It's All About the Ships
In the first part of this two part devlog, I’m going to give you an overview of most of the ships in the game. I’ll talk about ammo, outfitting, mastercraft ships, combat mechanics and I’ll answer a bunch of forum questions. Sit tight – this is a long one!
We have a great user content community that continues to provide us with excellent ships. Those contributions brought us to where we are today. Everything in this devlog is subject to change, as this is the kind of stuff that gets tuned. With that, here’s an incomplete list of the ships in the game:
1-: ‘Hiorten’ Galeas, ‘Hornet’ Gunboat, ‘Currituck’ Periauger, ‘Breton’ Chasse-Maree, ‘Desperation’ Raft, ‘Trusty’ Longboat, ‘Medway’ Longboat, ‘Zuiderzee’ Yacht, Rowboat, ‘St. Anne’ Schooner. These are ships that provide additional flavor and setting for the game. Frequently, a member of the UC community will create a small ship as practice before creating a large ship. NPCs sail many of these ships, and they are used in a few missions. However, these are not ships that players would bring into a serious battle as many of them don’t have any guns bigger than swivels.
1: ‘Halifax’ Schooner. Your first command as a captain. The medium schooner is a fast vessel armed with six guns, four swivels and moderate cargo space. Most captains will hold on to their Halifax after they discontinue its use in combat. It makes an excellent vessel for delivering small quantities of important cargo.
2: ‘Otter’ Skuda. This well-built vessel is especially sluggish for its size, but it can take a pounding in combat and it has a sizeable hold. Merchants who expect to find themselves on the wrong end of a deck gun can look to purchasing the Otter.
4: ‘Renard’ Chasse-Maree is the first ship that aspiring merchants are likely to acquire for hauling cargo. Although it is no a match for the speed of the Halifax, it can hold more cargo and is loaded with a complement of six guns and six swivels.
4: ‘Chaleur’ Schooner. The large schooner is a tougher, but slightly slower version of the Halifax that is perfect for captains who aren’t ready to give up on schooners. With its heavier guns, it is slightly better armed than the Halifax.
5: ‘La Belle’ Light Corvette is the first light attack vessel available to players. It carries heavy guns for its level, giving it a stronger punch and longer range than other vessels of its size.
6, 8: ‘Bermuda’ Sloop and ‘Jamaica’ Sloop. Sloops are versatile vessels that boast excellent speed, cargo capacity and still hold their own in combat. Most captains will sail one or both of these sloops in their career. Their speed and extra set of guns makes them all-around superior to the schooners.
8: ‘Dolphyn’ Ketch. The ‘Dolphyn’ embodies versatility. It is a trade ship that is armed for combat. Its handling is sluggish compared to similar class ships, but it makes up for it in its ability to stand in the middle of a fight.
12: ‘Mediator’ Cutter is the premiere small ship. She is a fast ship loaded with 12 guns. Most captains keep a Cutter in their fleet for their entire career, because it never sees an end to its usefulness. Small packs of Cutters are fast and deadly enough to challenge large ships, and a skilled Cutter captain can defeat ships that have more firepower and sturdier hulls.
13: ‘Curieuse’ Snow is a merchant-flavored combat vessel that some captains choose over the Cutter. It carries much more cargo, and it boasts plenty of firepower and hull integrity to stand toe to toe in combat. However, the Snow is much slower and handles sluggishly compared to other low-level ships.
14: ‘Limburg’ Flute. While the Curieuse is a merchant-flavored combat vessel, the Limburg is a true merchant ship. Flutes are all-around trade vessels that handle sluggishly, but still have enough guns to protect themselves against small ships such as schooners and ketches.
15: ‘Algiers’ Xebec. A favorite among pirates, the Xebec has one exceptional quality: its ability to sail against the wind. No other ship can compete with the Xebec upwind, but it does not run with the wind as well as other ships. She’s a fast medium sized ship with a moderate firepower and a large crew, perfect for boarding and plundering other ships.
16: ‘Hermes’ Packet-Boat. Although a Xebec will outrun the Hermes upwind, the Hermes is the fastest of the medium sized ships. It is a messenger ship that is more than capable of fending off attackers. Packet-Boats have the speed, maneuverability and firepower necessary to keep them competitive with larger ships.
17: ‘Locust’ Corvette. Most Naval captains command a Corvette at one point in their career. Overall, it is a fast ship. Compared to other medium-sized ships, it is a little slower, sturdier and has more firepower. Corvettes are dangerous opponents on the open sea, loaded with 16 guns and two stern chasers.
18: ‘Lexington’ Brig is a medium-sized vessel similar to the Snow, and is one of the first warships a player can sail. It carries the same complement of guns as a Corvette, but it is slower and sturdier. The brig is exceptional at trading fire with medium to large ships.
