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Server Health is a Game Design Issue

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4 minutes ago, Wraith said:

Whatever happened to the in-game purchases like paints, and add-on ship packs that were discussed pre-wipe? If, as you allude to, it's funding keeping you from actually doing the things that the game needs (bathymmetry, ships, hiring an economist and an MMO design team instead of just winging it, etc.) then give us the ability to provide that for you!

This! If funding is what is holding you back, let the players who are active and want the game to succeed give you money through something other than buying alts...

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This whole conversation today strikes me as odd.

@admin says it's fault of the community for not recommending the game and no new purchases = fewer players on the servers, but there is no mention of why this game has sold over 100k copies and 18months later it's down to roughly 2000 active players daily (that's being generous).  That's lower than a 5% retention rate.  Can we perhaps address why this game has such a poor retention rate instead of blaming the community for not recommending this game enough?  Why did those players leave?  Why is the new player grind so difficult?

Blaming your community is a pretty good way of making sure your loyal fans don't continue to purchase your titles.  Just a thought.  This game has some of the most fanatical and loyal fans that I've ever encountered, despite almost every one knowing and understanding that NA has issues and we're nowhere close to the final form of the game.  A lot of these people have purchased multiple copies of this game from you and participate in the forums that is far more active than the actual game.  Dismissing them and saying NA is basically at the end of it's life because we don't "recommend" it enough is bullshit and a cop out.  

Solve these questions and perhaps the game will become one that we CAN recommend.  

PS - it's obvious from your posts that the root of everything here is money.  You've been presented with numerous plans over the years as to how to increase the monetization of the game.   Sell Forged Paper transfers for RL money, sell server transfers for money, sell paints, pennants, ship name changes.....shit even sell certain ships or packs.  None of this has been done.  Half of global right now would probably purchase another set of forged papers off you tomorrow if it you made it happen.  I'm sure EU would do the same.  

 

Edited by Christendom
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My suggestion to keep the RvR guys active on the ow, and this may be a bad idea since I'm not into the RVR, a map wipe (not asset wipe) every 6 months. There always seem to be more excitement when the map is new. 

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@admin

 

Many problems with development are bad choices. Excuse is that you take suggestions by players / community. What players? I see lots of good suggestions and then some bad taken. Game like Empyrion - Galactic Survival is small Indie studio developing EA game. They make lots of polls on development priorities and player satisfaction on certain game aspects. Same goes for Robocraft game. Players vote and decide, not just suggestion by one random guy on forums.

Why Devs pick wrong suggestions? Because they don't understand many game problems themselves.

@admin said he tested lots of times rookie experience. Great, admin understands rookie problems in this game with few exceptions (yes, tutorials and game introduction would help... Restarting your character does not reset your knowledge and skills, thus you think rookies don't need it).

What's admins experience on port battles and hostility? What's admins experience on progression and learning curve from Basic Cutter to HMS Victory? What's admins experience on getting 5 knowledge slots on L'Ocean? What's admins experience on getting Copper Plating or other RNG drops? What's admins experience on assembling Book of Five Rings, Gunnery Encyclopedia and Ship Handling? What's admins experience on clan problems? What admins experience on nation problems / dramas (since admin is playing solo)? 

 

I don't want admin to force experiemcing all of that (I would be a bad person to wish admin experience all of these bad things), but admin should take most experienced players in closed circle to name biggest game problems and make surveys for whole community.

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4 minutes ago, Anne Wildcat said:

My suggestion to keep the RvR guys active on the ow, and this may be a bad idea since I'm not into the RVR, a map wipe (not asset wipe) every 6 months. There always seem to be more excitement when the map is new. 

Players would stop their efforts months or weeks prior to next map reset considering further efforts as "pointless" and "time waste". Same what happens when wipe is announced few weeks / months in advance (server dies and becomes empty).

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1 hour ago, admin said:

This post above may sound very harsh for you, I hope it's taken as tough love.  I no longer want to hear weak excuses, or blaming developers. We delivered what we promised.  I want to hear optimism and confidence, and small steps in the right direction constantly - which means stopping raising expectations and accepting the game as is - helping players understand whats good about it, as we know there are good things otherwise you would not be here.

Where is the guy who said that:

 One time it's the players who moved away from the game and it's natural and the next time it's our fault.

As you should know we are players nothing more and nothing else. You should expect only one thing from us: play.
That's what I have been doing since December 18, 2015 (605 days). I have played 2155 hours on Naval Action. An average of 3.5 hours played per day every day.

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First of all - thank you for taking the time to respond to the thread @admin. I greatly appreciate this level of interaction. 

3 hours ago, admin said:

You don't mention (very interested in why) that EVE required you to pay 14 dollars per month for how many years? 

Nothing nefarious, I assure you. EVE started out in a different era in online game - before Valve and TF2/DotA2, and later League of Legends proved that a sensible Cosmetics shop can generate income comparable or greater than a monthly subscription. 

