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Niels Terkildsen

Enhancing OW activity: Hauling contracts and long distance management

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One thing that has bothered me for a long time is the lack of immersive life and meaningful activity in the OW. What I'm going to propose is something that will hopefully make even those "dead" NPC traders interesting to OW hunters, and at the same time something that may appeal to the aspiring merchant mogul.

 

Traders all know the bore of sailing for a long time in the admittedly rather dull OW of Naval Action, and OW hunters all know how unsatisfactory it is to capture NPC traders even if they carry valuables, simply because it has no impact on enemy players, therefore I propose hauling contracts in three different variants:

  • Internal hauling contract: The Player will use own ship(s) and crew. The ship(s) will be fully controlled by NPC on the OW from point A to point B as well as in potential instances.
  • External hauling contract: The Player puts up a contract for goods to be transported to a specific port. Time limit as well as class range of ship(s) required specified by the Player. Ship(s) provided and controlled by the taker of the contract. Contracts can only be taken by same nation players having the specified ship class (and fleet) ready; you can't leave port without the right configuration. Payment on delivery. Upon failure, the contract taker will pay a compensation specified in the contract - the contract can't be taken if this amount is not owned.
  • Escort hauling contract: The Player provides the hauling ship(s) from his own dock with his own crew. Time limit as well as escort class range of ship(s) required specified by the Player. Escort ship(s) provided and controlled by the contract taker who is to lead the hauler(s) to the destination. Contracts can only be taken by same nation players having the specified ship class (and fleet) ready; you can't leave port without the right configuration. Payment on delivery. Upon failure, the contract taker will pay a compensation specified in the contract - the contract can't be taken if this amount is not owned.

 

Now, all of this will be very handy for the traders and crafters, but it will be a boon for the OW hunters as well. Instead of players being limited to one trade run at a time they can now delegate to NPC and other players willing to do the hauling/escorting. This will mean more traffic in the OW, and meaningful traffic at that. No longer will the hunters pass by those boring AI traders without a second thought - perhaps they're carrying a precious load sent out by an enemy player!

 

Furthermore, this addition would benefit from some changes to outpost management - these have already been partially requested - but I shall briefly outline how I envision it:

All outpost warehouses, docks, and production buildings can be managed from anywhere - even at sea.

This may sound unrealistic or immersion-breaking etc. but if you consider it for a while: does production stop when the owner is away? Is there no staff at hand that can see to it that it is kept up? We must imagine that the Player doesn't only control his navy officer (or equivalent) but also his estate and dock managers etc.

It should also allow you to make hauling contracts anywhere, so you can get produced goods hauled from far away outposts without personally going there.

 

Another thing that is connected to this is the "tow ship" mechanic. I think this has to be rethought. Either it should be the hardcore way, meaning it has to be sailed, if not by you or another player, then by NPC (similar to the hauling contracts with the possibility of a strong escort, while not having to do it yourself). The moderate version may be to make it take a very long time to reach its destination, though the more mechanics we have that bypass the OW, the more dead it will be.

 

A hurdle to get past is of course the NPC pathfinding on the OW, but I have every confidence that this can be solved by the developers, and even that it is something that they intend to improve in any case.

 

I'd love to hear your opinions on these suggestions.

 

 

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Just now, Niels Terkildsen said:

This may sound unrealistic or immersion-breaking etc. but if you consider it for a while: does production stop when the owner is away? Is there no staff at hand that can see to it that it is kept up? We must imagine that the Player doesn't only control his navy officer (or equivalent) but also his estate and dock managers etc.

No it very much does not. Managing your ports is like managing your clan, or chatting across global, or getting combat info from clerk. You cannot use the excuse of realism in a game that clearly has already broken the boundry for that sort of thing. As for the rest of your suggestion the idea is good and it's a +1 from me.

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1 hour ago, Niels Terkildsen said:

Contracts can only be taken by same nation players having the specified ship class (and fleet) ready you can't leave port without the right configuration.;

All outpost warehouses, docks, and production buildings can be managed from anywhere - even at sea.

I really like the idea of sending ships out into the OW at the mercy of any hunters.  I remember reading that the Devs said players are not willing to risk their ships this way.  I would love to do it and am willing to take the risk.  Tow to port should involve the ship sailing in OW.  Tow Request should require each ship sailing in OW to the destination.  Easy fix for the sailing though land issue = allow way points and if the ship sails through land it is lost.  We could also sail along with our NPC ships to provide escort.

Contracts should be variable.  Allow players to place their own conditions, but do not impose conditions.  Be flexible.  Some contracts could include the ship and cargo and payment will be a portion up front, and the remainder on delivery.  Others could provide no payment unless successfully delivered.  Some could require the contractor to provide a specific ship.  Others could involve delivery guarantee and compensation to the payee for loss(es).    

