Whether you like it or not Atlas is a massively niche game. Even more polarizing is the fact that Ark is its biggest competition and is better in almost every key way. Basically even if you like this game you should be realistic. Low population equals low revenue which leads to less players culminating in an eventual dead game. I think the game needs a complete overhaul, trying to balance the mess that currently exists is just spraying perfume on a turd. As to what that overhaul can be is anyone’s guess but I’m going to share my ideas so that you can tell me how terrible they are. To start I’d get rid of all the lawless zones and rework freeports. You would also no longer be able to buy an island. Instead I would have four (maybe more) zones acting as player hubs equally placed in the game world. PvP and PvE would be merged into one. In these player / city hubs you would be able to do everything you currently can at freeports but with some big additions that I’ll list soon. These PvE areas would be full of fun ways to interact with other players and get quests or jobs. The bank system would be the core of the game. An infinitely sized cache where you can store all of your materials and gold from the game world. This would add a much needed sense of progression even with the devastation of getting sunk on the open sea. The stable system would allow you to house all of your creatures without needing to worry about having them around taxing servers and taking up space. You want to take a bear on your next expedition? Go to the stable and pull him out. Less time worrying about creatures and more focus on exploration. Anything you bring out with you is at risk of being lost but that’s the fun of it. Auction house, here you could trade either privately or publicly with other players for gold, materials, structures, creatures, ship BP’s, etc... The homestead, if you’ve ever played a typical mmo you probably understand what this is. It’s basically an instanced area where you have a house and neighbors etc... Eventually you would be able to buy a custom area where your company lives. From here you can do all of your breeding, building, and ship creation. Ships would now allow you to save the blueprint so if you either want to sell a model that you designed or if you get sunk all you need is the base materials to quickly rebuild and set sail again. After all this you might be wondering what the point of the game even is anymore? Fair enough I’ll do a quick rundown of my idea. Each city hub is a different faction that offers different quests, jobs, and rewards. City one will offer PvP oriented quests to hunt down trade and cargo ships and steal their loot. City two will focus on making risky voyages with more a death stranding style gameplay all while being targets of the pirates from city one. City three will be a military focused faction based around hunting down the most dangerous pirates from city one or protecting those from city two. City four would be based around exploration, taming exotic creatures, and whaling. There would be as much interplay between the factions as possible and you could access your homestead from any of the cities. The blueprint system would still be there. You could collect your materials and bring them back to your bank to make the better gear and ships. Moreover, every ship in the game world would have a leaderboard ranking based around how many player ships it has sunk. This way when you spyglass a ship you immediately know if you should be terrified or whether you may want to try collecting the bounty for sinking it. You could also still build on islands but decay timers would be reasonably short so that players wouldn’t overdo it and trash islands. In closing, I think this sets the foundation for a way more interesting game. Yes it’s more casual and will upset some in the community but overall it’s a far more accessible and FUN game. Also, the Vitamin system needs reworked/removed.
My thoughts on Atlas at this point Really enjoying the game so far but I wanted to share my concerns with current game as well as for the future. Also, please Grapeshot, always approach PvP and PvE as separately as possible. Claiming: Right now I think the claim system works pretty well; however there is one major issue. There’s no safe way to allow others to build on your island which is going to lead to everyone locking their islands down. For example, if you allow everyone to build, your islands will be trashed with structures, bases, and traps etc... And if you add someone to an alliance they can use the declare war feature to destroy you. I believe that in PvE you should either be able to set different rules for different islands or be able to allow certain company ID’s special building privileges. The base will always be the endgame. Everything you do in the game will be directly tied to upgrading your base because everything else is always at risk of being lost. Tread very carefully with this mechanic. If PvE players lose their islands for any reason the backlash will be severe. Sailing: Probably the best and most important part of the game. Lots of impressive things going on with this from a technical perspective but I want to address some of the very frustrating elements of it. I get the feeling that you guys are scared of ocean being empty and that’s understandable. Yet, right now the ocean is filled with annoying disturbances. Sailing needs downtime, there should be activities on the ship to keep sailing entertaining. Not to mention, purely sailing a massive ship you built from head to toe is very rewarding in of itself. Ships of the damned are annoying, you pass them constantly throwing you massively off course, increasing the already lengthy journeys to even longer ones. Most of them are fairly easy to destroy or outrun but still they keep players from creating their own fun while at sea. Fog isn’t really that bad on its own but paired with SotD it’s just another layer of annoyance. Lastly, cyclones are just awful. Having skills based around render distance is not a good idea. The cyclones literally spawn on top of you and occur ridiculously too often. A lot of players focus on getting annoyed with the wind but I feel like that’s only because of the annoyances they’re trying to dodge while sailing. If you want to encourage sailing you need to reduce the stress of doing so. Add more optional and explorative activities like robbing an NPC ship, or things like the sunken ships. Problematic Design: I just want to quickly gloss over some big misc issues. - Getting destroyed by a SotD while loading into a new region - Docking a Galleon is extremely annoying and even risky because the anchor is laughably short. - Large boats having buggy issues with shallow water, sometimes flipping and taking massive damage for no reason. - Treasure maps bugging out completely when the holder dies. - Treasure maps spawning in extremely annoying hard to reach places with the same payout as easy to reach ones. - New maps like Blackwood should be added to the world space as a region even if there needs to be some reworks. Taming: The process is infinitely less time consuming than Ark but I wish that taming methods were actively designed to be more fun over difficult. Think of breaking a horse in Red Dead Redemption over kiting an animal into a circle of billboards and subjecting it to BDSM until you tame it. Skills: Very convoluted and extremely annoying for a smaller company to work around. You guys really wanted to incorporate skills into every avenue of the game even in areas where it feels detrimental to the gameplay. Not everything needs to be allocated purely to skill points. Cooking recipes should be on the loot table for example. Final Thoughts: I would never write something like this for a game I didn’t care about. Grapeshot/Wildcard are uniquely ambitious in their visions and put most triple a developers to shame. I see crazy potential for this game but please talk with the community before making big changes so we can give our input ahead of time. There’s massive investments involved from players, especially on official servers.