I just read the upcoming "Patch Preview" notes and wanted to comment on the following notes:
"Removed Gold drops from Kraken, Squids, Army of the Damned Soldiers, fishing, and digging. The trade system will become the way to earn gold "
I believe there is a current balance flaw in the early game where Pathfinders do not have easy access to earning their first bits of gold. And I think this patch note will only make it worse.
Right now, there's only two ways (that I know of) that a new player can get their first gold on a Freeport island without having to leave the grid. Those two ways are digging with a shovel for gold, or fishing with a fishing rod for fish. Both activities require a lot of other actions to take place.
First you to need to level up to be able to craft a smithy and a fishing rod plus chair or shovel. Then you need to place the smithy, but you cannot place structures on freeports, so you have to collect resources to give to the harbormaster to buy a ship to be able to even place the smithy in the first place. Most people will opt for the ramshackle sloop, and right from the beginning you are wanting 10g to even begin to properly man your sloop not including gold for keeping your crew.
If you chose the shovel route, you will break your shovel multiple times trying to scrap together enough gold to hire a crew. If you chose the fishing route, after you have placed your chair on your ship because you cannot place it anywhere else to fish on freeports, you then will need to find bait to put on the fishing rod. In which case, you will have to hope you were smart enough to land on a freeport with sugars, or have to go and craft a shovel anyways, just to dig up some worms to go fish with. And during this whole time while you are trying to get 10g to hire a crew, your ship is decaying in the harbor.
Of course you could always sail your sloop without a crew outside the freeport to grab some flotsam and then come back and buy your crew, and I suspect most veteran players do this. But I want to highlight the point that the current game flow to earning your first gold is not intuitive, and most definitely not new player friendly. Removing gold from digging and fishing only makes it worse in my opinion.
I ask that you reconsider removing gold from these activities, or better yet, come up with a better and more logical flow for new players to start making money in their first hours of play.
Finally, I am concerned about the last sentence in the patch preview note, "The trade system will become the way to earn gold." With the development team increasing the importance of gold to gameplay (which I very much support), I wonder how players who do not wish to, or cannot participate in the trade system are supposed to earn gold? I completely understand if you're looking for ways to prevent gold farming, however, there still needs to exist multiple alternative avenues to getting some gold when you have no one to trade with, or all trade routes are blocked.