As most people probably already know, fiber is non-existent on many islands in the tundra areas. Since fiber is one of the key resources in even beginner gear, it makes these places even more hostile. In order to combat this without making these places easy to settle in, I have a few suggestions that may work individually or in conjunction with one another:
-Make seaweed spawn in the waters around tundra areas. This will make players have to spec into diving and water fortitude, thus making it difficult but not impossible to obtain fiber. It also rewards building a character around their target area.
-Make all islands (excluding polar) have fiber in varying amounts. In this case, a tundra island should have fiber but the resource should be fairly uncommon. Like gather certain berries on islands, it would require a sharp eye and careful scouting to stay on top of fiber needs.
-Make sickles actually harvest fiber from berry plants. To balance this and to make it still feel harsh, the sickles could degrade much faster when used on berry plants and the yield of fiber can be drastically lowered. (Perhaps you have a 1/3 chance of getting one (1) fiber from each swing. If you dont harvest fiber on the swing, it still degrades the plant).
-Make certain tames harvest fiber from berry plants. Since taming is incredibly difficult and most of the time completely pointless (why would I need to spend resources and time on a mount when I can walk across the tiny islands in no time at all?) I haven't tamed many creatures. In Ark survival evolved, many creatures had the specific ability to harvest fiber. One of the creatures was a bear. Since I have not tamed a bear myself, I have no idea if bears can actually harvest fiber in Atlas. That being said, since bears acted similarly to scythes in Ark, I would assume that in Atlas bears act similarly to scythes in Atlas, meaning they can collect lots of fiber but only from fiber bearing plants. Giving the bears or other creatures the ability to harvest fiber would serve two purposes: 1. It would give players incentive to actually tame creatures. 2. It would make companies in different regions appear aesthetically different. While a company from the temperate area might be conventional fighters using swords and guns, the tundra companies would typically use more animals. This creates a natural culture and world building that feels organic.
-This solution is a bit trickier. Create some way to trade or export fiber from other areas without forcing players to make the trip. This would likely mean utilizing the ship npcs in a new and unique way. Essentially, you would send a boat (the amount of materials gathered would vary based on the type of ship and crew level) and send the boat out to a region with fiber. Initially, this sounds incredibly intensive and laggy, however there is a way to do this without causing too many problems. Much like how the npcs at the freeports dont actually pick you up and transport you to a different island in the server, these gathering npcs dont actually have to be present in the world to do their job. Essentially, the npcs and the ship will just be unavailable for a time while they "gather" the resources from the far area. Depending on what server you send them to, what gear you give them, and the ship/crew's level, the speed at which they accomplish their mission will change. Once the time is up, the ship and the crew will respawn in the designated area (a new structure might be needed to facilitate this, perhaps a trading post or expedition port.) with all the materials they were ordered to recover. The ship will need repairs and the operation would be relatively costly depending on what is gathered and the distance traveled. All the tools would be consumed in the process. Obviously this is a very far reaching solution, but I think it could solve many problems in one swoop.
*** I understand that game balancing with a new game is a very difficult and often frustrating thing. Honestly, you guys shouldn't have advertised this game through streamers the night before it released, but that's another story altogether. The important thing is that there are many of us who are in this for the long haul. We'll complain and moan about how broken the game is, but that's kinda what we are supposed to do. We'll let you guys know when something isn't right, and hopefully we'll be able to provide ideas into what solutions we have in mind. Despite all of the backlash and poor media image, there are still those of us who really appreciate how much work you've been putting into this game in the past few days alone. Working through the holidays and fixing the major issues incredibly quickly is something many devs would shy away from. Just remember that in all of the shouts and screams of people who spent two hours in the game and quit, there are those of us who see what you are doing and will be there as you walk this game into its full potential. It will take time, it will be frustrating, but there are still those of us who know you guys will get there.