I'm hoping that a ship trading overhaul can come up on the Garden's to-do list at some point soon. Ships are such a great part of the game, but so many aspects of sailing rely on people having reasons to sail frequently. Hunting and fishing create some traffic, but sea trading used to drive the majority of sailing. I would love to see more vibrant seas, with more opportunities for piracy and fighting against pirates, and I think having good ship trades will create that again without unbalancing the economy or creating a flood of gold.
The main issue is that 70% of the ship trades are hugely unpopular. People wait around for the attractive trades and do them in droves, and ignore the unattractive ones. (The "attractive" trades are personal gold trades that start and end in the same harbour.) In the last 3-ish years, none of those attractive trades have come up. I'm hoping that's because the Garden is looking into what's happening with trading and maybe they will consider some ideas here!)
Possible fixes -- What do you all think? Other ideas? How can trades be attractive for people to do and drive sea traffic without generating massive amounts of gold?
- Update the items people can earn for the item ship trades. Bring back an old mini-pet that hasn't been seen in decades, or an old bazaar item, or a random talisman piece. Add more of an element of chance. Few people do the trades for hats or amulets, occasionally people do the kitten and bird trades, but most people who want those have them and there's not a big market for them. Some of the short trades would see more sailing if there was a chance, even a small one, for a rare item.
- Remove the ship/personal trade distinction and overhaul the trades to make them all ship trades. That would remove the ability for people to "farm" trades by recruiting people to accept/complete. There could be gold trades more often without flooding the economy with gold. Instead of a situation where people do no trades for five months and then make 500k+ in one month, even it out a little bit.
- Add some gold/bound credit trades that are higher value and require a strider or galley to hold enough starting cargo. I'm thinking something in the neighborhood of 400-500k trades for spices, gems, or tabac. These should be fairly rare but would be good opportunities for people to make gold and also good incentive for pirates to lurk around those starting and ending ports, which might motivate people in larger vessels to train in ship defence and sail with a crew instead of alone.
- Unrelated to trading, could we pretty please have more ship races??