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Lets try to keep the flamefests out. No "POTBS suxxorrzzz" or "no crying in the red zone" stuff here. There's a reason I goto these forums. You find people who care about games a lot here, and give ideas that are "out of the box" and many times won't be seen on the regular forums. Some of these ideas no doubt are, but some aren't.
Based on what I see, let me try to give a summation of some of the gripes, this coming from someone who is overall satisified with the game.
1.) Melee Combat is Borked.
I don't think even fans of the game can dispute this. Melee combat was clearly and afterthought in this game. Some will say "well this is being addressed in a future patch", but are you going to say people are not within their rights in saying that's sloppiness and laziness, especially for a game that was years in production?
2.) Small World
Right now the world is just too small, not a lot of exploration. As one critic said, you can get anywhere within 60 minutes. Now personally, this may not be a "negative" thing. I think the real problem would be a lot of the areas currently are not very well developed. Yes the game has a lot of ports, but these are small places. I think again this comes from adding exploration with avatars in as an afterthought. Personally I'd be for fewer ports, if those ports were wide and expansive. SWG had 9 planets, but those planets had a lot of area to them.
There are still a strong amount of bugs that are just unacceptable. Yes, all MMO's will have bugs. Yet rubber banding in ports is a fact of life. Today's patch, they borked, and as a result, ALL servers are now down for 12 hours. If such an unfortunate event should happen like this, players need to be credited with time. Knock a bit off the monthly fee. Yes it's something small, but it shows that if they mess up bigtime, they will not force you to pay for the full product.
4.) PvP ganking
Ganking is an unfortunate fact of life in any game that involves PvP. Anyone who says you can make a PvP game without any ganking is a hopeless idealist. The question then becomes: What mechanics are in place that encourage/discourage ganking? Right now, one cannot deny, this game has certain elements that encourage ganking. If a PvP fight starts, you can have people hang out in port, and make it there within 30 seconds, and it becomes a 6 on 1 fight. If their allies get stuck in the wind, and make it there in 31 seconds, tough. There are things on the forums that suggest, for example, quickly engaging an NPC and outrunning the NPC, then using your ad-hoc invisibility to get out of there. From someone who likes this game, that is absolute laziness, and based on current mechanics, darn near an exploit. You shouldn't be forced to use what sounds like an exploit to avoid getting ganked. There are two ways to fix this. Make it so you for the first minute when you come out of port, you can neither engage or be engaged. Or, do away with the 30 second timer.
Pirates are being forced to compete as a fourth nation, expecting to engage in battles where it's their ships versus national ships of the line. Such is hardly realistic. The thing is, I'm not entirely sure how to fix this. This was a bad design flaw.
The economy is heading towards massive inflation and overstocking of goods. There is no authenticity to an economy. at an auction house, you can never have a clue who you are dealing with. Freetraders have little to no economic advantage over a naval officer. An officer in a royal navy should not be an economic powerhouse. He should be a naval powerhouse. At the rate it is going (at least on my server), all British port battles will have first or second rates within two months. This will not only shut out non-naval officers from any port battle, but most naval officers. Make goods more scarce by making production more scarce. Economics at its heart is the utilization of scarce goods that have alternative uses. Within 2 months, no goods will be scarce. The items that are of greatest worth now will be commonplace soon enough. This is not a viable economic strategy for a game.
I have tried to give a "fair and balanced" account, and suggest possible solutions. I think a lot of these would not be huge changes. Some people will not like these changes. Even though I like this game, I can understand and appreciate the bind FLS has put themselves in.