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    Sailing Forward - Ask a Pirate Day: Discussion and Q&A with the Devs

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    Ahoy Pathfinders!

    There will be no patch this week, so instead we’re delivering some information based on some questions we have collected and seen around the community!

    Since we announced the renewed ATLAS journey last Summer, a lot of things have changed in the development cycle, and we are still working on improving our processes and the feedback loop with the community as well. Like in any adventure, some parts of the journey can be rough but as we overcome them, we continue to move forward and build on our experiences. Whether we are making small steps or revisiting old ideas, it is important to remember that we are still sailing forward! Development is very often not linear, and understandably things can get confusing for the community - even for those seasoned Pathfinders who have been sailing the seas of ATLAS since the very beginning. We hope that today’s discussion and some of the answers to your questions will help the community understand our vision for ATLAS and where we are currently at.

    ATLAS, in general, is lacking a strong theme. Yes, we are a Pirate game, but it's currently a mishmash of a bunch of different stuff and we are looking to address that post the release of the current feature slate (Trade System, New Ships, and Claim System). Right now the idea we are liking most is something we're calling "Stormpunk" which centers around that idea that there are more resources to capture on the water (like harnessing lightning). We are going to maintain an element of fantasy moving forward, but it may not be so openly Dungeons and Dragons (although we love this game!) or "high fantasy" feeling. As with all things, everything will remain as we introduce new things, and we will fade things that people lose interest in.    

    What is the long term plan or overall vision? It'd help explain a lot of these changes if we were also privy to just a rough idea what the long term will look like, because right now it seems things are going a bit backward in regards to accessibility, especially for small groups and solo players.
    At the highest level, the goals are as follows: 

    1. Get players out on the ocean - there are lots of things we're doing to encourage this but it basically means that we want players spending more time at sea and less time on land. In order to do that we really have to blow out all the things you can do at sea so that they are as fun and interesting as what you do on land.
    2. Make ship-to-ship combat fun. There is so much to this, but we really want PVP interactions on the water to be richly rewarding. 
    3. Increase player recuperation. Survival games can be tough and we want to make sure that players can be devastating to one another, but that the losing side player doesn't have to feel like they are starting over each time. We also want to make small companies and lone wolves more viable. 

    We still have a ways to go before we reach these goals. We know that we are not there yet and that the current state of ATLAS does not reflect what we envision. Most of what we have implemented so far is still in its beginning stages, and are only just setting the foundation for how the gameplay is going to evolve.

     

         :anchor: Trade System :anchor:

    For instance, one of the main goals of the Trade System is to increase play at the smaller group and solo level. We recognize that right now the system is not very friendly to these players - There's a lot of balance to be done there and a number of missing elements, like the upcoming Tradewinds feature, but we are working on it. Ultimately, when all pieces are in place, we are planning for a system where large companies will actually be incentivized on a different scale for helping small companies and solos.

    The Trade System is still in its alpha stage, and as of build 515.17, all Trade Shipments are virtual and locked to a single grid. We are continuously working on Market optimizations as well as bug fixes and server side improvements to bring the system to full functionality. Subsequent patches should see more refinement to the Trade System, opening up more routes and eventually the NPC Trade Ships. Please note that at this stage, we may have to disable and re-enable Trades sometimes to work out and troubleshoot any issues that may potentially arise. 

    What about the players that do not wish to utilise the market system? Asides from the market, are there any other big gold "earners" in the planning besides maps and whales/sunken treasures? 
    Although the Trade System is meant to be one of the core pillars of gameplay, our main goal is that "gold comes from the sea". So yes, you'll see some additions and refinements to life on the ocean which should make getting gold easier for non-marketplace participants.

     

         :anchor: Claim System :anchor:

    We are looking into rebooting the original claim system that allowed players to take over a section of the island.  This is done by placing down a claim  structure that takes longer to build and is more robust than a claim flag.  It may also have its own defenses.  Once fully built, it will have to be destroyed for you to lose your claim and everything that goes along with it. We are not completely reverting back to the old claim system, but will be taking the original concept and building off of it. We are currently still testing some ideas.

