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Capt Aerobane

The Case Against Repair Items

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On balance, when the benefits and of having repair items necessary for OW and combat repairing of ships are far outweighed by the costs, and game enjoyment for the vast majority of players would be improved with a different system that does not require items. (in my opinion)

My case is based on the following ideals.

  1. PvP accessibility and encouragement
  2. Combat instance quality and enjoyment
  3. Realism (obviously not the highest value but still important, current repair mechanics would only be possible in real life with nano-robots with matter synthesizers to fabricate an entire new hull's worth of planking out of splinters and hold contents.) 
  4. Depth for all players

Contention 1 Repair items discourage PvP and making it more frustrating for those who partake.
Repairs add additional, unpredictable costs to players wanting to do PvP anywhere but in their safe-zone. PvP without repairs is highly disadvantageous and a captain wishing to be competitive and enjoy the experience must have at least hull/rig repairs. However, repairs in isolated ports are usually unavailable meaning a captain could who wants to do pvp in that area may be unable to restock after a battle or two, and be forced to sail back to a port that has repairs. This wastes time and player and is frustrating, discouraging players to venture out and look for PvP. In ports where they are stocked by players, they are very expensive and availability is still uncertain. Up to several thousand per repair, which is a lot for inexperienced players already struggling to run a profit, or players that are low on gold for whatever reason. Furthermore, whenever this is a compelling reason for players to go there (hint hint patrol mission) the price skyrockets. When I was doing Hispaniola PvP missions, the price in La Tortue was 5-6k or more. It is possible that other ports still had cheap supplies, but forcing PvP hungry players scamper around ports for half an hour or more just to find repairs is a quick way to make them lose their appetite. Players in PvP already risk lots of gold in their ships, and adding 200,000 (only 20 hull and 20 rig at La Tortue at that time mind you) on top of that isn't helpful. Additionally and possibly most importantly it forces captains to return to port and get new repairs after almost every battle.

A common argument against built in repairs is that players can just enter instances, repair, and leave, and in doing so game the system. But repairing even a massive ship in port is extremely cheap, so they aren't saving money by doing so, only time. Why not have the ship repair automatically while sailing in the OW between battles? That way captains can get more action with less down time. It will still make blockading with a huge fleet hard, as a large ship would take long enough to repair that a fleet emerging from the port they are camping around could emerge and attack before they had time to repair. As for realism of this mechanic, the current mechanics are totally unrealistic too, being able to instantly repair the ship fully. The only difference here is being able to slowly repair the ship fully, without onboard items. But the "hull repairs" aren't an accurate portrayal of what would be necessarily to repair ships in the open ocean, so that's not a loss of realism either.

*Contention 2 I am not very qualified to speak on as I don't have very much recent PvP experience, but I still think I might have good points here.
Contention 2 Combat quality would be improved by making repairs built in and either limited in number or unlimited with decreasing returns.
Current repairs system encourages cautious kiting gameplay as damage taken that doesn't drop below 70% on any system is largely irrelevant when fighting due to the captain being able to open range to where the hull can't be penned, or use defensive angling to stall while repairing/cooldown starts wearing off. Captains are also forced to flee once they run out of repairs, because they can't tell if their opponent has done so as well. Perhaps their opponent carried enough for 5 hull repairs, maybe 3? Nobody knows. If the player decides to just "rush in and finish them quickly" their opponent can attack their sails and flee to repair, while they will do minimal damage to the enemy hull in that time -- a stalemate engagement. This is a skill and adds some depth i'm not going to comment on whether it is bad from a meta type of viewpoint as I make no claims to be a very skilled PvP player, but it is not intuitive to new players and doesn't make sense. Hull hp feels more like shields on a spaceship that regenerate than it does wooden planking on a massive ship, with crew trying to repair what they can while under fire, and trying to perform other tasks in the heat of battle. Given those conditions, the ability to repair an entire armor HP worth of damage over the course of an hour is wild. I much prefer the old system where fleets would skirmish for a while, waiting for their opponents to expose a weakness, and then rush in for a decisive battle that ends the engagement one way or another. Currently, most of the fleet escapes once the battle is lost by spamming sail repairs and  running while the few trapped ships slow the enemy pursuit. Even if they are eventually caught, its a slow arduous process with tons of chaining, repairing, and mitigating damage to the hull that can easily drag a "concluded" battle out to an hour's length as the losers try to live till the battle times out.

Contention 3: Realism
Not much to say here, except that repairing the hull and armor of a warship that has been blasted to smithereens by its entire strength over the course of a 1 hour battle is... wild. Even with modern power tools and equipment, such speedy and quality repairs in the battle would be challenging. Obviously the game would be boring with perfect realism, but just magically fixing so much armor every 12 minutes or whatever the cooldown is as many times and necessary is too much in my opinion and just makes battles boring. Things like cannon loss to raking fire are just irrelevant, as they will be brought back soon.
http://thepirateempire.blogspot.com/2015/10/repairs-at-sea.html
This source (not certain on credibility) lists examples of in-battle repairs. They are all about mitigating damage, or stopgap repairs. The idea of repairing catastrophic damage (like one side down to 0% back up to extremely good health is unrealistic.

