View Full Version : Ship density seems kind of off

12-26-2013, 01:26 AM
I've just started the game (just finished the ship tutorial after sailing out of Nassau) and I'm having some trouble with the ship combat.

Specifically, the sheer number of hostile ships in the ocean is causing some trouble. Every time I engage a ship at least two more sail over and join the fight, which this early in the game generally means instant death. During the mission where you have to to plunder metal I got stuck in an endless conga line of brigs, where each time I disabled one another would appear and start attacking me. I had to go through five of them in a row before I could actually board one. Then on the way back a hunter got within range of me; I fired back just as a brig and a gunboat happened to be passing and they all piled on me at once.

Is there some strategy I'm missing here? I tried kiting a ship out into open water, but even then another brig just appeared and starting attacking me simultaneously. I get that the intention is probably for the player to engage in exciting multi-ship battles, but this early in the game when I'm weak and inexperienced it just makes sea combat feel like a frustrating grind.

12-26-2013, 01:31 AM
This is odd. I remember when I did this mission before (did it multiple times on multiple run throughs), the water was usually empty except for that one ship.

But I also stayed pretty close to Salt Key Bank. That might be why. Not sure on that though.

12-26-2013, 02:04 AM
The farther north you are, esp north east, the less traffic there is, but unfortunately the less valuable upgrade cargo.

There are a few strategies that help avoid this problem though.

1. Stay in the NE and plunder Schooners until you get wanted level 1 (1 full red crossed swords icon showing). Then 1 Hunter ship will come and it will be a Brig. Taking on one at a time isn't too hard and they almost always have metal. Repair if needed after plundering the Hunter. Choose reduce wanted level only when your wanted level gets to two full red crossed swords or slightly more. Then you will stay at 1 Hunter Brig coming for you.

2. Once you get enough metal and wood to upgrade the hull, cannons, etc, let it go to wanted level two. This is typically two Hunters, but can vary from a Gunboat or Schooner and a Brigg, to the occasional Brig and Frigate. I think it scales not just randomly but according to your ship level (upgrades). Disable the weaker one quickly, but avoid sinking it, and wait and use it for repair if you need to after taking on the bigger one.

3. Take over weaker forts and stay just beyond mortar range. That way when Hunter ships come you can retreat to the fort if you need to and it will help you fight one while you take on the other. You may lose all or half the cargo of the other one this way though if your fort sinks it. It's really only a fail safe to avoid desyncing when you're in trouble. Note however that you CAN disable a ship that has been attacked but not sunk by your fort, but now and then the fort will have shot some cannons after you'd disabled it and it still sinks. More often than not though, if I disable a ship my fort attacks, I can board it. The trick is in disabling it right after the fort takes a round of shots at it, then the fort AI are triggered to stop before the next timed firing of rounds.

4. Hone your naval combat tactics. Approach ships from behind if possible and fire at their back side, which is weakest. Chase cannons (chain shot) will damage masts and sails and momentarily stun ships, which is a good way to slow them down before attacking their hull. Stay close to bigger ships to avoid their mortars, and always brace to avoid cannon fire if you can't maneuver away from it in time.

Fire barrels if used well are also very effective. They can add a fair bit of damage to Brigs and are an excellent tool to pin ships in a certain spot before you come about to fire. In fact fire barrels if placed in front of an approaching ship will often have them near immobile longer than stun shots from the chase cannons, esp if they're placed right where a ship is about to turn. I've many times seen them stuck there trying desperately to steer away from them while not moving forward.

If high seas or full on storms hit, don't panic. Often times you can use them to your advantage by protecting yourself while re-positioning via staying in a trough between two high waves, or maneuvering such that a water spout hits the enemy and not you. Keep in mind that though the game states you cannot let go of the wheel in storms, you CAN in fact still board and repair once in an incapacitated ship's boarding zone, and even fast travel to escape. Sometimes the game can make you think you can't board in a storm. I've often times seen the boarding zone disappear, but if I persist it will let me board anyway.

12-26-2013, 03:27 AM
It is quite the pain in the *** when you're near or around Jamaica. Damn Brits keep coming and it's not gunboats or schooners, Brigs are rare as well. It's mostly Man 'O War's and Frigates.

But with this high ship density comes the rare but awesome naval engagment between a massive British Fleet and a massive Spanish fleet. you can usually see these battles West of Jamaica.

I fought alongside the British(I RPed as a privateer in this situation) which had about 5 Galleons, 8 Frigates, 3 Brigs, 5 Schooners, and a single gunboat, facing us were about 8 Galleons, 3 Frigates, 4 Brigs, 7 Schooners and I think 4 gunboats. I saw a civi boat get demolished by a broadside from a Galleon..... If you have the hardware to handle it. I suggest grabbing pop corn and going West of Jamaica to watch a big naval battle.

12-26-2013, 03:42 AM
You can very effectively control ship density and hostility by where you sail and fort takeovers though. Even WITH all forts taken there are still a few restricted areas on the map, but they are weak by comparison because they lack the reinforcement strength. I think you'll find you also see more ally ships present once you control areas better via fort takeovers.

And for those of you whom haven't tried it, there IS an alternative to sailing the southern waters early on when you're tasked to go to Tulum. It involves taking over the one fort blocking your way from the NE directly north of it, which is a level 2 fort and has lots of defenses for a level 2, but due to the scripted event that happens, it's not hard to do.

Knowing where and how to do your Jackdaw upgrade plundering is a big part of what makes the game go smoothly, or frustratingly.