This thread is going to be about suggestions and might hopefully inspire the devs to attempt make it a better game for everyone involved, as this is an early access title, I will not be discussing any problems that might be related to connectivety or lag, as this will most likely be buffed out in the future. But instead I am going to be focusing on the experience of a solo / small group player, and how that experience might be turned into something more positive.
The idea behind having weather on the sea is a nice one, it adds excitement for a rather dull experience otherwise, however what is the purpose of having typhoons quite literally spawn ontop of us? It might be fun the first time, the rush to try to avoid them, but after having gone through 2 of them it is completely just a chore and is not fun or scary.
The main issue here I think boils down to the fact that you can quite clearly see that they are just spawning around you, no point during trying to sail did I look on the horizon and feel “Oh that's a typhoon, I need to avoid that” but it turned into a moment of “Oh ffs not this s--- again”.
It doesn't make for exciting gameplay when it lasts for 5m+ and just causes you annoyance, I get that you might want to show off your fancy new weather system, but don't have them spawn on the players and FOLLOW them around, it would much more enjoyable if they were a static spawn and you could use them to try to evade whoever was following you, rather than being unlucky and have it spawn on you and follow you for a bit.
Putting aside the land claiming, which I see no problems with per se, we have ended up with a system where you are actively punished as a solo / small group player by limiting the resources that spawn close to the poles, it is not reasonable to expect them to be as plentyfull as the regions close to the equator and I don't think anyone expects that, HOWEVER there is little to no point in even trying to live there at the moment.
This in return basically removes the ability to live on half the map and forces people to fight over the few islands that have resources, and yes pirate game and all, fighting is a part of it and that makes sense for higher up resources (Think volcano and metal on ARK). But as the case here is that this isn't even a question about whether or not we need some kind of rare metal to move up from mid to lategame, this is a question about whether or not we can even survive.
From a personal perspective, I understand that the cold regions are less friendly and should be treated as such, but needing coral or sap to be able to build fur gear is just taking the piss, so to be able to get the gear to survive, I am expected to spend about 6+ hours (Measured time to get from my isle to an island with fiber) to gather materials? As stated above, I spent 6 hours trying to find fiber to be able to just build the basic of tools for myself so that I could continue living, but even with that I ended up being unable to do so. So I respawned in the freeport, just so I could buy another raft and farm up materials and then spent another 4 hours on the sea to get to my home.
So what can be done to fix this?
For starters adding a source of fiber on the artic islands is needed, now take cotton as an example you get very little from them, but it is still a source, gathering fiber from items such as the trees for example would also work, as long as we have some kind of source for it, as personaly I don't see traveling for 4 and then another 2 to farm some, is an acceptable solution for this problem.
The issue with fiber is not even the biggest problem, looking at furgear, something that is needed to be able to survive in the polar regions, it needs one of two things to be crafter A) Coral or B) Sap, neither of which we are able to get from our island or any within a 5 hour travel time, we are unable to even survive for an entire day because of the cold.
That just needs to go, make furgear something one can build and gather on the artic islands on their own, there should not be any need to travel for that amount of time for something as simple as fur armour when there is an abundance of wolfs around.
Making people able to survive on 50% of the map would mean that people could spread out and do different things, rather than all being forced down to a place where everyone else is, as a small group player I prefer to live in a place where it might be harder to live but give us the ability to specialize on a particular field whatever that might be.
This isn't about making the entire world easy to live on, I don't think that anybody would want that, I don't even care if it takes me 5 times as long to get anywhere as it would had I lived on a tropical isle, that's not really the point I am trying to make here I am simply asking for the ability to survive.
The overall singleplayer / small group experience.
Now let's get on the main course so to speak, while I understand that people would be safer in groups of people, that only makes sense and it's a game about piracy where you would want groups of people fighting it out, and I already seen some “war” movie from two groups of people doing just that.
However not everyone wants that, some of us just want to carve a nice place of our own in the world and travel around and occasionally need to fight for our stuff, and yes there is a PVE client available, but that might not fit everyone since just because you are a small gang, doesn't mean that you don't want to pvp.
But with everyone being forced down towards the middle, it is hard to see how this would even be possible, how is one expected to get any kind of base or even a ship going if everyone is forced to the few islands where people are plentyful and join the same company just to avoid getting raided or murdered? This just means that the few people that want to stay out of the big group battles are put to the side.
I have played many a games before this one, quite a few actually, take for example EVE which is rather obviously an inspiration with it's mega server. In EVE I was a miner, I spent my time gathering minerals on my own for the benefit of my wallet, I lived in a system where I was mostly on my own, I dealt with problems that might arise on my own or through diplomacy it wasn't exactly the most exciting life, but it was what I enjoyed out of the game not once did I feel the need to join a big corp or alliance to simply survive.
But I digress, the main issue is the survivability for the small group, being able to survive on more than 50% of the map would mean that one could carve a place out and call it home, rather than every single day needing to login to discover that someone has raided your land. This does not make for interesting gameplay.
You guys hosted the ARK servers, you should be more than aware of what happens on the official servers.. IF you weren't part of the BIG groups, you couldn't play because you simply got raided by the big group, which is why I gave up on the official servers rather quickly, as I am sure many people did.
There are simply suggestions from a player who want this game to survive, it has the ability to become so much better and I hope it does, please don't let this die.