Currently  I prefer player trading, to shop trading or Port Contracts.  The variety is wide.  The contracts differ from transporting ships to;  sourcing goods, establishing an outpost and then stockpiling.  Or sometimes it is just moving wood for a clan relocating.  I collect or buy repairs and then set Port Contracts by request, at the prices suggested.  I have also made specific deliveries of my own  rare woods or repairs.  It would be great if all of these contacts could be placed; on a bulletin board or in a trade office. 

Outposts should not be managed at sea.  Outposts could be remotely managed, from ports,  but then a delay should be imposed to reflect mail delivery.  Outpost details, such as warehouse contents, crafting, should be accessible at the outpost only.   The teleport Doubloon charge should be viewed as wages paid to an Outpost Agent. The cost is insignificant.  If we were hardcore then teleporting to outposts would not allow sailing out of port, but only allow us to manage business within the port.   Hardcore would involve a different Passenger teleport to enable sailing from the outpost after the teleport - with both a;  higher Doubloon (or Real) charge, and time delay, increasing with the distance.  The cost charged could be provided to the clan owning the port.

Edited by Macjimm
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18 hours ago, Macjimm said:

Contracts should be variable.  Allow players to place their own conditions, but do not impose conditions.  Be flexible.  Some contracts could include the ship and cargo and payment will be a portion up front, and the remainder on delivery.  Others could provide no payment unless successfully delivered.  Some could require the contractor to provide a specific ship.  Others could involve delivery guarantee and compensation to the payee for loss(es).    

The reason that I put in the pretty strict contract rules is to prevent abuse and scamming. Of course, you can just fill in a trivial compensation amount at your own risk; hopefully the players will figure out where the risk/reward balance is, and how much people are willing to sell their time for, etc. One thing I would like to see though is personal contracts, so you can bypass the public contracting; in that instance it could be a lot more flexible. Likewise within clans.

 

18 hours ago, Macjimm said:

Outposts should not be managed at sea.  Outposts could be remotely managed, from ports,  but then a delay should be imposed to reflect mail delivery.  Outpost details, such as warehouse contents, crafting, should be accessible at the outpost only.   The teleport Doubloon charge should be viewed as wages paid to an Outpost Agent. The cost is insignificant.  If we were hardcore then teleporting to outposts would not allow sailing out of port, but only allow us to manage business within the port.   Hardcore would involve a different Passenger teleport to enable sailing from the outpost after the teleport - with both a;  higher Doubloon (or Real) charge, and time delay, increasing with the distance.  The cost charged could be provided to the clan owning the port.

I did consider the postal service and similar things, but I concluded that it would just artificially increase the time everything takes; and everything already takes a lot of time, so it didn't really appeal to me in the end even though the concept is nice from a realism and immersion point of view.

What I could envision though is some sort of maintenance cost for outposts reflecting the administration expenses (rather than the use of dubloons for Player teleport). If you can't pay the maintenance, your outpost will become dormant so you can't access it from afar (though perhaps it should still be functional if you go there personally).

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Great idea.  Public context = strict conditions.    Private contract = no rules.

I imagine the Doubloon fee for teleport as a modest tip.  Each outpost can be administered by a port agent.  The agent is paid through the taxes.  If I sail to the port in person, then I address my own admin business without the agent.  If I send word to the port agent to tend to some affair, on my behalf, then I include a tip, to ensure the business is completed promptly and correctly. The fee is insignificant, it is not a big deal 

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Another issue that there might be with my suggestions is that there seems to be a limit to the total amount of ships the servers can handle (from what I've read). Well, firstly the fact the player crew and ships have to be used limits the possibility of spam; secondly I think most people would prefer to cut down on random OW NPC spawning if room was made for hauling contract ships (one is random and without an impact on economy, the other is meaningful and player created).

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3 hours ago, Niels Terkildsen said:

Another issue that there might be with my suggestions is that there seems to be a limit to the total amount of ships the servers can handle (from what I've read). Well, firstly the fact the player crew and ships have to be used limits the possibility of spam; secondly I think most people would prefer to cut down on random OW NPC spawning if room was made for hauling contract ships (one is random and without an impact on economy, the other is meaningful and player created).

I remember when I was unable to log in to the game because the number of players exceeded the server limit.  There were times I wanted to play, but I had to wait.   The Devs changed the game and imposed a mechanic that kicks us off after 20 minutes of inactivity. 

Seems easy enough to limit NPC numbers.  Just create a filter that restricts the use of NPCs, they are only allowed when the server will handle it.  There may be times we want to send out a NPC trader but will have to wait.  No big deal.

.

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