  Yes, they use up extra crew, but with my medium 6's on broadsides, and long 6's fore and aft (I've not found anyone carrying long 4's to use those for chasers), I only use 60 crew for sailing, and 94 on guns.  154 crew to manage the ship, leaving a whopping 86 crew to play with.  And honestly, nobody expects the Free Tribes to carry a company of Braves ;)

On the question of fire mode, Koltes suggested maneuvering around your fire mode.  I just swap fire modes, a lot.  Sometimes I use unlocked 100, sometimes unlocked auto, most the time locked, occasionally fire from stern.  Basically, worry about maneuvering your ship first, and firing guns second.  The latter should be dictated by the former.

On the subject of good relations:  Here's the deal.  If you're hunting solo, odds are you're hunting out of a free port.  Free ports are lonely places, and you're going to have cargo to hock.  Either you sell it at the port at a loss, or you smuggle it somewhere to sell it yourself.  But you're a hunter, not a merchant.  Get someone else to move those goods.  If you have good relations with players, suddenly they're willing to buy the things you took.  I sell mine for 50% of what I think they're worth, so they get the other 50% as pure profit.  It works out well.  And if your relations are good enough, well... maybe they give you some intel about who is sailing where, or where hotspots are, or if there is a fleet out looking for you.  Sometimes they even help outfit you.

These are just my own thoughts.  I think all are viable, and I appreciate Koltes taking the time to write this up.

Hmm haven't thought of using Marines and 6pd mediums. Good point man. That would definitely work.
My only issue with mediums is that if you end up in equal fight like Surp vs Surp you will have hard time hitting him. He will be able to control the distance and hit you from a far. When your sails are gone and whats more you have used you rep he will get in close and rake. But I guess knowing this weakness you would not get into fight with such opponent in the first place :) 

 

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1 minute ago, koltes said:

Hmm haven't thought of using Marines and 6pd mediums. Good point man. That would definitely work.
My only issue with mediums is that if you end up in equal fight like Surp vs Surp you will have hard time hitting him. He will be able to control the distance and hit you from a far. When your sails are gone and whats more you have used you rep he will get in close and rake. But I guess knowing this weakness you would not get into fight with such opponent in the first place :) 

 

Just so.  If I think I might lose a fight, I bail out.  If I continue in the fight to completion, even if I win it, I kick myself for playing recklessly.  "The ship always comes first."  It doesn't matter if you fight something to an inconclusive end.  What matters is if your ship survives it.

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I'm pretty sure it isn't hardcapped.  Throwing more mods makes ships faster at other points of sail, and you still go 15 knots when you have damaged sail at your best points.

The cap just stops you at 15 knots as far as I can tell.

Edited by Prater
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When I am out hunting my perks are different and my choice in ships is a bit smaller.  But the Surprise is a great hunting ship, that is what it is designed for.

But cheaper options would include.

-Snow, 12.95kn base speed, easy to get to 15kn, great upwind abilities and handles like a dream.  Lots of guns bow and stern chasers(mini-surprise), and good crew.  Downside; weak hull, and thin armor, pencil masts.

-Privater, fast, and small..  Boarding morale bonus.  Good all around hunting ship.  Low BV means your tagging options are limited.  And down wind performance is just bad.  

-Lynx, much like the Privateer, just smaller, but better down wind speed.  Also limited to 8 guns, but good rate of fire, and easy to manage same boarding advantage as the Privateer.

-Pickle, Best all points sailing ship in game... small though, no chasers, but 12 guns, and 55 men good armor.  But slower than all the rest.

 

Until we get the Rattlesnake back, the Snow is the best option for 6th rate hunting ships out there.  The Brig, while faster at 13.0kn is less armed, and has worse sailing profile.  It struggles at some points upwind and is slower than both the Surprise and the Snow into the wind. It lacks all forms of bow chasers making it completely inadequate to the task.

My personal perk setup is as follows.

-Carpenter;  additional bonus of repair done makes it worth it.  

-Area Control; no need to tag every 90sec as long as I can see their name.

-Double Charge; great for penetrating those masts at the edge of range.