So lets talk about it

  • Players who spend 3000 hours (we have a lot) would have paid us 350 dollars already   - There are two problems here: First that kind of analysis is a bit outdated - we no longer live in the shadow of WoW the $15/mo king, but instead the competition is with games like League of Legends, Overwatch, PUBG, Albion or even a transitional title like World of Tanks. Players expect voluntary purchases of Cosmetics and Loot-Boxes to replace fixed monthly fees. Second Problem: How much of that time would be spent on Travel or Idling? Successful past MMO's that justified $14/mo were crammed with content - from raids to various player interactions, and were constantly expanded at a rapid rate. They all eventually slide to some Freemium model - the better ones picking up where TF2 hats left off. When a game like Blizzards Heroes of the Storm started losing popularity due to being overpriced - they obtained a surge by providing free unlocks of a third of the characters in the game, and introducing loot boxes Overwatch style. When a project like Hearthstone remains uncontested, Blizzard get away with charging more per microtransaction. The model is still roughly the same - and they are highly profitable. 
    • (if you play 4 hours per day every day this means 750 days or additional 350 dollars)
  • Average hours in game are 100. This means on average players (if we would be EVE) would have paid us additional 45 dollars (so 100 dollars on average from a player.  
    - I would have paid you at least an extra $15 for the ability to never have to grind anything again, for access to any future slots or unlocks, and I would gladly pay for some cosmetics. People may dislike paying for unlocks, but if the pricing isn't unreasonable, it could have been done. 

Now what this means is very exciting.

  • If we launched with EvE payment terms today we would be making approximately 300k per month (10000 active weekly players or 20,000 active monthly players). IMPORTANT: THIS IS EVEN WITH CURRENT ONLINE NUMBERS.   - Would that produce content worth $14 a month? Note that a huge part of your Content are other players and my ability to interact with them in a mutually fun fashion. 
  • This means.
    • i would be able to afford 10-15 more 3d modelers which will allow  - I may be in minority here, but you have enough 3D assets for launch. You need UI, content and balancing. You also need some way to get on the cosmetics based microtransactions in a historical setting. Below are nice things, but their absence is not why people start leaving or don't pay more (we could poll this and see the results). 
      • 5-7 ships per month with
        • ship interiors
        • deck views
        • stern and bow customization
        • sailplans customizations
    • I would be able to hire 10 programmers and writers who can deliver one major update (with NEW content) every month instead of one tuning and improvement or remake every 3-4 months.  - Yes, I can safely assume many of your current customers would support you in paying for such a roadmap.  Should this be a Patreon, a Kickstarter, or a micro-transaction shop with Cosmetics for Ships? My wallet is ready.
      • shallows
      • new ai
      • better missions
      • quest lines
      • manning forts
      • on deck boarding
      • multiship boarding
      • more crew on deck
    • Dedicated support and trained paid mods. - Actually, despite the criticism they face at times, your volunteer Mods are an asset, a positive program. Crowdsourcing and volunteers can go a long way (see Reddit, with all it's flaws, still functional with primarily volunteer staff). Hired mods are the bane of many games when they don't come out of the community. 
      • currently support is done by a support designer, qa and sometimes devs, which is crap as customer service must be magical. 

But its impossible as there is no subs. When haters post on steam DON'T BUY THE GAME - NONE of you you come to post something opposite there. As a result. People stop buying. Which is fine for us. People vote with the wallet and this is just business. 

- I don't want to lie to people and it's stopping me from being effective at advertising your game. Trust me, I tried and pulled people that quit , but they leave again. Steam reviews have a "recent" feature which means that with a concentrated effort, we can turn things around if the community feels it is justified. I have abstained from leaving a review because it would be mixed - and I really want to write a highly positive one. 

- I don't want my review to start with "this game is incredibly fun except all the parts that feel like a job."  There is a balance in such things and the game is currently so far into an extreme - particularly in ship / CM and refit costs - that even the hardcore are quitting. 

You wanted to see a Grand plan - it was here all the time. We never said anything different. Its a box product with fixed content promised.
The promised grand plan is simple 
https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=259130636

which is

The game will be shipped in 3 stages. 
Episode 1: Multiplayer combat. 
Episode 2: Upgradeable ships, crews, ranks, boarding
Episode 3: Sandbox open world, crafting and conquest 

Early access content 
10 ships
3 maps (weather and night or day)
These will be available after we get greenilght and get our build approved by Valve. 
PC Only. DX11 supported video card required.

 

Remember that we said - we will develop it based on your support and encouragement.

We delivered what we promised and more (3 or more unique port harbors, huge historical world, dynamic weather, day and night cycle, 10+ ships or maybe more). And the roadmap is currently just localization (promised) and user interface. 

After that we will work on NA until the sales stop. Based on reviews and community reactions to haters who deliberately try to stop new players from buying it is going to happen very soon. It will have community support and only new ships from Legends will be added to NA OW edition because the code is shared. 

