Now What? A Collection of Suggestions.

Well the final part of the Deep Dive was released today and all I can say is congratulations to Failbetter for getting more then 100,000 copies of Sunless Sea sold!
Of course after reading it and considering the Post-Mortem I started to think about what comes next for the Sunless Sea game. I know the Dev’s are planning on starting the Zubmarine Expansion pack soon and I can scarcely wait to hear about what they have planned for it.

But I was curious as to what other Forumgoers think could be done to make the S.S. experience more interesting and fun changes and additional content in the interim to help make the game better. People have been adding their two cents to what they’d like to see in the game for quite a while now. But I haven’t seen a proper thread merely for suggestions in a general sense…

Anyway, to start.
Right now probably the two of the major complaints the game has right are the games steep starting difficulty and the perception that the game while at Zee is to slow and boring.

The time at Zee thing is a legitimate complaint as really there’s not a lot to do other then read your logs, adjust your course and fight Zee Monsters and Hostile Ships and deal with the occasional Event Card.
Combat isn’t something you can fix in a weekly content Update or Story DLC and probably best left to handling in an Expansion Pack. But I do feel there are ways of making your time out Zee more exciting.

More then anything I love the little popup event cards that appear and have you deal with some sort of crisis or some sort of crazy oddness that you have to deal with. Many of these popups are locked into the Terror mechanic however or are rare enough that you might only see them a handful of times course of a game. Making long periods of time out at Zee pretty tedious.

I think a players time at Zee could be generally more exciting and memorable each time by including more and also more varied event’s occur. The game has a very robust qualities mechanic. So maybe if you have Unaccountably Peckish 1 it triggers an event cards that deal with you trying to fight off Cannibalistic Pangs. Or if it’s higher then that maybe you arrange a meal of long pork for the rest of the crew or for yourself?
Maybe add some more Nightmares and make them as interesting as the Fallen London Nightmares?

Maybe some Zee location specific event cards while in certain tiles?
I also think adding some Quests started by random Zee event cards might be wort a look into. Making the Zee more…Lively might also help? We see Neutral NPC Ships but can’t really DO anything with them. Maybe Blowing the Horn of your ship can make them slow down and let you dock. Or maybe some of them are dead in the water? Maybe sometimes when you dock with a ship you find that it’s full of Tomb Colonists on it’s way to to the Colonies and they would like some Wine before they get there?
Maybe a Ship has caught some sort of horrible plague and you need to decide if you try and help at the risk of losing your crew to the illness, burn the ship to prevent it from docking at a port and spreading said plague or tell them to get lost and keep going.

Maybe a ship is willing to trade goods for supplies. Or maybe vice versa?
There’s a lot of minor things that can be done to make the Zee more interesting…

The other problem is the difficulty curve. Especially at the beginning…This is much harder to address. But perhaps making some ‘Early’ Quests in the Tiles nearest to London would work? There are a bunch of Islands in and around London that don’t really have any quests attached to them or at the least don’t seem to originate from them. (Though they sometimes tie in with other Quests.)
Mutton Island, Shepherd Isles, The Iron Republic, Demeaux Island…There doesn’t seem to be many Stories attached to these places, plenty of Random Events or Options, but NOTHING…With regards to Places like Varchas, Adams Way, Nuncio, Port Carnelian, Port Cecil, Visage, Mt. Palmerston or even Pigmote Island. All of these places have interesting stories that has you keep going back to these places to find out what happens or what the hell is going on.
Adding in some early quests in these locations closest to London might make it for players to get their bearings. They’ll earn some Echo’s and get some items to sell and it’ll give them some direction to push farther into the map and provide some direction and even better reveal the histories and stories of these locations.

Some other minor things I’d want to see other then just these two things?
Just more quests and stories in general for the various Islands. (I think each location should have at least two quests or major stories to make them interesting.) The strongest aspect of Sunless Sea are in fact the stories and quests. Playing to the games strengths would be best…

What does everyone else think would be good suggestions or ideas?

One of the thing I’ve noted is that a number of island have a beach, meaning if you have a small rowboat, they should be accessible. That would be an easy way to add several locations to the game.

As far as the islands near London being more ho-hum, I think you have a point, but at the same time you want to encourage people to go further afield so…

I think this was mentioned in the post-mortem, that there was some conflict in design between genres, which I completely agree with. The rogue-ish aspects conflict with some of the RPG aspects.

If you focus on making the game more dangerous and dynamic, people have to repeat the same stories over and over.

If you focus on the RPG aspects, you are basically neglecting a huge part of the game, wills, leaving behind an estate, etc.

I think the ‘easiest’ transition would be to make this a rogue-lite in the same sense as Rogue Legacy. In Rogue Legacy you keep story progression, upgrades, etc. and start a new character. In Sunless Sea I think new characters should keep story progression, or at least parts of it. I think it should be much easier to leave money and items behind, there should be a sort of vault in London, along with say being able to select a few objects on the ship to save.

Now, along with this retaining of progression, I think it should be MUCH easier to die, and much more unavoidable even by a skilled player. The game literally gets safer than a commercial airliner, you can do infinite trade route runs and never die. There is simply no risk if one wants to avoid that risk (like fight Mt. Nomad).

Storms or other natural phenomena, tougher and faster enemies, much more extreme terror events, even at terror levels of 30+, deception and betrayal. Island events with much stronger repercussions for failure, including sudden death. And make more event choices mandatory upon landing, not always the choice of the player (although sudden death events should tend to be discretionary).

Traveling far to the east, north, or south should be much more dangerous, but always come with much greater rewards. Right now their is not much distinction between near to London and far to London. A skilled/well equipped player simply goes where they please, whatever location in the Zee requires their attention. If they want to do routine, safe behavior they should have to stick closer to London.

I could write more, but this is long as is. Hopefully it helps in a productive discussion.

[quote=Captain Ancalagon]One of the thing I’ve noted is that a number of island have a beach, meaning if you have a small rowboat, they should be accessible. That would be an easy way to add several locations to the game.

As far as the islands near London being more ho-hum, I think you have a point, but at the same time you want to encourage people to go further afield so…[/quote]

Well the thing about adding new locations to the Map would be as simple as adding new tiles to the Map and expanding it a bit (I’m surprised we don’t have Xibalba…Maybe next time?).