The gameplay in Rulers of the Sea is driven by a system of agreements or contracts. For instance: A gamer can join the Navy. To do so the gamer needs to fill in a form at the Naval Academy. The form will then pass automated checks. These checks are settings that can be selected by the gamers that run the Admiralty Board. If accepted, the gamer gets back a message with an invitation. The gamer can confirm or reject the invitation. After the gamer confirms, the process is completed. At the completion of this process a new process is triggered, setting in motion the next steps of service in the Navy, picking up ones first orders of getting a uniform, ship and crew.
The process of joining the Navy is different to becoming a Whaler, buying a business, getting a bank loan, declaring a war or agreeing to a business deal, but all these processes are governed by the same workflow system. A gamer triggers a process, other gamers respond to the process or can configure automated settings for the process, and final confirmation of the outcome of the process creates a completion.
The process of workflow will be ‘packaged’ in an 18th century mail system of forms and letters. The gamer can initiate a process such as an application or contract at an appropriate place, such as a Bank, Office, Governmental building, Academy, Post office and so forth. The replies will come to the gamer in the form of 18th century styled letters which the gamer can read at their personal desk or at a Post Office. This same system of mail is also used for other communication between one’s staff and other gamers. There is always some delay with mail because delivery in the 18th century was not instant, and a ship will not receive mail updates as long as it is at sea.
As the gaming world is perpetual, mail can pile up in a gamers’ absence. It is possible other gamers or one’s staff are waiting for a vital decision. Every gamer has a personal secretary that will handle their mail. The gamer can set preferences for the secretary on how to handle mail automatically and the secretary will take decisions on behalf of the gamer when mail is not answered in a timely fashion, keeping processes moving forward.
Gamers can also meet up physically and talk. Rulers of the Sea has Voice over Net for gamers in close proximity. This will require gamers to stand close to one another or share a table or conference room together. Text messaging will also be possible and will work in the same manner as voice.