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Captain's Log 19: The Golden Age of Piracy
Posted on January 29th, 2019 12:35 PM EST
Over the past week, the crew have been engaged in deep discussion over our core design and philosophy of the game. We’ll be making changes based on your feedback and our internal reviews over the past 5 weeks. This Captain’s Log is going to go take a high-level look at our plans going forward!
We recognize that the game has a lot of fun mechanics and gameplay that players enjoy, especially when you can live out your dreams of being a pirate. However, the feedback we often receive is that it’s too tailored to large companies, alpha groups, and hardcore players.
A large number of you have expressed that you are unable to make enough progress to reach this stage of the game, due to our hardcore design. Our thinking going forward, with the community’s help and feedback, we plan to make the game less punishing and reduce the steep climb required for players to reach the parts of the game which make it special. This means we’re going to be changing core systems to ensure that those who do not have as much time to invest or play in small groups or as solo players are still able to experience the highs seas of ATLAS.
For those of you in large companies, worry not, as you are still a fundamental part of our design and key to the game’s vision. We believe there are changes we can make which will make the game more immediately accessible for everyone and overall more enjoyable, without detracting from the heights that large and dedicated groups of players can achieve. All players will be able to experience the best parts of this humongous shared persistent world, whether you’re a solo player, a small group, a large company, or a multi-company alliance.
Some of our design changes will revolve around:
- Allowing players to experience the ‘piracy’ side of the game immediately, whilst not trivializing the content.
- Making sure that solo players and smaller groups feel safer when logging off, or that after they’ve taken a break they can come back and know that it won’t be such a difficult feat to get out on the seas again.
- Incentivize companies to neutralize their territories, inviting others to make use of their land so that both can benefit.
- More MMO aspects: player markets, player-specified automatic trade routes, additional quests, and daily missions
and we'll be continuing as always with:
- Continuous focus on bug/exploit squashing, stability, and performance.
- Relevant QOL and Content additions to meet game and community needs
We plan to have our first real serious round of adjustments with this philosophical change in mind around March (as we’re already well into preparing the February content update so that’ll proceed with some changes), and this will continue relentlessly going forward.
Complete Patch Notes
Between now and February’s Mega update, you’ll see a number of patches which will help improve various aspects of the game based on your feedback.
v17 - February Mega Patch - ETA: Late February
The update has had some slight changes to make it more aligned with our goals. Some aspects of the update remain as we see them as a necessity for the team to develop and understand core elements, such as the underwater experience with trenches and the submarine. Additionally, some content creation has been well underway for some time, and it isn’t the most efficient move to scrap them! However, the Mega March update and the ones to follow will focus more on our core design changes.
Planned Patch Notes:
New Features and Content
- New Feature: Daily Missions for players with unique and powerful rewards
- New Feature: 7 more ‘Main Quests’ which upon successful completion will provide their own unique Skill unlock
- New Structure: Guillotine. Hanging your foes in a noose taking too long? Off with their heads!
- New Feature: Curses. Tied to the execution of players
- New Creature: Giant Crab. It can carry heavy loads, along with players, tames and wild creatures
- New Vehicle: Submarine. Explore the depths of the ocean in this small scouting submarine. No weapons on board, but it does have claw arms to help harvest the ocean floor and explore (demolish) shipwrecks
- New Structure: Bookshelf. Store and sort your high-quality maps and blueprints.
- New Environment: Deep Ocean Trench. A new area to explore, guarded by powerful underwater creatures and home to the new Giant Crab
- New Feature: Player shops in freeports. Players can set up automated shops in each Freeport, listing loot for sale and naming their own gold coin prices.
- New Cosmetics: Multiple Armor sets to customize the look of your company and crew! Provided as a permanent unlock for completing the Quests in addition to skill rewards.
- Ship of the Damned will now come in multiple size variations with different stats and difficulty levels.
- Reorganized claim flag notifications, so they no longer clutter up the entire HUD when lots of messages are flying by
- Territory map will now display allies as teal-coloured
- Character creator now has a Height slider to make it easier to set your character's desired height
- Any dead ships (shipwrecks) from your Company appear with a unique icon on your map now, so you can find the wrecks
- Global territory message updating
- Currently contested claims will be indicated on the minimap
- ‘Search Members’ field added to Company UI
- Players can now mount a sail to directly control the sail's open/close amount and rotation settings in a more intuitive way.
- NPCs will be added to Freeports which will allow players to redesign their character's tattoos for a gold cost
And of course, note that these notes below will be a given on a regular basis:
- Server and Client performance improvements
- Server and Client stability improvements (crash fixing)
- Bug fixes & balance changes
GPU Performance Improvements
In the coming days, we’ll be releasing a special beta branch which players can opt-into for a minor client-side update which should increase GPU performance by approximately 25%. We’ve been thoroughly testing this internally and it feels like it’s in a good place, however, we would like some feedback from you guys before shipping it live. When the client is available to download, we’ll put up a thread with instructions on how you can download it. You’ll still be able to play on the latest Official Network or the latest Unofficial Servers even if you’re using the beta client!
Wood, Stone, Sap, and Explosives
Our initial thought behind the change was that we wanted to buff Wood so that it was closer to Stone in terms of strength, so that early and midgame players would be at less of a disadvantage if they weren’t using stone. Whilst we’re not going to be entirely walking back this change, we think we may have overshot with our changes and as a result will be making some adjustments in an upcoming update.
