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The problem with the Ocean


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Hi there, i'll today be trying to give my thoughts on what i think is the reason behind why the playerbase hasn't been enjoying the ocean's content, usually i've seen it regarded as useless or boring, and decided to look into why this is the case, and why Klei's updates to the big blue haven't changed people's opinions on it much.
 
Now, obviously, i doubt i'm the first to make this realization, and i doubt this problem is universal, though it is fairly widespread from people i've talked to, and the issue i'll be talking about is:
Food

If you look back in Klei's updates, or just, at ocean content in general, you can see quite an interesting issue, that i haven't really seen anyone else bring up, its mostly just, more food, barnacles, ocean fish, wobsters, stonefruit, kelp, figs, sharks and narwhails and thats basically all the content we have, all of them relate to food in one way or another.
Now why is this an issue, you may ask, well quite a few, food is a commodity, it has to be easily available otherwise it isn't worth going after, and with the ones that are easily available, like potatoes, pierogi, meatballs and the like, you'd have to be very special and powerful to compete, because stats alone won't cut it.
This is why most of those things fail and why many consider the ocean empty and boring, a majority of its benefits, are just things you can already find on the mainland, so what's the point outside of making people who like really niche dishes to fill up their cookbook? (remember that item? me neither)
Now, maybe these are in place for when more actual content gets added since you'll be sailing more you'll need more food on the spot, right?... however the ocean itself is actually fairly small, saltboxes help preserve mainland ingredients through travels, and in general you really don't need to worry about ocean food sources as long as you have a base setup to stock your boat with food, so even in the case that these are placed for later, they've already mostly failed at their one job.

Proposals

Now, how could we make the ocean actually interesting? its not like adding more weapons will end well with the massive powercreep that may cause/them being worthless because of mainland items, so these are my ideas (also these assume you like current sailing mechanics to begin with):

Threats: now, hear me out, sure, DST is no longer in a direction where its a challenging survival game, we all know that by now, however, i still think that a new threat, even if minor, who's solution is mainly found at sea, would be a great way of getting people sailing, plus would give some more longevity to the game which is sorely lacking since by the time yu've gone to year 2 ish you've basically seen it all and done it all, but of course, a lot of people would be against this, as i've seen people complain when i've myself proposed these ideas in the past, not liking that they'd have to go out of their way to craft/get materials for an item to deal with something... despite the fact we already do that but lets not get into that, so how about a different proposal?

QOL Items: if you can't make people sail because of new inconveniences, then why not make them sail for existing ones? say a new compass to identify where Toadstool or Klaus respawned at, a houndwave predictor and/or repellant, a sprinkler for farms, and make its materials found mostly out at sea, no need to impose sailing on people, but, hey, if you want it, it is there, in fact this has precedent in ocean content already, with the Saltbox, one of the few items i've seen people actually sail for.

Now obviously, this is regarding smaller additions to the ocean, more major ones could also see people going for them, but they need a reason to do so, and unless we just keep powerscaling the game, these 2 are the ways i could see the ocean develop to, if not be loved by the community, atleast be worth checking out once in a while.
And i'd like to hear what other people think of this, or just, these 2 proposals i have, or any other ideas in how to make the Ocean interesting to explore, or if it even needs it at all (it does), though whatever happens, seeing more recent ocean content, i do think Klei will have something good in store for us in the future, but only time will tell.

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1 hour ago, TheTrueStickman said:

QOL Items: if you can't make people sail because of new inconveniences, then why not make them sail for existing ones? say a new compass to identify where Toadstool or Klaus respawned at, a houndwave predictor and/or repellant, a sprinkler for farms, and make its materials found mostly out at sea

So your solution for the ocean is to make rewards which only benefit ppl who stay on land? This does not make any sense. The ocean needs to encourage players to stay in the ocean more, instead of how it is rn and your proposed idea, where you visit it once then go back to land.