-Prepared; same as Koltes listed

-Fleet 1; goes without saying

 

 

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Points of sail speed is calculated by percentages. You simply cannot exceed the hard-cap of 15nts, if you do it will not improve your speed at weaker points of sail. Your speed is capped at 15 before your velocity is calculated by the point of sail multiplier.

Therefore if you move at a point of sail that only provides 0.5 of your max speed then that 15nts will be 7.5knts. It will not calculate any extra speed after 15nts and apply it to a sub optimal point of sail. Of course test this and see what happens.

Oh and the 15nt Snow is godly. It is the best sailor at 180, nothing in the game can catch it going with the wind. The privateer is the absolute best going upwind. Either ship is nearly immune to counter gank, you will only die if you get a bad tag, go afk, or the OW wind pushes you into a coastline.

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28 minutes ago, Flinch said:

Points of sail speed is calculated by percentages. You simply cannot exceed the hard-cap of 15nts, if you do it will not improve your speed at weaker points of sail. Your speed is capped at 15 before your velocity is calculated by the point of sail multiplier.

Therefore if you move at a point of sail that only provides 0.5 of your max speed then that 15nts will be 7.5knts. It will not calculate any extra speed after 15nts and apply it to a sub optimal point of sail. Of course test this and see what happens.

Oh and the 15nt Snow is godly. It is the best sailor at 180, nothing in the game can catch it going with the wind. The privateer is the absolute best going upwind. Either ship is nearly immune to counter gank, you will only die if you get a bad tag, go afk, or the OW wind pushes you into a coastline.

Are you a developer who can confirm this?

Because I am fairly certain this is in fact, wrong, or there is a bug.  I can hit 15 knots or nearly it at points of sail i shouldn't be able to.  I can hit 15 knots at 95% sail health at my best points.  Changing modules out mean I hit 15 knots faster and get more speed at different points of sail even though I am capped at 15 knots at my best points.

Edited by Prater
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3 hours ago, Prater said:

Are you a developer who can confirm this?

Because I am fairly certain this is in fact, wrong, or there is a bug.  I can hit 15 knots or nearly it at points of sail i shouldn't be able to.  I can hit 15 knots at 95% sail health at my best points.  Changing modules out mean I hit 15 knots faster and get more speed at different points of sail even though I am capped at 15 knots at my best points.

I would love to see evidence one way or another. It would be cool if I was wrong because then ships that more easily exceed the cap are still useful. 

So far everything is anecdotal. 

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5 minutes ago, Flinch said:

I would love to see evidence one way or another. It would be cool if I was wrong because then ships that more easily exceed the cap are still useful. 

So far everything is anecdotal. 

I could see how this works from a program standpoint.

The game will have a hard limit set to 15.  But if you stack mods and get the bonus high enough you could push your top speed well past that.  So lets take a Endymoin for example, 13.77kn at best point.  So if you were to get 25% increase in top speed through mods, you would get that ship well above 13.77kn.  (13.77*1.25=17.21) So you have a ship that COULD go 17.2kn, if it werent limited.   IF you were to take a -10% to main sail power, it would lost 10% off of its point of sail.  So you would lose 1.7kn off its top speed at 135.  So 17.21-1.7=15.51kn.   So still at the speed limit of 15kn.   

This is another reason why we need to get rid of this 15kn hard cap on all ships.

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27 minutes ago, Flinch said:

I would love to see evidence one way or another. It would be cool if I was wrong because then ships that more easily exceed the cap are still useful. 

So far everything is anecdotal. 

 

 

15 knots 97% sails.  I've hit 15 knots at 95% sails at my best point, I know that for a fact, and I am pretty sure I was once at 93% sails and hit 15 knots, but I am not 100% certain on this.  Notice my point of sail.  I'm not even at my best point of 45, I'm at about 55 degrees or so, which should be almost 1 knot slower, but here I am hitting 15 knots at 97% sail health and my Lynx wasn't done accelerating to top speed yet.  At the end I am going 60 degrees off the wind, where I should be 1 knot slower than 45 degrees off the wind, and I am travelling 15 knots at 100% sails.

