Robbing merchant ships was a pirate’s main source of income. It did not look like Non Player Character (NPC) ships would be in the game but the Cursed Sails changed that adding one of the best new features in the game. What I am purposing below are additions that I believe gaming pirates would love to encounter.
Below are details of 2 different NPC voyage types, 2 new player voyages types which can be leveled up and a new faction, the Sovereign. I have been kicking around some ideas and sharing pieces of new game mechanics with other players for a long time now. I decided to write some ideas I had down. Hopefully someone will enjoy this long block of text.
NPC ships sailing from port to port would carry various types of merchant goods such as spices, silk, sugar, banana crates, ect… Sink these ships, board them and kill the crew or simply plunder these ships of their goods. Set up ambushes to take down these fast and maneuverable ships from delivering their cargo to their outpost destination. Although hunting these ships is profitable, your crew’s notoriety of sinking too many of these ships may influence a bounty to be place on your crew’s heads.
The Treasure Fleet
The Sovereign’s treasure fleet would consist of a fleet of ships hauling a large amount of chests, skulls, merchant items and trinkets. This extremely large amount of loot would average 70K to 150k. The haul of treasure held within these ships would be easier to obtain if multiple crews group together to take them down. Taking down the treasure fleet would be difficult but if pulled off worth the reward. These fleets could possibly be guarded by player escorts. Liberating the treasures from these hulks, would without question, anger the sovereign whom would shortly thereafter be seeking retribution.
The sovereign NPC issues escort voyage contracts. These contracts are to escort merchant ships or the treasure fleet and protect them to their destination outpost. After successfully escorting ship(s) safely to their destination you and your crew would receive a percentage of the value of the goods on board. If you and your crew fail an escort mission, a cooldown timer would prevent the crew from intentionally and repentantly failing escort missions. The merchant alliance and or the sovereign, will no longer be willing to contract you out for escort until you had proven to be trustworthy. One way to regain trust is to turn on fellow pirates and hunt them down via pirate hunter contracts.
Pirate hunters would hunt pirates disloyal to the merchant alliance and or the sovereign. Multiple people/crews could accept a bounty contract to hunt for the pirates crews. A crew accepting a bounty contract would then have to sink the ship and kill the crewmembers responsible for attacking merchant ships before collecting rewards at any outpost.
These features would bridge PvP and PvE together creating an environment of players’ interactions with NPCs. There are many possibilities that would branch out from having these types of voyages added. Players would be working together fighting one another and back stabbing each other like never before. Treasure fleets would be a mobile raids, requiring cooperation from other crews to overcome extreme odds of the vast firepower protecting unimaginable riches.
If we are going to fill the game environment with NPC creatures, let’s add what pirate'n really is. Sea of Thieves players are not going to invest time in fighting the big shark or floating tentacles from the depths more than once, when there is no incentive. Forget being a glorified 1700s delivery man conducting endless fetch quests and bring to life the crux of true piracy.
Game Mechanics Details
NPC merchant ships would sail from port to port moving goods. These could be galleons or sloops with NPC units equipped with weapons as players are in the game today. These NPC ships would have randomly generated merchant items.
The Treasure Fleet
This voyage type would consist of 3 randomized NPC ships types accompanied by an optional escort of up to 2 player unit crews for a maximum of up to a 5 galleon fleet. The treasure fleet would be a formidable force making it difficult for crews that have not aligned with rivals to defeat. The treasure fleet would sail for the new faction based on Spanish conquistadors “The Sovereign”.
The 3 NPC ships would sail in from the edge of the game world to its starting outpost location.
The fleet would then travel to 3 forts, before ending mission at their destination outpost before sailing off of the game world edge.
Per each fleet voyage, the fleet would either drop off or pick up loot at the 3 forts, not a combination of both. This slight variation would change how players conduct a coordinated attack of the treasure fleet.
Each voyage would have a different combination of which of the 3 NPC ships would be dropping off or picking up loot.
All 3 NPC ships, 2 or just 1, could be carrying loot or keys. This mechanic would create the need for the player units attacking the fleet to scout out which ships or forts were holding loot and which ones were empty.
Keys are used to unlock the forts vaults.
Once the keys are turned into the merchant alliance at the treasure fleets final destination outpost, the mission will be complete. The fleet would then sail off of the game world edge. If the fleet is still holding its treasure, sailing out of the game world boundary would also complete the mission.
The treasure will be a collection of chests, skulls, merchant loot and trinkets. The loot will be from 70k-150k. At the bare minimum there will be 60 items held within the treasure fleet. The time to transfer loot would be key in many different aspects of this voyage allowing player units to find the fleet, catch the fleet, engage in PvP over loot in the water, ect… If during the transport of loot is interrupted by an attacking player, all NPC ships and the fort will relentlessly defend the ship transporting cargo until the attacking ship(s) are sunk. After a treasure fleet ship is sunk, only the fort will defend its open treasure vault, loot left near the fort or key. The remaining fleet will continue mission unless unable.
