First of all, I like the overall difficulty and variety of the missions. I Like that they are all of the missions combined, it gives you a wide variety and demonstrates how far you've come as a Pirate Legend in that you've accomplished these kinds of voyages before.
However! There are a lot of things that can and probably should be changed for the betterment of the faction overall.
First, the frequency of Athena Loot needs to be looked at. Specifically, how about 75% of the loot from any given voyage is not athena loot. That's insane, bruv. Every time I'm doing an Athena voyage, the majority of the loot I get is a variety of normal skulls and chests from the OOS/Gold Hoarder missions, respectively.
If I'm doing Thieves Haven runs, I'm getting 85% gems. Don't get me wrong, I like gems, but that island is such a pain in the ass to navigate loot around for small loot pieces that most players (barring those who really need hunter's call rep) straight up leave the gems.
I did an Ashen Athena voyage and ended up with five pieces of Athena loot throughout the entire voyage, and one of them was the damn chest of legends!
Second, we need a greater variety of the types of voyages available.
Here's another problem:
Normal athena voyages are absolutely not worth your time. They take way too long and give barely any athena treasure. You spend half the time sailing all over the damn map because you can get a map and use it near devil's ridge and get sent up damn near near crescent isle. True story, happened to me.
Thieves' Haven run is the fastest for people who tap loot and leave gems. You can leave one person on TH while the others sail to the secondary islands and complete the tasks there, usually this results in a fairly fast accumulation of treasure items. While they're sailing and completing secondary tasks, the first person is collecting the loot where it can be gathered when the crew returns, and the moment they reach the next chapter, the first person starts by collecting items.
An additional advantage of this voyage is that you primarily only have to really learn one island. While don't get my wrong, I love the aesthetic of thieves' haven, the island gives me psychic damage when trying to fucking find that one pain-in-the-ass X.
Ashen Athenas are the best time-to-loot ratio as the islands tend to be much smaller on average, the gysers can nuke skeletons for you, and it's overall MUCH quicker than even TH runs if you have a competent crew, though the islands themselves can be annoying to deal with.
There needs to be greater voyage types and athena voyages should be roughly equal in their viability.
But even in the best case scenario, MAYBE 30% of the loot you get is athena treasure. This leads to the biggest problem of all: How long it takes to get Grade V Emissary.
An entire Athena voyage is rarely enough to get you grade 5, and considering how long it takes to do them on average, that's bullshit.
Whenever you find/tap treasure in an Athena voyage, it should at LEAST give you grade as if it was Athena loot. If you're gonna make it even more of a bitch to grind by making it hard to get athena treasure on an athena voyage, at least give us emissary grade for finding treasure.
Oh, and we should actually get a good amount of athena emissary grade for putting it on our ship. Right now, it's practically nothing.
And last, Player Satisfaction. This is one of the most important things in any video game, and as many memes have demonstrated.
It feels like garbage to grind for Athena because of the way it's currently balanced. Right now, to increase the grind:
Athena Loot is Rare
Athena Loot gives low reputation
Athena only has 20 levels of reputation
This is a bad strategy to use because it means you don't get much Athena loot to sell, so little progress, and the little progress you make feels even more inconsequential because you don't even get a level most of the time when finishing voyages for Athenas.
How to fix these problems
1) Athena loot should have more variety
There should be 2 types of gems, the normal gems, and Legendary gems. You can add green/blue cracks to the gem to signify that it is different. The only place you can find these gems should be from Athena Voyages, and killing mermaid statues. Legendary Gems should be able to be sold to any company, including Athena, for 2x the normal gem rate of gold/experience to non-athena or 1x for athena.
This serves multiple purposes:
One, it lets you sprinkle in new treasure types to these voyages, and an air of exclusivity for those who are Pirate Legends (not that the title means much anymore, but still), and two, it lets you fix a large portion of a previous problem all by itself; these gems should give a large amount of emissary grade reputation. Add in 2-3 of these in the entire voyage and it can really smooth out the curve of getting emissary grade 5 in long voyages.
2) Athena Reputation Levels should be adjusted and scaled up to 75 like the other companies.
Personally, I'm all for uncapped reputation levels for all companies, but that's a separate conversation in and of itself. However, Athena's Fortune should scale to 75. Give everyone who already capped Athena 30 levels to meet at 50, and give new rewards (every 5 levels, even) to match, even if it's just a title.
3) Add another tier of voyages offered from Athena with increased danger and rewards.
They should have the ability to corrupt world events. Imagine being an Athena Emissary and putting down a voyage in order to fight a World Event that's currently up. Except, when you arrive, it's corrupted! It has different effects. Now, when the Ashen Lord summons skeletons, they have different colors of fate (probably green/red), or the Skeleton Ships come more frequently and uncapped.
In addition to the increased difficulty, the voyage converts some or all of the reward into Athena treasure! This could even interact with the new FoF by making it even more dangerous, and converting the medium rewards (villainous skulls) into athena loot (Villainous skulls of ancient fortune) – you could even convert the Ashen Winds Skull into an Athena version, and have it fire colored flames.
There's lots of things you can do to add additional player engagement.
Overall, there's a lot of things that can and should be changed in order to improve the experience for players. Right now, hardly anyone does Athena, and the ones that do do it until they're 20 and completely drop it afterwards. The reward for the time invested is simply too low, and the difficulty of the voyage turns from an interesting challenge to a nuisance real quick.
The proposed changes will breathe more life into the mechanic and allow players to express their dedication to Athenas if they really want, while offering additional gameplay mechanics to further incentivize PvP by contesting corrupted World Events.
More about Sea of ThievesPost: "Athena Voyages and Athena Loot should be looked at and adjusted." specifically for the game Sea of Thieves. Other useful information about this game:
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