While ideally we would want organic trade routes to exist, having some static systems in place to give the same experience to players without the capital to do actual trade is a great idea.
We also believe that expanding the system to ships and a network of harbors would be an amazing way of providing regular naval content.
Both of those systems are added as a reason to remain blue and as a reason to be red at the same time. You will have more choices of locations as a positive aligned player, but being a bandit will prove profitable thanks to all those juicy targets on the roads and seas.
LAND TRADE ROUTES
We will be taking the same concept as it was implemented and increase the amount of drop point that exist in the game. Most of these new trade posts will be in NPC cities. We will keep some wild trade posts, to offer some content to red players and add a random factor to how dangerous a drop off can be, but the general idea is to have safe pickup and drop off points.
We will also remove the map timers and increase the frequency at which trade route missions can be activated by individual players. Every day, a handful of routes will be randomly selected and players will be able to start them whenever they want.
The idea here is that we want to change a bit the gameplay. It used to be a last man standing then a long ride towards another last man standing. There was meaningful gameplay only at the two ends of the road, and not much in the middle.
By letting players decide when to start a trade route and having only a handful of routes for the day, it allows highway men to set up ambushes on the shortest path from pick up to drop off and hopefully provide meaningful content throughout the entire trip.
If the system doesn’t work out as we hope, and that it turns out to be hard to predict the shortest path for highwaymen, we’ll consider having some mid route checkpoints as well. This will give more predictable spots where trade route runners will pass through but the whole system will be more guided.
As long as this system will be an eventful ride and a fun activity to run or hunt for, then it will be doing its part for the game as a whole.
SEA TRADE ROUTES
Daily content for ships is quite lacking. There are some PvE spawns, fishing and the occasional coastal siege, but there isn’t anything that really motivates to go out there on a ship and travel with an objective in mind.
In order to remedy this, we’ve drawn up a concept for sea trade routes, looking at the already implemented land trade routes for inspiration.
We will be adding special trade harbors in the world. Those harbors will be protected by racial guard towers and a captain that want to enter them will have to be of positive alignment.
In those harbors, there will be several docking spots and as the ship enters the zone, it will trigger the quest pop up as if the captain talked to an NPC.
If the boat has a free strongbox slot, a trade route box will be equipped in it. The captain will be told the destination and its current cargo weight.
The loading and unloading of cargo is manual and crew members have to go from the ship to the warehouse to purchase a trade route bag and back to the ship overburdened. One strongbox slot can be filled by up to 50 trade route bag, and a trade route is validated only if a ship has at least 10 bags.
Once the ship leaves the harbor, it can be taken to its normal destination, or to a pirate harbor that is further away.
This means that if the boat is captured by a red captain, it can still deliver its cargo someplace and provide a substantial reward. Note that if a ship is sunk, all its trade route bags are destroyed, so pirates will really have to board and capture the ship.
The manual loading and unloading of the cargo, in conjunction with the disabled state we’ll add to ships, will give the defeated crew a chance at reclaiming their ship by coming back. Either to where it was disabled or by going to the pirate harbor where the bags could be traded in.
Ideally, this will mean that player will be able to sail their ship all day long and get a good mixture of action and rewards.
And as a whole, both trade route systems should get players traveling the world and its roads. But what about those that don’t want to travel to unknown destinations or don’t have the capital yet to invest in trade route bags?