I have an idea for new type of ship. As you see in the title these ships are called merchant ships. They are very rare and aren't as tough as regular ships. They offer more loot and higher nautical xp. They also give badges for destroying a certain number of them.
I agree all except for one thing... About a year ago, Kingsisle updated the game and along with the update came towers floating in the sky. They are hard and give very good loot. Plus, there are only a few out there.
Actually, I think that is a good idea, but with one change. Actually make them tougher and have a new class of NPC called Merchant Marines that are on these ships. After defeating (X) amount you have a chance to but a merchant marine in crown shop based on realm. This would be a good way for those that like themed crews to get one more monkey, dog, pig, skeleton, etc. I, for instance, like the dogs and this would be a way to add a buccaneer or swashbuckler dog. I would certainly work towards it and buy it.
So, you want us to attack civilian shipping just like real dastardly pirate? There goes the 'heroic' pirate ideal. Innocent civilians have not ( yet ) become the victims of our pirates. I have no problem attacking other pirates ( Cutthroats ) or minions of evil doers ( Red Sash, Wild Bunch, Gen. Tso's ships or Armada ).