View Full Version : Musings and suggestions for the Pirate Faction

04-21-2014, 03:03 PM
I am currently working on getting the Russian client to work, so I have not actually played the game yet. However I have been watching streams, reading and catching up on some of the history and mechanics of the game. I am a fairly long term EVE Online veteran and I have a good amount of experience with player driven content involving pirating and PvP politics. First I will state some current concerns, then I'll offer some suggestions. Lastly I apologize for any EVE references that may not be properly explained, but I feel like EVE (and Lineage 2) are possibly the best open world PvP focused MMOs to use as references.

* = main point
// = background, context, and/or referencing mechanics from other games
--- = commentary relating to Archeage
- = sub point


*** Drawbacks to being in the pirate faction are too severe to be compensated by pirating
--- This is of course a fairly tight line to balance so that both sides are relatively happy, but at the moment I am getting the impression that pirate factions are only going to have effects on relatively fringe situations in the game and not be a primary or secondary source of contention among players, leading to stagnation and ultimately most pirates re-rolling or becoming alts. There are more drawbacks than what I am listing, but the ones below I think are the ones breaking the faction.
- Only access to Pirate auction house (understandable, but I'm not convinced this is the best idea)
- Cannot send mail
- Sheriffs can report you as a Criminal and you will be teleported in Jail/Back to Pirate Isle depending on your location
- Dying on a southern continent results in 40 minutes of jail time
- The existence of 100% safe sea trade routes
- No access to NPCs other than on pirate island
- Possibly too much restriction from “regular” game content

** Losing access to mail and ability to non-locally communicate with your former faction is absolutely too much isolation
// Becoming a pirate in EVE (game mechanically speaking) does not restrict you whatsoever from communicating with other players. One of the outcomes from unrestricted communication is the ability for veteran players to provide feedback to newer players that were their victims. As simple as this may seem, it is one of the best player interactions that can happen in a game: getting schooled and then receiving advice, guidance, and possibly a donation to replace the lost ship afterwards, all within the game with no need to resort to forums or voice comms. (I realize that statement sounds very na´ve to the fact that many people talk down on their victims in most games, and while EVE is no exception there are still plenty willing to help out newer players so that they stick around in the long run.)
// On the opposite end of the spectrum you could not communicate at all with opposite factions in World of Warcraft (before someone says "you could” it was extremely hacky and basic so there was never any meaningful conversations inside the game).
--- With the ability in Archeage to learn other languages, which is wonderful and adds potential emergent gameplay, it becomes arbitrarily restrictive to lose non-local contact with your former faction by becoming a pirate.

* Losing access to the core gameplay by becoming a pirate seems counterproductive
// In EVE every system (city/town) has a security status, as well as your character. You never completely lose access to high security systems, but as your personal sec status drops you are attacked by the local police shortly after you enter that system. There is a gradient to this mechanic rather than a binary "either you are friendly with all guards, or you are attacked by all guards." You also retain access to station services (NPCs) and the market (auction house) but are still attacked by guards when you undock.
--- Perhaps a gradient type of system could be introduced, such as losing access to major cities, then smaller villages, and finally everything else. It doesn't need to be a very large margin, but at least something to tell a player “hey watch out you're about to become an outlaw.” Also this could help to not completely shut down a pirate player. I don't know the details of what pirate NPCs provide, but from what I understand it's not everything you can get by being in a main faction.
--- Apparently you can level from 1-50 by crafting or fishing, so why can't you level up by pirating? Obviously it will be much more difficult because pirating is combat based, but it should share the same philosophy as the rest of the game: be rewarded for playing in a sandbox as opposed to a theme park.
- By leveling up through pirating you cannot lose access to skill/class trainers (if these even exist?) or other similarly important NPCs.
--- By retaining access to the more developed markets, even if it was taxed for pirates, they can still keep up with with the crafting scene, both mid game and end game, and participate in the economy other than just looting


