I just heard of the game yesterday, after discovering Fallen London a couple of days back. I bought Sunless Sea immediately. It’s taken my interest from WildStar, but… my excitement is dying out.
I love the story, but I can’t relax and enjoy it, since I’m constantly running low or out of echoes. The game mechanics are getting in the way.
When I first set out from Fallen London, I figured trade would be the easiest way to at least break even, covering costs of fuel and supplies, if not make a profit. A quick check of the wiki, though, showed me that almost nothing was profitable – the percentage of profit was eaten by fuel cost. Tack on the cost of reducing terror, occasional hull repairs, and hiring replacements when a defeated pirate ship was lost at sea with two of my crew, and I’ve practically been running in the red.
London’s staples should be worth more, the farther one moves from port. Distant ports should pay a premium for those staples, and should offer in return exotic luxuries that are worth more than the cost of fuel and supplies in London. Maybe a dynamic system of supply and demand could keep things a little bit randomized, but not too much, considering the enormous penalty for running out of fuel and supplies in the middle of nowhere.
The way it’s set up now, with everything either trading at a loss or a minuscule profit, I feel like I have no choice but to grind. Granted, I haven’t been gaming the Something awaits you in port mechanics, mostly because I’d rather explore than spend them all on a handful of potentially profitable random number generators.
After I’d played for a couple of hours, I recommended the game to my entire guild. Now, though, I’m having second thoughts. None of us really enjoy grinding, and that’s what this is starting to feel like.
I understand that money is this game’s timesink. That’s fine. But a good timesink becomes invisible to the player, because enough other things have the player’s attention – the world, the encounters, the lore, whatever. If the timesink is at the forefront of the player’s mind, it no longer becomes fun. It becomes a second job.