Atlas’s new lead designer admits the MMO has ‘struggled to find its sea legs,’ plots new course

    
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If you put any great measure of weight to Steam user reviews, the fact that Atlas is sitting on mostly negative reviews at the time of this writing is probably disconcerting and further solidifies that the sandbox MMO has had a rough go of it since hitting early access last year. That’s not just assumptions from random user reviews, however; that’s also the admission of Erik Waananen, the game’s newest lead designer, who took the helm in the recent Captain’s Log update to introduce himself and provide assurance that Atlas can right its ship.

“I think we can all agree that Atlas has somewhat struggled to ‘find its sea legs’ since its initial Early Access launch in December,” wrote Waananen. “My job will be to help the game get its bearings and — together with the rest of the dev team — work with a singular mission in mind: Make Atlas the ultimate pirate experience.”

While Waananen admits that there is a lot of work to reach that goal, he thanked players for their ongoing support and constructive feedback, and announced a special developer livestream this coming Wednesday, August 28th, which will reveal an entirely new roadmap for Atlas and address a number of player concerns and questions regarding the piratical sandbox.

As for updates in the game as it stands now, Blackwood has a big snake problem in the form of Anacthyon. As you can see in the picture above and from the dev blog itself, Anacthyon is a very big nope rope and is presumably full of the hurt juice considering his fangs. That same dev blog also has a link to a Q&A thread, live game patch notes, and PTR updates as well. Feel free to click through, just mind the very big snake.

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2Ton Gamer

The game is fun, but I play on unofficial. No way I’d play the map as intended. The game needs more PvE elements which are supposed to be coming. They also need to do like Conan Exiles and do small dollar expansions for things like new boat skins, building materials, outfits etc. The modding community also needs to be embraced and promoted more. That helped Ark through dark times.

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Robert Mann

Maybe if they made it have more purpose in what you do… because I’m all for building cool stuff and such, but the rest of the game is tragically lacking.

It’s not that the rest of things are bad, so much as that the exploits, bugs, lack of interesting things to go do around the world, ports of call mattering, and very little actual pirate stuff make it seem like your typical survival experience with other people than anything cool.

There’s some good stuff in there, if it was adapted to a fun adventure. The problem is that the world doesn’t lead itself to adventures, and the community has little reason to care about each other beyond the rare animal trade or boss grouping. Which means it is a survival resource gathering game, with a little base building, and admittedly some cool ocean stuff (and some stuff that is janky as all get out). I can play games with just as much base building that are more focused on fun, and the ocean stuff is currently just not enough to make this a better choice with all the other downsides.

It’s not really a bad game, it just has some very big issues to overcome if it is going to be a good game… some of which are on the identity crisis level.

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Fisty

Every time I play, I get a nice ship going, sometimes 2, then some rando shit destroys my ship and I cry and I stop playing.

Reader
partiesplayin

`less sandbox and more rpg is what this game needs. Work on NPCs and the like. Make this a living world, not a barren wasteland .

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Robert Mann

A good bit more pirate and rpg would help a lot, true enough!

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Kickstarter Donor
Java Jawa

less survival gameplay more arrr matey adventures would go a long way IMO

laelgon
Reader
laelgon

The #1 problem Atlas has is that 95% of the gameplay is just gathering resources on land, 4% is raiding or defending on land, and 1% is actually sailing around on ships. Even at launch when the game was populated, you’d almost never see other players sailing around, and ships were so easily destroyed that no one wanted to risk losing one in combat.

The first step to making it a pirate game is getting people out sailing around.

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Kickstarter Donor
Darthbawl

Kudos to you for your numbers actually adding up to 100%. Some people would have spouted out numbers that did not = 100%. 🤣

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

This reminds me of when Star Wars Galaxies launched… without starships. :D

Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

Was that a big deal at the time?

I never even think of ships when I read about Star Wars Galaxies honestly. The screenshots shared never have anything to do with ships. The people who reminisce in stories about how much they loved the game never seem to mention starships that I’ve seen.

In fact it usually sounds like they’re living the life of Uncle Ben when they talk about it instead of someone doing exciting Star Wars stuff. Not that that is really super horrible, but I imagine it would have been like hearing Lords of the Rings Online was coming out and then when you went to play it you found out that you were going to be living the life of a support farmer from the wings and that only a few privileged farmers who did extra good at farming would earn the right to wield magic. And then that magic-wielding character had permadeath active.

Farming games can be pretty fun as well, as long as you know you’re getting a farming game (I’d love a Stardew Valley type MMORPG). When you make an MMORPG based on a massive action IP and it turns out you’re living the life of a farmer on the fringes (when the game wasn’t announced as a farming game) I could see how it would upset people. Especially at a time where not nearly as many MMORPGs had existed and people weren’t really quite as ready for a toiling moisture farmer simulator.

I think we would be ready for one today though as long as we knew what we were getting beforehand.

Anyway, I never hear people talk about starships in SWG, so I never think of that game as having had them.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Yeah, it was a big deal that it didn’t have ships at launch. People complained incessantly about that (as they should), and it’s why the game’s first year and change was so ground-oriented and why a lot of old-school players remember it that way. Once the game got the Jump to Lightspeed expansion with ships and shipwrights, those complaints went away. JTL remains the best off-rails space dogfighting in the MMO genre, to this day. It’s that good.

Just fyi, the majority of players weren’t involved in the farming or crafting in the game. Most people did ground combat and PvP. Plus “farming” in the game consists of putting down a machine and letting it harvest things for you for days while you’re doing something else. But the game’s high-quality economy and crafting definitely set it apart.

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Schmidt.Capela

The economy and crafting were a big part of why I went with WoW instead, despite liking the Star Wars franchise far better back then. SOE was aiming for heavy interdependence between the players, with the crafting and economy models as a cornerstone of that, and I utterly hate depending on anyone.

Besides, I really prefer when my character doesn’t have to sacrifice combat prowess in order to achieve the highest available levels of crafting skill.