As we come closer to finalizing our initial line up of ships and basic combat mechanics, we would like to talk about our first principles of non-combat gameplay in our sandbox game. We wanted to bring our thoughts to your attention earlier so we can get your feedback and ideas, before we start coding them.
Our first post is about Exploration and Adventure gameplay.
• Pure explorer gameplay must be viable and profitable
• Famous explorers must have the same status as famous admirals, privateers, or pirates
• Explorers can provide significant benefits to other professions
• Adventurer role must be interesting and educating
Discovering new lands
Most of the world will be Terra Incognita. There will be no in game maps and players will have to explore and discover the rest of the world themselves.
Except for starting areas, every port will have to be founded by players or player guilds. We will seed the world with some native villages that players can capture to speed up the development, but most of the map will be uninhabited.
Explorers will be able to name coastal towns that will appear on map after Royal Courts, or Admiralty approvals. The world creators will name key landmarks – but explorers could chart smaller islands.
Some time ago, we discussed the opportunity of creating a completely new world a-la Civilization map to provide the real feeling of exploring the unknown, feeling that explorers of the 17-18 century experienced when they went to sea. That idea received a mixed response – but we think it could be discussed again.
Players will be able to send expeditions to islands, or continents if they have hired officers with necessary skills. Depending on the skill level, an expedition can make a number of discoveries starting from animals, to plants, to historical artifacts.
Explorers will be extremely useful for trading and combat oriented guilds/companies, because they can uncover shifts in resource pools across the world provide necessary information for crafters and traders.
Archives and Books
The world will witness a lot of combat; ships will sink or will be lost at sea. Explorers will be able to search the archives for maps of shipwrecks and raise them to surface. Most lucrative shipwrecks will be in dangerous waters, so it will be useful to bring a friend or two.
Discoveries and collections are crafted into books or atlases. Explorers then submit them to Geographic or Royal Societies for rewards: titles, rare items, and ships. We plan to use real historical data for the discoveries that could make this profession entertaining and educating.