- That is sad to hear because it seems like a misunderstanding between your team and your community. Full disclosure - I speak and read Russian and I visit the Russian side of the forums very often. They are culturally very different to North American market, particularly in sensitivity to grinding out things. It's very telling when they start complaining about things like RNG skill books and unlocks - it means it's really over the top. They read our forums too - if you look at their PB / RvR overhaul suggestion that actually has a reference to Koltes' PB overhaul thread. There is a great demand from both communities to expand and improve the game - to increase it's fun aspects and reduce it's unnecessary toil. We all want to support you within our means, particularly if both sides can be convinced of each other's sincerity. 


This post above may sound very harsh for you, I hope it's taken as tough love.  I no longer want to hear weak excuses, or blaming developers. We delivered what we promised.  I want to hear optimism and confidence, and small steps in the right direction constantly - which means stopping raising expectations and accepting the game as is - helping players understand whats good about it, as we know there are good things otherwise you would not be here.

Haha, I (and hopefully the community at large) will take the lumps if we can get through to the important stuff. Tell me how are we going to pay you for continued development, and how are we going to communicate what we want developed and what is secondary? Part of your game is currently locked for us behind unreasonable time requirements - what is needed to get them resolved? It's like you are hiding the game from us and from other potential customers behind all these gates: 

A few examples: 

- Can the ship permits be balanced to not require such high risks? 50 combat marks for a Trinc right now, how many hours does it take to recover if you sink? Does it even equal the number of CM the victor gets for sinking us, or is the system a net-loss? We're very discouraged from taking risks and for no visible reason. I should be able to sink once an evening for a week, and make up for it by at most 1 evening of Economy. 

-  We sail in the Open World in order to interact with other players - yet there is no system in place to notify us that a Player is in sight. If I step aside to make tea, I can miss spotting the other person and sail by with no OW gameplay happening. We don't have a region scan, we aren't in space, so perhaps we should have a spotter on the mast? Perhaps ships with full sails up should show up earlier, while sails down remain hidden? 

-  We often travel very long distances within the game with no way to speed things up significantly on long journeys. Perhaps on a 2500 person server that is fine, but when down to 150-300 the critical mass, the frequency of encounters drops too low to care. Perhaps there should be speed lanes outside of territorial waters, effectively shrinking the map by the speed-up factor you pick and balance? (some suggest physical shrinking of map but that seems too expensive and wasteful)

- We have to spend a lot of time on protecting and teaching new players - a task that became near impossible with some of the features introduced since last patch. Can there be a solution where new players are given an easy start until they reach their first Surprise? Perhaps a limit of their nation-rank before their combat missions are opened for PvP? 

- Can there be content like Achievement Missions - PvP or PvE goals that result in guaranteed drops of particular skill books and refits, eliminating their rarity?

- Can there be major improvements to ship-crafting to make the entire process more streamlined? Can there be an insurance system  to control the impact of the loss? (primarily for the current real cost - the Refits and the time it takes to build the same ship using the somewhat sluggish UI).

The question isn't whether you fulfilled your obligations for our $40, I'm pretty sure most will agree you did - the question is why can't we pay more, and why can't we all work together on gradually improving things beyond the value of that initial amount? 

Can I pay you right now to support further development and get a vote in the "backer" forums (similar to AMPLITUDE Studios)? Only by buying another account. That's not what I want to buy - I want to reduce my time wasted on useless things in the game, not have another character to manage.

I want to buy cool visual things for my ships - like the right to name them from a limited dictionary - and be able to quickly rebuild a named ship using the same resources. Like different flags and sail paint and ship paint. I understand the game is historical, but surely some fun can be allowed in this setting. Some creative brainstorming can reveal more options for cosmetics - like firework displays, for example. 

Another things is to start thinking for the game as a whole and for other groups of players who play the game. As too often feedback is just targeting one side of the story and make it worse for the other.

Note that many of your best customers are working 9:00 to 17:00 each day, and earn the ability to pay you more - they don't necessarily want a Naval Legends, they want to be able to have an adventure on the open seas, but they want it in manageable chunks - 1.5 - 3 hours a session at most. They want that time filled with some sailing, but not all sailing, with some fighting, but not just fighting - it's the balance that makes it fun. 

I would love to pay more for continuous development of the game. I would love to be able to leave a positive steam review that says "this game has a lot of fun and is only a little bit of work to reach it, balanced just right".  More likely "This game used to require a lot of work, but recent patches eliminated much of the drudgery, leaving most of the fun, and you should definitely try it after these changes!"

Do you want me to speak with my vallet? I am ready! Is there an option for me to pay for anything except an alt account?  

Perhaps there needs to be a council of people that are willing to pay, with a forum that everyone can read, but only the "backers" and developers can write in, where we can determine what's worth the effort, what should be fixed and what could be added? 

I am pretty sure that if people see such a move of optimism, a campaign of support on Steam would become quite possible. 

Edited by Tenet
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For the game to succeed you need plentiful player interaction in the form of combat. You need meaningful PVP. And you need to not have a high barrier to entry, for example sailing an hour to find a fight. I think one simple move would go a long way toward achieving this, and that's to reduce the number of factions to 3, plus the pirates. Have British, French, Spanish, Pirates and be done. The pirates wouldn't be a standard faction and would not play the map control game, but instead would be allowed to teleport around to the designated pirate towns scattered throughout the map to cause havoc wherever unexpectedly.

