Some thoughts on the overall echo discussion

Hello all, I’m new to the forums. I apologize if anything in this post is redundant, but I thought I’d chime in regarding the issues some players are having with earning money in the game. First, here is my position:

  1. Stories do not provide enough money consistently to save up for anything other than fuel and supplies.
  2. Fuel and supplies are consumed too quickly to set aside much money.
  3. The few options for decent income that exist (such as the Salt Lions run) force players who want to save up into grinding behavior rather than organic play.
  4. Ship upgrades are not as significant as one would expect given the time it takes to acquire them.

Second, here are my thoughts on how these concerns could be addressed going forward:

  1. More Stories should provide echoes as rewards. Alternately, there could be more opportunities to select rewards.
  2. Fuel and supply consumption rates should be modified by a stat. Some officers provide bonuses, but player captains have no bearing on this.
  3. If the developers don’t want to allow a stat to adjust consumption rates, it would be nice to have opportunities to add bonuses to officers over time, whether that’s through direct purchase (using secrets as the currency) or through Stories and Events.
  4. The Ironclad Will should automatically allow 50% of a captain’s wealth to be passed on to the heir. The starting options that do so now would therefore provide 100% bonus wealth if combined with an Ironclad Will.
  5. Opportunities to acquire boosts through Stories. This might be new equipment or special buffs. The Unterzee is full of strange magic and science, yet there doesn’t seem to be any equipment outside of London.

These are just a few ideas that I think might push the game a little more towards where it should be. It’s difficult to push past a certain point without upgrades, but the game’s systems make it very time-consuming to save up enough money for that. To save up money requires a great deal of grinding, which undermines the game’s exploratory themes. It makes the game feel more repetitive than it needs to.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Same thoughts as always, which is that I was able to amass a financial buffer without ever sitting down to engage in grinding, and that was before Failbetter added in new fuel sources and new stories. And as always, that I stayed with the starter ship for most of my current playthrough before finally upgrading to Frigate to fulfill certain storylines.
edited by Fretling on 2/9/2015

[quote=Fretling]Same thoughts as always, which is that I was able to amass a financial buffer without ever sitting down to engage in grinding, and that was before Failbetter added in new fuel sources and new stories.
edited by Fretling on 2/9/2015[/quote]

What did you do, then? I finally managed to get a good buffer by doing the Salt Lions run a number of times (it spawned about a minute away from London in my last map) but, if I interpreted it correctly, it dries up after you deliver a load to the Grand Geode. And even then an upgraded engine just meant I was burning through fuel at a ridiculous rate. That captain died to a mutiny out at zee, but I don’t see how I could do that well again without a similar period of grinding the same Story.

Stories do not provide enough money, individually but summedwith port reports (that give a bit of money and a bit of fuel), occasionally zea-monster and ship, random event and a bit of trade, it’s enough to ammass wealth. Slowly.

There are several ways to reduce fuel/supplies consumption, turning your light off, don’t use turbo, NEVER sail with full crew, kill every auroral megalops and butcher it.

Currently speaking there are SEVERAL profitable trade, some are time/event limited, some not.

Just a couple examples:

Wine to Goodfall, it’s really time limited, but it’s good. Every 5 wine, you get 150, that’s 9 echoes each.
Salt’s Lion it’s another (and it’s a pretty good quest chain).
Buying Darkdrop Coffee in Adam’s Way, Port Carnelian, Iron Republic (just certain days) for 38 or in Khan’s Heart for 40 and selling them in London for 44 echo each.
The same Coffee turned into Parabola-Linen in Irem and sold back to London or Adam’s Way for 60-63 (you turn a 38/40 item in a 60-63).
The same Coffee sold in Vienna for 80 each (it’s time/event limited)

Smuggling Sunlight to London or Isle of Cat.

Smuggling Prisoner Honey to London for 900, 999 or 1000 (depending on event) or to Venderbright for 700.