     

         :anchor: Ship Systems :anchor:

    Getting a new ship system into the game that can support future expansions does take a bit more time than just putting out a "new" one on the existing system, and we are excited to be getting closer to it!

    We teased the first one, the Ramming Ship, a few weeks ago and we have a number of other ideas for these unique and specialized ships, but we don't want to spoil the surprise completely. The important note here is that we are moving from releasing ship parts to releasing complete ships that have special roles in the game and thus begin to grow the strategy of managing a fleet.

    All of the upcoming Ships that can be bought with gold will be primitive class and up. Ramshackles will still be available at Freeports for now, but when you buy things with gold they will be good ships. 🙂

    In regards to the existing Ship system, can we get tokens as random loot drops from bosses to craft schooners/brigs/galleons please? So there is a route for smaller groups to get boats?
    This probably won't happen.  Right now we're really happy with how hard it is to get bigger ships.  Many players have reported having more fun than ever with "Sloop Wars".  Dropping tokens would benefit large companies more and go against what we are trying to do, which is to fundamentally change how ships are currently perceived.  Right now, ship progression is linear.  Once you can build a Schooner, you never build a Sloop again and so on up the ladder.  We are more focussed on giving every ship type a viable role on the ocean and introducing strategy and reasons for each ship type to exist.

     

         :anchor: On the Horizon :anchor:

    Post integration of the claim system we'll be going back through all the content that is currently in the game and be making quality of life improvement and balance adjustments. We aren't very interested in nerfing things so much as bringing their fun factor way up.

    How far out are we from super wind sea-highways that make traveling around the map faster and consolidate content?
    We're trying to get it by the end of the year. A lot depends on how long it takes to balance the Trade System, new Ship System, and new Claim System. 

    Any plans for expanding fishing so it doesn't suck so much? Like better random loot tables from fishing, maybe getting maps randomly from fishing. higher quality fishing pole=better maps/blueprints/gold etc.
    We can answer this by saying that we don't think there is nearly enough fun stuff to do on the water and we are looking to blow that out significantly. This will include water creature taming, better fishing, ocean resource gathering, and better diving.

    Any planned changes for freeports? Exponential decay or something to prevent freeport living?
    Not yet.  We have to put in all the systems that allow lone wolves and small groups to survive elsewhere first.  Long term, we envision settlements of any kind to be more friendly or hostile to you depending on how you've treated  them in the past.

    Can you tell us more about the ideas behind how breeding is envisioned by the Dev team for beginner breeders through the most advanced breeders? Right now it takes too much time to do, unless an entire weekend day is devoted to it. Perhaps more difficulties while raising babies through their infant stages, but have it be for a much shorter duration so that it is more practical and enjoyable for a wider audience.
    One of our designers has taken the breeding and taming of creatures under her wing.  In the background she is working on a completely revamped system that should be more of what you want to see.  Can't tell you when it will ship, but I can tell you that we are working on it.

    Treasure Maps need a lot of work. Are big changes planned for the hunts to be more engaging? The distance requirement is also a negative map factor. It's not enjoyable to sail 7 grids out, 7 grids back to run a Masterwork map. Could maps that are of any qualities spawn on an island that are closer?
    Yes, a rework of this is planned, but it's down the road.  It's not where we want it either and for sure we are looking at the treasure spawning closer.

     

         :anchor: Additional Q&A :anchor:

    What is some of the work that is currently being done to help with optimization and performance issues?
    About half our engineering staff is on performance and optimization. We know it's a problem and are working to fix it. The issue is that we also want to continue to put the rest of the planned features in the game to see if they are viable. We want a high performance game as much as you do. Remember, optimization isn’t going to suddenly happen in one patch. Some improvements may happen in small steps over time, while other improvements are a bigger engineering endeavor and may not be seen until we are further along.

    Is the team still looking at ways for players to keep some progress through wipes?
    Yes.  We haven't figured out a balanced and scalable method yet, but we do want that.  Adding a new global server structure with the Trade System was the first step on this and we'll keep working towards it.  The challenge here is that the funnest part of a wipe for most people, is that they are all on an even footing again.  Allowing players to retain progression may also allow them to maintain oppression.