What this would do is remove all the dumb alliances, which are counter-productive to PVP. It would also give a lot more areas of friction. It would also make it more straight forward for newbies. No need to figure out who you can attack or not, just shoot everything that isn't <your faction>. It would make timing of port battles less critical because with more dense faction populations, you should have decent coverage 24 hours a day. It would make your faction seem more alive by having a greater number of players in it. I think limiting the number of factions wouldn't change the game in any negative way and only have positive side effects. It's a super simple change to implement and they should try it. Combine the servers and give everyone 3 factions +pirates to choose from.

Edited by Souvlaki
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i understand what admin is saying , But i have actually bought enough copies of the game because i want to support it and i know a few who have done the same. We mostly don't even use those copies , we just bought them to support the game , well i did. i am not disappointed withe development of NA , cause i didnt't really expect too much from the beginning. I think it's really difficult to develop an age of sail mmo. The crowd playing such games are partially young guys as well as old farts as myself. So basically you got to get the pvp crowd and the pve crowd (to which i count myself ) under one hat (i have no idea if that is saying also exist in english  it's a german saying). So far as a pve player i am not disappointing. I know the prime aspect is pvp and we pve players are not the focus. I hope that will change a little the further the game develops. I'd love to spend some money on NA but i do not want to buy a 15the or 16 the or even 17th copy (i am exaggerating here but not by too far). I really love the game and the work but i'd love to have something  i could just spend a little to support the project.

Edited by BoomBox
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12 hours ago, admin said:

We are trying and trying hard to fix problems and experiment/experiment/experiment… 
yet when new people ask - should they get this game - they get this in response

http://steamcommunity.com/app/311310/discussions/1/1471967615873119233/

Its hard to bring new users when there is not a single positive voice on steam. How can you increase online when every answer to the question - "should i get it" - is "NO"?

 

2 hours ago, admin said:
  • This post above may sound very harsh for you, I hope it's taken as tough love.  I no longer want to hear weak excuses, or blaming developers. We delivered what we promised.  I want to hear optimism and confidence, and small steps in the right direction constantly - which means stopping raising expectations and accepting the game as is - helping players understand whats good about it, as we know there are good things otherwise you would not be here.

 

1 hour ago, admin said:

You can support Legends then Jon Snow.
It will have amazing core, no ganking, somewhat balanced battles, tournaments and NO time wasting whatsoever.
And it will be free to play on PC and will also launch on Xbox and PS4. Which means it will be full with life.

Legends will also let us remove those who want all that mentioned above from the hardcore sandbox. Making OW game better as a result. 

No shit Sherlock.

You are developing the game, you have power to do what ever you want.

Your old players had an idea, you decide to go other direction.  They invested thousands of hours testing your game and you do the opposite.

What kind of reaction you were expecting?

Who should they blame if not you?

...

1. You admit that you failed and fix it for old players.  They write good reviews.

2. You never failed.  You suffer some time from bad reviews.  You find new players.

3. You never admit you failed, you suffer from bad reviews, never find new players and you go down pointing at everyone else.

 

Lets just hope it is not the #3.

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I see a lot of opinions thrown around in this thread that I may partially or completely disagree with,  but I will make an effort to simply not comment on, because the differences are not important. What is important is what unites most people here:

- The realization that the time requirements built into the game are currently not sensible to say the least.

- The willingness to financially support the game if there were sensible options to do so, and some measure of voting over priorities

 I thank everyone in this thread that managed to maintain their cool and remain constrictive in their writing. It's really amazing and rare to see in such cases.

Edited by Tenet

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4 hours ago, admin said:

You don't mention (very interested in why) that EVE required you to pay 14 dollars per month for how many years? 
I don't play EVE and still paying sub so my character is still progressing. Just in case I would comeback one day.
Don't mind paying sub if this means the game goes full potential.
While game is still in development I can't see how you can charge subs, but we have offered 100s of times to make admiralty store to sell in-game customization goods (cosmetics only) for real money. This would definitely help.
We have also offered to run kickstarter to take this game to the next level. Not a ship remaking kickstarter, but making the going forward to actually reaching ones vision.

 

But its impossible as there is no subs. When haters post on steam DON'T BUY THE GAME - NONE of you you come to post something opposite there.
@admin problem is that once we gave a feedback, you cant give another one. I have already made positive feedback and Steam will only allow me to change it.



We delivered what we promised and more (3 or more unique port harbors, huge historical world, dynamic weather, day and night cycle, 10+ ships or maybe more). And the roadmap is currently just localization (promised) and user interface. 
If the game is playable its ok. I think we can leave with that. The current mechanics unfortunately are not playable which renders the entire game not delivered. This is how players see it.