21: ‘Atlas’ Bark. No other ship in its class can compare to its ability to haul cargo. However, it suffers all the typical drawbacks of merchant vessels: sluggish handling, low top speed, low firepower and a less durable hull. Captains who sail a Bark into combat will typically require an escort.
26: ‘Dromedary’ Indiaman. The Indiaman class ships offer a strong balance of merchant and combat capabilities. Indiamen cannot match the sheer cargo capacity of Galleons, but they are not nearly as vulnerable to attack. Pirates who want plenty of capacity to store captured loot are also likely to turn to a captured Indiaman, but otherwise they are ships only Freetraders can sail. The Dromedary is the smallest Indiaman and it is loaded with 16 guns.
26: ‘Cerberus’ Frigate. The Cerberus is a small frigate that is heavily armed with 22 deck guns. Perhaps more importantly, the Cerberus is a fast and exceptionally versatile ship. It is big enough to survive in a fight with larger vessels, and quick enough to capture smaller and equal sized ships.
28: ‘Stralsund’ Frigate is the heavier cousin of the Cerberus. Its two decks are loaded with 28 guns.
29: ‘Santiago’ Galleon. The Santiago is a pure trading vessel. Although it has 14 guns, its sluggish handling makes it vulnerable to fast attack vessels and boarding parties.
33: ‘Raa’ Frigate. A natural upgrade from the Cerberus, the Raa isn’t quite as fast but it is still maneuverable for its class. It carries 32 deck guns, but they are lighter than the guns found on the larger frigates.
37: ‘Myrmidon’ and ‘Defiant’ Frigates. As medium and large frigates, both of these are powerful warships. The Myrmidon is sturdier, handles better and carries 30 guns. The Defiant is armed with 32 guns.
39: ‘Mignone’ Indiaman. The Mignone is similar to the Dromedary, but with 28 guns and more capacity.
39: ‘Capricieux’ Frigate is a quick and maneuverable ship that carries 34 guns. It’s ideal for captains who want to retain the feeling of smaller ships while still packing the firepower of a frigate.
44: ‘Oliphant’ Indiaman. The Oliphant is a multi-purpose vessel. It has excellent capacity and the armament of a warship with its 44 deck guns.
50: ‘San Mateo’ Galleon. High capacity and 40 guns make this an excellent merchant ship, but it’s vulnerable to fast attack frigates.
50: ‘Mordaunt’ Fourth Rate. The only Ship of the Line that is not restricted to Navy players. Depending on the context, it can fall just below a Fourth Rate. The Mordaunt carries 52 deck guns. It is slow and powerful.
50+: ‘Valiant’ Third Rate, ‘Wenden’ Third Rate, ‘Triumphant’ Second Rate, ‘Trinity’ Second Rate, ‘Invincible’ First Rate, ‘Prince’ First Rate. These are the Ships of the Line, ranging from 64 to 104 guns. The bigger these ships get, the more sluggishly they handle. They have high maximum speeds, but they accelerate extremely slow. SoLs burn more speed when turning than any other ship, which means they are generally difficult to maneuver. SoLs have more and heavier guns than frigates, but they are vulnerable without escorts.
50+: ‘Couronne’ Galleon. The Couronne is a war galleon that is capable of hauling more cargo than any other ship. It carries 58 deck guns. Although it is painfully slow, it has 8 chasers on its bow and stern. No other ship has more than 2 bow chasers or 4 stern chasers.
For the second part of this devlog, I gave an invitation for people on the forum to ask questions about ships. I’ve compiled a list of those questions and answers below. There were lots of questions about ammo, outfitting and mastercraft ships so I will answer those separately. There were also a few questions related to combat mechanics.
Round Shot (Stone Shot, Heavy Round Shot, Bronze Round Shot): Round shot is the most commonly used shot type. It focuses on damaging the target ship’s hull. Stone Shot is the poor man’s round shot and does the least damage, but it is incredibly cheap to produce and it does moderate crew damage. Heavy Round Shot is the standard against which everything else is compared. Bronze Round Shot is extremely expensive, but it functions slightly better than Heavy Round Shot.
Dismantling Shot (Bar Shot, Chain Shot, Star Shot): Dismantling shot damages the target’s sails, masts and rigging. It also does a small amount of crew and hull damage. Bar Shot is the weakest but fires at long range. Chain Shot is an all-around useful dismantling shot and it is used more than the other types. Star Shot is powerful, but it is inaccurate and has limited range.
Antipersonnel Shot (Langridge, Canister, Grape): Langridge is cheap ammo – bundles of nails, forks and similar objects. It has the shortest range of any ammo, but it does good crew damage. Canister and Grape are similar. Canister is shorter range and does slightly more damage. The difference between them is usually a matter of preference instead of situation.