    Can we please get a HUD indicator once a ship is protected by the new shiphouse structure? The green text popping up once the anchor is down is not such a great indicator.
    Totally agree that this is a bit confusing.  A complete UI revamp is on the schedule and this item is part of that.

    This is nitpicking, but can handling sails trim opposite to how they do now? It is backwards to real world physics
    Ok. We'll look into it.🙂

    Teleporting bed to bed, and killing yourself to respawn on lawless islands for discovery points is one of the lamest things I have to do in this game. Will other features be looked at for discovery points that are more interesting? 
    In short, yes. We agree that killing yourself and bed teleporting is lame. We all want to fix that and give you more ways to travel the world more quickly.

    Will we be able to have the fog of war back? We had it early in the game, but it could be cheated by sharing game files and so was removed. The thrill of exploration was exciting for many players. As things stand at the moment, you just always have the full map explored.
    It's something we hadn't thought about. We’ll look into this idea.

     

         :anchor: Final Note :anchor:

    Again, we would like to emphasize that ATLAS is still in Early Access, meaning many things can and will likely continue to drastically change - even in the middle of development. Anything discussed is only up to date as of the moment it is posted. Features and changes that ultimately make it to the next patch, as well as timing, may be different from what was previously discussed. 

    As always, we appreciate the suggestions and feedback from the community. Please keep them coming! Thank you for all of your support! 🙂 

     

    :wheel:

    Happy Sailing,

    - ATLAS Crew

    :skull: For the latest dispatch on #playATLAS keep yer one good eye trained on this here information :skull:

    Natter n' chatter on Discord: https://discord.gg/playatlas
    Hear ye, hear ye on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/sailtheatlas
    Watch us scallywags on Twitch: http://twitch.tv/sailtheatlas
    Plus ye can band with us Pirates on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/playatlasgame

    Edited by ATLAS

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    On 11/25/2020 at 3:01 PM, ATLAS said:

    Can you tell us more about the ideas behind how breeding is envisioned by the Dev team for beginner breeders through the most advanced breeders? Right now it takes too much time to do, unless an entire weekend day is devoted to it. Perhaps more difficulties while raising babies through their infant stages, but have it be for a much shorter duration so that it is more practical and enjoyable for a wider audience.

     

    One of our designers has taken the breeding and taming of creatures under her wing.  In the background she is working on a completely revamped system that should be more of what you want to see.  Can't tell you when it will ship, but I can tell you that we are working on it.

    Wow, that random designer and their wing sound so comforting.

    However, what would you guys know what we want to see? What do you mean background? Hahahahhahahahaha

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    To the Devs

    Atlas it's not lacking a strong theme. The Pirate Theme was strong enough to make millions from movies and even to create a successful tv show. In addition to that pirates ever since Errol Flynn or Burt Lancaster been a success on the screen. So was Atlas when it got released as Early Access as far as I know and experienced it.

    And Atlas is not a Pirate Game. It flies the skull and cross bones here and there but it's far from piracy. Pirates seek a hide-out and claim islands, if at all, in silence. They don't place claim flags where ever they choose to dwell as those flags instantaneously would give away who and what you're dealing with.

    Storm Punk: Harnessing lightning - now that sounds interesting. You might have watched Stardust one too many times. And what else is there to get on the water? Trapping wind in paper bags to run a wind mill at your base or maybe empty them into your sails when there's no wind at all ? I think you're losing it here and Dungeons and Dragons' fantasy is way too present in tons of games already. You had the chance to make something different and now you blow it (with the wind from the bags to put them to some use).

    My ideas to the three main goals: 

    1. Get players out on the ocean [...] OK, and that's why you now added gold to building a ship? Leave alone that you four month ago announced that you CAN buy ships now with gold in addition to still being able to craft them with your own blood, sweat and tears. Too bad this didn't work out.

    2. Make ship-to-ship combat fun [...] Now how can it be more fun and rewarding than it actually is, more loot/booty? But how? You must be totally out of your mind in case you think that players will load up their ships before they head into a battle, putting their 'wealth' at stake in a battle they don't know the outcome of? Or will there be rewards generated from thin air that screw up your trade system inflating inflation with high rewards of gold ?    

