TLDR: Health Beverage, as the only healing item, is too important to give up, confusing, and unrealistic. I suggest that it no longer stops bleeding, and that the Repair Kit can now stop bleeding instead, by having cloth, needle and thread added to it.
Though I do love madly sipping tea to recover from injury, there's a few problems with the way Health Beverage is right now.
1: A player who wants to win HAS to use Beverage instead of Grenade or Tomahawk, because Beverage is the only healing and bleed-stopping item in the game. You can't guarantee that an ally will be carrying tea or alcohol to share with you, so you must take Beverage if you don't want to die of bleeding with no way out. This restricts player choice.
2: It's a bit immersion-breaking to stop bleeding with tea and alcohol, though it's definitely funny. It takes you out of the vibe of being a pirate or sailor and reminds you that you're in a video game.
3: It's not really intuitive for new players that bleeding is healed by drinking tea/alcohol; and Blackwake can already be a bit confusing.
Here's my suggestions on how these problems could be fixed, and add some more depth to the game too, killing two parrots with one stone.
- Change the repair kit's model, and let it be used as a bandage. Now it's not just a hammer; you also carry cloth, needle, and thread. When bleeding, holding repair tool, and not facing a damaged piece of ship, you can press M1 to slowly bandage yourself up (note: this does not restore HP, only stops it from draining). You can also press M2 to bandage up someone else. This will give every player the ability to stop bleeding on themselves, or a crewman, at any time. Of course, they cannot move or do other actions while doing this.
This will also fix the other immersion-breaking problem where players repair a sail by bashing it with a hammer. Now you can carry cloth and needle to have a sewing animation on the sail instead.
- Make tea and alcohol no longer cure bleeding. They still provide healing, however. Patch yourself up to stop the bleeding, then drink your bevo to get fluids back.
More balanced, realistic, and easy to understand.
- Optional: Add a "Surgeon's Kit" alternative to the Repair Kit containing a bone hammer, catgut, bandages, bonesaw, etc., which can bandage up allied players faster while also healing them, at the expense of 25% slower repairing speed.
Because the Surgeon's Kit contains similar items to the repair kit (eg. cloth=bandages, catgut=thread), it can do the same repair jobs, just slower. This keeps in place of the devs' philosophy of not having classes: every crew member can do every job with their equipment. Yet, it would also provide variety options in the Repair Kit slot, and add more teamwork to the game.
- SUPER Optional: Further reduce tea and alcohol's healing, and make them provide buffs instead. Alcohol makes you Drunk- you take actions a bit slower, but you're more resistant to damage. Tea makes you Focused- you take actions faster. This is super optional, because while it would be interesting and more realistic than alcohol healing you, it would also create a very minor potential for imbalance between Pirates and Navy. Up to the devs to decide whether that suggestion is worth it of course.
The wiki actually states "Treating bleeding is done by using a bandage on yourself or having a crew-mate use one on you", and I'm not sure who wrote that page, but it's giving me the impression that the current tea/alcohol state is a placeholder for actual bandages. So I think we could make some improvements on it.
So those are my thoughts on the current situation, and how it could be improved. Your thoughts?