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Just now, goblinball said:

So your solution for the ocean is to make rewards which only benefit ppl who stay on land? This does not make any sense. The ocean needs to encourage players to stay in the ocean more, instead of how it is rn and your proposed idea, where you visit it once then go back to land.

honestly i kinda just forgot about trying to make people stay within the ocean as a possibility, which, yeah would be interesting to see but i don't know hwo it could be done exactly.

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If we examine shipwrecked, the ocean was full of mobs both helpful and dangerous, with their own mechanics and loot, which is something that the current DST ocean is kinda lacking. 

See the Rockjaw for example. Cool desing, but mediocre loot (just big fish) and hardly a treat because it doesn't agro unless you get really near to it. So is not going after to kill him. If we compare him to the swordfish in SW, the risk/reward is way better, because his loot is great although he attacks you on sight.

Also, in SW you have to constantly explore the ocean because most island don't have enough or all the resources you need to survive. The main continent in DST has all you need to survive so the ocean is there just for you to explore if you have spare time or if you want to do late game content. 

To conter this, the ocean needs to be more appealing. Like having stuff you could see from the shore, but only could get by sailing the ocean, like the corals and mussels in SW. Currently we have the lobster mounds, but you can get lobsters with a fishing rod, not even needing to jump into the sea. Also, items or resources you get on the ocean should also help you survive better on land. Imagine if some islands had easy or guaranteed ways to get gems or gold early in the game or items to make better weapons and structures. 

 

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The ocean suffers because the mainland is one huge chunk of land in the middle of the map, with ocean exploration resulting in you sailing in a circle around the mainland. Its stale and theres little room for surprises or alternate routes.

DST proves that when it comes to ocean content, its less about the knitty gritty mechanics of sailing that people enjoy; its the island - based exploration that SW has that makes sailing work.

For the ocean to feel good the mainland desperatley needs to be broken up into an archipeligo with different land masses and water routes running through the now seperate chunks of mainland  (rivers). 

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People don’t play shipwrecked for “Ocean Content” people play shipwrecked to use the ocean as point A to Point B in between other unique and interesting Land Masses, The problem with DST is everything is one large cluster of land mass- But what happens when Beefalo are found on another island you need to sail to? Or your Pig King can’t be found on the main cluster? 

We need reasons to “need” to set sail..

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One of the main problems imo that is holding ocean content back is the lack of boat variety. For me at least it is just a pain to maneuver the boat around, while making sure my sails are alright/down/right direction, while making sure I'm following the mechanics of the fights and watching out for sea boulders on top of patching up holes. Theres so much more they can do other than a big circle! :-o

 

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2 hours ago, goblinball said:

So your solution for the ocean is to make rewards which only benefit ppl who stay on land? This does not make any sense. The ocean needs to encourage players to stay in the ocean more, instead of how it is rn and your proposed idea, where you visit it once then go back to land.

No, actually. It makes perfect sense. Because what you propose is already how ocean content works. And is the exact reason that it's suffering right now.

You certainly can balance the game around players spending more time on the ocean. But the problem is that it means there's no reason for players to go sailing in the first place.

The ocean itself actually has quite a bit of stuff to find and do. But the vast majority of said stuff stops being useful the moment you get off a boat. Therefore, if you're not engaging with ocean content for the sake of engaging with ocean content, then you're not missing out on anything.

Compare that to the caves or ruins. Things like Lanterns, Moggles, and ruins loot don't just help the player while they're in the caves/ruins. They help everywhere. If you couldn't turn on lanterns on the surface, or if bosses would extinguish dwarf stars, then nobody would go down to the depths to get those items. The fact that cave items help on the surface is why people go down to the caves.

 

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imo the biggest issue of the ocean is...the land itself

the players must do almost everything on land (base, getting materials, farming and such)

at least me, I feel that I'll be too busy working on base, or prep for bosses, ruins and such.

so by the time I will be free (like after 1 year), sailing will be useless cuz the rewards aren't worth it.

