So, I’ve been playing Sunless Sea for a few weeks now (bought it after the RPS article), and I must say I’ve been very much enjoying this game. I’ve been lurking on the forums for a while, but now I finally have something worth mentioning.
I have been enjoying the path to release, and I think that the most recent update to be a very encouraging step in the direction of complete. However, one (or two, I guess) things have slipped in that have unbalanced the experience for me quite severely.
Spoilers for those who so wish them.
The first one is rather minor, and in fact may have been in for a while, that being the ability to smuggle red honey into Fallen London from the Isle of Cats. with a purchase of 600 echoes and a sell price of 1000, you net 400 for each smuggled item. This is probably fine given the distances.
However the ability to carry multiple units of honey means you can sit outside port waiting for SAY and stock up on honey, which does not take up cargo space. Given the fairly large amounts of echoes to be made here, and the ease of avoiding the customs men (by not entering London with SAY), I find this to be a bit much. Also, what the game is essentially doing here is rewarding and encouraging you to not play it, which is bizarre. My suggestion would be to only allow purchase of red honey if you do not have it in inventory, cutting down on the potential for abuse.
There may also be something to be said for looking at the behavior of customs in London, in my opinion it shouldn’t be tied into an easily predictable or avoidable key, like SAY.
The second, far more significant issue is the ability to smuggle sunlight into the Isle of Cats. One mirror-catch box costs 200 echoes, can be filled with sunlight in two different places for free, and can be sold in the Isle of Cats for 500 echoes. With a good veils skill you can often even keep the original box (I find that maxed out veils allows for about an 80% retention rate).
This is probably fine (if a bit generous) when taken alone, however the ability to purchase multiple mirror-catch boxes creates a very unhealthy system. With a Merchant Cruiser, you can fill up about 100 boxes at a trip. Considering the consumables and replacement boxes required, this allows for 40000-45000 echoes to be made every trip. The thing is, this system isn’t fun. You have lots (and lots) of monotonous clicking, running a route several times, then having to disassemble the whole thing after several hours. Then you have the somewhat dubious privilege of not having any money stress, and with the ability to purchase secrets in Irem, maxing out all of your skills.
For me, this results in having the underlying atmosphere that the game has been trying so hard to assemble completely ruined. I understand that this is a single player game, and there is nothing to stop me from editing the save data if I so wanted. However, having this ability in game just makes it too easy for me (and perhaps others like me) to feel obligated to do a non-fun thing to ruin the rest of the fun things. Blech.
Of course, the solution is simple. Have the mirror-catch box not purchasable at a store, but from an interaction that requires you to not have one in your inventory. That way you can still have this ability in, and still replace the box when it goes missing, but the potential for abuse goes away.
Anyhoo, love the game, look forward to playing more of it.
edited by Silver on 1/11/2015
edited by Silver on 1/11/2015