First I want to say that I enjoy playing Atlas and look forward to seeing it progress. A big ups to the Dev Team who work themselves to the bone over weekends and after hours pushing updates out as often and as quickly as they can. It isn't possible to please everyone all of the time, so my post isn't about pleasing everyone but more about trying to help you guys find a balance that would please most players (at least that's what I think LOL)
I know I've been party to the blame game, however, after watching the dev stream, I am ashamed of my outbursts and would rather provide you with some constructive feedback than blind criticism.
So, without further ado, here are some of my thoughts and suggestions on the game after 300+ hours of play time. (When reading, please keep in mind we are a small company of 20 split into two companies due to difficulty in finding land, with each company having 4 active players.)
In game notifications (status updates, server restarts etc.):
I get that it can be hard sticking to a deadline, however, it is in poor form and extremely unprofessional to keep delaying a patch when you've announced it in game. For this, I suggest looking at the unofficial servers and the way server restarts are handled. The patch is released, which the server downloads in the background. Once the server has downloaded the patch, an automated ingame notification is displayed saying that the server will restart in 15 mins. A world save occurs just before the server goes offline and is restarted. No hassle, no fuss, no angry players
Aging / Fountain of Youth:
I enjoy the aging system and look forward to breeding, but feel that the age debuff should not have been implement yet as it has caused unnecessary issues which could have been avoided.
For now - keep the fountain of youth available as a quest to those who've reached age 90 but remove the debuff until human breeding has been implemented. This will allow players to seek out the fountain at their leisure without clogging up the servers and will further reduce server issues when the debuffs are implemented, and player age is spread out a little more.
I have no issue with the amount of claims people can have (since limiting will not fix the problems), but there are some ways that could perhaps help new land seekers find and claim land for themselves, or settle on someone else's property.
Sleepers are the biggest problem to land claims as well as people not allied to or affiliated with the company who owns the land. Contesting should only be allowed by allies and company members who are awake and currently within said flag radius. Since flags require an upkeep (running through the vicinity every X days) - this should allow players to safely log off for X amount of days (because life happens you know) and return within X period to ensure claim is still safe. This also allows new comers to find land if said land owner hasn't been on for X days without having to worry about sleepers contesting the claim.
Right now - players have no guarantee that they are truly protected in a neutral zone from either the land owner changing the "allow build" settings / or from another company taking the land and preventing anyone from building there. If players were guaranteed safety / protection from these acts, then more people might look to building in neutral zones.
Perhaps a minor fix for this (until a better solution is found) would be as follows: if you've allowed a flag to be a neutral zone and someone has built on it, you are not able to change the flag type until the people who are renting have either left or died. If you (as a land owner) are no longer playing, after X days of inactivity, the flag will automatically change ownership to the tenant of said land. Should there be more than one tenant (multiple smaller companies) of the property - the flag will remain neutral, change ownership to the first tenant who settled there, and retain it's neutral status. I get that this is a tricky situation and there's no quick fix for this - but if (potential) tenants have some sort of guarantee that they're protected, then this should be more enticing to smaller companies and solo players.
Greed and Resource Hogging:
This ties in directly with the issues players are experiencing with land claims... I've noticed that people want to protect land so they either try and take over an entire island / refuse to share land / do not set any neutral zones for other players to use. I think that if the spawn radius for resources around buildings were reduced, this might help a bit. I may be wrong - this is just my personal experience in Ark on an unofficial server where the resource spawn radius was reduced.
Animals / Riding / Taming:
As a breeder in Ark, I love this feature, however do feel that certain aspects of the tree do not tie in well with each other and soon beastmasters will become slaves to the company since they are the only ones able to ride the tames. My suggestion is to split the riding and taming into two sub-trees in the breastmastery tree. I do not think you need any form of taming / breeding in order to ride an animal, but do feel it is a bit more "realistic" to include the riding skill.
I have not started breeding yet as the only reports I've heard are of people losing animal babies due to temperature issues. I honestly do not want to waste my time if I know it's going to take a long time to raise a baby animal only to have it die of cold / heat. So... my suggestion for this is to allow you to breed an animal in the biome you found it in - regardless of temperature. Since the animal was able to naturally spawn there in the first place, there should be no reason you can't breed it there. If you do not find a bear in the desert, then you should not be able to breed a bear in the desert, but if you find one in temperate, then it should be able to breed in temperate (this includes raising a baby as well).
I can't comment on maturation time or feeding since I don't have enough information yet - so will comment on that once temperature issues are sorted and I am able to experience the breeding side of things.
Vitamins and Cooking:
As the chef and farmer I feel that the cooking branch and vitamins EQ is unbalanced. Not only is it wasteful to cook any meal due to the meat insta cooking, but some of the recipes do not give you a balanced diet and fill you up too quickly, so this makes balancing vitamins more of a chore than anything else.
Food and vitamin drain is not balanced either, so right now - it's easier to kill yourself that worry about maintaining vitamins. I think there are two people in our company who actively try and maintain vitamins (myself and my cousin) since we enjoy having the buff, however - it becomes nearly impossible to do so when you're not grinding and draining stamina, since you vitamins deplete fast than your food drains. Yes - there are ways around this (by going into combat mode and blocking in order to drain stamina) - but it is unrealistic and stupid.
