So today I suicided *minor spoilers*

…ingame that is, duh…

Why, you may ask. Simply put, I wanted to try something new. I did it by driving my ship into a whirl-pool(?), and even that was a disappointment. My frigate sat there for about 5 minutes before it finally gave in. (whirl-pools really needs an instant death mechanic)

This might come off as a tad negative, and maybe that’s right, but I truly have enjoyed this game a lot up to this point. When I first booted up the game (Steam-release), I instantly fell in love with the atmosphere and what felt like a desperate battle of managing fuel, money and staying away from monsters while rising terror was a constant threat. The story was also captivating, artwork top notch, and exploring and discovering new ports was always fun.

That being said, I quickly learned my way on the Zee, and by the time I’m writing this I have a frigate (the Dreadnaught didn’t really interest me), the biggest house, and a healthy bank account. …or actually, I &quothad&quot when I come to think of it.

Since after a quick read on the forum and seeing that trading Sunlight is the &quothot topic of the day&quot, I might as well mention that I found out about this too, although on my own. I found out about this &quotexploit&quot a tad late though, so 1 trip was more then sufficient for me even if I didn’t really need it… guess I had to test if my math really did add up, since it seemed too good to be true at the moment. I did realize the possible game breaking effect, but I also asked myself why bother shipping whine to Godfall any more when one trip saves me a lifetime of grinding - and honestly, I don’t think it did break the game for me either.

Trying to get to my point here, I think my main issue with Sunless Sea is that it really doesn’t lead anywhere in terms of the gameplay itself. Sure, the different storylines progresses as well as some being extremely captivating (Godfall almost doomed me due to me pressing my luck and running out of candles while sitting on the edge of my chair pressing &quotventure further into the dark&quot), but the world itself seems, in lack of a better word, dead. Even if you do all the stories, the ports and the enemies/world stays more or less the same. As I said earlier, as soon as you learn the do’s and don’ts in the game, you can easily*ish do the entire game in the starter boat. This makes me almost think that I might aswell be better of reading a good book, that way I don’t have to wait for &quotdowntime&quot between the &quotchapters&quot.

I might be expecting too much from the game, and I know the main purpose of this game is the story, which again is superb, but I really hoped this would also offer those exiting moments while actually sailing my ship. You know, getting upgrades making you able to venture deeper into unknown territory and still feel the sense of danger, outsmart you opponents (I really don’r feel smart tailing and killing Mt. Nomad for 10 minutes *yes, I know about the weapon and ammunition) and so on. Writing that last sentence also made me realize that I might as well have written &quotlike FTL&quot, so yes, I might be &quotbarking&quot up the wrong tree here.

I haven’t really touched onto the specific game mechanics, but I see they are more or less covered in other posts. I will though mention the combat, which somewhat improved from the initial state, still feels like it is massively lacking. Pressing one of the turning keys (read; stay behind and close to you enemies) while pressing 1 and 2 isn’t really that much different from what we had before. Being able to yell out &quotFIRE LEFT BROADSIDE!&quot right before you smash your forehead on the keyboard watching your ship cringe to the force of several 24 pounder cannons firing at once, would however, be a step in the right direction to sort this out.

Enough ranting on my part. My two dimes (or should I say Echoes) on the game. And if it didn’t quite reach trough, I still had a great experience playing it.

  • V

I think the world itself is so much bigger than the player, that there’s not a lot you can do to change its course–at least, not yet. This is the case in Fallen London as well, though the most powerful players are getting to the point where they might be able to steer things a bit. The game is more about what happens to your captain, than what affect you have on the world. That said, more noticeable effects from supremacies, reputation, etc. would be nice. And a better log (or any log besides the number lost at zee) of past captains.

Have you read a good book recently though? Usually they have multiple chapters of downtime in order to build up suspense, which is exactly what time at zee is meant to do (whether it does it or not is another question entirely). The stories here are much more compressed by comparison.
edited by Olorin on 2/17/2015

I like to think of it as a journey more than a story, because a story would need to be different every time to keep it interesting, and I’m still playing through this with 200+ hours on and I’m still enjoying the journeys that I’m on, I still find that I’m hoping that the colonists won’t go from Polythreme to the Chelonate, still like working through the spiders storylines, and while combat is not longer the scary thing it used to be, I’ve set up my captains so that it isn’t going to be. I find that if you play it against the style that you want to play/the atmosphere you want to invoke, you’ll get less out of it, and in that, it’s like any book (new updates on In Iron Clad coming soon), in that you can’t expect that everything lands all at once, that’s not a book, that’s a film, and this game plays much more like a book than it does a film.

Regarding combat, I suppose it’s plain, not very involved and somewhat out of touch with actual pre-dreadnought naval combat of the Victorian era. While the game doesn’t take place in the Age of Sail and doesn’t deal in conventional, separate broadsides (with tiny 24-pounders), the handling of mounts and arcs in Sunless Sea is rather ignorant and cluelessly gamey. It’s bizarre that even the bigger ships can only have one deck gun (Merchant Cruiser excused), and that each weapon can only be placed on a single, specific mount. Fixed fore and aft guns are also baffling and illogical for the time period. Sunless Sea’s current conception of naval combat makes as much sense as Age of Sail combat centered around chaser (forward) cannons.

The larger warships (Frigate and Dreadnought) should have (at least) two deck mounts, one fore and one aft, with 180+ degree arcs, plus individual port and starboard mounts with ~90 degree arcs. The big guns would fit in either deck mount, and lesser guns on the side mounts. The intersection of arcs would coalesce into a modern broadside, with both deck guns and one side mount being able to fire on a single target at a time. It’s the essence of the contemporary Crossing the T tactic. A Dreadnought could have more deck mounts, and a different, hypothetical warship could have a more exotic configuration of mounts (i.e. two fore deck guns).

I suppose I can dream, but I’m not sure Failbetter would be interested in fundamentally changing combat again…

As for past captain logs, you’d think that would’ve found its way into the game by now, given the importance the game places on dynasties. A “Hall of Fame” would ideally contain information about previous captains: their name, their portrait, their last command, their time spent at sea, a blurb describing their accomplishments and how their career ultimately ended.

I like the idea of broadsides, particularly for any of the larger ships, and I would be cheerful for the idea that the targetting isn’t simply build up a firing solution (Red October style) and then fire and guarantee a hit, but actually trigger the cannon when the target comes across the bows, but that’s the gunbunny in me. I agree absolutely with the idea that the larger combat vessels should have 360 arc (and illumination for that matter), as presently the rear weapons are useless to the point of being obsolete on every captain I’ve had for three months.