We plan to address the availability of sap and also look at base defence which means possible changes explosives, and other gameplay mechanics encompassing raiding to see where else we want to make adjustments. It’s something we’re still exploring internally but plan to have patched relatively soon. It’s possible that our first round of changes may not be enough, and if so don’t worry, as we’ll continue to adjust as necessary.
We want to make some adjustments to the power of wild creatures, including on Golden Age Ruin Servers. First of all, we wanted to hone in on the strength of alpha creatures. As of Monday, we released an update which significantly reduced the amount of power that Alpha creatures held, as well as how common they were. Going forward, we’ll be adjusting spawn-weighting across the map for all creatures so that you’ll encounter less giant groups wanting to murder your face. After making those changes, we’ll see where we need to go next but believe it’s a step in the right direction.
There are some PvE specific changes we want to make as soon as possible. First of all, we want to create two server options, which will be enabled on our Official Network.
- Sleeping/logged off players will no longer be replicated on any grid (similarly to Freeports). This should improve server and client performance, as well reduce some cases of griefing.
- Force destruction of any character that hasn’t been logged onto in 3 weeks (2 weeks if it’s a Homeserver).
We’ll also be fixing a bug which allowed sleeping characters to contest claims, even if the claim has been inactive, so going forward only logged in characters will be able to contest claims.
Not much of an update here, we just want to acknowledge that our engineering team are looking into the major issues reported on Linux Servers and we hope to have these resolved as soon as possible. Thank you all for your feedback and reports, it won’t be long until you’re setting sail on the high seas of your unofficial servers!
Large companies are very much still a major part of the vision we hold for ATLAS. We believe that being able to conquer and maintain large territories is an important part of the game and we’ll be rewarding those who are able to do so. By this weekend, we’ll have released a patch that does the following:
- List current top 5 companies in-game on the map (names, soon to be flags)
- Have a historic archive of companies for when they ruled the ATLAS, using both in-game days and real-life time
- Special Cosmetic Icons will be given to members of top 5 companies, which can be turned off on a per-user basis.
- Unique Cosmetic Figureheads will be granted to the top 5 companies and will remain persistent as long as the company maintains their ranking within the top 5.
- Resolving the bug which prevents some Company Flags from displaying on playatlas.com!
We plan on introducing more features in the future to expand on how influential large companies can be with their territories, as well as additional incentivizes to be a part of the top 5 rankings. We’re toying with the idea of a neutral Company Hall, for the strongest and most influential to hold their diplomatic meetings, whether it’s over trade, peace, love, or war, because we know much you love your large gatherings ;)!
Lest we forget, a quick round-up of all the updates the game has seen since the previous Captain’s Log:
This is just the tip of the iceberg for our upcoming plans and over time we’ll be sharing more and working closely with you to ensure that ATLAS gets one step closer to becoming one of the most ambitious persistent online worlds of all time and fulfilling its destiny as the ultimate fantasy pirate adventure!
Each week with our Captain’s Log, we’ll be including an image to monitor the progress of the maps, taking note of any exits or new arrivals and any drastic changes in the overall claim.
Those who will come to dominate the ATLAS may very well become clear in the days and weeks ahead, though maintaining a large Empire will likely come with its own longer-term challenges…
The companies that have occupied islands for a certain period of time will soon gain the automatic privilege to name them on the in-game and web maps, as it is their land!
Remember you can don your tribe’s company flag by stylizing it in the game with a paintbrush! Upload your own images or design it how you like, with the top company flags always being visible on https://map.playatlas.com/
[EU PVP]The Whale’s Wrath
Held: French & Ships, Bad Company, ETERNIA, The French Monkeys, IVANARMY, and ENSLAVED.
Arrivals: Frogues Orientales, Goulou Goulou, Future, and Les Spectres.
Departures: XSM???, BLDX DouYuTV 56887, Chem B, and LEGION.
[NA PVP] The Kraken’s Maw
Held: Dynasty, High Seas Booty Bandits, TPG, CSTG, Barry Sails, OWO, No No No, and The Federation
Arrivals: The Cartel and Black Butterfiy ?BB???
Departures: SNC, and Destiny.
And whilst there isn’t active PvP on PVE servers, we’d like to recognize the following tribes for their claims!
[EU PVE] The Siren’s Call
Held: Compagnie des Indes, Rum ueber Bord, Future Company (HUN), Fenrirs Dogs, SouL SanD, Dos Bros$ and SwiftS.RU.
Arrivals: Phantasia, JomsViking, and Black Hand
Depatures: Paragon, Tacorsair, and Woelfe des Rudels.
[NA PVE] The Hydra’s Den
Held: Scales & Sails, The Exiles, Atlas Shrugged, East India Trading Co, Paragon, Narcos, Lotus, and Darksea Dawgs.
Arrivals: Without Divide and Sons of Orion.
Departures: Dead Men Floating and CN- adilt supplies.
Check out our PlayATLAS announcement to see the results of our third Show 'n Tell contest!
Alrighty, that’s it for this post. Thank you so much for becoming a part of our crew and we can't wait to show all you scallywags, landlubbers, captains, and seadogs what lies ahead!
🏴☠️For the latest dispatch on #playATLAS keep yer one good eye trained on this here information🏴☠️
Hoist ye sails to our Homepage: https://www.playatlas.com/
Natter n' chatter on Discord: https://discord.gg/playatlas
Navigate ye olde Subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/playatlas
Hear ye, hear ye on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sailtheatlas
Watch us scallywags on Twitch: http://twitch.tv/sailtheatlas
Plus ye can band with us Pirates on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/playatlasgame