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William the Drake

Variants and the Modular Ship

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With the introduction of trade and cargo to the game, it has become clear that ships specifically suited for hauling cargo are needed in the game. As such, the developers have introduced "Trader" versions of many ships: Trader Lynx, Cutter, and Brig. My concern is that, while the trader variants of these ships are very much needed, I strongly believe that the way they are being implemented may lead to a weak ship economy.

 

1st, lets look at how things work in the current system, with the brig: in port, you may decide to purchase either the base version, the up-gunned Navy version, or the unarmed trade version with larger carrying capacity. There are separate listings for each version. A port may have a Vanilla Brig on sale but no Traders Variant, or vice versa. You must pick one or the other to spend your hard earned doubloons on, and you better hope that whichever one you pick is the one you want. 

 

It may be a stretch, but I fear this may be going down the same road as PotBS, which ended up having numerous variants of the same ship. One ship could have a trader, courier, heavy, mastercraft, stripped, and civilian variant, all while technically being the same ship. All of which affected the overall game balance very little and only saturated the ship market with useless ships. Why build a brig when you could make more money on a Navy brig?

 

So here is my suggestion: Modular Ships

 

"But William!" you say, "The ships already have modules, you silly pirate!" Yes, that is true, but here I am saying the ship itself is what needs to be modular.

 

For example, you go into port and think "I want to haul X to this port." So you go to the ship market and buy a brig. Just a brig. Then, for a small fee, you refit the brig into a traders brig. You haul your goods, make a profit, and have a bottle of rum to celebrate. But now you think "Boy, hauling is quite boring. It may be enjoyable for some, but not for me." 

Now normally, you would had to have sold back your Trader's brig, at a loss no less, and the buy a brand new Brig for full price. But if the ship itself is modular, you can pay a fraction of that price to re-refit your trader's Brig back into a default Brig. Or, maybe you are feeling adventurous, so you decide to spend a little more coin and refit the Trader's Brig into a Navy Brig (still nowhere near the price of buying a brand new Default Brig, much less a Navy one in the current system)

 

With this system, you make the value of ships in the market stronger as opposed to having each variant splitting the demand. This and the players may be more inclined to test out different aspects and play-styles.

 

Initially, the refitting process would be instant, so as to accommodate testing, but later down the line of development, refitting a ship should take time (and perhaps labor?)

Also, special variants such as Navy variants might require a Navy Commission in order to be refitted.  

 

Lastly, there should also be Job-specific ships that have no "vanilla" variant to start with. For example, an Indiaman would be a trade-ship by default, however could be refitted into a warship variant (again, with a Navy Commission or some similar, which could only be acquired if your nation is at war?) Obviously Naval Warships would have no such modular abilities. 

 

Edit: there has recently been introduced a "Fire ship" fitting that increases a ship's likeliness to catch fire and explode,a s well as increase blast radius. I thing this should be another type of ship variant that reduces crew, armor, yet has the same effects, rather than just a fitting. 

Edited by William the Drake
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i'd say giv the Trader brig only 3 of her 8 gunports per side the very front and close the cabin.

then remove the normal Brig and only keep the Navy one since 1 gun on boardside doesnt really need a normal version since the Trader one would be the normal version.

 

cant wait for the large Indiamans

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So would we represent this by having some sort of "refit slots" within a ship's upgrade screen? 

 

Perhaps it could go like this, in which the refit modifiers change armament and hold size.

 

I've just purchased a shiny new vanilla snow, and I'm looking to fit her out to fit my needs. I'm hoping to play a naval role, and fight my country's enemies at sea...

 

Now, in my scenario, different types of ships have various pre-determined modifiers in place. For example, let's look at my new Snow's vanilla stats.

 

We all know the snow has a total of 28 guns, with a broadside of 12 per side. Therefore, I have 28 gunports in which I can slap on cannon.

However, the Snow's a small ship, and we're going to be using up that hold space for ammunition- her hold could have 8 storage units.

 

We add up these units (this could be rounded down, but I'm too tired for math) and divide our cannon quantity by two to get our total number of "refit" slots- 27. Now, I can look to buy my refit modifiers. The obvious choice would be to buy "cannon capacity" to fit all 28 gunports. Each CC i purchase represents two cannon, so I have filled 19 slots with 19 CCs. With the remaining space, I fill it in with 8 "hold expansions", with each HE representing one unit of storage. Quite simply, I now have a fully fitted standard snow designed for sinking and capturing enemy ships. This is the Snow's main purpose as a vanilla ship.

 

But, let's modify the scenario. What if I'm a trader, not a navyman- and hope to use her speed and maneuverability to escape pesky pirates? I'm willing to sacrifice potential hold space to have my hands on this zippy devil- something that can be represented below. Instead of buying 19 CCs and 8 HEs, I could only give my snow 6 CCs to allow use of carronades on my upper deck, and fill the remaining slots with HEs. Though i CAN carry 28 guns if I supply the CCs for them, I've decided to subtract my refitted capacity of cannon to allow more hold space. 

 

This allows players to purchase ships with TWO things in mind- how their ship would allow for greater armament/hold size AND how the ship preforms as a sailing vessel. Instead of necessarily confining my decision to storage and # of guns, I can include the ship's overall handling and performance into the equation.

Edited by _Masterviolin

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@William: Sounds like a great idea, if you ask me. And besides, it makes sense: Why buy a a brand new ship that's very similar to the one you have already when you could simply refit your current ship to suit your needs? 

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I kinda like this idea, at least on first impressions anyhow. Would need read a detailed discussion on pro's and con's mind you to be convinced one way or the other though.

 

/waits

/looks below

/popcorn

 

:)

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This makes a lot of sense. I love the concept of modular ships, and it would really expand the abilities and possibilties for players. Masterviolins suggestion could achieve this very well. We really need the option to choose the actual number of cannons rather than simply having an entire deck of cannons.

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The issue I see is how do you model the different cannons, say, a Mercury with 9, 10, or 11 cannon to a broadside, with / without chasers? It seems like you would need a new model for every possible configuration.

However, the broader "Ship module" idea, buy a brig and buy refits for traders, navy, etc, I think is a phenomenal idea.

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