Player Ships in Key of the Exiles

NEStalgia Custom ShipFirst off, thank you so much for all of the responses to last week’s blog post! There were a ton of great questions, and the comments made in support of both the game and the new weekly blog posts were much appreciated. Receiving feedback from players on these weekly updates will be super helpful to the process, so keep the comments coming!

In this week’s update I’ll be providing a brief outline of what player owned ships are like and how they work. What follows is meant as a primer for this topic, as I’m sure that you’ll be hearing much more about player owned ships in future previews. I’m going to avoid significant story and gameplay spoilers here, but if you are completely adverse to any type of spoilers for the expansion then now would be a good time to stop reading.

How Owning A Ship Works

You’ll be boarding your future ship within minutes of starting Key of the Exiles (KotE), though it won’t be under your command just yet. After meeting some new key characters, you, your companions and Krasus will set sail for the western continent. Your primary objective is still to find all of the Luanan Runes and prevent Mardeck from obtaining their power. Thankfully, after having spent a bunch of time in Mardeck’s library, Krasus has a pretty good idea of where the remaining three runes are located.

Just hanging out on the deck of the ship in the middle of the ocean.

Krasus spends his time in the ship’s cabin reading books and giving advice.

Before long you’ll be in command of the ship, and Krasus and the other NPCs on board will stick around to help guide you. Most of the new content in the expansion is non-linear, meaning that you get to choose where you go and in what order you go there. Your ship will act as a hub for most of your activity in KotE; when you board the ship from the overworld you’ll actually go to the main deck. From there you can explore your ship and talk to NPCs, or take the helm to cruise around the overworld.

Each player’s ship is essentially a unique instance. When a group of players boards a ship, everyone will be transported to the party leader’s ship. That means that you’ll probably be hopping on and off lots of different ships during your travels, and last week jozeppi asked a good question about ship relocation:

Q) I would like to know: if one teleports via recall or a hearthstone, will the ship come along as well like in DW3, or will it be left where it was disembarked?

A) Yes. As in most of the Dragon Warrior games and other JRPGs of the era, using a Recall ability will also teleport your ship to a location nearby your destination in the overworld.

Customizing Your Ship

Because you’ll be spending so much time aboard your ship, you’ll almost certainly be interested in purchasing some upgrades to make it feel more like home…

This is the barebones interior of your ship's hull when you first obtain it. It won't stay this way forever though...
This is the barebones interior of your ship’s hull when you first obtain it.

This upgraded interior features a Companion Ranch and a Merchant to buy/sell goods from.
This upgraded interior features a Companion Ranch and a Merchant to buy/sell goods from.

There are currently five major upgrades that you can purchase that will change the actual structure of your vessel. These upgrades can be purchased in any order. Ex: you can purchase the Inn upgrade before the Companion Ranch upgrade, or vice-versa.

In addition to the functional upgrades, there are also many ways to customize the look of your ship. You’ll notice in a couple of the shots below that the ship can have different color schemes, and you can proudly display your guild’s emblem on the main sail as well. Assuming that you have enough gold banked to purchase these customizations, you’ll be cruising around the ocean in style in no time:

Walking out of a town that I just "Recalled" to, about to board my ship.
Walking out of a town that I just “Recalled” to, about to board my ship.

A ship rocking a guild emblem and custom colors.
A player ship rocking a guild emblem and custom colors.

Sailing near a big hole in the ground in the arctic north...
Sailing near a big hole in the ground in the arctic north…

Another set of custom colors on a ship exploring the world.
Another set of custom colors on a ship exploring the world.

That’s all that I have for today! Feel free to fire away with questions if you have them, and check back next Thursday for another NEStalgia weekly update.

** Note that any information presented in Key of the Exiles previews is subject to change, though I generally won’t cover a topic unless the design is fleshed out and/or it’s already implemented. **



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26 responses to “Player Ships in Key of the Exiles”

  1. Silk Avatar

    I know that a lot of people have been checking the blog today, so I’ll note that my goal is to get these weekly updates out around 2 or 3pm Pacific time on Thursdays (I obviously published this post a bit later than I intended to this evening). Regardless, to avoid the hassle of manually checking the page on Thursdays I recommend just following NEStalgia on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit or Steam. The blog link gets posted to most of those sites within minutes of going live 🙂

  2. nasca Avatar

    Awesome stuff, I would write some feedback, but I can’t get over seeing the Swordfish sprite I submitted years ago. My happiness levels are at max right now =)

    Now excuse me while I stare at it for a few more hours. WOO !

    1. Silk Avatar

      Right on 🙂

      That’s one of *many* awesome sprites drawn by NEStalgia community members that you’ll be seeing in the expansion. It’s been so long since I commissioned all of those sprites that it’s easy to forget just how many there were.

  3. lordrith Avatar

    Holy ship!

  4. silentz Avatar

    Can’t wait to see DSF ships sailing around!

  5. Lumino Avatar

    Yowza! That’s a bit more than I was expecting!

    So, new non spoiler topics to discuss. How about the climates/backgrounds of some of the new areas we will be visiting as we work to assemble the Key of the Exiles?

    Keep up the awesome work, Silk!

    PS: Just occurred to me to ask this. Are these ships going to be character specific, or account shared? Something tells me it would get expensive to upgrade the ship for every character for those of us that have a lot of alts.


    1. Silk Avatar

      Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll try to sneak in screenshots from interesting new areas as often as I can. Just about the only cliche JRPG biome that you won’t see in the expansion is a jungle.

      Ship upgrades will be shared between all characters on your account.

