Three-phase Blightstorms (The Red Lady Dances)
(TL;DR: if you’re not a big fan of storytime, skip down to “The Big Idea” or skip the sections marked in italics.)
– INTRODUCTION –
I understand the necessity of blightstorms, and I’ve found it both fun and interesting that the developers have integrated a lore-friendly and natural-feeling way to alleviate intense strain on a server. The fear of a blight storm hitting and the thrill of escaping one have left strong and memorable impressions on my early experiences with the game.
I won’t soon forget the feeling of outpacing a quickly expanding storm as it engulfs my ship and the island I had once felt safe standing upon, blinded and deafened by its red winds and the distinctive crackling of red lightning as I grip the yoke and pray I have the right heading out of the storm.
It is always very frustrating to lose your hard work in a videogame to something which feels like it wasn’t your fault. It’s a very discouraging feeling and the WA community has lost players from such situations (like when a glitch deletes their ship, for example). I would propose that players are given some warning and a bit more leeway to escape an island when the blight hits. It’s my opinion that the players are entitled to some warning when their hard work and efforts are in jeopardy for a situation that they did not cause or had little to no control over, such as a blight storm.
I remember when I quite nearly lost my ship because I was slinking around in the depths of an island, far from its surface. I could not hear the crackling of the red lightning, but I could just barely, faintly hear the winds above. After a moment of trepidation, I abandoned my loot and killed my character off to respawn on the ship as it was caught in the middle of the storm. Thankfully, I’ve taken to “aligning the ship to warp,” where I always park the ship facing the quickest way out. I clambered to the helm and hit full throttle as large chunks of my ship were being devoured behind me. Had it not been for my precaution and paranoia, the whole ship would have been lost. Multiple players had an investment in our ship, the Doctor Barrel- not just me. I was the only one online, however, and was therefor responsible for preserving the efforts of multiple players. I would not consider it my fault if I had lost the ship that day; I had done everything correctly.
– THE BIG IDEA –
I’m thinking blightstorms should have three phases. The first is a warning, the second removes loose debris and forces players to change their approach to combat, and the third is just a normal, ship-eating blightstorm:
Phase one: Red storm clouds appear above and below the island, where they linger for a while. Gradually, they stretch out and meet in the middle to unite and form the proper shape of the storm. This phase is a warning and should last a minimum amount of time to give players a fair chance to notice it and sound an alarm.
Phase two: The storm is thin at this point and players can see well enough through it. The distinctive howling wind is not very intense yet and the distinctive red lighting can be observed while anywhere on the island, even underground. During this time, a few dense, skinny funnel clouds touch down and meander around the island amongst the chaos, moving towards and devouring loose debris and garbage lying around. They do not touch ships, but they will ignore shipyard bubbles. This phase does not have to be long nor consistent; it can be brief or endure a long time if it wants. If the server’s strain is alleviated at the end of this phase, then the blight is satisfied and dissipates instead of progressing to phase three.
During phase two and three, swivelguns, cannons, and firearms firing their projectiles will have those projectiles immediately swallowed up by the storm upon leaving the barrel. A spark of red lightning leaves the barrel instead, indicating to the player that their bullet/shot has been devoured by the storm. This forces players into melee and boarding tactics if they insist on fighting during this time.
Phase three: The winds become thicker and opaque, the arcs of red lightning become more frequent and the howling of the wind intensifies, and the overall size of the storm expands to envelop the entire island and then some; the blightstorm has become the huge, island-eating bastard we’re all familiar with. It’s at this point that the blight will harm ships, though I suspect that the priority system for ship components that is currently in the game would still be in place.
– IMPORTANT POINTS –
Increasing the time that players have to react to a coming blightstorm by lengthening the warning period prior to the storm eating their stuff. I understand the reality and necessity of the blightstorm, but I would ask that something be done so that innocent players- who aren’t making blightbringers or leaving their trash behind- are hurt less frequently by this system.
Distinctive and clear signs of a blightstorm should be evident while underground.
The blightstorm is not merely something to run from or hide in, it also influences the way combat plays out.
The time it takes to shift from phase one, the warning period, to phase three, the danger period, is unpredictable and players who insist on fighting under these conditions are taking a personal risk.
Phase three might never happen if the problem is resolved by the end of phase two, when the trash lying around is cleaned up.
– CONCLUSION –
I would love to see blight storms integrate themselves in way where they are almost welcomed by the players. I’d like to see them become an interesting dynamic in player interactions- something that would influence the way combat plays out. And while I think my proposal of blightstorms eating bullets and cannon fire would be an interesting and significant change, I wonder if there aren’t other ways in which The Red Lady could influence player combat. I would love to hear other people’s suggestions and criticisms.
I’ve only encountered the blight twice, and each time, I got away. So, I definitely remember being aware that it was coming.
I see. For me, I joined the game at a time when the servers were under some strain and blightstorms occurred very frequently. It would be that if I approached an island and saw two or three other ships, I would turn back because the risk was that great. It has since then quieted down.
Great idea, I really like phase two! 🙂
Blight Storms only need a Phase One : Clean up debris and discarded/unregistered ships.
Any similar mechanic which continues to affect active ships will ensure that the game never recovers from its current parlous state.
In fact, the sooner the Blight is eradicated entirely and junk simply erodes over a short period of time the better.
If the devs are not prepared to upgrade the back-end it would be best to wipe the servers for good.
RitchieJ, it’s okay to speak openly here. No need to mince words! Tell us how you reaally feel!
Not being aware of blight forming when being deep in a cave seems logical to me.
How is it that you always think of such great ideas? You have like every single idea on the feedback and suggestions, and they’re all great!
Bossa should hire you.
@crazyinsaneguy Thank you! I appreciate that. I adore game design.
And they don’t need to hire me when I’ll just spit ideas at ’em for free!
The Red Lady, huh… you could make a religion out of this.
The Red Lady, huh… you could make a religion out of this.
A religion? You mean like some sort of cult?
Yeah, a technology averse cult of sorts, or at least not keen on intruders.
There is an alliance called the Cult of the Red Lady.
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