Imagine with me for a moment if your favorite two handed axe and chain armor from Scarlet Monastery never became outdated. What if it were impossible for you to truly out level the usefulness of your gear? It’s an interesting idea and one that is being tried by FLS in Pirates of the Burning Sea. In PotBS levels are not factored in to the mathematical and complex combat equations. Your ship and your ammunition however, are. While not entirely the same thing as out leveling gear from Scarlet Monastery, it’s a similar concept that a ship built at level 18 can remain extremely competitive and more importantly useful at the max level.
For example: Mediator Mastercraft Cutter: level 21 Ship. Using this ship at level 21 against other ships of the same level will feel like most other ships do at the low levels. It’s maneuverable, fast, and packs a bunch to other ships around its level. Now, take that same ship and fight a level 50 Oliphant Mastercraft Idiaman. You’ll notice something almost immediately – you’re almost never hit. That is because higher level and bigger ships have a harder time hitting lower level ships. The reason? Defense. Lower level ships have more than double the defense (Or chance to avoid being hit). Bigger ships have less defense which makes sense. The bigger they are the easier they are to hit. Add all this together and a smaller ship is not only more maneuverable and faster but it has an increased chance to hit higher level ships and a decreased chance of being hit.
The real eye opener here is watching a level 21 ship with 8 guns on one side stand toe to toe (or broadside to broadside if you will) with a ship sporting 30+ guns on one side. I’ve done this and from experience it’s quite a sight to see. The mediator can come out of the fight without more than a mere scratch to its armor while the Oliphant will be sunk – and rather quickly too. The Mediator will never miss and the Oliphant will miss 95% of the time. Overpowered or balanced?
To some extent FLS believes it to be slightly unbalanced – or – at least miscalculated to some degree. In the next patch FLS plans to update the accuracy on some of the larger ships. Today in an update of their Road to v1.1 FLS says:
Recently, itâ€™s become apparent that thereâ€™s a problem in the cannon accuracy settings. The numbers are off by small amounts in several areas. Once theyâ€™re all added together, the compounding numbers make it so that many small and medium ships will win a straight up broadside exchange against large ships at close-medium range. While itâ€™s important for small ships to be valuable, your first double-decker warship should not lose to a small ship in a close-range slugfest. Weâ€™re making numerous changes to accuracy values to help address this issue.
Balancing is never easy. Imagine balancing a game where lowbie weapons have a great impact on high level armor. It can be a nightmare for sure but also a refreshing look at the possibilities of the future. Many times I’ll come across a particular item that means a lot to me. I’ll find a beautiful sword in some dungeon that I just spent hours crawling through all by myself. It might serve me wonderfully for a few days or a week but eventually I will out level that once amazing sword. What do I do with it then? Throw it away because it’s no longer useful to me? Keep it in my bank to take up a valuable slot or gather dust? That’s the way of things in today’s traditional mmo model.
What if that sword could be brought out at level 50 and mean something? Moving away from what has become traditional and regular to something more dynamic; That’s worth looking into.