I'm probably just talking into the wind here, but I'd really like to see an option for more interesting sail tactics in SoT. Basically, I'd like to be dropped in a server where sailing is more difficult, but more like reality. Since each server only has a handful of people in it anyway, I don't think this would do much by way of dividing the playerbase: even if there were only 100 players in each region interested in this mode, it'd have plenty of use.
There are a few basic changes that I think would be fun and simple, and a few second-level changes that would involve more programming, but would be even more interesting.
First, I would like to see the removal of visible wind in the air. I totally get why it's there, but with the flag on the masts (and maybe a small pennant on the fo'c'sle) would serve the purpose, and add a bit more realism.
Second, I would make sailing into the wind impossible. Tacking and wearing should be required to get upwind. You could still have the different ship advantages, but adjusted: the sloop would be able to sail a bit closer into the wind than the larger ships, but none of them should be able to sail directly into it.
Third, ships should not be able to turn without steerage way. That is, unless they are moving forward, the rudder shouldn't turn the ship. This obviously makes docking more tricky, but the upcoming boats should also help, since it will probably be less annoying to park a ship further from the shore.
Fourth, the wind itself should have more of an effect on sailing direction. Steering into the wind should be far slower than steering out of it, for example. This would allow for some very interesting battle tactics as clever pilots maneuver their vessels to have enemies on their leeward.
Fifth, while I like that storms actually force us to work against the wheel, I think that even calmer winds should move the wheel unless someone is actually on it. Perhaps there could be a simple "tie the wheel" mechanic that should take long enough to discourage its use during battle, but allow for pilots to take a break during long journeys.
The next suggestions are probably more complicated to employ:
First, raising and lowering sails should require a crewmember to be on the yards themselves. I'm not an actual sailor, but I don't think simple block and tackle on the decks were how sails were deployed. This (and maybe most of the suggestions here) would require a larger crew, so an offshoot suggestion is that hardcore servers allow more men per ship. The extra requirements for effective handling would make this balance, I think.
Second, cannons should fire much slower. I know this one's probably going to be the least-liked in this list, but I think it would add a great deal of tension to battles if we were less inclined to waste a shot. This could be as simple as requiring the gunner to load at the muzzle instead of at the back, and could even require a longer load time. I think this would play very well into my next suggestion that,
Third, ship damage should be far more specific. Having separate damage zones could do a lot for making gunners take care with their shots, and make the longer load-times worth it. Taking out the ship's wheel (or its rudder), for example, could at least slow the turning capability. Damaging a mast (or even bringing it down!) could be amazing fun. It could also be worth putting a health bar on the guns themselves. Damage beyond simple hole-plugging could require a trip to a shipwright (I'd recommend with no additional cost, though) to fix. And that brings me to my last suggestion:
Fourth, while shipboard personnel respawns should be allowed, losing our ship itself in a hardcore server should be the end. Lose your ship, and you have to reload on a different server entirely.
Whatcha think? Hardcore sailing servers? Any of these you'd like to see?
© Post "Suggestion: Hardcore sailing server" for game Sea of Thieves.
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