Sapphire in Port Carnelian for 86, sold back at Polythrem or Chelonate for 95/99.
Stygian Ivory from monsters or from Chelonate/Khan’s Shadow at 26, sold back in Polythreme for 30.

Clay man from Polythreme to London, 6 hold space for 120 echoes.

Some trick with food (you could buy when you are in surface for 5, ore in other place for 18 and sell them back for 25 in Iron Repubblic in certain days or for 20 at Abbey Rock.

And there are other ways so…

I’m not sure what strategies people are engaging in that provoke the lack of fuel/supplies I see people complaining about. And perhaps that’s just me and my 15+ captains that are dead/retired now giving me a fine-tuned knowledge of the Zee, or maybe people are approaching the game from a dramatically different viewpoint than I have.

It took me until my 5th captain to feel like I understood the Zee, that I knew how to make consistently good choices in how I embarked on my travels. Then the game proceeded to swat me upside the head and it was a bad run of 5 more captains before I got my bearings back under me and started actually -winning- the game.

There were a couple deaths where I ran out of fuel, but that was greed on my part - not lack of funds (trying to visit ONE MORE ISLAND before going to the port I knew would have fuel).

Every Port Report (with a couple exceptions) is worth a fuel and enough coins for a crate of supplies. Additionally, the first port report for each island gives a point of Admirality’s Favor which is worth 2-3 fuel (or a 76e discount off repairing your ship for 3).

There are 3 ports (Avid Horizon, Nuncio, Visage) which will give you 1000e items in a single visit, for nothing more than a few fragments at most.

Getting a Scion is incredibly helpful - you might consider prioritizing it, as it carries on pretty much indefinitely. The benefit is that you can pick 2 options for “what to pass on” when you die - giving you access to 100% of the wealth of your previous captain if you met a messy end at a bad time.

Soo … I don’t know what to suggest except to go out there and die. Die poor, die rich, die beautifully, die miserably, die however you can as long as it leaves you more knowledgeable and more zee-wise than before. Your next of kin will be thankful.

Losing is Fun

&quotLOSE YOUR MIND. EAT YOUR CREW. DIE.&quot it’s not a menace, it’s a gamestyle :p
edited by Frenzgyn on 2/9/2015

I didn’t upgrade my engine, because I learned about the fuel consumption from a previous ill-fated captain. I was informed about the profitability of the Salt Lions, but rather than grinding (which is capped anyway), I simply incorporated it into my journeys. I used the Admiral’s commissions and the Blind Bruiser’s requests to motivate me to go out and explore – not too far, and I wasn’t too bothered about the Admiral’s commissions if I couldn’t find the place in one go, but I’d head out in a general direction, try to go a little past whatever I’d done before, and loop back around to hit Polythreme and the Salt Lions on the way home while Sphinxstone was still being ferried.

Strategic information is 150 echoes. The Blind Bruiser pays 200. Clay Men pay 120. Salt Lions nets 300. On top of that, I was stopping by every island to collect port reports and check for new stories, some of which netted me valuable items like Searing Enigmas, Captivating Treasures, Scintillack, yet more Strategic Information, etc.

And most importantly, I wasn’t actively trying to get rich or save up for upgrades, so I didn’t have that &quotwatched pot never boils&quot experience.

[color=#c2c2c2]I think part of the issue in the early game is simply playstyle - knowing what risks to take and how to zail. I can pretty reliably build up a decent profit with the starting ship and equipment, investing in officers and reaching the distant corners of the zee to at least start the major questlines. I couldn’t say exactly how I do it… I guess make a few initial forays into the fog of war around London to scope out what islands are nearby, then start planning voyages that take me to as many islands as possible (for Port Reports and thus free fuel), include Iron Republic or Mt Palmerston for a cheap refuel, Aestival or the Mangrove College for free supplies, and whatever points I know will involve a quest payout - for instance, taking wine from the Isle of Cats to Godfall, or taking a Hunting Trophy or an Ambiguous Eolith to the Principles of Coral, or, of course, picking up Sphinxstone on the way home. One specific tip would be not to dither about in circles, wasting fuel - if you’re exploring, set a course and stick to it until you, or your zee-bat, sight land. Once you know the routes you want to take, stick to them. If you’re low on fuel, flee rather than fighting, unless you’re sure your enemy will have some you can take.[/color]

Yeah i’m really confused by a lot of this because I’ve been swimming in cash after my first few loops.

