Pirate MMORPG Atlas steers away from hardcore mechanics with today’s balance patch

    
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Wildcard/Grapeshot’s sea-faring pirate MMORPG Atlas is gearing up for a massive patch this afternoon, and if you bought in to the early access, you’re gonna know what’s in it. The good news, at least if you agree with the studio that the whole “being a pirate” part of the game was “a bit more difficult and tedious than it needed to be,” is that many on those hardcore mechanics are being toned down.

For example, expect resource and taming speeds to increase, penalties for sailing against the wind to decrease, more weight capacity on ships, more trade ships on the sea with better trading, basic prebuilt ships for sale, cheaper ships, better taming, buffed tamed critters, neutral zone settings, more places to fill waterskins, 50 more levels to grind up, wimpier sea monsters and animals, retroactive loot scaling boosts, and no more griefing anchored ships with your stupid shovel.

Of course, if you’re running your own server for the game, you can set most of these stats to whatever you like.

“In all seriousness, we can be a bit overzealous at times, what can we say? We like it a little rough but we understand when things go too far, sometimes it just takes the fun out and that’s when we need to consider, is this piece of the puzzle really worth it? Sometimes aye, but also, sometimes nay! At times we should consider not punching people in the face when all they want to do is sail their raft and build a thatched home.”

“Please note: these changes are not the only thing we’re going to do,” Wildcard notes. “There will be a boatload of updates following v10 too, every few days another major drop. ATLAS launched as an Early Access title, and we are a highly iterative development team. We’ll continue to pump out patches to improve the game and get it where it needs to be!”

Update
Let’s make that “tomorrow’s” balancing patch, since it was delayed.

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Arktouros

Those are really more quality of life changes than really toning down how hardcore the game is. Based on ARK we know they will do a lot of quality of life changes over time.

One thing we can be relatively sure of is it’s incredibly unlikely they will ever really make the game less hardcore. In fact it’s far more likely given their constant iterative development style they will inadvertently add something completely and wholly unbalanced and people will abuse the ever living shit out of it to destroy, wipe, maim, harm and kill everyone off before they patch it. You see this in ARK all the time and it’ll happen in Atlas as well.

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Tee Parsley

There’s a PVE server for this, right? Any word on the experience there?

laelgon
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laelgon

Worse than PvP. Players will overcrowd your ship and sink you, and there’s nothing you can do about it. The PvP server is quickly turning into the PvE server. The big groups have formed a mega alliance that controls half the map and is expanding, driving smaller groups out of the game. In a month, it’ll just be galleons ganking noobs leaving the starter islands on rafts.

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Tee Parsley

Ah well, griefers and gankers will go to where it’s easy to grief and gank.

Sounds like a private server is the way to go, if Atlas is where you want to go.

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Robert Mann

Likely, although there can be hope that the developers learn and adjust the PvE side of things… given that these effects are apparently not intended. They just have other focuses at the moment (I’m expecting them to wipe by the end of February anyway).

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Robert Mann

Sadly there’s far too little land, far too many exploiting events as Laelgon noted, and… yeah. What we are left with is the fact that, as an MMO, it still needs time to realize that PvE needs more protections, PvP needs major exploits fixed (such as being able to just crawl inside a wall and remove anyone protecting a claim while asleep).

Many of these are likely good changes, but they do little to address the problems of the day. Currently these are the griefing and exploits as noted, and the prevalence of fire as the primary PvP weapon (it does next to nothing against any structure out there, but it kills players in 2 shots with decent aoe). Add to that effective infinite glide distance exploits (yet another bug/glitch).

It doesn’t take much work to find these issues either, as they are all over the forums, discord, and steam.

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Life_Isnt_Just_Dank_Memes

The one thing that keeps me from wanting to use my frigate more in BDO is that the sailing isn’t as fun in a game like Assassin’s Creed 4. Make the sailing easy, fast and fun. It was in Pirates of the Burning Sea.

