Tides of War: Letters of Marque is Heart-pounding naval combat with wooden ships and Iron men! Take command of your ship and crew to set sail into battle with iconic ships from the golden age of sail. Balance your offence and defense to outlast, dismast, sink, board, and plunder your enemies. Challenge your friends in thrilling smoke filled multiplayer battles or sail solo in missions to challenge your command skills. Become a Pirate Lord in the Brethren of the Coast or hunt down your nations enemies as the Captain of a Ship of the Line. Earn your Letters of Marque and start your voyage... if you dare...
Multiplayer and Single player. Game style ranging from arcade to historical based on each game that is hosted.
Players take part in single or multiplayer battles by taking direct control over a ship of their choosing (earned through gameplay). If a player is able to board and capture a ship on the enemy team they will earn their team Gold (plus a bonus for himself) and get XP for himself. Gold is divided at the end of the mission among players that are still in the server. Players start with the ability to play as 2 starting nations with the ability to purchase a Letter of Marque to play as other nations.
Players complete missions to earn Gold and Reputation XP. Gold is used mostly for ship/player upgrades that are akin to tangible items. Reputation XP is used in two ways, the first is a currency version that allows XP earned in missions to be ‘spent’ on skills or crew updates while the overall XP earned is used to track the player’s ‘rank’, which is used to determine what class of ships a player can use for that nation. Reputation XP is specific to a nation and does not carry over to a new nation when a player purchases a Letter of Marque. The Reputation XP starts over with that nation with a base amount.
Goals of Gameplay
Players will be challenged to complete specific goals as part of their team in a cooperative method. One player in the team will be elected as the Commodore and be able to give orders to their team, with bonuses earned in XP or Gold for completion of those orders. The XP is used to add specific skills to your player skills set and to ‘purchase’ crew and ship upgrades that are consumable (ammo, shot, injured/killed crew, damaged ship components). Gold can be used to add special upgrades to the ships such as hull upgrades, sail changes, gun upgrades/sizes, and crew boarding advantages. Players also manage how their crew is set up to maximize their play style.
Major Game Mechanics
Sailing – Done in a third person view. Players in arcade mode have a HUD available to maximize wind usage, players in Historical games must use flags and other wind indicators for their apparent wind. Sailing skills of the player can affect the speed of actions, as well as the number of ‘sailor’ crew that are on board. More sailors means the actions will complete faster or more efficiently so ships will accelerate faster and change sails quicker. Turning will also improve as the sailors count or skill increases.
Battle – Players can fire cannons using third person view or switch to a 1st person type view looking over the area that the guns cover for more precision. Players have control over the different batteries on board separately and can manage them individually to change the shot type (double shot, single shot, bombs, hot shot, grapeshot, knipple), elevation set, and powder charges used. Ships have the ability to take damage from 4 quadrants with each quadrant able to be upgraded with components that can increase the ‘armor’ rating to stop shot from penetrating. Each armor quadrant can be damaged and depleted so players have to keep track of how much damage each side is taking to keep too many shots from getting through. Guns also can be damaged or destroyed once an armor rating has dropped sufficiently. Battle skills of the player affect reload speeds, accuracy, and timing of the guns (broadside effectiveness) as well as the number/skill of ‘Gunner’ crew type on board. If a player’s ship is sunk or captured in a battle then the player has a cooldown time before (typically) respawning at the spawn point that is designated in the mission. Some historical missions will allow the player to assume control of an AI ship that is part of the fleet instead. If there are no AI ships left or respawn tickets left then the player becomes an observer for the remainder of the match.
Boarding – Players set up their crew with a third type of crew called ‘Marines’ that are the boarding/repelling specialists. A player can capture a ship that has not struck their colors by grappling the ship and bringing it along side. Be aware that the battle continues around the player while grappling and a grapple must be ‘cut away’ before it a ship is free to move again. Marines specialize in repelling/boarding, and Sailors and Gunners can repel boarders just not as effectively as Marines, and both can be augmented by optional items like boarding nets. Ships that have lost morale will strike their colors and Marines can board by using launches from the player’s ship. Beware, launches can be destroyed while in transit so don’t send them from too far away. They are slow and vulnerable. Once a ship is captured it is given a prize crew and the player can then give it simple orders to follow. If the captured ship survives to the end of the level then the player is given a lions share of the prize money with the rest divided up among the other remaining players.
Upgrades and Addons
Ships and players can be upgraded with bonus items.
Player Skills (Costs XP): A player earns ‘reputation points’ (XP) by surviving battles and damaging/sinking/capturing enemy ships. Rep points can be used to increase a player’s skill level in certain areas such as gunnery, sailing, boarding, or command. These player skills are locked to the nation under which they are earned. Certain nations will have special skill sets that are limited to that one nation.
Player Addons (Costs Gold): Players will have the ability to upgrade their avatar with better equipment like clothing, hats, boots, weapons, etc that will have an effect on their stats. COLLECT THOSE HATS!!! Addons stay with the player across all nations/ships.
Crew Skills (Costs XP): Players can ‘teach’ their crew new skills by purchasing certain skillsets. Crew skills are limited to the nation that the player purchased them under.
Crew Upgrades (Costs Gold): Upgraded boarding equipment, better training, higher level crew can all be purchased with Gold for the ship that is outfitted. Crew upgrades are limited to the ship that is upgraded with them.
Officers (Costs Rep and Gold): Officers are a consumable item that assist the player in increasing the speed of actions taken on board and increasing the morale of the crew during battle. If an officer is killed in battle they will not be available after that mission and must be replaced. Ships only have limited officer slots that can be filled. The more missions an officer survives the better their rating gets and increases bonuses in battle.
Ship Upgrades (Costs Gold): Ships can hold a number of upgrades for battle. A ship has a limited amount of free weight available and upgrades, crew, and consumables like ammo will take this weight. If a player is planning to be a fast boarding vessel then the crew may be filled with more Marines and Sailors and less Gunners. Upgrades like increased hull plating will add weight that will slow a ship down, while lighter sails will remove weight but reduce the damage resistance of the sails. Each upgrade set is unique to each ship so that a player can tailor their ship for the play style they want to do. Fast boarders, slow damage tanks, long range harassers, and more can be done through the upgrades system.
New Ships (Costs Gold and XP): Players will be able to use their gold to purchase access to new ships for a nation. The new ship will be completely un-rigged and must be set up by the player with crew, upgrades, consumables, officers, etc. A player can only purchase a ship if their current reputation and rank are high enough to captain that ship. Outfitting a ship is expensive so prepare to have a lot of Gold on hand to complete the process.
Consumables (Costs Gold or XP): These are things like gun/swords for boarding, cannon shot, gunpowder, rations/rum (morale), launches, and spare components for repairs.
Missions:Different nations will have access to different missions. A mission can be done with a mixture of AI and Players if there are not enough players to fill out the team. Certain missions may also have AI mixed in as a normal part of the mission (escort and protect, for instance). The mission parameters will vary from being an out-and-out brawl to being a speed and control set. Capture and hold, king of the hill, escort and protect, and more. Historical missions will be designed to replicate real world battles including the location and weather conditions throughout the battle.
Weather/Time: Most dynamic missions will have the option to vary the weather conditions and time that the battle takes place. Having linstock guns won’t be good when fighting under gale conditions and fighting in high heat or extreme cold will exhaust your crews faster so plan your actions accordingly. Losing crew overboard can have a drastic effect on morale so try to keep your major sail changes to a minimum in heavy seas. Don’t forget that running a lot of sail under high winds can damage your rigging to the point of dismasting so be careful of your orders and watch your rigging for damage indicators.