Although i did have a friend who didn’t realize they could pick up multiple port reports, or friends who take a very conservative approach to exploring, so maybe there’s an issue about signposting that. (Although on the other hand, the game does say repeatedly: “Explore further out it’ll give more profits” so idk)

In celebration of release I decided to start a new captain from scratch, giving up all legacies and starter perks from previous runs (I played a lot during Early Access).

I’ve made three trips out and back so far. I have purchased a better engine (the 1000 echo version) and a better deck gun (500 echoes) and have about 3000 more echoes in the bank. I’ve found two Neathbow items for the Curator. I have completed one of the officer quests, I’m most of the way through a couple of others and starting on a couple more. (I’d have had a second officer quest done as well, only I spent too many secrets on stat increases). I’ve played a lot of chess in the Principalities, dropped off several paid passengers, and various other things. I’ve retrieved 3 units of Strategic Information, two from the Admiralty commissions (the second sent me to the Chelonate, which took me two trips to find) and another from a port story somewhere. I have yet to run an errand for the Bruiser or the Merchant as neither have put in an appearance yet (which is a bit annoying, but I’m sure they’ll turn up).

Why can I do this, when newer players are struggling to make ends meet and ending up destitute on the docks? (Note: I had the same experience with my first few captains). In nautical terms: local knowledge. I have a pretty good idea of what’s out there and roughly where it all is. I leave port with a plan in mind, and I’m able to quickly adjust it based on what locations I find and in which order. I know most of the places where I can restock on cheap or free fuel/supplies (or even expensive fuel/supplies if the payoff is worth it) and I use this to extend my range, free up cargo space on the outbound trip, and access the more lucrative options in distant ports. Some of the money-making options I’ve discovered on previous captains turn out to be accessible quite early in the game if you know how they work, so I prioritize those on a new captain when I can. I have a good idea of where (and at what prices) most commodities are bought and sold, and I know a lot of ways to turn empty cargo space into extra income for various routes (north to south, south to north, west to east…) I know how a lot of the longer quest lines work and can assemble the prerequisites ahead of time, rather than waste trips going back to fulfill them.

Knowledge is power. Once your mental model of the world is sufficiently detailed, you’ll find you don’t lack for opportunities to make money. The goal of all early captains should be to improve your knowledge (in my opinion). It’s still my main goal as there remains plenty I don’t know about the game.

[quote=FogChicken1]In celebration of release I decided to start a new captain from scratch, giving up all legacies and starter perks from previous runs (I played a lot during Early Access).

Knowledge is power. Once your mental model of the world is sufficiently detailed, you’ll find you don’t lack for opportunities to make money. The goal of all early captains should be to improve your knowledge (in my opinion). It’s still my main goal as there remains plenty I don’t know about the game.[/quote]

I second this post. I did the same exact thing you did…use to have a mansion and tons of goodies…30 hours into the early access and gave it all up yesterday and started fresh to get the full experience. Very glad to see the tomb colonist grind is gone and that there is a cap on sphinx stone. Making money hasn’t been too hard especially since the port reports pay way more than they did. Terror is kind of a joke now, but with turning off lights to save fuel, it makes terror balanced with the times I’m bouncing from light buoy to light buoy or staying close to an island shore.

All and all, the game seems much more balanced and full since I last played in December.

One tip for new players that I’ve learned quickly with several near-deaths is when first approaching new islands do not go in full steam ahead with lights on or else you may have a difficult fight or find yourself starting another cap’n! Also it seems that when heading into the circle port now causes an enemy to leave combat…not sure how I feel about that, but definitely to be taken advantage of in hard situations.