Rick Saada answers my Pirates of the Burning Sea trade and economy questions!

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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 happy .
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?!

  • so… in other words this game is gonna let us do pretty much what we whant and we dont even have to lvl up? all we have to do is earn the stuff we need for bigger and better ships? if so thats awsome!

  • From what devs have stated, a level one could beat a level 50, it’s just that a level one would not have nearly as many skills at his disposal, so he’d have to out maneuver and think the level 50. But yes, it could happen. Leveling is certainly not the main focus of PotBS, it seems. Economy and fighting for your nation (or Piracy) is. For this, I am grateful.

  • Yeh, you dont have to lvl at all, you can play the game as lvl 1 and still take part in everything, but it would be very tough, and probably pretty boring after a while, because you would be stuck in sloops and schooners, and never get into any big powerful ships, with a better chance of taking on the frigates and SoL’s. And if yer a freetrader, you’d never get into any ships with decent cargo space, however a schooner is a great ship for quick maneuvering through a PvP zone, so you could definitely pull off what he taked about above.

    No you dont have to lvl, but yer definetly gonna want to. Basically yer gonna want to take yer time wit levelin.

  • I fully expect to “level up” painlessly and without extra grind just by going on with my normal business, exploring the storyline missions, and so forth.

  • What was said is a lvl 1 could sink an “AFK” lvl 50 that doesn’t mean you will see lvl 1 players runnin around killin all the high lvls thats just dumb. You don’t need to lvl I guess bet if you don’t why play the game you don’t want to be a noob your whole life do you ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Yes well atleast its good too know that a level 1 (or probly level 10 seeing as lv 1 doesnt know alot about how too play the game and has a not so good ship) can be jsut as important as a level 50.

  • “# drenchedcat Says:
    MyAvatars 0.2 August 9th, 2007 at 5:05 am

    soรขโ‚ฌยฆ in other words this game is gonna let us do pretty much what we whant and we dont even have to lvl up? all we have to do is earn the stuff we need for bigger and better ships? if so thats awsome!

    actually you WILL need to lvl somewhat, as most the ships have some kind of lvl restriction…. no lvl 1’s in frigates xD

  • An open free economy is the best way to do things. If you want it bad enough you’ll pay the price. If you want to sell an item then price it low. Just like a real life economy.

    There is a small issue that I would like to bring up. In games that have this type of player run economy, items can sometimes be hard to come by. If an item is hard to craft, find, put together, or requires multiple player interaction etc….the game player has a hard time accomplishing the mission at hand. A quality guild is a must. Some gamers will give up if they can’t create their dream ship etc…The Devs then have to be careful that they don’t stick their hands into the economy to much or the results can be devastating.

    The game sounds awesome. Thanks for sharing this information.

  • Yes, it’s not that you can be uber at level 1, just that level doesn’t really matter as much as one might be used to in other games.

    Leveling is still integral to skills from what we know, and thereby what options you’ll have in combat, be it ship or swashbuckling. So you’ll want to level, but by no means should it be someone’s main goal to get to 50 in order to start competing and partaking in the economy. You’ll be able to, and encouraged to, right from the start.

  • […] Among the many things that Cory talked about, the one that struck me the most was the fact that the entire PotBS economy is player run. The first thing that came to my mind was “Oh no! That sounds like a scenario that the real money traders would just LOVE!” and that they would be taking over the entire economy. But then again, PotBS crafting is not going to be the time sink that it has traditionally been in all other MMORPGs. (For a detailed description of how it works, check out Keen and Graev’s blog post where developer Rick Saada answers economy questions.) Since there is no need to spend hours sitting in front of a loom or whatever clicking away instead of having fun and adventure, hopefully players WILL build factories and produce items needed by other players so the economy will be truly player-based. […]

  • […] One game of the future where I could imagine having more than one account would be Pirates of the Burning Sea, after reading that you are limited to 10 production buildings per account. That won’t help with leveling up my character, but I would have twice the economic power, and could integrate larger chains of production, maybe even have most of the parts together to build ships. […]