Captain's Log #41: A New Direction and Trade System + Ramming Ship Tease

Posted on October 20th, 2020 07:19 PM EST
Ahoy Pathfinders!

After lots of internal discussion we have decided to start cranking out more frequent, smaller content drops rather than larger, expansive features that take months to prepare. This ultimately does not change our current feature course, but rather than wait for more content we are simply going to drop what we’re working on now - the first iteration of the Trade System next week!

How does this affect your everyday pirate life? More dev news - you are going to hear from us more often on new features we are developing. Faster content drops means more new features, but also more map wipes. Good and bad, right?! In the true spirit of early access (which ATLAS certainly is still in!), we are going to tell our awesome community what we are working on, ask the community for gameplay feature ideas and see if some of them work….not every feature we test out will ultimately make it into the final game. We might change our mind!

Now without further ado, let’s talk about where we are at with some of the things we’re working on!

Trade System
Since we first started on this renewed ATLAS journey, we have introduced Farmhouses and Warehouses into the mix. We have hinted that these were more than just a standard QoL improvement. We are building upon these features to develop a Trade System!

We will be introducing a new structure, Markets, that are used to set up trades. Markets will need to be connected to a Warehouse, which in turn should be connected to a Farmhouse. Farmhouses are used to fill the Warehouse that the Market will use to look things up to trade. Markets will need to be placed next to a Warehouse and each Warehouse may only have one Market. Players will need to control both land for resources and Markets, and sea for Trade Routes.

In the actual Market itself, players will have a menu that will allow them to set up their resources for trade and the exchange rate at which they will trade for. Players can then request trading routes with other Markets. Once the trade route with another Market has been established, the connected Markets will automatically set up the trades as long as both parties have the required resources within their Warehouses. A log is also available in the Market menu to keep track of trades, requests, attacks on your shipment.

A new island type, Control Points, will be integral to the Trading System. Each grid on the server may have anywhere between 1-3 Control Points that companies can capture for an advantage. When trade conditions are met, Markets will create a shipment of the goods. This Trade ship will automatically sail to its target destination, going through any Control Points on the grids that are a part of its route. These shipments will also generate gold for each party - the longer the trade route, the more gold is generated. Companies that own a Control Point can set a tax on any shipment moving through it. If there is more than one Control Point on a grid, the shipment will automatically choose the lower tax if available. If a company owns a Control Point on the grid, it will prioritize the company’s to avoid tax. Companies that own a Control Point can also choose to blockade specific companies from using its Control Point, making it possible for companies to stop trades between others. Players will also be able to directly attack any shipments en route as well.

Control Point islands will have a unique icon on the map. These islands will contain a central structure surrounded by canon towers. Players will have to destroy all canon towers and the middle structure where they will have to plant a flag in order to gain control. The structures will then rebuild themselves and players will be able to place the canon towers at specific defensive points and build other defensive structures around them. Control points will automatically start defending itself once attacked. Next to the towers will be the Tax Bank where the taxed gold is collected. Unowned Control Points can still defend themselves and will collect taxes into its Tax Bank. Tax Banks can be destroyed and stolen from.

On PVE, no one can take ownership of the Control Points, so trades will always be open to anyone, however, the Control Points will always collect taxes at a set rate and PVE will also be able to steal from the Tax Bank.

Teaser: Ramming Ship
A couple months back, we wanted to add an early version of a new Ships for Gold system. Upon reviewing Community feedback and further ideation, we took the feature back to the drawing board to further develop. With the next update, you may see a new NPC on an island. Although he has no functionality yet, we are sure that Pathfinders will be paying him plenty of visits in the future. 😉

The Ships for Gold system will be slowly rolled out after we launch the Trade System. While we are still in development, we wanted to tease the first ship that will be available for players to buy with gold - The Ramming Ship!

***The render above is still a work in progress and is subject to change.

The Ramming Ship has a unique front end that is specialized for the purpose of - you guessed it - ramming straight into other ships! It features built in cannon ports and a lower deck with holes for oar boards that can be extended for a speed boost, even when there is no wind. Players can tactically use their oar boards for a temporary speed boost to increase their damage multiplier when ramming into an enemy ship! The Ramming Ship will likely not be customizable upon release, however, we are working on a modular customization mechanic for these new ships that can be bought for gold.

The design goal here is to provide an “Interceptor” option that can be used to catch fleeing ships or shorten a chase.

The current ship system will exist alongside this new ship system when it launches. However, apart from the Sloop, previous ships will additionally cost gold to build. Generating gold with trade routes will be integral to earning enough gold for upkeep.

Final Note
Again, we would like to emphasize that ATLAS is still in Early Access, meaning many things can and will likely continue to drastically change - even in the middle of development. Anything discussed is only up to date as of the moment it is posted. Features and changes that ultimately make it to the next patch may be different from what was previously discussed.

As always, we appreciate the suggestions and feedback from the community. Please keep them coming! We will be paying extra attention to your thoughts on the upcoming Trade System and Ships for Gold, and will continue to make adjustments as necessary. Thank you for all of your support! 🙂

Happy Sailing,
- ATLAS Crew

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