Q&A with the Devs - Ask a Pirate Day #8

Posted on March 4th, 2021 06:15 PM EST
Ahoy Pathfinders!

As stated previously, we are back with Part 2 of our most recent Q&A. This section contains the questions gathered regarding the PvP aspects of the game. If you would like to check out the other questions in Part 1, feel free to head to the first post in the Atlas forum here. You’ll find tons of answers, a blurb from the Dev team regarding shipbuilding and a link to our latest survey, where you can provide feedback and opinions on ships yourself. The survey will remain open until this Friday so be sure to take the opportunity to have your voice heard.

Prior to our coming update next week, we are also including a notice regarding some changes to the claim system for lawless areas in the next patch. So be sure to take note and make changes accordingly. As always, we appreciate your support and ‘til next time, may your skies be clear, waters calm, and sails full in whichever way you roam.

New Lawless Land Claim Changes

In the patch dropping early next week, we’ll be introducing a new claim system to the lawless regions of Atlas. Moving forward, Pathfinders will now be able to claim land in these areas using a claim tower that will claim everything within its radius after it reaches full health. This takes about 45 minutes and may be sped up with gold. These changes will take effect immediately with the release of the new update and will make your structures be vulnerable to being claimed by others. Armored Docks may be claimed in this manner, and that includes the ships docked there!

Previously we mentioned that there may be a wipe with the new claim system if it becomes necessary. However, we are able to implement this without requiring it, so please note that there is NO WIPE at this time.

Note to Private Server Owners: Private servers will be unaffected by this change - functionality to make this change to your server will come in the patch after.

Without further ado, here’s our Q&A! Hang out at our Discord for a chance to get your questions answered in the next Q&A!


What are long term visions for the balance of island defense. I personally like that it's currently incredibly difficult to steal islands (contesting needs a lot of work). But a large contributor to why it's currently so hard comes from my question in #1--how easy it is to spam islands. If we suddenly had to think very carefully about structure count throughout the island, how are companies going to keep themselves properly protected without leaning on structure count?

We agree that islands are incredibly hard to assault right now when facing an entrenched, knowledgeable defender. There are a variety of reasons for this, from the layout of the islands such as massive pillars, to unintended strategies such as spamming structures all over the place to prevent others from building or bringing in tames easily. We are focused on long-term solutions rather than quick fixes. Ideally, we want players to be forced into making choices about how they spend their limited resources. This means they should have to pick which places they are going to spend their effort to defend. The answer should not be that they can defend everything. We’re moving towards a game where you need to have a strong navy if you want to defend your shoreline.

Cannonball physics are currently pretty bad. They travel incredibly slowly, to the point that these massive warships can actively dodge them like we're in some sort of space simulator. Additionally, there is no forward momentum physics so things like chaser cannons don't work. Is the team looking at adjusting these things?
Shooting any of the ship-mounted weapons forwards results in some unrealistic behaviors that we'd like to eliminate. We're looking at solutions for this.

Are alliances going to get reduced again (they should, or should have some sort of settler mechanic)?

Atlas is about interactions, both positive and negative, with other players and Companies. We would like those stories to be told and dictated by players rather than by a heavy-handed developer approach. This means giving players lots of opportunities to cooperate and fight over limited resources. A single megacorp is not good for the game and yet we have large goals for Companies in mind that will require massive efforts from many players to accomplish. Keep listening and we'll be talking about those plans soon enough. In the meantime, we do not plan to mess with the balance of Companies and Alliances without fully addressing the overall ecosystem.

What are some more solo XP grinding opportunities the team is looking at so smaller companies don't get left in the dust with no way to catch up?

This is a great question. We really want to support lone wolves and small companies as a vital part of the game world. Compared to a lot of the other games we have played or worked on, Atlas XP seems to be in a really weird place and is frankly pretty broken. Large, organized death squads farm ridiculous amounts of XP with little real effort and hit level cap within a few days of a wipe, while players who are new or are in small companies are playing what feels like a completely different game. This creates a lot of power disparity between different groups of players and contributes to making it very difficult for players not in companies to feel like they can compete.

XP is like a holdover from RPGs that this game has inherited, and it’s tied into a lot of different systems in the game. We want new players to have their options slowly rolled out to them so they aren't overwhelmed, and at the same time we don't want to create a grindy experience for veterans. Ultimately, we'd rather this game be focused on player expertise rather than character level, and long term are looking at how we can move towards that. Some of the specific things we are considering are ways to spread leveling out over the entire season while not making it grindy, or giving tools to everyone to get to the level cap early and creating more ways to increase your cap through actions in the game that are interesting, and again not grindy. Let us know your thoughts.

Will there be more options in ship pvp?

Yes! One of the goals of the new ship system is to provide players with more meaningful choices when constructing ships. As we expand the system, players will need to decide which pieces will provide the most value for their strategy. We intend to provide a variety of equally viable options that expand the meta and support a variety of playstyles.

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, as well as timing, may be different from what was previously discussed.
As always, we appreciate the suggestions and feedback from the community. Please keep them coming! Thank you for all of your support! :)

Happy Sailing,
- ATLAS Crew

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