Contention 4: Depth for all players
Hull repairs only offer depth and improved game play for a small number of players who work to stock ports with them. They can make huge profits, but it is a very small number of players. Also, its not a recurring source of trade or open world action. A triple indiaman fleet can carry 10,000+ repairs, so there aren't any "repair shipments" to be escorted or intercepted. Its not a trading good, and they can be manufactured near almost every port... but only on an economically viable scale by people who are set up to do it. 

The bottom line is that the items do little to improve game play, while discouraging pvp (putting this in the context that those who are into PvP are often frustrated by not being able to find it.), wasting the time of those doing PvP, and in my opinion they makes actual battles worse.

Rebuttals to counter arguments.

  • "Repair items require players to realistically plan for their voyage" > Its not realistic, ships shouldn't carry enough repairs to do the stuff they do now, in fact in battle repairs were largely limited to plugging holes and re-positioning dislodged cannons/repairing rigging. If realistic ship preparation is wanted, then it should be by requiring items such as cannon balls, or requiring provisions to supply the crew. 
  • " Non item based repairs allow players to use battle instances to repair without paying." >> see contention one "The argument against built in repairs is that players can just enter instances, repair, and leave, and in doing so game the system. But repairing even a massive ship in port is extremely cheap, so they aren't saving money by doing so, only time. Why not have the ship repair automatically while sailing in the OW between battles? That way captains can get more action with less down time. It will still make blockading with a huge fleet hard, as a large ship would take long enough to repair that a fleet emerging from the port they are camping around could emerge and attack before they had time to repair. As for realism of this mechanic, the current mechanics are totally unrealistic too, being able to instantly repair the ship fully. The only difference here is being able to slowly repair the ship fully, without onboard items. But the "hull repairs" aren't an accurate portrayal of what would be necessarily to repair ships in the open ocean, so that's not a loss of realism either."
  • "They are something for crafters and traders to do" >> This only benefits a small minority of players, and massively inconveniences the rest.
  • "Players who are serious about PvP can get used to this and learn mechanics, or set up staches or repairs in ports they like to fight near." >> This stagnates PvP by discouraging players to move around. It also makes starting PvP Even more painful for inexperienced players, who already have to deal with getting a ship, cannons, upgrades(?) finding PvP, learning PvP, and not getting ganked. Now they have to spend even more gold and waste tons of time setting up for PvP, carting repairs around, or looking for them in ports. Or they could just keep doing PVE outside their capitol and making short trade runs. All of this, within the context of PvP struggling. Events like the patrol mission highlight this problem even more, and are evidence of the fact that not enough people are seriously engaging in PvP. Adding more annoying roadblocks to getting into it to be more "hardcore" or whatever, is not going to help.

Feel free to discuss try to stay polite and on topic though. I didn't know what section would best suit a topic like this, as it encompasses combat, economy, and open world. If its in the wrong one please move it mods. 

Thanks,

Aerobane (StaleMemes)

Edited by Capt Aerobane
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I'll be honest I do not like the current repair meta. Not only does it turn ships into even more round shot sponges than they already are, but I have to do, myself, keep repairs in my outpost. Otherwise these ports are so unpopulated they don't get any player items in them. So there isn't enough population to sustain a repair economy, repairs should be in every port.

I would truthfully like any other type of repair item to be used, maybe a single keep in hold, you get all the repairs you needs for 1 battle, and OW but can only use x amount per instance, so we still have that sort of realism aspect of keeping spare parts on your ship.

That or completely redux the system into full realism, you don't keep literal repairs on your ship, you keep canvas rolls, wood planks, a large length of pine, spare items that you can get from almost any trader, or just pick up from the wreckage of any ship.

I would go even so far as to allow you to refit ANYTIME, even if you don't have parts by going to the nearest shoal, anchoring your ship on a high tide then you sit for a few minutes while your crew work on the stable boat. So you can repair anytime at sea as long as there is land and you have to put yourself at risk for a few minutes by basically docking there for a bit

But I agree, repair items atm are a bit of a drag on the game. I hope the devs to take a look at this.

Edited by Slim Jimmerson
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Like right now the port I just towed into has no rig repairs, so instead of going and fighting those players on the coast I'm logging off because there no materials in the port to craft any and I'm not a trader or have any outpost for said materials in the area. My play session cut short because we expect 600 players to stock all 300 something ports with repairs so PVP can take place. I'm not the only who's had this happen.