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4 hours ago, Flinch said:

Points of sail speed is calculated by percentages. You simply cannot exceed the hard-cap of 15nts, if you do it will not improve your speed at weaker points of sail. Your speed is capped at 15 before your velocity is calculated by the point of sail multiplier.

Therefore if you move at a point of sail that only provides 0.5 of your max speed then that 15nts will be 7.5knts. It will not calculate any extra speed after 15nts and apply it to a sub optimal point of sail. Of course test this and see what happens.

Oh and the 15nt Snow is godly. It is the best sailor at 180, nothing in the game can catch it going with the wind. The privateer is the absolute best going upwind. Either ship is nearly immune to counter gank, you will only die if you get a bad tag, go afk, or the OW wind pushes you into a coastline.


 

I would love to see evidence one way or another. It would be cool if I was wrong because then ships that more easily exceed the cap are still useful. 

So far everything is anecdotal. 

I'm sorry man you are wrong. Some of my clan members argued with me on this too, so I went out and physically confirmed the values.
If you were right then all Surprises would have been the same. Once you have reached 15kn hard cap it would have calculated other POS angles based on 15kn only. Which according to Surprise sail profile means the following:
From 15kn
@75° - 12% penalty = 15 kn-12.5%= 13.125 kn
@60° - 27% penalty = 15 kn - 27% = 10.95 kn
@45° - 45% penalty = 15 kn - 45% = 8.25 kn

All this is confirmed by my table below (1st column without extra skill knowledge). But then I start throwing modules in and testing different setups.
Check the middle column. Penalty values went up (second best) even though the ship has not even reached 15 kn cap. According to you those values should have dropped.

I don't have a video to prove to you, but Table below shows the values that I have confirmed physically sailing my Surprise outside Mortimer tagging AI. Those are real values - not calculated ones.
If you need proves you need to do it yourself. Go out there, make a video and prove us wrong.
Else its your prerogative to believe or not believe ;) 

SailingProfileSURPRISE.png

xtVIKfX.jpg

 

7 hours ago, Prater said:

I'm pretty sure it isn't hardcapped.  Throwing more mods makes ships faster at other points of sail, and you still go 15 knots when you have damaged sail at your best points.

The cap just stops you at 15 knots as far as I can tell.

No its not. Better name for this mechanic will be Soft Cap not hard cap.
Parameters wise and how speed bonuses applied in every aspect the game treats the ship as full speed above 15kn

However when ship reaches 15kn in actual sailing it kind of turns the block on.

Best comparison will be with the car that wont allow you to go over the speed limit due to the electronic speed block. They are still capable of doing it, but its programmed not to.
However the power is there and it acts in acceleration and handling all the same as the cap would not have been there


 

5 hours ago, Hodo said:

When I am out hunting my perks are different and my choice in ships is a bit smaller.  But the Surprise is a great hunting ship, that is what it is designed for.

But cheaper options would include.

-Snow, 12.95kn base speed, easy to get to 15kn, great upwind abilities and handles like a dream.  Lots of guns bow and stern chasers(mini-surprise), and good crew.  Downside; weak hull, and thin armor, pencil masts.

-Privater, fast, and small..  Boarding morale bonus.  Good all around hunting ship.  Low BV means your tagging options are limited.  And down wind performance is just bad.  

-Lynx, much like the Privateer, just smaller, but better down wind speed.  Also limited to 8 guns, but good rate of fire, and easy to manage same boarding advantage as the Privateer.

-Pickle, Best all points sailing ship in game... small though, no chasers, but 12 guns, and 55 men good armor.  But slower than all the rest.

 

Until we get the Rattlesnake back, the Snow is the best option for 6th rate hunting ships out there.  The Brig, while faster at 13.0kn is less armed, and has worse sailing profile.  It struggles at some points upwind and is slower than both the Surprise and the Snow into the wind. It lacks all forms of bow chasers making it completely inadequate to the task.

My personal perk setup is as follows.

-Carpenter;  additional bonus of repair done makes it worth it.  

-Area Control; no need to tag every 90sec as long as I can see their name.