After that we will work on NA until the sales stop. Based on reviews and community reactions to haters who deliberately try to stop new players from buying it is going to happen very soon. It will have community support and only new ships from Legends will be added to NA OW edition because the code is shared.
The game project is a business. It must have a business model. To date I fail to see how you are planning (or planned) to make money out of this game. If GameLabs would have dont the business model right you would have had enough financial support to polish this beauty and make her shine. As you can see selling game accounts only goes so far. Not only it stops with bad feedback, it also denies us (existent) player to give you continues support.
Let me fire this question back at you. We want to give you more money on top of what we already gave you by purchasing the game. How can I do it?
Selling accounts have resulted alt accounts overflow and under capitalized project.
It is not too late to change your business formula and get the cashflow.



This post above may sound very harsh for you, I hope it's taken as tough love.  I no longer want to hear weak excuses, or blaming developers.
It doesn't sound harsh. Its business and its life. Understandable. We don't blame you either and no need to go defensive. We know that for majority it was also faults of players for pulling the blanket in all directions.


We delivered what we promised. 
This will happen WHEN the game will be PLAYABLE as a community. You have done what you have promised, but if game is not playable what good does it make?


I want to hear optimism and confidence, and small steps in the right direction constantly - which means stopping raising expectations and accepting the game as is - helping players understand whats good about it, as we know there are good things otherwise you would not be here.
Business plan. End vision and end game. RVR normalized vs OW PVP gameplay so neither kills server pop. A kickstarter. A set release date.
You will have lots of positiveness and awesomeness from the players. There are lots of us who support you.

 

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First when i heard about Naval Action Legends i was quite sceptic - this will take a good bunch of players of NA. But now i change my opinion a bit. Everybody expect (besides Admins - low your expectation) a lot of both games (maybe because there is not real competition or similar games) same time everybody want game look to suit own game style. Its hard to develop all our expectations in one game as we can see here on forum and in reviews. So i risk opinion (even with low population) that two games was good idea at the end. I personally don`t like lobby kind of games even i had less time for playing now. My expectations of Naval Action since 2013 when i first heard and same day register on this forum not changes a lot. I want - open world, vibrant live good mmo game with healthy RvR system, player driven economy and pvp. Hope you can do it at some point dear devs. That`s why i spend so much time in game, made website about it, advertise a game and try gather part of polish community in one place.

Edited by Bart Smith
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4 hours ago, Vernon Merrill said:

-One RvR'er
-One PvP'er
-One Econ'er

I think the problem is you cannot reconcile these 3 groups, assuming they are really separate interests.

I would call myself all of the above but that means I want them all to tie into each other directly. I want the RvR to be caused by PvP. I want the economy to be driven by PvP. I do not want traders to be safe. I do not want RvR players to be able to ignore open world PvP and I don't want PvP players to be able to ignore what's going on in RvR.

But a dedicated econ player would have answers that are very different from mine.

Similarly, a dedicated RvR player -- one who does not care at all about open world PvP and probably works to avoid it -- would also have very different answers.

For that matter, a PvPer who loves living out of free ports, loves stealing ships and ignores RvR and the economy would also have very different answers.


You can't satisfy all of these groups but they are all here campaigning for changes that make the game more like they want and less like the other groups want.

This is why I say Naval Action's real problem has always been that the developers had a hard time selecting an audience. They tried to satisfy everyone and that didn't work, so they narrowed it down a bit but it still feels to me like we are trying to satisfy too many people.

I think the audience should really be "full bodied open world players" -- people who like the open world concept and all that it entails, including impactful PvP, impactful RvR and an economy that is driven by those things. The open world is what sets this game apart and that is what we should focus on. People favoring missions and "fair fights" and no-loss defeats are muddying the waters.

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No one plays a game for any length of time if it becomes frustrating, boring and empty. The playability of this game is on life support because at every patch another hoop must be negotiated to do what you want to do. This doesn't add realism...it adds frustration. It should be a screaming siren that everyone plays this game AFK. The moment the developers found out that people don't play their game while they are logged in, should have sent a parade of red flags down their halls, but no. They continued to add frustrating hoops the player had to jump through and no content so they could continue to bore them. One day they may look up from their desks to notice the place is empty.

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1 hour ago, Slamz said:

I think the problem is you cannot reconcile these 3 groups, assuming they are really separate interests.

I would call myself all of the above but that means I want them all to tie into each other directly. I want the RvR to be caused by PvP. I want the economy to be driven by PvP. I do not want traders to be safe. I do not want RvR players to be able to ignore open world PvP and I don't want PvP players to be able to ignore what's going on in RvR.

But a dedicated econ player would have answers that are very different from mine.

Similarly, a dedicated RvR player -- one who does not care at all about open world PvP and probably works to avoid it -- would also have very different answers.

For that matter, a PvPer who loves living out of free ports, loves stealing ships and ignores RvR and the economy would also have very different answers.


You can't satisfy all of these groups but they are all here campaigning for changes that make the game more like they want and less like the other groups want.

This is why I say Naval Action's real problem has always been that the developers had a hard time selecting an audience. They tried to satisfy everyone and that didn't work, so they narrowed it down a bit but it still feels to me like we are trying to satisfy too many people.

I think the audience should really be "full bodied open world players" -- people who like the open world concept and all that it entails, including impactful PvP, impactful RvR and an economy that is driven by those things. The open world is what sets this game apart and that is what we should focus on. People favoring missions and "fair fights" and no-loss defeats are muddying the waters.