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3 hours ago, Mike23Ua said:

People don’t play shipwrecked for “Ocean Content” people play shipwrecked to use the ocean as point A to Point B in between other unique and interesting Land Masses, The problem with DST is everything is one large cluster of land mass- But what happens when Beefalo are found on another island you need to sail to? Or your Pig King can’t be found on the main cluster? 

We need reasons to “need” to set sail..

Mike idk about you but I do in fact play shipwrecked (mods) for its very good and atmospheric ocean content 

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I think about 2 majors things to make people go to the ocean, and maybe live there:

- More islands. Even if I wonder how, because when I look to my actual map, the moon island size, the available space, there's not so much left. Could Klei increase map size if they need to ? We need at least 3 more Islands with their unique biomes and unique loot and ressources.

- And if these islands are too small, then we need the possibility of a real ocean base.

We need architecture for ocean. 

Who didn't build a boat bridge for the moon? I did it because I needed only 5 boats. But I saw some streamers who built a bridge until pearl's island ! Come on... There was like 20 or 30 boats, maybe more. Crazy.

 

I really hope that this monkey update will bring us a new island. New boats would be good too.

 

 

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I personally see ocean as way to another content, not as content as is. Ocean is a way to lunar island, pearl, crab king, salt, figs ect. And it do its work perfectly. But having more different destination to use ocean - it's a good way.

 

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I just don’t like the boats, even tho with the boats refresh, are really hard to control & since are really big, the collider of the boat is huge.

I don’t get why ppl don’t like shipwrecked boats.

I think those are a really good approach for a game like this.

Also, the ocean is kinda empty.
They should add mini-islands across the ocean. Hopefully that monkeys we saw in the update mean something.

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19 minutes ago, Mx-Pain said:

I don’t get why ppl don’t like shipwrecked boats.

I just feel they're much more boring compared to the RoT boats, they aren't exactly designed to work with the RoT content either, just my two thoughts.

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21 minutes ago, Mx-Pain said:

I don’t get why ppl don’t like shipwrecked boats.

because arent boats at all and i dont like how having a cane makes them faster. They are simply walking on water and for that woodie already exists, no need to add such bland mechanic in dst

they worked on sw because most of the terrain was water so instead of walking on land like in rog you walked on your yisus seashoes with momentum

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i often wonder what would be the ramifications of changing how the map generates in default to spread some of the biomes to islands
what if you were force to cross the ocean to find the meteor field, or other biomes that arent attach to bosses or crucial resources? what if cave entrances to those "islands" on the side of the caves were in odd places that no one really visit much like the batilisk lair or the cave swamps?
make players decide if they want to transverse the ocean to find them or the caves and try their luck

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14 minutes ago, ArubaroBeefalo said:

because arent boats at all and i dont like how having a cane makes them faster. They are simply walking on water and for that woodie already exists, no need to add such bland mechanic in dst

they worked on sw because most of the terrain was water so instead of walking on land like in rog you walked on your yisus seashoes with momentum

I agree with most of your points, but DST boats also have it's problems. The cookie shape makes navigation a little complicated. Also it is very unrealistic that the wind automatically blows behind your sails. In SW the wind could hinder your motion if against your sails.

I think the best would be a combination of both systems. Boat building like in DST, with an option for smaller SW like boats. Cookie size boats could still be mobile bases and certain structures could only be equiped on them, but we could have smaller boats with more mobility, limited customization options, and lower HP/taking damage along with the boat. Also with a mix of sailing mechanics from both worlds: rowing, contact damage and directional momentum from DST, and wind and wave mechanics from SW.

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1 minute ago, UnknowX said:

I agree with most of your points, but DST boats also have it's problems. The cookie shape makes navigation a little complicated. Also it is very unrealistic that the wind automatically blows behind your sails. In SW the wind could hinder your motion if against your sails.

