Community Spotlight: Remus
|Here's a picture of Remus after a long night of hauling across the Caribbean.|
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Our decision to recognize Remus was an easy one. His helpful and informative posts can be found in almost every section of our forums, where he uses his great knowledge of the game in both helping new players and debating the finer points of game design with veterans.
His helpfulness is not limited to simple posts, Remus has designed a variety of economy and ship tools in the form of spreadsheets. He publishes these spreadsheets on the forums and circulates them among his society members.
Besides the good he does publicly, Remus has also volunteered his expertise towards proof-reading and fact-checking the game guides we publish regularly. This kind of dedication to the game is exactly what we look for when choosing which members to recognize with the Community Spotlight.
We were able to interview Remus about these activities, and he gave us some insight into his experiences with Pirates of the Burning Sea.
I was looking for a sailing game and found PotBS, probably through Google. Mostly I had been playing Strategy games and had no previous experience of MMOs; In fact I had rather been put off by the negative press they have received. But PotBS had just been released and the reviews of the sailing were very impressive. Add the descriptions of the player-run economy and I thought, "This is the game for me!"
Sea battles and the Economy are still the things that make PotBS special for me. All aspects have a lot to offer and I feel that people who focus on just one are missing a lot of the depth of the game.
But in all honesty, it is the sheer level of detail that makes me smile. Many of the missions have very clever and often quite funny dialogue. And then there are the little things to catch you by surprise.
I was clearing some missions leveling a pirate a couple of weeks ago and went into the Boss's Office in Cat Island. I must have been there several times before but this time I thought, that's an interesting sounding conversation going on from the tones of voice, I wonder what they are talking about? So I stopped and listened...
Well, I am British myself so not surprisingly that is the nation I started with and still the one I mostly play. Naturally too my first character was a Freetrader, but in all honesty I like all the careers. I still don't have a level 50 Privateer or Buccaneer; my Privateer has been leveling almost exclusively through PvP which is a slow business and he has only reached level 26. This is my fun character and I do like playing him as a break from all the hauling and econ stuff I usually do.
You've created several spreadsheets (e.g., the Ship Stats spreadsheet and the Production Planner)—can you tell me a little bit about them and why you created them?
Other people came before me, and without Monthar and Valeroth I might never have embarked on either project; without usable spreadsheets the economy becomes almost impossible to play effectively and I think most econ players can thank Monthar and Sir Grey for Production Costs Analysis, the original of my own Production Planner.
I only started doing my own spreadsheets when I wanted more than Production Costs Analysis could offer. I was making ships in St John's but almost all my support structures were in Spanish Town. I could easily determine which ships and outfittings I wanted to make but it was very time-consuming. So I wrote the Shipyard Planner sheet to do the calculations. And I thought, if I find this tool useful, others may too. So I released it to other players.
Other additions followed, but the really big change was separating out costs and labour. It had long been apparent that percentage mark ups were inadequate for most transactions; it is not hard to see that 5% paid to a zinc or lignum producer is considerably more than 5% paid to a hemp producer for doing exactly the same work.
In my own society we had already established that a doubloon per hour (later refined to doubloon per lot-hour) rate was what was required and furthermore would allow us to return to using Auction Houses. But without an easily-accessible db/hr price calculator such a change would be very hard to implement. So while my society (British Mercantile and Mercenary on Antigua) actively promoted the policy change to a free market AH-based economy, I wrote the tool to calculate mark-ups and prices.
The Ship Stats spreadsheet (quietly attached to an obscure forum post) is the first part in a far more powerful tool encompassing ships, skills and outfittings, allowing direct comparisons between different ships and set-ups. I expect to release part two to my society for testing.
The motivation here is the lack of readily available up to date information and the sheer difficulty newer players (and many experienced ones it would seem) face in selecting the most suitable ships, skills, outfittings, ammunition and consumables.
This does not in any way reduce the need for practice and experience—you don't become a good PvPer just by choosing skills and outfittings, but it should give less knowledgeable players a useful starting point.
I hope to release the main spreadsheet at the end of January.
Two things stand out. First and foremost is British Mercantile and Mercenary, the society I helped found way back on Guadeloupe server. Societies are great for running group missions, organising PvP and RvR, offering advice and training and collaborating in manufacture, but for me the best part is the sociability of playing and chatting with other people.
The other is the Burning Sea forums. The discussions on here can be very engaging and there is a great atmosphere.
Probably tolerance more than anything.
There are so many ways of playing the game and different people will want to play in different ways, sometimes in ways that other people have no taste for at all. We have seen populations drop over two years since release and I think very few people prefer to play on an empty server, so encouraging or at least accepting other peoples' play styles is a good way to keep populations high which help us all.
Any advice you'd like to give a Pirates of the Burning Sea player who wants to become more involved in the community?
Talk to people.
Post on the forums, ask or answer questions in Nation chat, join a Society, talk in Vent. There are so many ways to get involved—choose what works best for you.
For anyone so inclined, there are a lot of ways of helping other players. Answering questions in chat or on the forums is great, particularly if you have been through the same experience yourself. Then there are tools like the Wiki to be maintained, and possibly new tools to be created.
If you think of something you would like to see to help you play the game, chances are someone else would like it too. So ask around to see if what you want exists; perhaps there is something but it needs updating. Other players may offer to help you or maybe you will have to start off doing things on your own, but most things can be achieved with a bit of diligence. If you come up with anything useable, offer it to the community, possibly just to your society at first if you are unsure of how it will be received.
What advice can you give to a new Pirates of the Burning Sea player who is interested in becoming involved in the economy?
There are three main approaches to playing the economy and in my opinion, all of them are valid.
Many societies run large collective shipbuilding concerns where one or two people work out what needs to be made to make full use of the members' labour. You will make what you are told, you might be paid in cash or in free ships, outfittings, ammo and consumables but either way the aim is not to make a profit but to keep members in ships and bring the nation's fleet up to the highest standard possible. If this is what you want to do then you will need to join one of these societies and basically do what you are told.
Other players take pride in making everything themselves. For this you will want a production tool such as my Production Planner spreadsheet to work out the structures you need and what recipes to run to end up with whatever it is you are aiming for, be it a first rate ship of the line for yourself or self-contained ammunition production where you can sell the surplus to others.
The third approach is using the free-market Auction Houses for buying and selling materials, making items where demand exceeds supply with the double aim of supplying a need and making a profit. For simple items this is little different from the self-sufficient guy mentioned earlier, but in addition to working out what structures you need and where to put them, you will also need to work out what is in demand or what is currently overpriced. Above all what you want is something that sells. This is not always easy to work out, particularly for newer players, so as with anything else where you have questions, ask on Nation chat or on the forums. There will probably be a shipbuilder or other major consumer on who is frustrated they cannot find a particular item at a sensible price; this might be a good thing to make.
It is not particularly difficult to make ships, although it is time consuming. I have written a basic guide for would-be shipbuilders on the Wiki.
The steep learning curve. I might also say the lack of available information, but this is something both FLS staff and the community have slowly been addressing with things like the Game Guides, the Wiki, websites and of course spreadsheets such as the ones I have been involved with.
The other thing has been the lack of other low level players to group up with for doing missions. I really enjoyed the mid-level group missions when I first leveled and it is a shame if a server/nation has insufficient low level players to get together to do these. I hope very much that the merging of servers will do a lot to overcome this problem.
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