I agree completely.  That's why I would like to see a experienced, rational group of all three put their heads together and find a good compromise that is "acceptable" to all three groups.  

Regardless, some people will be unhappy.  

Edited by Vernon Merrill
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1 hour ago, Slamz said:

I think the audience should really be "full bodied open world players" -- people who like the open world concept and all that it entails, including impactful PvP, impactful RvR and an economy that is driven by those things. The open world is what sets this game apart and that is what we should focus on. People favoring missions and "fair fights" and no-loss defeats are muddying the waters.

You say that as someone who wins more often than you lose in OW fights. What you don't seem to understand is that the game needs to support the people that you sink, and give them incentives to come back and get sunk again and again. 

The game does not reward PvP for the loser, and even winning an occasional fight does not reward the equivalent of what is risked. 

There's a huge difference between "No loss" and "All Loss". There is a point of balance in between that will allow you, the hunter, to gather scalps and humiliate your opponents, while also allowing them to come back and attack you again relatively soon. Not instantly, not for free, but with enough of an incentive to "try again". 

For example: Right now Building a Trinc costs 50 Combat Marks. Sinking a Trinc rewards about 28-30 combat marks in OW against a Player. That's about -20 combat marks loss of the system (not to mention the loss of resources that we will ignore for argument sake). They lose 50 combat marks right away. 

Imagine the person you sank coming back to try again, and sinking you. They get their 28-30 combat marks, and you lose 50. This means that both of you lost 20-22 points for doing what the game is supposed to encourage you to do - OW PvPing. Why? Is there some method of abuse they are afraid of? If anything, sinking another Trinc should reward 60 points, to add to the system. This way each time someone sinks a ship they actually gain what they risked or lost before.  

The other issue is with rewards during a loss - if you sank but dealt 80% of the enemy's HP in damage, why should you not get 80% of the value of their ship in CM? Is some form of abuse the concern, with no way to prevent it? 

Why does building a ship like the Trinc should require a Permit with Combat Marks in the first place - I don't understand why it isn't just the Gold and Resources and the hassle of putting all of them together and defending the supply lines. Rated ship from the Aggy should have some extra cost, perhaps, but why lower tier ships?

This is one of the mechanics that absolutely destroys the incentive to come out and fight in the OW unless you are a serial ganker that manages to avoid a loss, or unless you only play throwaway ships that don't require marks.  The current system definitely does not reward turning around and fighting a losing battle. 

Combine that with the other issues we raised, particularly defensive tags, and it's fairly clear why OW is gradually emptying.  

Koltes makes an interesting claim - can the game be considered delivered if it's in an unplayable balance state that causes people to quit? 

Will we get an opportunity to pay for "backer" status and/or cosmetics and keep this project going to the polish level it requires to succeed? 

Edited by Tenet
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This has been a very interesting forum post to read, many different play styles of the game a coming up with some very interesting ideas for the game. As much as i don't agree with some of them it show one thing that @admin may need to look at here you have such a great community and I think you need to act before you lose some very valued players. Some thing that cropped up a lot is player retention there is no direction to go once you have started there's no real direction to follow, so out of interest how would the community feel if the devs lent on the more experienced players to support them? What I suggest as an idea is when a new player starts they choose there preferred nation the particular time zone they play in and we as players put forward names who are willing to spend time with new players with in that nation, helping them learn to sail manuall sails shooting guns how to negotiate winds to there advantage. In return those players get some paint or something visual for our ships, also drop the cutter as the base ship what about something more battle ready maybe a snow (just an example) so you get a basic snow with the same perks as a basic cutter and can't tag players, Also the admiralty idea with real money purchases and a donation chart would go along way for this game as a whole. Another idea is to have a place to search for clans rank them according to time zones that way people who are new have some experienced players to talk with, I know in my clan in particular would have no problem giving up some of our time to have a more progressive player base, I know @koltes has spent many an hour teaching people how to sail so why not give us the chance support you cause asking for support over steam will not work to many trolls on there, the question goes it to the players also would this be thing from your points of view also? Cause from reading some posts this is a small development team and needs us as support. (Sorry wrote this on my phone so it's probably a pain to read)

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21 minutes ago, Tenet said:

The game does not reward PvP for the loser, and even winning an occasional fight does not reward the equivalent of what is risked. 

There must be a net loss. e.g., with your Trinc example, a Trinc kill should certainly create less marks than it cost. It needs to be a mark drain to help compensate for the mark fountain that exists in PvE.

I think what you're talking about is the ratio of PvE required to fund PvP.

I always thought EVE was about 10:1 (at best) PvE to PvP, at least for a small corp that had to do their own stuff and owned no structures. Awful lot of time spent mining and running missions to afford a little bit of PvP. Not sure what NA is, really, but I feel it's not much worse than 1:1. Maybe as bad as 5:1 for someone who dies a lot, is careless, and insists in PvPing in no less than a 4th rate and only grinds in 5th rates. For someone who doesn't die a lot it can be a whole lot more like 1:10 or more.