*** Change whispers and/or mails to be cross faction
// While this point is not entirely focused on pirates, I still feel it is an important idea to be considered
--- General chat and Guilds I can understand being faction specific by nature, but by making whispers and mail faction specific removes so much potential for in-game cross-communication
- Whispers: There is the argument that by making whispers cross faction removes incentive for diplomats and translators from ever stepping foot on the other continent in the long run, but I believe that is taking the negative too far. In order to know who knows what languages on the other faction you must first travel to the opposite continent, explore, and try communicating with people before you find those who have studied your language. Even when relations have been established, not everyone in the game is going to learn those languages, so translators will be necessary for cross factional group activities. You could argue that the instant information with global access (that is whispering) is more communication than is desired or leads to restrictive gameplay for the uninvolved faction (ie. is overpowered) brings me to mails.
- Mail: Mailing someone on other factions follows the same reasoning as whispers, but it doesn't mean that you HAVE to allow mailing ITEMS between factions. Allowing cross-faction mailing in place of whispering is still a bit restrictive, but it adds a more roleplay-like element and most importantly still keeps a realistic possibility of cross-faction relations, which is the ENTIRE point of learning another language. (An interesting possibility for leaving mails as the only non-local cross-faction communication is to have those mails only be recieved by being sent overseas through trade packages, but that may be going too far and may just end up be frustrating and not add anything positive to the Archeage experience)

** There should be no inter-continental trade routes that are 100% safe
--- Apparently you can hug the coastlines and abuse the range of safety zones to trade between the southern continents with no risk. This type of “mechanic” makes pirating a more fringe-like scenario rather than a main conflict driver.
- As far as I understand it these saftey zones are zones you cannot agress in. It would be one thing if the local guards shot cannons at you from the shore on these zones, but having it be purely opt-in for pvp is very detrimental for keeping interest in pirating.

* Lower jail timers on southern continents or remove them and throw pirates back on pirate island upon death.
// In EVE, the main penalty for death is losing time doing the thing you were trying to do before you died. The same is true in Lineage 2. Yes you lose things you were carrying with you at the time but the main penalty was losing time. In both games you respawn somewhere, however in both games you were not completely restricted from getting right back into the game.
--- Jail time is an interesting concept to me, and with the relative ease of theft it is understandable to an extent. However I have seen how long it takes to sail across the ocean, and combined with the risk of sea travel I think that pirates who die on southern continents should respawn back at pirate island and not be taken away from the game. Pirates should spark player conflict, not be punished for attempting to create it on a homeland.
- 40 minutes is absolutely too long for pirates to be removed from the game. I understand that jail time lets players opt to gamble their labor points to escape early, however by the time someone has become a pirate I'm sure they have spent a couple of days played time in jail and would be further dissuaded from continuing to play a pirate faction that is already not too appealing.

* Pirates looting trade packages should get 100% of the profit
--- It seems that the main way for pirates to take place in the game and the economy is by -gasp- pirating. Perhaps insurance on trade packages can by purchased to return a small amount back to the creator, but that should not be automatic and everything else should go to the pirates. I Don't think it should be nearly as high as a 60/40 split, which is part of a recent patch in Korea.
- A 60/40 split is something that can be abused and also create stagnant gameplay (as it is doing on the Korean server), especially if the split is automatic and not an insurance system.

I apologized that this post is so much longer than I expected, but I hope I have provided some useful food for thought. Also please correct me on things that I have misunderstood or have been addressed already. I want to see the pirate faction be something that has a real impact on the game and not something that seems like an afterthought.

EDIT: moved a thing around to make more sense.

04-21-2014, 04:08 PM
Very good read. And I agree on many of the points. Hopefully we hear from trion on this.
I'd even recommend tweeting this at Scapes. I'd like to hear the view of our trion spokespersons.

04-21-2014, 05:42 PM
From what I've heard, this is spot on. I like the whole pirating idea, but there are too many problems to make it fun. The system is just too balanced toward traders. Also, criminals should be able to go to jail (The jail system seems like a cool mechanic to me), but once you become a pirate you should not have to go to jail when you die.

