Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Losing the faithful

Remember I sent you over to Keen and Graev's Blog if you wanted to read more about Pirates of the Burning Sea? I'm not sure that advice is going to be good much longer. Keen posted an article about risk and reward in PotBS which sounds as if he won't play much longer. Great analysis by the way, of what I call negative sum PvP and other situations in PotBS which lead to Keen risking and losing his ship often, for very little reward. No wonder he is unhappy.

The funny thing is that I'm not having fun with PotBS because I'm evading all risk and just cash in the rewards for free. I'm not even moving any more, I just log on once every other day, produce my goods and put them up for sale in the same port. That gives me about 10k profit per day, for 10 minutes of "work" and zero risk. Profitable, but boring.

I'm sure that somewhere the devs think that people like me would give their money to people like Keen. That way *I* would contribute something to the struggle of my nation against the others, and the Keens would have ships to use in that struggle. Problem is that it doesn't work like that. Unless you pay him in dollars (Chinese doubloon farmers?), why should one player give ships for free to another player, just because he is from the same nation or in the same guild? There is nothing in it for the freetrader. If the player didn't care about doubloons, he wouldn't have rolled a freetrader in the first place. It remains a mystery to me how freetraders and other classes are supposed to work together and both have something from it.
Not every genre is cut out for an mmorpg.

I think a wild west mmo would be great - for the first week. Then after you bought the best horse, rifle, revolver, and saber in the game - what else would there be to do? Raid a bandit camp - and for what - gold? OK, what do you do with the gold - you already have everything you could possibly want/need.

All successful mmorpgs are loot based - no carrot on stick = no reason to keep playing.
All successful mmorpgs are loot based - no carrot on stick = no reason to keep playing.

You might be right on that on, won't argue against it - but it doesn't sound like a game, it sounds like a treadmill...

I'd change it to:

All successful mmorpgs are loot based - no carrot on stick = no reason to keep grinding. :)
UO, AC, GW, EVE are all not loot based, and are/were a success.

Plenty of examples out there, just have to look beyond WoW to find them. WoW is ONE successful game, but not the ONLY game to ever make money.
Well I know exactly what he means. I've done very little PvP so far and I've spent a lot of time thinking about the risk. In the end I don't think it will be worth it although I could probably at the moment take quite a few losses. I'm one of those first who entered and made lots of money, despite not playing a freetrader. I've got around 340k now and probably 100k+ on the AH waiting to sell. Still I'm not sure whether to keep playing.
AC not loot based? When I played, everyone wanted a Matty Robe, because it was hot ****.
MMO Games are either:

1. Loot based
2. Skill/Character Advancement Based
3. Storyline/Social Based

I hate #1.
I love #2.
I used to love #3 but haven't seen it work well since MUDs.

PotBS doesn't have enough of any of those.

They *could* make ships the 'loot', but they would need a lot of work in that area.

Poor PotBS... :(
I think potbs downfall is that it forgets how the real world worked at that time. As far as I see from reviews and the beta I played back a while ago, potbs had a very internal system with trade focusing only on the market within the map available to players where the real fact was there were huge nations backing the effort up.

To spread the goods (especially ships) they should make up a system where the individual nations would purchase ships from traders and donate them to people that use them to promote the separate war efforts of the nations :). Would be a somewhat effective method of spreading around goods and not forcing pvp players to grind. Of course with the current loot table it would probably overflow dubloons pretty quickly
Can't say I was interested in the platform at all.

Sounds like it will crash and burn before the end of the year... or is that will it be 'Scuttled' by the end of the year.
I think that it's not so much the concept or idea behind the game that's not ideal, but the implementation and the fact that people play it as a game instead of 'historical simulation'...

From what I have learned by reading reviews, blogs and comments, the economy isn't actually free and supporting anything. Instead it's only providing a base for the economical players to get bored with the game, avoiding risks as Tobold stated.

For the system to work the factions/nations should reward both the 'faithfull' corsairs and traders for working for a common goal: the nation. Currently it sounds like everyone is fighting for themselves and trying to accomplish their own agendas, and that is so not bound to work in a large scale game.

Maybe the Nations are too artificial compared to the player run corporations of EVE, who knows?

Historically piracy was and is a pretty lucrative 'career' with a very high risk. It sounds that the gains from it in PotBS aren't as high as they should be. By fixing this the game might get some wind under its wings, creating more economical balance between the freetraders and naval geniuses. More money on PvPers to purchase ships and outfittings from the manufacturers purchasing more materials from the traders.

Sounds like it should be. But it isn't.

Not every MMORPG needs to be the king of the heap. It's no different than any other medium really, I mean, I loathe pop music. Just because something draws the masses, doesn't make it right for everyone.

Right now, PotBS is entertaining me a helluva lot better than WoW has for a long time. Sure, the first year with WoW was more fun, but quite honestly the mass-market direction Blizzard has taken WoW has... for me at least.. completely blandified it.

PotBS may be quirky and it may not be for everyone. but at the moment I'm still getting whoops out of my cannon fire. I wouldn't be too quick to pick on the flaws, I'm sure most of us if we properly recalled could make some pretty large lists of flaws with WoW in 2004 and certainly EQ in '99 and UO in '97. These kind of flaws don't kill the initial magic unless they're left to rot the planks.
All successful mmorpgs are loot based - no carrot on stick = no reason to keep playing.

That depends on the type of player. I could not care less if I get some new loot to wear/use while fighting.
Story lines, world exploration and player community are more important for me. As long as I have good enough items to pursue this I am fine. Or perhaps to change appearance to get some variation.

I have thought about western mmos and definitely the bank and gold system of other MMOs wouldn't work, you'd have to have encumbrance so you can only have so much, and only your Colt would protect your money. Or put it in a bank, but that bank might get knocked off by bandits, etc. Investing money would be truly safer, but then you'd have to protect your investments, your ranch, claim, railroad etc.

It would make an interesting game I think, I guess I'm thinking of it kind of like Eve but in the Wild West, but probably work better with "resets" periodically. Yeah if you end up a Hearst then you've reached the top.
I can think of many reasons why a player like you might want to pay Keen with your dabloons.

-You really hate someone and you hire Keen to grief them as a mercenary

-You have a team of players all working together to control a port, so you have some people doing crafting and some people doing fighting

-You have a chance to make 100 k dabloons, but you need to get your stuff to another port, so you:

a- hire Keen to protect you while you transport your goods

b- hire Keen to move the goods for you

You're just not thinking in free market terms when you rule out the idea that you might find a good reason to pay Keen for a service.
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