They know I’ve pulled crews from the claws of the kraken,
saved kings and heroes coughed up by the surf.
They know the ship’s secrets, live under its sails,
and hail from empires who envy its worth.
But still they turn pale, blaming wind or rot ale,
when sharing a pint with one of my ghosts.
When Dread Prophecies launches on April 28, the Arcadian Seas will heave under the din of naval war. Crackling cannon fire and splintering masts will see eager captains and pirates make new fortunes diving into this game-changing expansion to life and adventure on the high seas.
With new ship customization giving rise to specialized traders, pirate-hunters, and privateers, expect new conflict and opportunities anywhere you find a prominent fishing location, fully-loaded merchant ship, deep-sea behemoth, or port to put ashore. Daily objectives will drive traffic across hotly contested waters, and entire fleets will vie for control of the Sea of Graves, Kraken, Freedich Island, and more.
Of course, it all starts with revamped ship features and components – read on to make sure you’ll leave (their) blood in the water and bounty in your hold!
Rigging for War
As a Dread Prophecies captain, you can build and tailor your ship’s speed, maneuverability, strategic abilities, and combat prowess with a slew of custom components. Choosing which to equip is a delicate process of managing components’ weight versus the power they pack, as well as knowing how each combat statistic influences battles at sea.
– The top speed of a ship is largely determined by its sails and, in the case of small warships, its point of sail to the wind. Some figureheads – like the Charred Bonekraal – provide a limited-duration forward speed boost, and certain ships come (or can be) outfitted with top speed abilities, including the The Growling Yawl and Clippers equipped with Sea Serpent Propellant. A higher top speed also increases the maximum potential damage you can inflict when ramming other ships.
– A good rudder influences your ship’s turning speed, which is very important when attempting to ram an enemy ship or circling for another pass while jousting. Cutting angles is also key during sea pursuits, making turning speed a definitive factor when attempting to engage or escape. In addition, certain figureheads give small warships the ability to execute snap turns (making your Clippers more nimble under the wheel than ever before).
– A ship’s default weight varies by class. The heavier a ship is, the slower its top speed (although the class difference, offset by sails, can be small). Components add to your ship’s overall weight and slow your vessel down. On the other hand, heavy components often provide increased HP, making your ship more durable as well.
– You can also equip a stealth-granting artifact known as a Shroudlight to temporarily remove your presence from opponents’ maps and confound their most trustworthy spotters. We’ll leave its uses to your imagination….
Sinking Ships … and Destroying Components
It used to be the only point of shelling a ship was to destroy it, and chances were good that it would survive if you couldn’t bring enough cannons to bear. Update 1.7 introduces a more comprehensive damage system that makes targeting a ship’s components key to combat, boarding, and more.
– In Dread Prophecies, a ship, its sails, and its cannons all have separate HP totals and may be damaged individually. You can destroy opponents’ sails to leave them dead in the water or disable their cannons to subdue them (each of these components must be individually repaired).
– Certain ship components like Armored Cannons provide resistance to Siege Damage. Equipping armored components is a good way to raise your ship’s effective HP and increase its longevity without deeply regrading individual items. Some figureheads augment your resistance, while the Beast figurehead helps shield your fleet by extending your siege damage mitigation to nearby allied Merchant ships, too.
– Dread Prophecies also introduces changes to collision damage that account for what you’re ramming and where you make impact. The sides and stern are the most vulnerable areas of a ship, while its bow and especially its keel have increased resistance to damage. (Note that the amount of damage sustained from running aground or bumping terrain scales based on the speed of the collision, but ships only take damage with terrain in PvP-enabled areas.)
– Finally, when a player ship is destroyed in combat it will produce an Ezi’s Fire that burns on the ocean’s surface. If your ship (or any ship for that matter!) travels over the Ezi’s Fire, it will regain a small amount of HP and you will be able to hot-swap ship components for 45 seconds.
Wetwork: All Hands on Deck
Of course your ability to sink the heaviest galleons and fastest scouts patrolling the open oceans has as much to do with your crew as it does the cut of your jib.
– Dread Prophecies will see players with typical Tank, Healer, DPS, and Support roles turning into Captains, Artillerists, Navigators, Scouts, and Crew members. (And not necessarily in that order!)
– Savvy captains and crew will experiment with character builds that support naval combat and help protect the ships they sail – and trust us, a good crew is second to none. In many skirmishes, it’s the unglorified offensive-line members who furl sails, activate Shroudlights, craft ammunition, repel gliders, and repair the ship who turn the tide of battle.
– Boarding parties can also carry the day, bringing ships to a crawl with sheer numbers alone. New in Dread Propheices, (most) ships carry an occupancy rating of 20 players. Each character over 20 (be they friend or foe!) over will over-encumber and slow your ship, and if at any given time 50 players have come aboard, it will lay dead in the water. The only ships that have higher encumbrance caps are the Growling Yawl (30/60) and the as-yet unavailable Enoan Galleon (50/100).
– Remember: You can regrade certain ship components all you want, but unless your group of scallywags can stand up to your foes, you’re only as good as your (unencumbered) escape speed!
The best part about naval combat in Dread Prophecies is that it will drive group engagements and pitched battles at an absolutely massive scale – even in the middle of anything-goes open water – no matter how many ships and bloodthirsty raiders you have at hand. It is the new conduit to control of Freedich Isle (as land ownership on and teleports to the island have been removed). And while there’s plenty of plunder to be had for lone wolves preying on vulnerable ships, but you’ll want to gather a host of wild-eyed friends and set to sea to rake in the new spoils of war!