Each ship has a specific complement of guns that you need to make to produce the ship deed. Heavier guns are more accurate, damaging, longer range and penetrate armor better. Lighter guns reload faster. There are numerous modifications you can acquire that alter the performance of your guns.
There are four types of outfitting items for your ship: guns, hull, sails and general. There are three general slots, so you can equip a total of 6 outfitting items. Outfitting varies depending on the size of your ship (small, medium, large, huge). A small ship has early access and better outfitting than a large or huge ship, which helps offset a portion of the strength difference between ships. Larger outfitting is also more expensive. General outfitting works on ships of all sizes. We have numerous characteristics we modify with outfitting.
Here are the main crafted outfittings:
Guns: Speed Gun Rig (+reload rate), Accuracy Gun Rig, Wadding (+damage), Raider’s Guns (+short range damage), Grappling Cannons (+grappling attack), Perfected Cannons (+accuracy, damage, reload)
Hull: Armor Planking (+armor integrity), Streamlined Hull (+max speed), Reinforced Hull (+structure)
Sails: Tough Sails (+mast integrity), Speed Rig (+max speed), Nimble Rig (+turn rate), Stealth Sails, Rig Catharpins (+closehaul max speed), Lightweight Halyards (+acceleration)
Gun, hull and sail outfittings are “permanent,” which means can’t be unequipped, and equipping a new outfitting of that type replaces the old one.
Every main outfitting item is tiered. Small and medium ships have 5 tiers of gear. A tier 1 item (+5% damage) has approximately 33% of the strength of a level 5 item (+15% damage). A tier 3 item (+10% damage) is about 67% of the strength of a tier 5.
General outfitting can be changed in any port. Although there are three slots, you cannot equip any three general outfitting items. Each category item has an equip category (rudder, rigging, gun modification, external modification, powder room, etc) and you can only have one per equip category. For example, you cannot equip 3 rudders.
General Outfitting: Ares Cannon Modification (+damage), Artemis Cannon Modification (+range), Bulwarks (+crew protection), Explosive Powder (+damage, -crew protection), Extra Crew Quarters (+max crew, takes cargo space), Extra Powder Magazine (+reload rate), Gorgon Cannon Modification (+short range damage), Grapples & Ladders (+grapple attack), Grapple Defenses (+grapple defense), Hardened Masts (+mast protection), Heavy Cannon Modification (+damage, -acc), Hercules Hull Modification (+armor integrity), Hermes Sail Modification (+acceleration), Improved Rudder Tackle (+turn rate), Kedge Anchors (+stopped turn rate), Low Drag Rudder (+acceleration), Low Profile Rigging (+stealth, +sail defense), Muffled Gear (+stealth), Odysseus Cannon Modification (+accuracy), Optimized Rigging (+slow turn rate), Overloaded Cannons (+damage, -crew protection), Poseidon Hull Modification (+hull protection), Reinforced Bow (+bow armor), Reinforced Gun Ports (+broadside armor), Reinforced Stern (+stern armor), Reinforced Structure (+structure integrity), Spyglass (+detection radius), St. Elmo’s Masts Modification (+mast integrity), Streamlined Structure (+max speed), Studding Sails (+running speed), Tar Coated Rigging (+mast protection), Teak Armor (+broadside damage reduction)
As a result of Misha’s “The Battle of Port of Spain” devlog, there were lots of questions about mastercraft ships. What are mastercraft ships? Inquiring players want to know!
Mastercraft ships are part of a larger system of ship variants. When I started to break ships down to suit different play styles, I knew we just did not have enough ships to completely fill out the progression curve. So I created ship variants. Ship variants are modified versions of ships that use the same model but have different stats. There are five types of variants, but I will probably add more. These variants are not globally applied to ships – I create them where I need ships to fill in holes.
Stripped – A merchant variant. This is a low-level requirement version of a large trade ship… but it has no guns.
Courier – An easy-access variant. Courier ships are slightly faster and easier to handle, but they have less firepower and armor. Lower level requirement.
Heavy – An upgrade variant. Heavy ships have significantly more armor and structure, and they often have other combat benefits (such as a better trained crew that reloads faster).
Sleek – An upgrade variant. Sleek ships are faster and handle better. They might also have slightly better armor.
Mastercraft – The premier ship variant. Mastercraft ships are expensive custom made ships that have been restructured to have room for more (and potentially heavier) guns and stronger hulls.
Building a mastercraft ship requires a number of expensive and potentially rare production ingredients. These are not rare in the traditional loot sense. Mastercraft ships require stronger types of wood (teak), better provisions (fine wine), gold and brass. They are called mastercraft ships because they are supposed to represent the finest, master craftsmanship possible. There are currently 7 mastercraft ships, but I might create a few more.
Because this devlog is so long, we’re cutting it into two parts to make it easier to digest. In the next part, I’ll give you an overview of the combat mechanics in our game and answer numerous questions from the forums.