I think the best would be a combination of both systems. Boat building like in DST, with an option for smaller SW like boats. Cookie size boats could still be mobile bases and certain structures could only be equiped on them, but we could have smaller boats with more mobility, limited customization options, and lower HP/taking damage along with the boat. Also with a mix of sailing mechanics from both worlds: rowing, contact damage and directional momentum from DST, and wind and wave mechanics from SW.

agree with how dumb is dst wind but later i think on valheim boats and i dont know what we should get xD. Waves can be fun and more with characters with perks and downsides arround water like wurt and wx

maybe wont be that bad since we can row kinda fast

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1 hour ago, Mx-Pain said:

I just don’t like the boats, even tho with the boats refresh, are really hard to control & since are really big, the collider of the boat is huge.

Isn't that the whole point of dst boats?

being complex and thus, having a true sailing experience, unlike sw boats.

the only issue is accidentaly destroying them, cuz somewhat expensive

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5 hours ago, Mx-Pain said:

I don’t get why ppl don’t like shipwrecked boats.

DST already has Shipwrecked boats. When you spawn in and start walking around you can experience all the lack of sailing that Shipwrecked has. 

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I completely agree with TC in that the ocean should feel more rewarding. Today you kill a hound and you get a monster meat. And for like 300 times more effort, you can get barnacles out of sea weed., which are still kinda inferior to what monster meat would be able to do for you. And yes I'm kinda saying these foods you get from the ocean should feel a bit more OP because it does take a bit more effort to get (most of) them.

But seriously, my main problem with the ocean is how boring it is to control the boat, having to control the wheel, the sails and the anchor to make sure we don't run into anything bad. I mean, sure, after you walk through an area once you can just consult your map and see where the obstacles are so you can avoid them, but even then, there's always the chance that some RNG disgrace is gonna happen (rockjaws as a simple example) which can grab your attention and suddenly you got leaks everywhere. 

 

I know the ocean itself has a lot of cool stuff, but just the fact that maneuvering around them is SOOOO annoying, I don't usually feel like doing anything. I don't know about other people out there, but sometimes it feels like salt formations spawn logic seems to try and make me as frustrated as possible with how much 'rowing around' I need to do because my giant boat won't fit through certain holes. This also works for the waterlogged biome which might have so many rocks and trees that sailing around gets so frustrating.

Nowadays the ocean is just 'a place I need to explore to find salt, the lunar island and Pearl's island' because everything else just doesn't feel worth it. :(

 

7 hours ago, UnknowX said:

I think the best would be a combination of both systems. Boat building like in DST, with an option for smaller SW like boats. Cookie size boats could still be mobile bases and certain structures could only be equiped on them, but we could have smaller boats with more mobility, limited customization options, and lower HP/taking damage along with the boat. Also with a mix of sailing mechanics from both worlds: rowing, contact damage and directional momentum from DST, and wind and wave mechanics from SW.

This is so similar to the discussion on the "Why people want Walani" topic, but... yeah, I would really love seeing a character* that's got some decent perks for exploring the ocean and making my life less miserable whenever I want to add a salt box to my little kitchen <_<

This might also be related to the fact that I mostly play DST alone so there's no way for me to share/delegate tasks while sailing.

*And I'm saying character because I think there's a huge potential of such a thing becoming OP and overshadowing our existing cookie boats because "surfing back to the base will always be faster than using a super slow boat to begin with".

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14 minutes ago, archidus said:

there's always the chance that some RNG disgrace is gonna happen (rockjaws as a simple example) which can grab your attention and suddenly you got leaks everywhere. 

UUUUUUUGH the leaks...

You gotta click exactly on top of the leak on a moving boat and if you're even a pixel off you walk over to the leak and drop your entire stack of boat patches on the floor.

It makes me wonder if they didn't even playtest this mechanic or something, there's no way it can be this godawful...

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1 hour ago, archidus said:

I completely agree with TC in that the ocean should feel more rewarding. Today you kill a hound and you get a monster meat. And for like 300 times more effort, you can get barnacles out of sea weed., which are still kinda inferior to what monster meat would be able to do for you. And yes I'm kinda saying these foods you get from the ocean should feel a bit more OP because it does take a bit more effort to get (most of) them.

