Fairly veteran FL player here.

Loving the game so far, have put in about 12 to 15 hours playing it. I’m going to talk more about what I think needs work than what I think works, just throwing that out there. If I don’t mention it, assume it’s because I think it’s awesome.

Wall of Text incoming.

Fuel Consumption Rate - A lot of the ease of gameplay hinges on this resource, and I think the balance is slightly off. You appear to consume the same rate of fuel no matter what you’re doing: no steam, half steam, full steam ahead. This basically punishes people for trying anything other than full power ahead in the grand scheme of things, every second counts towards the cost of fuel. I think that at zero, players should use a much smaller amount of fuel. It’s debatable whether 1 and 2 Power should require different amounts of fuel, but at the very least I should be able to cut my engines to save on fuel cost.

Early game money: By early game I mean, west of the 1st Terror Parallel. There just aren’t enough ways to make money that are fun when you consider a) the cost of fuel b) the cost of supplies c) the cost inherent in capturing ships because you have to buy new crew d) the cost of any repairs. This makes getting money both a grind and pushes people towards the most efficient money making in the beginning, which is right outside of the harbor. Having been up and down the North and South coasts, there’s just nothing going on out there a body can make money at. So I’ve been grinding away trying to save cash for new equipment and to build up a stockpile of resources so I can actually go explore. I understand this is Early Access, but this primarily the thing that is bogging the game down, or making it feel like a chore to get anything done.

Terror: Terror greatly restricts how you can travel. While I am completely fine with the concept, I think it needs some tweaking. Terror builds incredibly fast the minute you’re away from the shallows or a light, even west of the 1st Terror Parallel. It’s an all or nothing shelf you fall off of, it feels like, and if you get distracted it’s easy to rack up 10, 15 or more terror points while you’re chasing an enemy or what have you. So I think the rate of terror accumulation needs to be slowed down a bit. I havent’ seen the later game but if it’s worse than the early game, the problem remains. Terror is easy to manage when you’re being very careful, but once you’ve accumulated a lot, it becomes very hard to get rid of. Also, I play SS on a 1920x1080 montior, and the little pips on the terror wheel can be hard to see. I think the visual effect could be a little bolder. Maybe the the terror wheel glows, or something. There probably needs to be a message in the log about reaching new terror levels too.

Turning off your lights - I can’t really see a point to this. It makes your terror start to increase even in safe zones, and enemies only seem marginally less aware of me. Maybe there’s a point for it later in game, maybe it’s even a necessity. But it really does nothing but hurt you for now it seems.

Combat: I don’t know the finest points of it, but at times it feels like getting damaged becomes unavoidable. The enemy simply picks the right maneuvers, rolls well on illumination, and you’re getting hit. So to me, taking the long view of how combat factors into gameplay, it’s all or nothing sometimes. Either you’re completely wiping out the enemy and getting pure rewards or you’re taking a loss that is not trivial. Is there supposed to be some relationship between distance and illumination/damage of an attack? Because right now it doesn’t seem like it. You can take just as much damage from an enemy shot at 30 yards that you will at 60, and illumination doesn’t seem to be effected either. So for me, this has made my strategy &quotGet 50 illumination as fast as possible and then fire until its dead.&quot I don’t really have any suggestions here, just stating how I’ve reacted to the combat and how, in some way, it feels a little off. Maybe the fact that I one shot 80% of pirate ships makes the 20% that manage to return fire so irritating. When one of them manages to get off the big broadside in 3 actions, that costs a ton of money to recover from in the early game.

Enemy Health Bars: They don’t go to zero when you deal 100% of their life in damage. It usually goes to 80% or something.

Capturing Ships & Losing Crew: I feel like there’s a chance you should be refunded on or all your crew members when you claim &quotTo the Victor…&quot Why should those lads not be waiting for you when you get back to harbor? It’d be a great way to put a little extra cash back in players’ pockets, to defray fuel cost.

Trading: I assume this is one place the game will improve, but there needs to be more of an economy than just FL. Lots of places have nothing to sell, and nothing to buy. I could easily see myself playing a trader if there was any place to get goods at a good price, or to sell them.

Loot: There needs to be more opportunities for it, I feel. Pirate ships are the only real source of the stuff, and while storylets are great and all, again there’s the huge overhead of getting to them and the fact that so far, very few of them pay well if at all. There needs to be unsalvaged wrecks, for example, that the players can investigate and loot. There need to be neutral ships the player can attack themselves.

Ship’s Log: Again, playing at 1920x1080, this thing is almost unreadable. I’d really like the ability to resize it and its text, or read it full page.

Chart: The way it behaves when you click drag is very sluggish and it tends to move way farther than you want it to when you’re zoomed in.

Gazetteer: I occasionally get locked out of tabs. Sometimes the storylet options on the right side become unresponsive. I have at one point been completely locked out of doing anything while at port, requiring me to taskkill the game.

Ship-naming: This should really be a thing. The captain has a name, a proper ship has one too!

Equipment: All equipment items should state on the description what slot they occupy on the ship.

Talking to Officers: The right click dialog can sort of be forced to stay on the screen if you right click to bring up the dialog menu and then close the Gazetteer. The dialog will only go away if you right click on an officer portrait.

Pause/Unpause: It needs to be consistent. There are times I’m in port and the game does not pause. Other times it does. Same story after combat and storylets while at Zee. Considering you’re using supplies as long as the game is not paused, this is not desirable. Either the game always needs to be paused while the Gazetteer or storylet window is open, or it should not pause so I know I need to always pause it myself.

Character Portraits: 2 parts. 1, I think there need to be some slightly more piratey-looking ones in there. Two, it’d be awesome if players could put their own portraits into a folder the game could read from.

I think that’s it for now. It’s back to the zee for me!
edited by Nenjin on 6/22/2014
edited by Nenjin on 6/22/2014

You do get to name ships when you upgrade.

Splendid. Still, with all the time I’ve put in with this heap, I feel like it deserves a name too.

I agree with everything you’ve said, and I’m only really replying in order to nod vigorously and say “hear, hear! Yes to everything!” :)

Although running without lights does use very slightly less fuel, apparently (the gauge could really use some sort of measurements along it to make it easier to judge) so I suppose that could be seen as a benefit (though I agree at the moment it’s not worth it, terror is more expensive than fuel). The only benefit to not going full steam is for turning, if you’re trying to hug the coast (to avoid terror) then it pays to take the tighter turns at half speed so you don’t go wide and end up in the dark (again, terror > fuel)

A hint that REALLY helped me (thanks to Spacemarine9 for this) in very early game was to find my way to Pigmote Isle and side with the rats, it’s a bit of a trek to get there, and the route isn’t friendly, or well-lit, but provided you make the (admittedly tough) skill checks, you end up with about 300+ echoes worth of loot. Plus the story is cool. AND you can get a mascot from it.

You can only do it once though (afterwards the rats at Pigmote will give you a barrel of fuel when you stop by, but the detour isn’t worth it at the moment since it’s at least 1.5 barrels away from anything else anyway)

Of course, the margins are still very tight, if you’re unlucky on the trip you might end up spending your loot repairing and calming down when you get back to London. But it’s better than the Venderbight run, if you’re lucky you might end up with some extra trading money to start carrying honey up to Venderbight, and if it’s very early game it’s probably worth the risk. Plus it de-fogs a chunk of the South-East-ish chart, which I haven’t really found many other reasons to visit as yet. [/rambling]

ANYWAY, back to what you said, yes. Good. nods