-Double Charge; great for penetrating those masts at the edge of range.

-Prepared; same as Koltes listed

-Fleet 1; goes without saying

 

 

I have never ever hunted in fore-to-aft ships. I don't know how to make money sailing them to be honest. I have chosen 5th rate because it is capable of capturing the biggest traders in the game. It is also capable of fighting on par with larger ships. Its a rare day when I go home with less than 100k worth of ships, goods or repairs and that would be the worse. Normal hunting day gets about 250k in average. If I'm lucky and I find India man it could be anything between 500k and 2 mil 

Question: can you or how many or have you ever captured an Indiaman in for-to aft rigger? I'm genuinely interested to know. If you are and you give me more info I will add this to the guide with a credit to you
@Prater same here. What is the biggest fish can you get in your Linx or other for-to-aft?

My point was that you are not there to kill traders only. I want to fight larger ships.
My biggest kill on 5th rate was 2nd rate. Never had a chance to fight 3rd rate, but I sunk countless 4th rates in it (connies, aggys).
Heavy 5th rates are also dead meat - Trincs, Idefatigables all go down in 2-3 stern rakes.

 
 

45 minutes ago, Hodo said:

I could see how this works from a program standpoint.

The game will have a hard limit set to 15.  But if you stack mods and get the bonus high enough you could push your top speed well past that.  So lets take a Endymoin for example, 13.77kn at best point.  So if you were to get 25% increase in top speed through mods, you would get that ship well above 13.77kn.  (13.77*1.25=17.21) So you have a ship that COULD go 17.2kn, if it werent limited.   IF you were to take a -10% to main sail power, it would lost 10% off of its point of sail.  So you would lose 1.7kn off its top speed at 135.  So 17.21-1.7=15.51kn.   So still at the speed limit of 15kn.   

This is another reason why we need to get rid of this 15kn hard cap on all ships.

Yeah that's exactly how it works according to all the tests that I have ran

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If you can out turn an Indiaman, you can possibly take it.  I don't think you can tag one though.  I can out fight an Indefatigable in my Lynx, or a 74.  Only way to board would be if he is tacking.  Getting him below 60 crew might be a problem though.  A Rattlesnake could easily take an Indiaman, LGV, possibly an Indefatigable, and definitely a 74.  I took a Pavel once in my Rattlesnake, pre wipe.  Otherwise for fore and aft, it is mostly Trader Brigs, Trader Lynxes, Lynxes, Privateers, Pickels, which are all good to learn against.  The Lynx is probably not for the beginner, it doesn't have enough firepower and doesn't allow many mistakes, but it is fast.  I prefer cheap and fast ships, you prefer slightly larger ones.

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Really great guide @koltes, and good additions as well from @Prater, @Iroquois Confederacy and @Hodo. All players whose posts I can see great wisdom in, reinforcing my own experiences as a solo hunter.

For my part, I have always played in this solo style, and while I have nowhere near as many hours as Koltes and Prater do, my ~600hrs have been dedicated entirely to this kind of play. So, I'll offer my additions / observations / opinions for what they're worth.

The Neverending Puzzle
One of the most interesting things about the solo hunter playstyle is how much of a puzzle game it becomes. You need to find the right places to hunt, you need to anticipate your quarry and their movements, you need to anticipate the sheep dogs and their attempts to trap you, and you need to figure out your logistics to tie the whole thing together. Koltes has given some great suggestions about how to go about sorting this out, so no need to reiterate.

One thing, though: the player population is changing all the time, as are port owners, and the expansion and contraction of national territories tied to each can create and destroy hunting grounds depending on who owns them or has moved in near them. So, facts that were known a few days/weeks/months ago may still apply, or they may not. You really have to go there and do your scouting to find out.

On Hunting Grounds
Some areas of the map are much easier to hunt than others, due to the way the ports are aligned, the coastline is laid out, and the resources of the ports are configured. Some areas can be a deathtrap as there are many nearby ports that, if owned by the nation whose players you are hunting, can lead to the easy formation of sheepdog revenge squads that can close in on you from all sides. Other areas offer easier access to escape into the open sea where you will be much harder to intercept. Additionally, areas that are active in one time zone's primetime may be nearly dead in another. You need to find that "goldilocks" combination of a reasonable chance of success combined with a reasonable population of player traders to hunt in your prime gaming time.