The forts would be heavily defended similar to how the skeleton forts are now but instead of waves of enemies there would be a 40 second respawn timers per individual enemy. Each fort would have 15 NPC enemies defending it and the treasure fleet against pirate attackers. There would be 4 ways to stop endless hostile NPC from spawning on the forts: when a player unit unlocks a treasure vault, the exit of the treasure fleet out of the game world and the turn in or de-spawn of the remaining loot from the game environment. If a single key remains in the game world, all 3 forts would remain active.
Non Player Characters (NPC)
The NPC ships along with the forts would be maned with NPC enemies. Each ship would work as the player ships do now, with a crew of 2 to 4. The NPCs will have a 40 second respawn timer if killed. These NPC enemies would be armed with a variation of 2 item weapon builds similar to player units. 5, Non aggressive Cargo handling NPCs would be on each treasure fleet ship with the only purpose of loading and unloading cargo from each fort to the ships or vice versa. The cargo NPCs would unload the cargo at the final destination outpost. These cargo handlers could be attacked injured and killed with the same 40 second respawn timers. Killing these cargo handlers would give players more time to attack the fleet. If the ships were turning in keys the cargo handlers would turn those in at the final destination as well. The NPC ships would fight to protect each other until a ship was sunk. Once 1 of the 3 ships is sunk the remaining ships would then switch from fighting to fleeing to its next destination unless they are unable to finish their mission. Attacking players would have to collect the sunken ships loot quickly to ensure they could catch the remaining ships in the fleet. Escorts could also retain the loot in the water to ensure they receive the maximum percentage payout for turning in this loot at the destination outpost. If the treasure fleet is attacked before arriving at its first fort leaving just 1 ship, this 1 ship would carry out the entirety of the fleets’ mission if able. If the mission was to pick up treasure the remaining ships could only pick up treasure if they had keys onboard. If the remaining ships could not continue their mission they would endlessly assault the ships that attacked them until they are sunk or until the loot de-spawns. If loot de-spawns, the remaining treasure fleet ships would defend themselves until sailing of the game world.
NPC ships off loading their loot at a fort, will be provided a key after all loot has been turned in. This mechanic will ensure to provide an attacking player a reward of either loot or a key for taking down treasure fleet ship. If the ships are picking up loot from a fort, NPC cargo handlers will use the key at the fort to unlock the treasure vault and start moving cargo from the fort vaults to the ship(s). This NPC using the key to unlock the treasure vault, will not deactivate the fort defenses. A player can use any key at any of these 3 active forts to unlock its vault.
Player escorts would receive a voyage from the sovereign NPC. The cargo to be transported, the ships departure port, date, time and destination will be displayed after voting on the voyage. The escort voyage would directed players to be at an outpost of a certain date and time to start the escort of a single merchant ship or the treasure fleet. The player’s crew, would receive payment upon completing its escort mission. The escort crew members would see ships which they were escorting, its crew and its cargo as green lettering indicating it is friendly which cannot be harmed by the escorting crew. Failure to complete an escort mission would activate a cooldown period before attempting another.
Payment would be a pre-voyage percentage based on a crews average escort level and accommodations. Payment would be received once the loot is turned in at the destination outpost. Each level would grant 1% for a total of 50% at escort level 50. Accommodations would grant .5% per each for a total of 30% for the max of 60. If a crew was maxed out in escort level 50 with 60 accommodations they could receive 80% commission of the turn in cost of the cargo. For example: The voyage is to escort a merchant ship carrying 10 Crates of Exquisite Spices (value 1200-1700 per crate) from Ancient Spire Outpost to Sanctuary Outpost. The crew’s average level in escort is 20 with 20 accommodations granting 30% of the price of what the cargo sells for at the destination outpost. The cargo sells for $15,768, the escorting crew would receive $4,730 for successfully completing the mission.
Green lettered cargo would signify to players that it cannot be sold by them to any outpost other than the destination outpost. If the merchant ship is sunk, the cargo can still been delivered to the destination outpost to receive payment. If an escort crew attempts to turn in the cargo at any outpost other than the destination outpost, a warning will be given reminding the crew members of where the cargo must be turned in to receive the percentage payout.
The sovereign NPC would have pirate hunting bounty voyages if wanted pirates are on the server. Pirate hunter voyages will appear on wanted individuals and or crews, for attacking and or plundering merchant, treasure fleet ships or their escorts. The bounty contract would contain the wanted pirate’s names, picture of the offenders, clothing and ships appearance description from the last known outpost location. The bounty voyage will also state what the pirates are wanted for. Such as, “These criminals Wanted Dead for sinking 12 merchant ships, 2 treasure fleets ships, theft of an estimated $87,000 and the murder of 20 loyal sailors.” If the wanted pirates leave the server or are killed by other hunters the voyage will expire. Bounties will remain on wanted pirates across log offs and server hops until payment is collected. If the wanted crew returns to an outpost, an update, of their last known position would become available for the hunters at the sovereign NPC. The only notification the hunters would receive of an update on the wanted would be with the sovereign NPC of any outpost. The sovereign NPC would then give the update to any crewmember hunting wanted pirates.