I’m at the point where I don’t really want water ANYTHING on an MMO. It’s never done as well as it is in single player games and if you can’t hit that watermark of fun, what are you even doing?

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Armsbend

ehhh…I dunno. I dont want my sailing too easy (like Pirates!). Real life sailing is hard so I gravitate towards more complicated sailing in games. Diffrent strokes for diffrent folks.

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Robert Mann

It’s just wind, sail tacking, and rudder (if it exists). The entire thing is about people wanting to just go straight and fast. Good sailing still goes faster than poor sailing (tacking adjustments and even zig-zag motion are faster than just sailing against the wind).

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kgptzac

This is an interesting perspective. Grant I don’t understand nor play Atlas and I’m guessing it’s core theme is a pirate simulator. For all I know it’s probably more rewarding to get into Eve Online and be a pirate there than to dealing with all the unpleasantry from the pursuit of “realism”.

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Arktouros

There was a glorious moment in ArcheAge alpha where the ocean was fantastic. Instead of getting gold on same continent trades you got gold from cross continent trades. That meant every time a major port went to peace time you’d have a fleet of traders trying to make a run for money. This lead to a lot of different scenarios. You’d have cross faction fighting. Inter-faction fighting. Pirates fighting everyone. You even had people like me on Submarines scouring the ocean floor for packs people had lost on common trading routes. It was all pretty great. Combat itself was this whole balance of enough Clippers to slow down ships and enough attackers/defenders on gliders.

Then they went into beta, deployed the 2.0 patch, and it was all ruined. Such a shame.

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Ken from Chicago

It turns “Hardcore” isn’t nearly as popular a playstyle as its very vocal and very minor minority would have devs believe.

Right, WILDSTAR?
(Sorry, too soon, even I felt that.)

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Ironwu

It is never to soon to remind developers to look outside their own prejudices as it relates to MMOs. So many of them think that Hardcore PvP, Hardcore Survival, Hardcore whatever is popular enough to justify multi-million dollar and multi-year investments of time.

The vast majority of folks do not want to spend their free time in a slow, frustrating endeavor with little reward.

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Robert Mann

I think there are a fair few who like the idea of having slower rewards, more world and less constant fighting of mobs, etc. The problem is that nobody looks outside the “Hey, let’s appeal to the open PvP crowd!” at the same time.

Thus why PvE servers here excited many people… only to be a major problem as people realized there was not enough land, too many exploits that made the game all about griefing others to quit, and little response on those fronts as connection issues have been the primary focus.

I still believe that there’s a great need for diversity in games. I know plenty of people who would like a slower paced, long term game to mix with the faster combat pacing of their normal MMOs, or even just to call home. One with a focus on things other than being a murder-hobo. Where that is still something that needs a “Hey, look outside your predjudices!” for developers and publishers, that last line picks at slow/low rewards (which is subjective to begin with) which is not necessarily true. What tends to drive people away from games varies, but frustration and boredom are two big points. The fast paced reward centered games with nothing but combat tick those two points after a short time for me, and for quite a few others. That market exists… it just isn’t going to eat up games that are balanced in favor of griefing and ganking. Those games will continue to draw the locust PvP crowd as always, and then die.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

At some point developers are going to realize that “influencers” may stream their games and be hardcore professionals, but the 100,000 people watching them are sitting on their duffs watching them do stuff they can’t quite manage.

Who would you rather have playing your game, the 1 or the 100,000?

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Schmidt.Capela

If you find a way to get revenue out of the 100,000 watching, without needing that audience to even attempt to play the game, the correct answer would be the 1 :p

It doesn’t quite work that way, though, as the most popular games to watch tend to also be games that the audience feels like they could have fun playing. There is an audience for watching streams of punishingly hard games, sure, but it’s far smaller than the audience of more accessible games.

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Armsbend

Summit1G has boosted Sea of Thieves to a top 5 viewed game for a month (I suspect he was paid for it) and it no doubt translates into hard sales. The guy makes the game look fun and dynamic.