One issue ever present in Atlas is "Megas" and the lack of options for small groups outside of those mega power structures. I have a suggestion for this I'd like to pose to the community with a TLDR at the bottom
For those unfamiliar, mega companies or megas, are very large groups that right now dominate Atlas. I've personally experienced one group being so large that they split into 3-5+ Companies that ally each other. This is out of necessity. Defending an island is no small task. Making it so that you can hold that territory, even against a small group is difficult let alone being attacked by a large company or group of companies. This time and capital commitment is not my preferred game style. There are those of us that wish to play a smaller, more water based game that doesn't involve base building or land holding.
As of now this type of play is only supported if you can find a mega to allow you to park in their already defended harbor. This causes more lag for them and many harbors have to be "opened and closed" to stop suicide ships from running them. This makes getting your ship in an out of this lag fest a hassle. Also, why would a large company care to deal with that hassle? It also eats up an alliance slot. These large mega alliances have capped out alliance slots as it is and a small privateer alliance just frankly isn't worth their time or slot. Many of the large companies this season have even given up on having any "renter" companies on their land for the same reasons.
What I dream of for this game is many small groups all vying for resources on the water. Squabbling over a ghost ship loot, ship wreck or other npc content with loot to fight over. Harassing harbors and intercepting cargo ships. I'd like to see the ability for 2-10 man groups that want to play together not be forced into the landholding grind.
So how could this be implemented in a way fair to both groups? Holding land is a PITA so it needs to be valuable right? Small companies need to have the ability to exist with out big daddy alliance/company there to protect them. I think I have a good solution.
The island holders need a buff. There should be a substantial amount of resources that each held island gathers passively and puts into the flag. The amount should be based on the point count of the island and how long the island is held. Islands in would automatically produce the items available on that island. If one island has iron while another one has tin the resources gathered in that island's flag would be different. This would go for each type of resource.
Now one company using its points to hold one grid might not make sense. Instead a mega alliance/company might spread out and trade resources between the grids. This is great for everyone. Large companies will create content for everyone just by existing (moving resources between islands, moving ships around to defend islands, etc) while having a benefit for investing all the time and resources into holding and defending.
So that sorts the island holders right? What about the privateers who want to sail around, drink rum and yarrrrrrr to our little black heart's content? Well I have a solution to that too. Add a function in Freeports for purchasing a slip. Have it scale with the size of the ship so that a brigantine costs more than a sloop. Nothing concrete but do 36hrs, Weekly and Monthly slip rentals. Lets say it costs 1,000 gold per week to store a sloop and 10k per week to store brig; something like that. I'd love to see this be an instance where you can actually teleport into it and walk around your ship and access the items. There shouldn't be an unlimited amount of ships stored either. I'd say no more than 2 ships per company or player. When you join a company all your ships must be undocked and all slip rentals forefit. Now you can build a ship and log off without waking up to a spawn screen, hop on with a couple buddies and create content for other players.
Resource gain to islands held by players that scales based on the time an island is held and island points it costs. Add a system for renting slips for small companies to be able to pay gold and store a ship safely while logged off.