Edited by Slim Jimmerson
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I appreciate the time and thought you put into this but repair items are a necessity for one major reason: money sink.  Inflation has to be controlled. 

Add to this repairs are only a speed bump to anyone but the newest of players. And for those new players they represent a huge opportunity for money.  All new players should be crafting rum, or one of the repairs and putting it up for sale in forward operating posts. It's easy money, supports national efforts at RvR and is part of a functioning, dynamic economy.

And your arguments against repair use in battle are pretty baseless.. Right now the balance is pretty good.. it was very common for ships to disengage to repair for hours/parts of days and then re-engage. This is encouraged in the current system. Carry too many repairs and you're slow.. too few and you run the risk of being unable to keep up with the damage, etc. Do you focus a single enemy down to sinking or risk them disengaging while combat ineffective only to come back and be a thorn in your side later.. etc.

I feel like you're not really taking into consideration the big picture of economy, battle, and RoE with your arguments.

Edited by Wraith
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I recently got into repair selling business but i dont know at what port people are willing to buy repairs other than freetowns. - thats the first missmatch. The 2nd missmatch is that people think they can buy repairs for 300 gold (that are the buy contratcs i see)

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Didn't all used to be like the Basic Cutter, a time-based repair system with no need to carry repairs?

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7 hours ago, Wraith said:

I appreciate the time and thought you put into this but repair items are a necessity for one major reason: money sink.  Inflation has to be controlled. 

Add to this repairs are only a speed bump to anyone but the newest of players. And for those new players they represent a huge opportunity for money.  All new players should be crafting rum, or one of the repairs and putting it up for sale in forward operating posts. It's easy money, supports national efforts at RvR and is part of a functioning, dynamic economy.

And your arguments against repair use in battle are pretty baseless.. Right now the balance is pretty good.. it was very common for ships to disengage to repair for hours/parts of days and then re-engage. This is encouraged in the current system. Carry too many repairs and you're slow.. too few and you run the risk of being unable to keep up with the damage, etc. Do you focus a single enemy down to sinking or risk them disengaging while combat ineffective only to come back and be a thorn in your side later.. etc.

I feel like you're not really taking into consideration the big picture of economy, battle, and RoE with your arguments.

Since you're talking big picture economy, there is still rum to be taken into account. Alcohol is pretty underrepresented in NA, one I can think of is grog, which is a mixture of rum and water that would probably be served as a healthy alternative or when rum rations were low.

So instead of crafting basic repairs, you buy them from any port stock, as for rum you brew it or craft it, a basic rum would be grog, then normal rum, them rum 2 or something that gives slightly better crew return %. You could make a lot better of a market through this than basic repairs. Our rum now would be the best craftable version of alcohol because it's already too good and extremely light to carry. Finally, add a cheap solution that doesn't need to be crafted, like water lol. Then new players can get this item without being crafters and having a chance in PVP (because really, having repairs makes a huge difference in a battle).

Why not? It's not like rum is getting anymore realistic, might as well make it interesting and replace it with the not so interesting hull and sail repairs.

Edited by Slim Jimmerson
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I totally agree with OP (Aerobane)  about a lot of things,

1. Availability of repairs is not credible in such a repairs focussed system. Every port should make repairs available. THEY ARE PORTS! FOR SHIPS!

Even if only in small amounts per day. PVP and map exploration is totally crippled by making no preairs available in anywhere except free towns (of which there are too few)

2. I tend to agree that the current reps system isn't too great for PVP vibes. I would prefer to see a tweak of the current system with a law of diminishing returns. e.g. 1st rep allows X repairs, 2nd rep allows Y amount, 3 rep allows Z amount, and then either no more reps, or level of reps is maintained at Z (i.e least effective).

I would also like to see a cost to using repairs IN COMBAT. If you can withdraw from enemy fire and use reps, OK, but if sustaining fire I would like to see increased crew casualties, and less effective repairs. Shooting the crap out of ships only to see their health going UP is depressing and in my eyes silly, for both gameplay and realism....

 

 

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2 hours ago, VonVolks said:

 

I would also like to see a cost to using repairs IN COMBAT. If you can withdraw from enemy fire and use reps, OK, but if sustaining fire I would like to see increased crew casualties, and less effective repairs. Shooting the crap out of ships only to see their health going UP is depressing and in my eyes silly, for both gameplay and realism....

 

 

A repair shock would be nice if you take a broadside while repairing

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This is a game, so a certain amount of gaminess must be tolerated (balance versus "realism").  Without repairs you would have to go back to port after every fight.  No thanks.  And in combat, repairs add another dimension to tactics.  Keep em.

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On 14/03/2018 at 2:35 AM, Slim Jimmerson said:

Otherwise these ports are so unpopulated they don't get any player items in them. So there isn't enough population to sustain a repair economy, repairs should be in every port.