  6. gamekrazzy Avatar

    And on my Birthday too! Silk you’re such a tease! I’ll definitely be back in full swing on the game, or try too at least when this is out!

  7. jeff Avatar

    Good old Krasus, shut in a library even in the middle of the sea, heh.
    Well, it was quite some juicy update. Monsters, biomes and ships mechanics. Keep going.

  8. kerblam Avatar

    Will guilds ever get the ability to customize their logo/cape again? If anything, would love more color options for guild capes i.e. Black/Red, White/Black, in future content updates or holiday events.

    1. Silk Avatar

      I’ll probably add more guild cape design options at some point, though I don’t really want to do any more custom guild capes that require me to manually add them to the game. Additional color options will definitely be available in the expansion though.

      1. kerblam Avatar

        Great news – thanks!

  9. deadfool Avatar

    My TV symbol will look great on one.
    Ship symbols should use the Female Cape layout IMO. designs are more symmetrical on those.

  10. ryuza Avatar

    Looks pretty awesome! 😀

    By the way, will you be commissioning more sprites later on or are you set for now? I’d love to contribute if you needed anything. 🙂

    1. Silk Avatar

      Thanks! I actually will need some additional sprites soon. I don’t have overworld sprites for every monster battle sprite that I’m using, and there are a few other things that would be helpful.

      I’ll work up a list of what I need and get it posted on the Artwork Requests board in the next couple weeks. I’ll be sure to announce it through the usual channels when the requests go up.

      1. ryuza Avatar

        Cool, looking forward to it! 😀

        I tried messaging you about it through the team email a while back but I figured you were busy since there was no response.

  11. Mahn Avatar

    Wooo. Can’t wait till I use all my golds on ship upgrades. Awesome. Customize also? Even better. Just gotta watch out for those nasty pirate ships… I assume they would be scale to the person’s level. Otherwise, have to try and outrun them.

  12. jozeppi Avatar

    This ship looks incredible; all the comforts of home out on the waves, so long as you can afford it . I’m really looking forward to experiencing this firsthand. My desire for a new non-spoiler topic is official tournaments. Will the implementation of Key of the Exiles lead to their return? I am too new to have ever experienced one and I’d very much like to.

  13. Sarm Avatar

    I think it’s a pretty neat touch that you have an unofficial group following you on the ship, like Krasus. Looking forward to checking out the game again once it’s done!

  14. blacksniper Avatar

    In addition to the gold based ship upgrades could there be some sort of Township like mechanic from Breath of Fire 2 for the ship? By that I mean could there be NPCs that only join us on the ship after we complete a quest for them/inform them we have room on board. It would make the instanced part of our ships just that little bit more engaging, especially if there are too many NPCs to recruit and choices have to get made.

    Oh, and on the topic of custom guild capes. Would it be possible to unlock the cape color from custom guild capes from the design? It’s a little disheartening being stuck to just a single color scheme to go with the design choices we made. I for one would love having differing color schemes for each server, or just the freedom to change my cape if a cool color comes along in the future but right now I am stuck with the purple and gold cape I made with the only option for color being a generic cape. 🙁

    1. Silk Avatar

      It would be cool to have that type of classic system where you recruit different NPCs to be on the ship (I actually have notes about it in my design documents, ala Skies of Arcadia). The big hurdle will be development time constraints, as I don’t want to delay the expansion any longer than is necessary at this point.

      I’m working on a better system for tracking cape/dye colors and designs in general, so my tentative answer to your question about custom guild capes is “yes”. I’m not 100% sure about what all of that will entail yet though.

      1. Lumino Avatar

        Blue Rogues, attack!


  15. bluemettool Avatar

    Hi, Silk! Question!

    So I’m pretty excited for the idea of ships, but I’m also wondering just how much of a necessity they will be to the players.

    The reason I’m asking is because I look at WoW’s most recent attempt at player-instanced hubs, Garrisons. They were great in theory but were done to the point where players rarely, if ever had the need to leave them and use facilities elsewhere in the world, and this caused a huge chunk of social interaction to be removed from the game. And anyone who played Warlords will tell you that Garrisons were one of the major downfalls of that expansion because of it. Will you be designing ships with just enough features to avoid this and to keep players engaged with one another?

    Very exciting news regardless! Keep up the great work!

    1. Silk Avatar

      That’s a really good question, and something that I put a lot of thought into when conceiving the system. I haven’t played WoW in a long time and I’m not familiar with Garrisons, but from the way you describe them that sounds like exactly what I’m trying to avoid.

      KotE places a lot of emphasis on travel and exploration, and the convenience upgrades on ships are meant to facilitate that. If you have an Inn or a Companion Ranch on board your ship, it allows you to assemble a group of players and explore without spending a lot of time doing the usual town chores. Because most of the content is non-linear, it’s especially important that parties have an easy way to meetup and prepare together.

      Proving people with “just enough features” on the ship to avoid isolating them is a great way to put it. What you won’t see on ships are casinos, access to the marketplace, banks/vaults, etc. Ships will definitely be players’ homes when they’re travelling, but spending time in towns is still critical for everything else.

      My goal is for ships to make players feel as if they’re actually part of a crew that is travelling the world together. They’ll be sailing from place to place as a group, stopping at towns to pick up quests, and disembarking together to explore new lands. Hopefully it will all make for an immersive new experience in the game without detracting from other social interactions.

  16. brucey Avatar

    Question: Because we are getting the new ships to travel the world, will the old NPC ships still be there? Like the ones at the arctic that cost 100 gold. If they are left there, we could just sail to the arctic and back for free. Just something that I have been thinking about!

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