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A few thoughts on making monkey raids more interesting

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The thing I like the most in DS/T series is the fact that usually player is greatly rewarded for their skill. However, those monkey raids just break it for me: from the very first raid to the last tanking is the only consistent way of dealing with them, and just holding F was never fun for me; one can use expensive items, such as panflute (good luck with that on public servers!), problem is this makes sailing even more of a lategame thing considering the need to repair panflute with deconstruction staff (world can have only 3 potential panflutes total and unlucky worldgen can happen as well so sailing can take a while). Ice staves are cheaper, but rate of their renewal at sea is infinitely smaller than what is needed for raids. Plus multiple back-to-back raids just chew through them and other items.

At that point I want to ask Klei: what was the intention of all the other boat changes (grass boats, scienceless oars, cheaper boat patches, etc.)? Wasn't it to make sailing appealing during early game? If so, monkey raids in current state work against that.

I like the concept of pirate raids, especially intention of them staying extremely dangerous even in the lategame. However, hard is not equal to unfair, uncompromising is not equal to player-unfriendly. There has to be a way to make benefit out of the player's skill. To add to this, from the moment I saw main menu image, main features of beta and overwhelming pirate raids in action I thought of Pirates of Carribean: if I have to fight overwhelming numer of pirates I want to win without losses provided I'm skillfull enough, I also want to be proud of being captain of my ship should I perform good. You can't add to the game pirates, treasures, curses and peculiar islands and expect me to pay taxes to pirates (whether it is in the form of bananas or huge chunks of marble suit durability). Therefore goes my suggestion.

Make pirates attack in somewhat coordinated manner, not just hold F on player, so it's hard, put possible to kite them. I'll list some examples of such attacks that came to my mind to better explain the idea:

1. One pirate could start long enough to notice animation, during and short time after which all other pirates would stop attacking and bend down; however, once attack completes, it could damage all players in area of effect of slightly bigger than melee range (possibly knock player down or be followed by 2nd such attack). So player could take advantage if one has the damage to kill that swinging monkey before animation completes or kite well and take advantage of other monkeys not stunlocking player (damage them; the one attacked should retaliate immediately though, it would be cool if it could take damage from that AoE attack if said monkey didn't bend down), but at the same time player could loose more if caught by mentioned AoE attack (ways to negate this debuff should exist: items for appropriate resistance could be anything from food to tools).

2. 2 pirates could start to move in coordinated manner and try to surround player while performing "preparation" animation and creating some distance between them and player; after that they could perform "catching in the net" attack that would affect everything located between them and slow it down/lock in place (-70% of the speed, so it would depend on equipment). However, player could sidestep and catch other monkeys chasing them in this area and/or get some free hits on mentioned 2 monkeys while they finish attack animation. One could also teleport to monkeys even if caught in mentioned "net" to get those free hits. Other monkeys could also form pairs and perform this attack independently.

3. One of the pirates could start attack with longer animation but much bigget damage (2x of the current). Player could notice in time and avoid it or be damaged for more if performs poorly. Intention is to make breathing room for player to regroup/deal some extra damage to monkeys.

In short, idea of all mentioned attacks is to allow player to kite with proper positioning (using knowledge and reaction). After all, the most spectacular fights in DS/T (at least for me) are the ones where positioning, reaction and clever tactic does matter: Ancient Fuelweaver (especially without weather pain, and even to higher extent - without lazy explorer), Celestial Champion (2nd and 3rd phases), Bee Queen (without panflutes, Abigail and excessive amount of followers; kiting by moving in the shape of triangle instead of line also falls into this category), Ancient Guardian (even if it's not hard fight I like the need to actually react on visual changes, not memorize everything mechanically), Pugalisk (from Hamlet; choosing path to lead the boss and estimate time to get maximum amount of hits in very small location in the arena, plus non-linear kiting), Iron Hulk (from Hamlet; obstacles in the arena make it more interesting than simple kiting, as well as need to react to different attacks differently for maximum dps).

Finally, it would be cool if player could draw all powder monkey's aggro onto oneself by eating banana in certain range (at least for short amount of time), so teammates could take advantage of that and deal some damage. 

Also I think maximum amount of powder monkeys per raid should be 4, and raids should have minimum cooldown greater than 0 even in the late game.

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I'll repost what I said in another thread: I wish they'd take advantage of how ocean combat differs from land combat instead of trying to shoehorn the way you fight on land into an ocean encounter. Here's an idea: what if you could ram into their boat to stun them? They would become un-stunned when you hit them but it would offer enough time to 1v1 a few of them before the stun effect wears off on the group.

Or maybe they could make it so that they have collision with each other such that if one monkey is standing on the edge of your boat, it blocks the rest from jumping onto your boat. I like this one because it rewards being able to consistently kite monkeys without letting them move. If you mistime the dodge and they advance further up on your boat then more will be able to jump on. Of course, they would have to change it so that they can't hit you from their boat while you're standing on your own.

Or maybe if you have an ocean fish with you on your inventory, you could drop it into the water and they'd get distracted by it like hounds and try to fish it out (much like how they already try to steal your items.)

This one is more of a crazy idea, but since we're just spitballing: They could make it so you can right click a part of the ocean with the ice staff to freeze it and make a platform. You could aim it to be between your boat and the pirates' boat and it could give you more space to fight.

And if it feels like any of these would make it too easy, remember they can always increase the amount that spawn. If it were up to me, I would prefer them to implement all of these then either buff the monkeys or make more appear. The reason is because I want there to be multiple options to deal with them. One of the reasons I think it's so poorly implemented now is because you more or less only have one option, and in any other part of the game that option is reserved for when you haven't mastered the enemy yet in most cases.

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