Notoriety would have 2 parts one being levels and the other being a notoriety meter. Levels of notoriety would increase as every faction currently in the game today along with accommodations. The higher the notoriety level the higher value contract would be issued along with the amount of bounty contracts issued against the wanted. Pirates with a low level of notoriety would have only one pirate hunter after them while the higher levels would have up to the max amount of ships on the server hunting them. The notoriety meter would be a scale from 0-100 with 100 being the trigger point at which a bounty would be issued. The notoriety meter would decrease 1 point for every minute of game play. If after a bounty has been issued and the meter drops back down to 0 pirate hunters would continue hunting the wanted until payment of the contract has been collected. The following table shows how many meter points would be attributed per each offence:
|Levels of notoriety can be gained by attacking or:||Notoriety Meter Points|
|Sinking a merchant ship||30|
|Sinking a treasure fleet ship||100|
|Sinking an escort ship||50|
|Murder of an merchant ships crew member||10|
|Murder of the treasure fleet crew member||20|
|Murder of an escort ships crew member||30|
|Murder of a fort crew member||10|
|Murder of a NPC cargo handler||5|
|Theft or attempt of theft of any goods or treasure per each $1,000||5|
Bounty contracts would remain on each crewmembers head even after a crewmember logged off. A contract on the wanted would carry over multiple play sessions until the reward has been collected. Wanted pirates will not be able to conduct merchant, escort or pirate hunting voyages.
Better Customization of Character
Ability to change players face, height, skin color, age, sex and build. Ability to change clothing colors, damage and appearance of clothing showing whether it’s worn or new. The ability to turn off the glowing effect on pirate legend gear.
Better Customization of Player Ship
Ability to change the ships characteristics such as if it’s very fast but less durable, tough but slow, more or less guns and more or less sails such as forward sails. Custom colors and images that can be uploaded for sail and hull design.
Different Types of Cannons
Long Range – Less powerful but lighter allowing more per ship faster traverse speed and longer load times (1.5x slower). Decreased chance of creating holes in ships but would be more effective in killing personal.
Medium Range – What we have now.
Short Range – More powerfully but heavier allowing less cannons on a particular ship type also slower traverse speed and much longer load times (2x slower). One cannon shot would create multiple holes. These cannons cannot be place on a sloop due to weight.
Fore and/or Aft Swivel Guns / Swivel Cannons. These guns are primarily used for damaging personal. Each ship would have only one gun that can be moved from the front or rear of the ship. Ammo for this gun would be collected by using the ammo crate. Each gun would have 5 shots.
Ability to perform sail damage with swords, guns and cannons. Ships with sail damage would be slower to the point where ships would be dead in the water if sails were damaged 100%. Players fired from opposing ships could draw their sword and catch the enemies sail to cut their way down to the deck damaging the sail in the process. Along with that would be sail repair mechanic.
Ability to Capture Enemy Ship
Raising the flag on an enemy ship would capture it so an enemy pirate could no longer spawn on it. It would take 50 seconds to raise a flag.
Grappling hooks can be thrown or shot out of cannons to attach to enemy ships, islands or docks. Crew mates would pull the lines to bring the ships closer to board or fire cannons point blank. Crew members could cut the lines of attached hooks. Grappling hooks could be used to make an enemy ship lean to one side if shot into the ships sails affecting the use of its cannons. Players could also use those lines to slide down onto the deck of a ship. Other than in combat these hooks could also be used to bring a boat closer to a dock to assist in a better off and unloading of cargo.
Changing Ship Types in game
The ability to vote to change ship types in game. The crew can vote to change their boat type without exiting out of their current game session. The current ship would be scuttled and a new boat would become available by utilizing a mermaid. This feature would allow players to expand or decrease their crew size without abandoning their current voyages.
Pets would be customizable as to their colors, types and size. Each pet would have their own distinct attributes and would require you to feed them. They can be killed and injured with a cool-down re-spawn timer.
Monkey – The monkey would hang out near its owner but could be shot out of a cannon on to other ships or islands. Monkeys would steal supplies from enemy ships and fire themselves back to their owner’s ship.
Parrot – Parrots would serve as a recon scout flying high above when not on its owners shoulder. If an enemy ship approaches while you are on a fort or island the parrot will report when an enemies location and when it was inbound.
Dog – Dogs would aid in locating buried loot on pesky hard to find locations such as smugglers bay. These dogs would only be able to start searching once its owner was close to buried treasure. Once a dog would locate buried loot, they would bark to get their owners attention near the treasures location.
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