Actually, Barnacles are probably the only source of food out at sea that can actually compete with food on land. They're cheap and easy to set up (Boats only cost wood, and relocating Sea Weeds is as simple as killing ones you don't want), They are extremely easy to harvest (Just run around at night with a razor), Each Sea Weed gives 3 barnacles each, and in addition too being great to fufil generic meat/fish requirements, Barnacle dishes in and of themselves are rather effective; albeit they spoil rather quickly. I mean, 2 barnacles and 2 stone fruit in exchange for a Bacon and Eggs-equivelent dish that spoils 70% faster is pretty damn nice in my book. Or 1 barnacle and 1 kelp for a moderate mix of hunger and health. And remember, you're getting 3 barnacles per harvest, meaning even a small colony can net you a stack and a half of the things.

1 hour ago, archidus said:

But seriously, my main problem with the ocean is how boring it is to control the boat, having to control the wheel, the sails and the anchor to make sure we don't run into anything bad. I mean, sure, after you walk through an area once you can just consult your map and see where the obstacles are so you can avoid them, but even then, there's always the chance that some RNG disgrace is gonna happen (rockjaws as a simple example) which can grab your attention and suddenly you got leaks everywhere. 

Word of advice: Don't bother with sails. A driftwood oar gives you a hundred times the dexterity of a sail, and on an average character is maybe 5-10% slower than 2 sails going at full speed.

1 hour ago, archidus said:

I know the ocean itself has a lot of cool stuff, but just the fact that maneuvering around them is SOOOO annoying, I don't usually feel like doing anything. I don't know about other people out there, but sometimes it feels like salt formations spawn logic seems to try and make me as frustrated as possible with how much 'rowing around' I need to do because my giant boat won't fit through certain holes. This also works for the waterlogged biome which might have so many rocks and trees that sailing around gets so frustrating.

Nowadays the ocean is just 'a place I need to explore to find salt, the lunar island and Pearl's island' because everything else just doesn't feel worth it. :(

No no that's- pretty much the issue. If you don't sail for the sake of sailing, then you're not missing out on much. 

 

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Ocean has many problems and i don't even know if it is possible to make it a place you want to stay without developers investing too much time into it. I'd rather see then work on another large land mass (caves) that are also quite lacking but nowhere near the current problems ocean has.

As many have mentioned, you need to sail around the land that covers the middle of the map, so you require luck to find what you want to find on ocean, astral detector helps but sailing still takes a lot of time for what you get and just adds another requirement, you need to explore caves first and locate Ancient Archives.

That still doesn't fix the problem of how everything is so accessible on land while ocean is a circle around that land, what i would suggest to be done here is remove the ocean edges and just let the player sail/teleport to the other side of the map, that would make exploring Ocean much better.

Boats are another issue, why is using a sail so difficult to control while using a driftwood oar is so fast. I understand that this was made so multiple people are on the boat but i would still want to see shipwrecked boats that are easier to control for solo players.

Wavey Jones is another reason to turn people away from ocean, i understand wanting difficulty to be amped up but this is just plain annoying to deal with because of high sanity requirement and ocean doesn't need anything else to make players not want to explore it.

 

I can probably write a 10+ page document on what can be done about the ocean an what is really difficult in the current state and turns players away from it but what it all comes down to is what do you think players are supposed to do? Make boat bases or stay on ocean for a long period of time for what reason?

Boats,buildable space and storage will always limit players that want to survive just in the ocean.

Majority of the players that explore caves and ocean just get what they want and don't go back. While i think that caves can be made accessible to players and if they receive content updates to match mainland, it is a possibility but i don't think that ocean will be able to compete as it doesn't have its own shard and is limited in space, even if developers really populated it with as many different biomes and creatures it could hold, there will be a limit.

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