Food and vitamins should drain according to the amount of stamina you use. If you're inactive - your food doesn't drain, so your vitamins should also not drain as quickly as they do when you're active and vice versa.
As things stand, there's no incentive for me (or other's with the cooking skill) to cook food. I've tried some of the recipes and although the recipes show that they increase two vitamins - they do not increase these vitamins by the same amount nor at the same speed. So in order to maintain a balanced diet at this point in time - it is much easier to eat 1 portion of cooked meat and fish to 5 portions of vegetables and berries.
It would also be nice to have a separate recipe option for cooking meat / fish as the auto cook option requires you to have way more meat than is necessary in order to craft one meal.
I love the farming in this game compared to Ark - the mini game and stamina drain is awesome... I just have one request (not a suggestion - just a wishful thinking kinda post)... Please have seeds attainable for the fruits and berries required for cooking meals
And also - thank you for increasing harvest yield - it has balanced farming very nicely and now makes it worth while.
Feeding trough stacks and spoil timers:
I'm trying to think of a good solution to having to keep meat fresh for animals and two spring to mind... either increase the stack size for meat in feeding troughs which allows a stack to last longer before spoiling, or allow the use of preserving salts in feeding troughs (without the meat turning into salted meat). Perhaps I'm being a bit silly here - I just hate seeing all that wasted meat, just to ensure my carnivores have enough food for the day.
Wild Animal and Monster Spawns:
Before reading the below - please note that these thoughts are prior to the patch which nerfed the aggro animals spawns, but decided to post it anyway.
Personally I feel that there's a massive over spawn of all the creatures right now (especially on the golden age servers) so it's no longer exciting to see something new - nor does it really scare me to go exploring. I should be scared, and I should be excited - but I just don't feel it any more. I know that this isn't something that's easy to balance, so what I would do if I were a game developer is reduce the spawns and increase the aggro range.
Imagine you've just landed on an island and the shore front is populated by humans, but the inner island is pretty void of human life. There's little animal life on the beach front since most animals are scared of human settlements. Some animals might be curious and occasionally wander into the settlement, but these would be harmless - since they're also naive... take cows, crows and seagulls for instance. Further inland the animal population grows as the human population becomes less and you'll see more passive yet perhaps skittish animals, but now, you're wary because you don't know what's lurking in the shadows... it might be a pack of wolves, or a pride of lions, or a solitary tiger waiting for it's next meal. By keeping the predator spawns low, but having the aggro range increased will provide you with that sense of being scared instead of annoyed. You can also go a step further by having predatory animals become braver at night...
Alpha's need to be a little more rare, but also more rewarding to kill. As it stands, they're a pain in the back side since all I get for killing one is a little bit of XP, extra meat and hide. Make them worth the trouble they cause
Golden Age servers are ridiculous as they currently are. We sailed there before the fountain of youth release to see what it was like and were shocked to see the over spawn of cyclops on the beach front. And I'm not taking about 10 - 20 on the beach... I'm talking about 100s of these things. I get that you want these area's to be end game kinda areas - but the over spawn is laughable. I'd do the same here as with normal islands except instead of passives roaming around, have predators and smaller monsters as the norm with fewer really dangerous creatures... but increase the aggro range and maybe include traps and puzzles of some sort. Think Indiana Jones type of island and you'll get where I'm going.
I like the weather events - it adds an interesting dynamic to the game, but they are broken right now and annoy more than provide a sense of fear or harsh survival conditions.
Cyclones are annoying and no longer scary. Instead of having one almost guaranteed each time you set sail, have it rain more often with power unpredictable winds - then occasionally throw in a massive cyclone (one - not 10) that does a lot more damage than the baby cyclones currently do. It'll add that scare factor but also allow you to try and out sail the cyclone.
Heat waves should be limited to warmer climates as should cold fronts be limited to colder climates. They should also not overlap, nor should they be so frequent that they become annoying, but more rare and deadly.
I love building (although haven't had much of a chance to build on official yet) but there are a few building mechanics that need to be implemented to reduce frustrations, use of unnecessary structures, and improve on server performance. Clipping needs to be looked at - it was done in Ark and can be done here - as it is... there are too many "obstructions" which make building a pain more than it is enjoyable. Dynamic walls, floors, ceilings, pillars and gates would allow us to use less objects in a structure (scale the resource cost as per the size of said structure) thus improving on server performance as well.
Either this wasn't very well thought out, or I'm completely missing the point of this... what is the point? If, in reality, I take a knife from the drawer to butter some bread, it's not going to take 5 seconds before I can use the knife. This cooldown doesn't make sense to me. I get the mini games for reloading etc. but not the cooldown for equipping anything.
Edited to add:
Ship Unclaim Option:
Please allow for ship unclaiming - not all of us want to build ships and there are people who'd love to build ships for others to buy
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I've lost my train of thought numerous times throughout this post, so think it's best I stop here for now... allow my brain to move on, and perhaps come back to this post at a later stage
P.S. I know that as an individual there's no possible way I would be able to think of all the variables and some of my suggestions may not be viable so I encourage other players to expand on my post, play devil's advocate, provide their constructive feedback and help the devs in a more valuable way than just complain and be hateful.