I sell repairs in a total of 7 ports. Let me know where you need repairs, and I'll bring them. I even brought some to Manataca when Spanish were trapped there by a Prussian fleet after they lost a PB (and I'm Prussian :) ).

Removing repairs removes this aspect of real economy. In other posts people claim they want a real economy which puts traders on OW. Well, repairs are part of this economy.

 

You just have to accept that repairing ship costs some. You can't get a repair below it's craft cost (which is 1500 if you count in price of resources, if they're being bought and not crafted).

Edited by vazco
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12 minutes ago, No name, no flag said:

Any repairs while in combat with the exception of rudder and leaks should not be allowed. 

Yeah sure...:lol:

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Repairs are good, if anything I think they should weigh slightly more so they have a more drastic affect on your speed. Still if you don't have repairs or have a set amount of repairs then the meta would change into something most of you wouldn't like, likely dominated by kite teams that chain your sails down till you can't repair them anymore then go in for the kill.

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On 3/15/2018 at 2:44 PM, Jerome said:

This is a game, so a certain amount of gaminess must be tolerated (balance versus "realism").  Without repairs you would have to go back to port after every fight.  No thanks.  And in combat, repairs add another dimension to tactics.  Keep em.

That is completely not what I was recommending. I make it incredibly clear on how I think it should be made so that that players do NOT,  i repeat, NOT have to go back to port 

"Why not have the ship repair automatically while sailing in the OW between battles? That way captains can get more action with less down time."

I get a distinct impression most of you didn't actually read what I posted. I'm not asking to remove in battle repairs... or open world repairs. I want OW reps to be easier in fact. Just not make them tied to an annoying item that does not accurately represent what is required to repair a ship.

On 3/16/2018 at 12:53 PM, vazco said:

Removing repairs removes this aspect of real economy. In other posts people claim they want a real economy which puts traders on OW. Well, repairs are part of this economy.

You just have to accept that repairing ship costs some. You can't get a repair below it's craft cost (which is 1500 if you count in price of resources, if they're being bought and not crafted).

Repairs weight 1 per repair. You can take a fleet of indiamen and transport  10,000 to a port, I have to date never intercepted an OW merchant carrying repairs. Ever. I've only ever escorted one as well. Their contribution to OW trading/economy is negligible compared to other items.

Also the cost of repairing a ship or making repairs is set by the devs, its not like some divinely ordained price, and if they make repairing in the OW less expensive and not require a silly item it won't break the space time continuum. It would just be easier to go fight things and you wouldn't have to keep returning to ports/stay in settled areas. And like I said (I feel like i'm going to be saying that a lot here unfortunately) "If realistic ship preparation is wanted, then it should be by requiring items such as cannon balls, gunpowder, or requiring provisions to supply the crew. " If they want OW traders crafting and carrying supplies for ships, it should be things like that. Not "hull repairs" that doesn't even make sense there was no historical "hull repair" material. Hull damage was repaired with (as my source said) Oakum, a canvas sheet, or emergency work by the carpenter using wood planking. All things we have in the game, and which could simply be used instead. This would also add actual depth, as opposed to "take more repairs and be slow or less and go fast." I have petri dishes deeper than that. If players had to choose between different things to be able to repair, like leaks, collapsing structure, dislodged cannons, etc, that would add much more depth (a small pond perhaps)

Also I wasn't speaking about me personally needing repairs at a specific point. I have a lot of gold now so the issue of repairs becomes both negligible and completely lacking depth. This is based on recollections of how frustrating it was getting back in to the game after a while and dealing with repairs.

4 hours ago, Flinch said:

Repairs are good, if anything I think they should weigh slightly more so they have a more drastic affect on your speed. Still if you don't have repairs or have a set amount of repairs then the meta would change into something most of you wouldn't like, likely dominated by kite teams that chain your sails down till you can't repair them anymore then go in for the kill.

You can still do that with repair items.

My point is there are innumerable systems that would work better than the current one.

 

I do concede however that having repairs only be reliably available in some areas does help to concentrate players.

 

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Repairing during battle should be less effective, may be it should take more time, men to repair, so you can not repair effectively when exchanging broadsides next to enemy ship. 

@Capt Aerobane put many problems together, most of them I totaly agree.

My ideas about repairs:

The OW PVP is really hammered down with current repair system. I suggest repairs would be less in weight, in battle instance after first repair 12 min. cool down, 2nd %33 more 16 min. cool down, next 24 min cool down, so on.

After battle instance 3 min. cool down to repair OW and manage crew.

And it is not instant let’s say 5 min repair time and crew transfer if you are sailing. Close to shore and sails down 30 seconds.

Also reduce speed penalty for carrying repairs on OW. So to promote increasing OW sailing time by sailing close to shore, repair in 30 seconds and to continue action! like it is non—stop. And yes in OW time is much faster flowing, so due to time scale, it is realistic.

 

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