Tonight Rick Saada, FLS Dev and EPFBM answered so many of my crafting, trade, and economy questions! Here’s what he had to say:
This link will tell you more than you probably want to know about the player run economy:
In it, our lead designer lays out how it all works. But I’ll summarize here. You’ve got the basics of it mostly right. You are managing businesses, not crafting individual items. Each *account* has 10 building slots available to it for building structures. We do it per account so that people don’t feel obligated to play alts to maximize their production. You can build structures in most ports, depending on how good your reputation is with the owning faction (free traders have an easier time of this).
Each building can runs “recipes,” which take inputs of money, potentially goods and stored labor and uses them to produce outputs. The labor accumulates in real time, hour per hour, up to 3 days per structure. So when you visit the port where your structure is located (can’t run it remotely) you can use up any stored labor it has accumulated to run recipes.
There are some structures, like a draftsman’s office, that just take money as input and produce building plans (fairly quickly, only needing an hour of labor). Others harvest natural resources (which must be present in the port to build that structure there). So a granite quarry will take money and labor and produce granite. Other recipes need the output of other structures to run, so a tannery needs the animals produced by a hunting camp to make hides, and then leather. A carpenter needs the leather and oak logs from a logging camp to make hull patch kits, and so on. The list of things that goes into a 104 gun ship of the line is scary, as it sits at the top of a very large production chain (or pyramid, really).
No single player can build a ship, but you can occupy most niches in the web production by buying and selling on the auction house from/to other players. Just about everything in the game ends up being player produced, and everything you produce is needed by someone. There aren’t any useless “grind 20 of these because it’s the cheapest skill up” items flooding the AH, because there aren’t any skill-ups. You make what people need and they pay you. You spot opportunities in the market and you exploit them. I’ve had a fun time running into PVP zones and dodging 40 gun ships in my newbie ship to get to the one source of granite nearby, and then selling the results for a huge markup back in the newb zones. Then other people saw the opportunity, and as other brave captains began to risk their ships to make the run the prices came down with increased supply. Meanwhile, I’d made enough to buy my next ship and I was on to the next challenge. It makes for a fun and ever changing world to play in, as you never know if that port you need to get to will suddenly be surrounded by players (& NPC ships) trying to take it over, or if you’ll get caught up in the PvP zone of some nearby port that is in contention.
Rick Saada – FLS Dev & EPFBM
And in another topic he answered more questions that many of you undoubtedly have about the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a particular nation:
For what it’s worth, we’re really not going for any kind of a rock/paper/scissors affect between the nations. They’ll have different starting ports and easily available economic resources (which makes for different emergent gameplay as they try and scramble for what they each need), but we’ll try and make sure nobody is screwed from the start. That’s part of what the beta is for, so we can discover that “yes, the French did have a worse starting position than the rest, we should fix it.” And while I’ve been tempted to start rumors that the French ships have better morale because their food is better, I’ve so far resisted .
The different sides do have nation specific quests, so you won’t see all the content if you just play one side, although some of the quests are versioned for each. Pirates have some specific gameplay differences because they aren’t really a “nation” and so don’t have a navy and suchlike, but the other three are more similar than not.
Rick Saada – FLS Dev & EPFBM
Could this day get any better?!