In my opinion current ships in the game are going totally WRONG WAY.
I don't remember any of pirate movie, cartoon or game where captains were building shotguns-ships, were turning their ships to armored rhombus by roof covers. I don't remember pirates were building french-louvers, or carrying herd of elephants on smallest ship deck. All those metas, kite tactics, 40 big cannons on Sloop, all of that IS JUST MOCKERY OF WHOLE SAILING ROMANCE. I know I'm swearing right now, but sail ships in pirate games ARE THE CORE. THE VERY MAIN PILLAR of whole universe. And universe built just around em.
And devs designed few ship, and then let em go as they are. After that they were on some giant crabs, magic torpedoes, dinos invention etc. IMAO that's just mockery of players.
It's no surprise that online is falling, and even X-Box release didn't really help to fulfill the world.
To be hones - I would just CANCEL all ship that are already exists and redo literally everything about them. We don't have any walls, ceilings, roofs right now. So no more 40 guns on ship with no gunports. No more elephants on sloop decks. No more 6 masts ships (I know there was one 14 masts ship in real history but that was an exception. Usually there were 3 or 4).
My idea is:
There are 26 ships in the game. Each consist of frame, planks/gunports, decks. Introduced new rgging, new sails attached into sail spots of that rigging and... lets call them "Modules".
And yeah. Guns should go into just gunports (with top deck, nose and stern ports introduced).
So is there room for creativity. Definitely yes. Is there room for ship disfigurement? Not at all.
Let's take a look to seamanship skilltree.
5 main buildings in there.
- Wharf - for ship building. There is special "sea smithy" in there. You can build there planks/gunports, deck, rigging, steering wheels, nose figure (you have to buy/earn/find blueprints for one), attachments, modules and patches. All navigator tools are also here. Also there is a loom for sails, where you can create 2 type of sails - square (for better speed) and triangle (for sharp wind angle).
- Buoy - is a buoy.
- Small, medium and big lighthouses... for light that guide you home (I'll talk about weather later).
And there are 6 classes for 26 ships. You will have to open alot of skill here. Ships within one class are same size, but different from each other by SPEED, sturdiness and amount of gunports.
- Small shipyard - for building ships 6th or 5th classes.
- Small repair dock - for repair, and rebuild your ships 6th or 5th classes.
Small, cheap. For beginners. For short travels around the island or within one grid, or attacking small unarmed fishing boats : ) They advantage are great turn acceleration and break.
- Rigging 6th class. There are planks, and gunports for 12-16 pounds cannon or 8 pounds coulevrin. Decks, cockpit (cockpit always built on stern side of ship) and actually rigging also in this section.
- Cockpits are captain places where respawn bed, gold chest and some private boxes are.
- Cargo Hold (1x1x1) - for all cargo your ship carry. All cargo holds in a ship connected and have once access from ship round menu. Has limited space and reduced effect on ship's weight.
- Berth (1x1x1) - has couple beds for crew. Without one you cannot hire the crew.
- Ammunition - contains boxes for all cannonballs, spears etc, for your ship's firepower.
Notice there is no cooking spot or resource box. Those ships are not suppose to do long travels.
For quests within couple of grids, or battle small trading vessels.
- Rigging 5th class. There are planks, and gunports for 16-20 pounds cannon or 16 pounds coulevrin. Decks, cockpit (cockpit always built on stern side of ship) and actually rigging also here.
- Supply (2x2x1) - room where cocking spot, food storage and resources box located.
- Medium shipyard - for building ships of 4th or 3th classes.
- Medium repair dock - for repair, and rebuild your ships 4th or 3th classes.
For trading, resources hunting, half atlas traveling, escort missions and small battles against battle ships. Standard choice for solo players.
- Rigging 4th class. There are planks, and gunports for 20-24 pounds cannon or 16 pounds coulevrin. Decks, cockpit (cockpit always built on stern side of ship) and actually rigging also here.
- Small cages (2x2x1) - for tames bear size and less. Each cage can hold just one animal. You can put animal in and out by selecting action in round menu. No more animals on decks, if you send then "following mode" and get to your vessel, your animal will stays outside on the ground or into the waters. Good thing is you won't loose em during your journeys, and they wont fall underground or fly to heavens anymore. There are feeding bowl here.
- VIP (2x2x1) - For person delivery quests.
Fastest ships here for all global questing.
- Rigging 3th class. There are planks, and gunports for 24-28 pounds cannon or 16 pounds coulevrin Decks, cockpit (cockpit always built on stern side of ship) and actually rigging here also.
Large cages (3x3x2) - for elephants size animals. They goes through two decks at once.
Masterworks (2x3x1) - room that contains smithy, pestle and mortar, and tannery so you can maintain your staff during longest journeys.
Attachments - Dinghy for drive from your ship to a shore. Dinghy have storage box. While attached to your ship, you can one click to transfer all stuff in there to ships cargo holds and back. Diving attachment - for underwater adventures. Extra cargo holds if you really need some x-tra.
- Large shipyard - for building ships of 2th or 1th classes.
- Large repair dock - for repair, and rebuild your ships 2th or 1th classes.
Mostly unavailable for solo players.
Those are absolutely perfect warbirds, for most epic seas battles against strongest enemies, or for those who wishes to collect alot of stuff/animals from around the world.
- Rigging 2th class. There are planks, and gunports for 32-36 pounds cannon or 32 pounds coulevrin. Decks, cockpit (cockpit always built on stern side of ship) and actually rigging also here.
The strongest firepower in a game. Not really good for sea fighting due to lack of maneuverability (maybe in squads or against the same vessels) but perfect for fort assault.
- Rigging 1th class. There are planks, and gunports for 42 pounds cannon or 32 pounds coulevrin. Here also decks, cockpit (cockpit always built on stern side of ship) and actually rigging.
How to create your ship?
- You go your shipyard and brings resources for ship frame.
- You go wharf and create planks or gunports (I would bring back resource difference between em). There are top deck gunports for top deck guns (6th and 5th class have only top deck ports). Few in stern and nose. You add decks (they go with stairs and holes for modules). You create one piece of rigging, and put it in one right spot. All masts, cables, ropes, ladders appears. All masts (even nose one) have few sails spot, so you go loom and choice which sails you wanna put in (square for speed and triangle for better wind angles)
Then depends of your desire you create modules, or rooms, I listed above. Small ships have so little space so you have to choice wither you wanna gunports, or rooms, and which rooms you put there. Big ships can carry all, and you can make universal ship for all purposes or some special ship for certain goal.
If you have a blueprint, you can create attach nose figure. If you have any beautification (like life tubes, lanterns) you can create and attach them too (for those who love micromanagement).
If you have a dyes and brushes, you can paint your ship. Then you SAVE YOUR DESIGN and release ship.
If your ship is damaged, or you wanna change design - you put your ship to repair dock. It shows how many resources you need to bring for maintenance or to fix damages. You put resources in and repair starts and lasts for couple minutes.
NO MORE PLANKS YOU BRINGS WITH YOU IN YOUR TRAVELS. You can apply and replace planks (decks etc.) just in repair dock. You plank can leak but never disappear. In order to survive heavy damage, you go wharf and create patches. With patch you can restore your plank health from 0% to 50%.
If you loose your ship it will appear in your home freeport as a ghost ship. Within some time period you can bring it back for gold. With no guns and crew, with empty boxes, but yet same level and design.
So that's it, for ship. No need to release em alltogether, but one by one? Why not?
And the last thing. Rigging, nose figures, beautification and modules can be different styles (like Asian style or Nordic style) and Devs can release those styles as DLC to get some extra income for game support.