Capping vs Sinking
I personally really like the challenge of capping player trade ships for later sale to the market, so I rarely sink a ship I've captured and am in fact pretty loathe to do so unless I'm fairly certain I'll need to make a hasty escape. I will often go through the cargo if possible, discard the least valuable / heaviest items to help make the prize ship a bit faster. And then one of my favorite parts of the whole process begins: the super stressful and exciting crawl back to your base of operations, hoping you escape notice and bring home your prize. It feels like nothing so much as being a leopard on the African savanna, trying to make off with your kill before the lions steal it away from you. I love it.

You won't get as many (or any) combat marks for doing this, but consider the math... if the capped TBrig sells for 40-60k at market, and combat marks can be bought for 1k each, you can potentially purchase 40-60 combat marks with the earnings from selling the ship, whereas sinking it will only net you 2 combat marks. Can you capture 20 TBrigs in the time it takes to sell one at market?

Also, as I'll mention below, I sail only unrated vessels while hunting, and I do not like overloading my hunting ship as it makes it very difficult to get away. I'd rather have the captured prize in fleet, and sink it, than hobble my fast hunter and turn it into easy meat for the sheepdogs. So I keep the prizes and sell them later.

Hunting Ships, Upgrades, Cannons, Repairs and Perks
Because I focus on capping traders and taking them as a prize, I find I need to really focus on bringing sail repairs, as I'll need to repair not only my own sails (either during battle or afterwards) but also those of the trader who I have captured. Failing to do this means I will be much more subject to revenge interception, as the trade ship will sail very slowly unless its sails are repaired. Curiously, despite "splurging" on fir/fir builds, almost all of the traders I capture do not carry sails repairs. When you're already sailing a vessel worth 50k or more in a capital market, the idea that spending 1/10 of that value on sail repairs seems like trivial insurance to try to hedge your chances of getting away, but most seem to "YOLO" it and do without altogether, so they can maximize the amount of cargo carried. I can't say I understand it, but I guess it improves their bottom line, and certainly my own, as it makes them much easier for me to catch.

Now, because I must bring enough sail repairs for both my ship and my quarry, I need to really optimize the rest of my loadout and ship upgrades. Like Prater and Hodo, I hunt exclusively in the Lynx and Privateer, with the latter being my favorite despite its poor downwind performance. I run Optimized Ballast and a Gazelle figurehead as a minimum, as well as 4lb long cannons, which I prefer to 6lb mediums as they are just a bit lighter and nearly as effective. And they reload much faster than 6lb longs, which I feel is important. You want your reload time to be less than your stern camping 180* turn time, so you can fire as soon as you've made your turn and can keep your speed lower and your s-turns tighter, making it much harder for the quarry to hit you with broadsides. I also carry some Hull Repairs and Rum, with the goal being to keep my Privateer or Lynx at 15kts max speed while still having enough repairs to do my work successfully.

My preferred perks: Fleet 1, Area Control, Prepared and Rigging Specialist are mandatory for my playstyle. I am undecided about Double Charge vs Double Shot, though I think the former would be better for my small ships (every bit of extra penetration would help those 4lb longs). Fleet 2 is also tempting for those times when you hate having to choose one of the two ships you've captured. I'd rather sink neither, to be honest.

Escorts in Fleet: Deterrent or Opportunity?
One thing I didn't see mentioned above was that many traders will bring along a warship in fleet to provide some measure of defense. Sometimes, however, they make a mistake and bring a good upwind warship (i.e. Lynx, Privateer, etc.) along with a good downwind tradeship (i.e. TBrig). When I see this, and that the player trader is on the trade ship and leaving the AI to command the warship, then I see it as a free warship for me to capture. In almost all cases, the player will command the NPC warship in his fleet to attack me, and I will happily sail upwind - dragging the NPC warship after me - and then chain its sails and board it while the player in the trade ship escapes. Granted, the warship might not be worth as much as the player trade vessel, but on the other hand, I've just acquired a "disposable" backup hunting ship that I can use to do some extra silly / risky things that I'd rather not commit my main hunting vessel to. In either case, the "threat" the fleet warship is meant to represent is not interpreted by me as anything to be afraid of, but rather as another opportunity for gain.