    3. Increase player recuperation  [...]This sounds very nice but again the stupid gold costs for ships make it a pain again. Players might still have whatever your new design will leave them on land but the gold still needs be accumulated to purchase a new ship.

     

     

     

    Trade System 

    In conjunction with what you plan on the ship's sector the trade system makes less sense more and more. As of right now ships are being build from parts the players craft. Better ships require better blueprints which need up to six different types of one resource, you know how your system works (I hope). Now that's where trade comes in handy: You can offer your wetwood in exchange for ironwood or gold to buy ironwood in case anyone feels like offering it. But what is going to happen to trades like these when you buy ready-made ships? And according to your Q&A you want to move the game more to the sea. Does that mean that armor and weapons become less important and therefore resources to craft better ones maybe are not needed anymore? What about tames? They will disappear as well as you don't need to farm resources any longer? 



     

    Claim System 

    Even the old system was completely useless. No idea who thought that pirates who rather live in hiding would claim an island which gives away their position to everyone who just passes by. And if you insist on this stupid idea then why not use a blimp to hover over the island? It might even harness a lightning as a side effect.

     

    Ship Systems 

    That's the most bogus thing so far. Leave alone that it entails rendering trades pointless it also is one of the most unbalanced ideas you ever came up with. I'm screwed when I hit the sea with my ramming vessel and someone engages me with cannons. How balanced is that ?  Specialized ships my a... !

    And then there is the costs for the ships! Me as a single player might have enough time at hand to accumulate the needed gold for a primitive Schooner (or whatever ship) but the company I just sailed into has four members and hence more chances and time to get the gold for a legendary schooner. Place your bets on the outcome!

    In the end this game boils down to a stupid gold grinding feast where the company having the most gold will rule

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    I'm not sure I like the idea of reskinning Atlas as Steampunk MMO.  I know that the dev's had aspirations of this and that's why thinks like Dino's and Tanks were leaked into the code.  I think another layer of tech will just push more new players out.  There is a insurmountable disparity between noobs/small companies and larger companies due to the way BP's are handled.  Just adding another tech level will extend the gap, in my opinion. 

    Limit land building and simplify breeding further if you want to make this a sea adventure game. 

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    It would be nice if the allowed more markets and warehouses  on PvE servers. Also there need to be a way to stop a person from dropping foundations all over an island on PvE  half of the islands are unusable because someone posted or foundationed the islands. Take a look at brightdurn island or Salismar cay Island on Whales server

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    On 12/6/2020 at 11:16 AM, Sir Francis Drake said:

    It would be nice if the allowed more markets and warehouses  on PvE servers. Also there need to be a way to stop a person from dropping foundations all over an island on PvE  half of the islands are unusable because someone posted or foundationed the islands. Take a look at brightdurn island or Salismar cay Island on Whales server

    Something similar happened to me once. Took me an hour or 2 to blow all that shit up. Use a bear cannon if you can, else you might need to build several cannons to get to everything.

    All this is after you join PvP becuase that's where the solution to this problem exists.

    Otherwise don't complain about thing that have easy solutions.

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    they realy be asking thwe large groups what they think i stopped playing cause its so hard to get good combat ships up and they ruined island defense barral bomb gliderts were the best way to stop a harbour run when you do actually manage to get a schooner here comes the big componies to take that win away from you the day you get it sometimes the hour or right as you drop it out of the yard you guys do not want smaller companies on the wqater you are catering to the larger groups out there by takeing away the ability to get a ship up quickly and for people like myself who only have 3 or so hours to play you guys made it so hard to progress to ship combat and evenj to get a pve ship you guys realy need to stop asking big companies and pve players for ideas for pvp stuff i do not have the time to try and grind 18 k or so gold to get a brig up just to lose it the same day and what happens when you get reapetadly griefed by players in lawless or you actually manage to get an island its taken in the next combat phase because we cannot get boats up fast enought to combat the larger companies you guys have ruined a game thta i loved for along time on both pc and xbox all we asked for was new ships for some diversity and perhaps an easier way to get mats that are not on our home islands as the megas have a monopoly on most stuff but no we got bears that can wear bloody hats 

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