A Pirate Fleet

The final fix for the treasure handling bug is taking a little extra time, as it is pretty central to the whole fleet ship/prize ship mechanism (i.e., transfer of wealth between ships of different types). As a consequence of that, I am holding back on doing further hacks on that, until I have revamped this aspect of the game mechanics – which is one part of what I’m working on right now. The other part is to redo the ship status view (also necessary, in order to reflect the new mechanics).

The plan at the moment is to relax the requirements for the player to build a fleet. In the future version of the game, this will no longer be tied to your player rank, but rather you can add as many ships as you want to your fleet – though of course with some caveats. There will now be four categories of ships, rather than three as previously.

Flag ship: This is the same as today – the ship that you control directly.

Prize ships: This is the status that a ship gets when you capture it. A prize ship has no appointed captain and only a skeleton crew. It will never fight in any battles. In addition, your crew will expect you to sell or get rid of prize ships within a reasonable time; failure to do so will result in the crew gradually becoming disgruntled. If you have disgruntled officers, they may take some like-minded compatriots and make off with a prize ship to pursue their own destiny.

Subordinate ships: This is the status that a ship gets when you appoint one of your crew as a subordinate captain. The subordinate will follow your orders and fight with you … as long as he is loyal. Loyalty will be affected by interpersonal relationships (so if you are on a good personal footing with the subordinate, he will be more loyal and vice versa), how much plunder you are collecting (if things are going well, the subordinate is happy to stay), and last – but not least – how famous you are (i.e., player prestige – currently not show, but it will be). If your prestige is too low for the fleet you command, then the loyalty of all your subordinate captains will suffer. If their loyalty falls too low, they will abandon you.

Allied ships: This is the new alternative I’m planning. Instead of appointing a subordinate, you will instead be able to appoint a crew member as a Captain with equal rights to yourself. Obviously, this will make the new Captain very happy, and in gratitude he will stay with your fleet for a short while – joining you in fights and sharing in your plunder – before he or she sails off on their own. An allied Captain does not count against your subordinate limit, but they will eventually leave, so appointing one won’t gain you a “permanent” addition to your fleet.

The idea – which has always been planned, but which I hope to finally finish implementing in the coming weeks – is that you may encounter these ships, and their captains – around in the game world even after they have left your fleet. So if you appoint an allied Captain, you may suddenly run into him in Tortuga some time later. Perhaps even convince him to join forces with you again, for a raid on Panama? Or you may come across the scallywag subordinate who ran off with the Frigate you gave him. Some might get picked off by naval patrols, dying at the end of the hangman’s rope (word of their fate reaching you through rumors). Or some might even take the King’s coin, and come hunting for you with their new commission. In short, I want to use the ships – and their interaction with the player – to build further mini-stories.

Let me know your thoughts.