I'm fine with 1:1. I think 1:1 is great. 3:1 is okay and I feel like that's NA for a veteran on a bad week. Took you an hour to lose something that represented 3 hours of effort. That works for me and means the game world still matters for the average player.

 

I feel like some people just won't accept anything less than 1 hour of PvE for 20+ hours of PvP but to me that undervalues that "Econ" player, who will quickly find he has nothing to do.

You actually NEED high loss PvP if you want that econ player to have what he wants, which is actually more like 20 hours of PvE per 1 hour of PvP.

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9 minutes ago, Slamz said:

There must be a net loss. e.g., with your Trinc example, a Trinc kill should certainly create less marks than it cost. It needs to be a mark drain to help compensate for the mark fountain that exists in PvE.

I think what you're talking about is the ratio of PvE required to fund PvP.

I always thought EVE was about 10:1 (at best) PvE to PvP, at least for a small corp that had to do their own stuff and owned no structures. Awful lot of time spent mining and running missions to afford a little bit of PvP. Not sure what NA is, really, but I feel it's not much worse than 1:1. Maybe as bad as 5:1 for someone who dies a lot, is careless, and insists in PvPing in no less than a 4th rate and only grinds in 5th rates. For someone who doesn't die a lot it can be a whole lot more like 1:10 or more.

I'm fine with 1:1. I think 1:1 is great. 3:1 is okay and I feel like that's NA for a veteran on a bad week. Took you an hour to lose something that represented 3 hours of effort. That works for me and means the game world still matters for the average player.

 

I feel like some people just won't accept anything less than 1 hour of PvE for 20+ hours of PvP but to me that undervalues that "Econ" player, who will quickly find he has nothing to do.

You actually NEED high loss PvP if you want that econ player to have what he wants, which is actually more like 20 hours of PvE per 1 hour of PvP.

I'm of the opinion there should be some introduction of "careers" if you will,

 

so you have specifics perk choices to your set Career (which could be rest with CM) Econ players gets extra hold space more then normal and pays less tax but the more cargo they take the slower they are for example. Or hunters gets x2 gold for damage and able to make there ships faster but limited to the size of ship they crew and carry smaller class of canons 

that way the rewards gaps can be brought closer together bring us closer to a balance game 

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7 hours ago, admin said:

You don't mention (very interested in why) that EVE required you to pay 14 dollars per month for how many years?

You are aware that you can pay for your subscription by buying it in game.   I think the current price for a subscription is about 1.5bil ISK.  

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What I don't understand is why you felt compelled to completely change your development strategy with the 10.0 Patch? For a long time this game was Very or Mostly Positive on Steam....it had high support from long time players and newer players had a much easier time getting into the game. Look back on things and start examining the various changes you made and the impact they brought about compared to what the intended outcome was. I would argue that a lot of these changes did absolutely nothing to improve enjoyment compared to what they had on actual fun. Remember, back before NA even came to Steam and the design philosophy you spoke of? A game that leaned toward realism but always kept fun in mind? Where the hell did those developers go? I remember one comment you guys made about why there wouldn't be a need to carry ammo on our ships ( at least I think it was ammo...might have been repairs) and it was that you viewed it as a needless tedious affair that added little other than take away from pvp'ing...which was FUN. Go read your old posts and comments.

You instead went full blown grind which was pointless. The biggest standout feature is the combat, always was and still is, the more mindless ai grinding you essentially force upon players to be competitive in pvp was an awful decision. Why spend time grinding out xp to sail ships? Why spend countless hours grinding npc's for a chance at random loot? Why are you getting away from the plan that obviously way more of your customers enjoyed? It's miserably painful to play this game right now and it had been my favorite for years!

People could bring up the issue with declining numbers prior to the 10.0 patch but I believe a lot of that was due to the impending wipe announcement. Many simply said they might as well take a break and wait for the wipe....this announcement was made far too early and did not help. Secondly, the fine woods was nothing short of a fiasco. It was overwhelmingly hated by the players....should have been a good indicator not to go down the "hardcore" grind path. It took a long time for this mistake to be acknowledged which drove off some players but worse was what happened next. In an attempt at goodwill you made overnight multimillionaires out of everyone completely breaking the economy. Then people complained about NA econ being out of whack but this was used as an impetus for some of the 10.0 changes.....the irony. You essentially broke something then said well we have to make it completely different because its broke. Further harm was caused to the economy by giving out free ships from events like candy. "Oh look we need to change something because ships are so meaningless to players".....yea because the market was absolutely flooded with free ships!

I might not be the smartest man but don't think you need to be when it's obvious these radical changes have resulted in rapidly falling reviews. I seem to recall a story about some old Star Wars MMO that was very successful till a really bad patch came out and the game tanked.....hmmmm. Anyways, I still believe the blueprint for success to NA exists. That is unless you fired the original development team. If those guys are still there then I implore you to go back and read what you planned for NA and the things you wanted to avoid. You know half this crap is simply not fun for the majority of people....it will never be a major draw and further pursuit of the current flawed path is pointless. Hit the reset button. Take a hard look at every change you have made from 10.0 on and put it to the "fun" test. If it passes and adds enrichment to the game keep it. However, if it doesn't get rid of it while you still have time. People hate RNG...people hate fighting your bad NPC's for ship experience....people hate not being able to relatively easily afford to fight and sometimes lose.