04-21-2014, 06:46 PM
Good info, some points you made I never really thought of c:

04-21-2014, 09:54 PM
Thanks everyone, I expected to have overlooked something critical haha. Maybe I'll tweet this out tomorrow or the next day but I'll just have my reply bump it for now :)

05-06-2014, 09:12 AM
I'm bumping this because it's a very good post and needs attention.

05-07-2014, 03:07 AM
Bumptastic bumpity bumptastic! Now with 100% more creepiness!

Bump so the Archeage gods can see this.

05-09-2014, 05:54 AM
Good points made there. Looks legit.

05-09-2014, 02:55 PM
I actually thought about being a part of the pirate faction, but it just doesn't seem at all worthwhile

05-09-2014, 04:47 PM
Yeah all i hear is negative aspects to being a pirate =(. Hope they fix this with the pirating

05-14-2014, 03:05 PM
Unfortunately, Trion won't change many aspects of the piratehood life, don't get your hopes up.

They received a client that needs localization, and with it, some settings that can be tweaked.

I would love rushing a pirate as soon, after release, but if settings for pirate remain the same as in the Korean version, no thanks.

XL Games created a bumper (named safety areas) zone, to diminish the interaction between pirates & randoms.

Still hoping for some changes, but I don't trust Trion to apply any relevant/genuine patches.

05-14-2014, 04:48 PM
Pirat must get punishment for his pirating. Isolation is it. I do not want to see that bstards on mi land, and in mi chat. Like to PKing, get away to your island and try to rule the sea.

05-14-2014, 07:09 PM
I agree to every single point made in this post. I pray it gets fixed, because pirate faction is broken, and misinformed people who don't know how bad it is join it too often.

05-19-2014, 06:31 PM
I agree to everything in the OP. I've been excited for Arch Age. I was hoping a game would finally grow a pair and not restrict PvP like this. I guess if I want that I'm stuck with EVE. EVE is good, but sometimes I want a different environment. I was hoping AA could be that environment. I hope Trion reconsiders, but as someone who studies game design/game design theory, and has been alpha/beta testing games for over a decade I highly doubt it'll happen. Trion no doubt is looking at the data which probably tells them that too many people won't play the game if they do it our way (not in the US anyway). $$$ > all. :-(

Edit: Also, EVE online is one of the few if not only MMOs that can boast a steady constant increase in subscribers over the life of the game and it is quite old now. Maybe we can learn something from that? I'm just sayin'... -_-

05-20-2014, 07:15 AM
Yeah, The pirate faction needs to be fixed but I agree, it's all about $$$.

05-22-2014, 02:30 AM
You do realize pirating isn't a good thing right? It's a punishment of being a criminal. If you want to pirate fine, but people must brave the consequences of doing so. If there is to be light restrictions on being a pirate then everyone may as well be one as the rewards outweigh the cons.

What's the point of going through the process of collecting mats, crafting packs, investing in merchant ships, organizing groups for a trade run and then be pirated by people who hardly get punished for it. That's the risks pirates take just like they did in reality.

Pirating is fine as it is, maybe the punishments might not be harsh enough perhaps? Maybe XL should make NPC Customs Ships similar to EvE's Concord. But the point of pirating is getting something that usually takes time and money to produce (earned) and stealing it for free. To get something for free that could yield big rewards is the reward in itself is it not? So to ask for lighter penalties to be a criminal is ludicrous (no not the rapper).

Again, pirating isn't meant to be a good thing, it's a bad thing just as it was in reality. You can't have your cake and eat it too and i hope XL Games keeps things the way they are. I think Pirates have just been glorified too much in entertainment and think of the adventure and treasure more than the bloody mess and short lifespan they really had.

05-24-2014, 07:34 AM
I have to agree with Melfunkshun here, if you had a choice to be a pirate or a trader, when both had equal benefits, what do you think most of the population would choose? And at that point, not only would the few surviving traders have no chance of going ANYWHERE, the pirates would actually have to fight among each other just to make a profit. I can easily see every trade ship being attacked by at least 3 other pirate bands becoming the norm.

05-24-2014, 08:12 AM
I made these suggestions a year ago, and so did many Koreans. Neither XLGames nor Trion will take any initiative in changing it, I'm pretty sure of that.