It Is Better To See Than To Be Seen
Whenever I am in the open world, I am constantly swiveling my camera 360 degrees and clicking on every sail I see. I used to assume that this is what everyone does, but with time I've realized that many, especially when they are in their "safe" home waters, get a bit lazy about this. They are not AFK per se, they are simply "cruising", like how sometimes happens when you're on a long drive on the highway and you realize you've been driving for a few minutes without any consciousness of doing so. Maybe they are tabbed out, maybe they are chatting, who knows, who cares.

This has many implications: I can sometimes simply sail up to someone, get in position, and tag them and they only react once they see the circle go around their ship. Other times, it means I can tuck my ship into a part of the coastline where I am more-or-less in plain sight, yet I will watch as ship after ship sails right past me, without taking any notice whatsoever... because, in their mind, there's "nothing interesting" about that stretch of coast they've sailed past countless times, and they somehow fail to even think that something might be hiding there, waiting to pounce, so they don't bother even looking (they're probably scanning the other way, to the open sea, or who knows what). It's kind of amazing and adrenaline-pumping when it happens, and it happens a lot!

Likewise, because I am constantly scanning, it is extremely rare that I am myself caught by surprise, and I often see other people well before they've seen me. One thing I learned while hunting around Jamaica with @Jarlath Morrow is that you really want to avoid being seen if at all possible. Smart players will quickly announce your position via their National chat and then all the traders will bunker down till you've been caught or left the area, and the sheepdogs will come out in full force hoping to kill you (as they should). Which means that I'll often tack or gybe away from a player character I spot, extending off in the other direction in hopes that they'll have missed me and fail to report my position. Quite often, it seems I am successful, as I later find traders sailing nearby, seemingly without any awareness that a pirate is operating in the area (of course, reports to national chat are only helpful if you actually read them).

The Myth of the Defenseless Trader
There is a great deal of arrogance and disdain expressed against those who hunt player trade ships, as these hunters are believed to be attacking "defenseless easy prey" and the ensuing fight to capture the trader prize is "not PVP."  Based on my experience, when I hear someone make these claims, I am pretty confident they have never tried done much if any hunting, certainly not in a 7th rate, nor as a solo player, with only the ship and upgrades they have created/earned/grinded themselves (i.e. without the benefit of their clan's community resources). Really, if you've never hunted alone, in enemy waters, with no clanmates to back you up, you are in no position to say anything about what this kind of hunting is like, because you simply don't know. Those who hunt know better, and do not say such things.

So let me come out and say it: even prior to the patch that allowed traders to be fully armed, they were far from defenseless. I have had traders try to ram and capsize me, I have had them try to break my bowsprit off, I have had them engage in all kinds of wild behaviors as they throw caution to the wind and do anything and everything they can to stop me, by any means necessary. And this was before they had cannons! Very few are passive and most will never surrender no matter how hopeless the odds, happy to see their ship sink or explode or otherwise, if it means depriving me of a prize.

The Lynx continues to be very easy to capsize and the danger is greatest when you attempt to turn the trade ship into the wind. If you mistime your push, you can easily get caught under the bow of the trader and in only a matter of 2-3 seconds be on your side in an unrecoverable broach. Is is especially dangerous if you have not sufficiently chained down the trader's sails, but even then the danger persists. The Privateer is a bit better but not immune, though its greater mass means the margin for error is a bit higher.

Obviously, a Surprise is a different kettle of fish altogether, and these issues facing the unrated ships are not considerations. However, Koltes has done a good job of describing the many challenges facing the Surprise captain - as the ships themselves are so competent, they are guaranteed to draw revenge fleets, so they come with their own set of issues. And while I have yet to capture a player trader in an LGV or Indiaman (as I very rarely see them), I am sure it presents a genuine challenge to the Surprise captain and isn't simply "easy meat."