Just think how better served NA would have been if 90% of these changes were not made and instead all that development effort had been placed in creating interesting missions for example? We swapped out 1 broken economy for one that I believe is even worse. The plans to make large portions of content, RVR, almost the exclusive grounds for large clans is going to chase even more people away. You guys need to swallow your pride....realize this direction is a disaster....and move forward. The sad part is you have an incredibly fun combat system that is just dragged down with so much introduced time sinks and bloated game play.  I sure hope things change as I greatly miss NA.

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7 hours ago, Teutonic said:

I think we all want to see this game succeed.

I don't mean to sound harsh either but I continue to see many of us (the vocal crowd here on the forums) suggest many things that we all seem to like or at least think of varying ways to improve it annnnd.....well it doesn't happen.

I think I am with @Slamz at this time honestly. The game is such a mess with old mechanics clashing with new iterations. Parts of the game that are still there, but not supposed to be "there."

Right here is what I think would be the best thing to do. Lets take a step back ourselves and the Developers too.

come back with either a "new rule set" Or a "clear rule set." Then When you implement this clear rule set, take all the garbage out that hangs in the corners. We have too many things in the game that just clash against each other creating messes left and right.

I would love to some day see some proper pirate mechanics and I will keep posting my other concept of making the Privateers not Pirates/Outlaws.  You only become a Pirates/Outlaw if you have no LoM's for any nations and give us a proper reputation system.  Many of the thinks I have pushed on in Testbed got changed or tweeked cause others do the same which is great, but a lot of things got changed that didn't need to be (why was the open hostility missions changed to 5 mins when it was tested fine at 15 mins and even 30?   Things like that.)

6 hours ago, Anne Wildcat said:

My suggestion to keep the RvR guys active on the ow, and this may be a bad idea since I'm not into the RVR, a map wipe (not asset wipe) every 6 months. There always seem to be more excitement when the map is new. 

Many things like leaving the Hostility missions open for 15-30 mins would of got more folks out in the OW and involved on that side that are in the RvR side too.  It was like they keep trying to do ever tying to protect the care bears from Ow PvP and RvR to be honest.   

As for a map wipe every 3 months would be key or a point system like POTBS had.  You than got a reset and the losers got extra credit/xp if they are on the bottom.  Every one got paid out Conquest marks even if in last place, but the winners got extra marks over the others.  This way folks aren't left out and not able to compete.  We also need an in game means to change nations if you wish, reputation system would work with Pirates actually being a Privateer faction instead of a broken nation.   You use the reputation system to leave you nation and become a pirate/outlaw.  Than you get a LoM and gain reputation until you are able to join the new nation.  That will give the game more a sandbox fill than some silly papers you get once in a blue moon or buy to change (though later can still be something you pay for on steam to change nations but it wipes you reputation back to zero if you use them.)  By doing Privateer faction and not allowing some one to make a Pirate from start it makes it more about what you do in game.  It also allows you to have Spanish Loyal Privateers, French Loyal Privateers and so forth.  Will allow for a Clan to switch what nation they have a LoM with and work with the weaker nations if they want help them grow.

 

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Naval Action is a nice game, and post-Wipe I have enjoyed it.  (I couldn't really figure out what to do in the game when I wasn't in a clan pre-Wipe)  RvR has broken down due to the low population, lots of noobs have been suffering due to unprotected capital regions, mucho salt all around due to exploits and alts and not-fully-thought-through mechanics, and the PVE is really primitive, etc.  However, lets not let the salt and doom and gloom ruin this for us.  The scenery and ship models are beautiful, and if you can just get some frigates together for a little even-strength battle then it's lots of fun all around. 

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The problem with player base shrinking is very simple. Its too expensive to build/rig/rebuild ships.

 

The grind in this game is so steep that it deters all but the most dedicated players, or those who happen to fall into organised clans early on. The canons price is the worst. It costs a ridiculous amount of gold to fit a navy brig with guns and it only gets worse as you go along, and if you lose the ship you have to buy or make another one and spend the same amount over again to rig it.

Solution: Return the canon purchasing system to the original model so people aren't bankrupting themselves just trying to fit one ship.   

 

Removing ship capture was a monumental mistake. In the old days if someone lost a ship they could just go out and capture another one in about an hour . Now they have to spend the better part of a week gathering up all the required materials and building hours in order to rebuild lost ships. The result is that people are very reluctant to take out anything bigger than a frigate. People get bored because no one wants to come out and risk larger ships in battle and they leave. 

Solution: Put ship capture back in. It will increase people's willingness to come out and fight when they know they can just get a new ship by capture. The capture ships would be base models. No improvements, no perks, no upgrade slots. If people want a ship with special characteristics, then they'll have to build it. 

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