Early game, Nathaniel Sveet was told to avoid pirates, so I did... took me 7 tries to avoid the first pirate. At 22 silver a pop it cost me 300 silver to repair just the mast. Had no more silver to repair the keel nor sails. So Mr. Sveet sailed east with 200 silver and sailed back with 0 and promptly ended his career.
It only takes one pirate to completely ruin the game due to high repair coats early on.
I experienced the same on my first game. Everything went well on the first guided trade circuit, then one pirate ruined my ship on the second.
Until the manual is expanded, we won't know for certain, but in my personal experience, my ability to avoid or successfully advance/retreat in ship combat grew significantly by investing in the Navigating skill. It's strange that most characters start with a score of 1 in that ability.
Edit: to answer the question in your post's title: I don't think the repairs are too expensive. Ship to ship combat is not something you engage in lightly when repairing is expensive, and I like it that way.
I must try with current version (with damage balanced in combat), but honestly there's an abyss between sail repair cost and mast repair cost..about keel repair cost..it's a repair for the riches, by now... i don't know, maybe you could balance this, or u could reduce mast combat damages...as said, a complete repair costs 300+ silver, andin an early game is too much, also for me
"Giorno dopo giorno resto io sopra la vetta Costruita su problemi di una vita non perfetta"
Slide87 - the abyss seems very realistic to me. Patching up a sail is cheap, while repairing the super-structure of a ship that took a cannon ball through the side, or completely replacing your mast ...
Try the new balances in the latest update and let us know!
I understand the realism factor but maybe early game damage can be toned down a bit? Having a single pirate take out 10 keel and 10 mast early game can totally make the game not fun.
We are working hard on tuning the balance for everyone! Make sure to snag the daily update and keep playing and let us know what you think about the changes! "Early game fun" is high on our list, so expect to see some changes in this area.
As far as balance is concerned I have found that boarding is simply not an option. I tried a captain that focused heavily on it and always took far too much damage. I was always at a massive net loss. On the other hand, when I switch to using long guns exclusively it because extremely easy, I almost never take even a single point of damage in combat. Even when boarding an enemy that has been whittled down to almost nothing tends to result in heavy damage.