In any event, now that traders can be fully armed, they can be quite dangerous to unrated hunting ships fitted for speed, at least if their captains are competent at sailing and shooting. The only time I've been sunk by another player since wipe (roughly 200hrs of gameplay in which I've captured dozens of player trader prizes) was when I persisted too long in attempting to capture a TBrig sailed by a very competent British player who was an excellent shot, too. I could and should have broken off my attack, but I kept going for "just one more pass" rather than taking a cold and rational look at my ship's condition and realizing the capture was hopeless. Suffice to say, if you come across a competent captain, that trade ship can be a very worthy opponent. I've had better fights from armed traders than I have from warships, by far. Much more tactical, much more challenging, much closer of a match. They are defenseless only to the extent they choose to be.

Which brings up another interesting observation: like with sail repairs, many traders chose to go unarmed, or with only stern cannons. Why this is the case, I have no idea. I've also seen instances where a trader has cannons, but forgets to use them. Far be it from me to tell him otherwise, but it still sort of boggles the mind. I suppose it's a sort of min-maxing theory: no repairs, no cannons, full cargo, damn the horses and go for it. Works for me.

Stick To Your Plan (Or You'll Plan To Fail)
It takes time and practice, as Koltes notes, to come up with a system for capturing ships successfully. While learning to tag, or prevent ships from escaping, or to chain sails, or to grape, or whatever, you will fail many times. Sometimes you will sink. Many times you will be mocked in battle chat as your quarry slips away and you find yourself, due to the mistakes in your approach and execution, incapable of doing anything about it. Prepare to be humiliated, as this is part of the learning process.

Later, once you've got things sort of figured out, and you feel like you know more-or-less what you're doing, you may start thinking you can improvise, or "do things a little different this time." Actually, you probably can't. The system you developed through all those failures is probably a good one, and better than what you try to make up on the spot, and it's one you should stick to in most cases. Failing to do so is courting disaster (see my anecdote about getting my hunting ship sunk above). Most importantly, know when to call off an attack - be it at the tagging phase, or during battle, or when you have to sink a ship to get away (be it in battle instance or later in the OW). Your hunting ship is the most important and hardest to replace tool in your arsenal, and you must try to protect it at all costs. You will always be able to find new prey, probably just a few minutes later, but it might take hours to replace a heavily customized hunter, especially if playing solo. Try to stay cool and calm and make this choice - to break off the attack or not - a business decision first and foremost.

Summary
I've gone and written a small book, and apologies for that. But this thread was long overdue, and I'm very pleased at the high quality of content presented. Kudos to @koltes for the initiative. I hope my own contribution is helpful for those considering the truly solo hunting approach. The rewards are well worth it; it is a unique and singular experience within Naval Action, one that few allow themselves to experience. So much the better for those of us who do... but, the world is out there, and it's yours for the taking, if you're captain enough to do it.

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1 hour ago, koltes said:

I have never ever hunted in fore-to-aft ships. I don't know how to make money sailing them to be honest

 

I have made ~1,000,000 in the past 5-6 days of playing, exclusively in small ships. My biggest haul was a couple days ago, around 200k between cargo and ship.

But really, as you note, it's not about the number, it's about the experience, and solo hunting in little ships is great fun, even if you're "only" capping TBrigs and TLynxes and fighting other unrated warships.

For my part, I positively love schooners in real life, and how they sail in Naval Action, and for me, they are end game content. No, really. I have a couple Surprises, including one very fast one, and can do fine with manual sailing (though I'm certainly no master), but those larger ships just really don't do it for me, aesthetically or otherwise. I am completely addicted to sailing closehauled at 34kts in a Privateer and there's simply nothing I can do about it. "I'm in love" etc.

I will pretty soon be able to captain a 4th rate, and I may get a Connie just for the heck of it, but honestly it will just be a harbor queen (along with the Santa Cecilia I got from participating in the AI LGV contest). My hunting ships will remain Privateers and Lynxes as they are the ships of my dreams.

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