Sea of Thieves is an FPS P2P PvP and PvE pirate-themed open-world RPG adventure game developed by Rare Ltd., which released on March 20, 2018. While it can be played solo, the game is optimally designed for multiplayer crews, as can be seen from the unavoidable PvP attacks and massive mythical monsters that players will be confronted with over the course of the game.
Players will start out by selecting their pirate avatar. They will be offered a selection of randomly generated characters, which they can refresh until they see one that they like. This character is a permanent choice, so players should take their time with it. Once they have selected their pirate, they can still customize their pirate’s hair, accessories and clothing. However, as it is an FPS game, players won’t be seeing their avatar much outside of the cosmetic customization screen.
They will then be given a choice between a Galleon, brigantine or a sloop to sail on. Galleons are bigger and more durable than sloops but are also much more difficult to maneuver, especially if a player is trying to man one solo. This makes sense given that it is intended for 3-4 man crews. Brigantines offer a decent compromise between speed and defense and are playable for up to 3-man crews, while sloops are the most maneuverable and less durable option that is available for 1-2 player crews. This is balanced out by the fact that they are the easiest to repair. If they want to play with a crew, but don’t have any friends in the game, players can opt to be partnered with a randomized crew of real players. The good news is that the crew limits and ship sizes are designed to accommodate different playstyle and balance crew sizes so that solo play is viable once the player has become adept at team play.
Each ship comes with a set supply of bananas (food), planks (for repairing the ship) and cannonballs. Players will need to scavenge through various barrels and chests that they encounter to stock up on their supplies. They can also attack and loot real-player or NPC enemy ships or bases for items and treasures. Whenever a player dies in the game, they will find themselves on an eerie ghost ship for a few moments. A door will eventually open on the brig, and players can pas through then to find themselves respawned on their ship.
It is important to note that games are saved automatically at outposts. This means that while cosmetic acquisitions, gold earned and Voyages will be saved, Voyage progress will not be saved.
The goal of the Sea of Thieves is pretty simple: to collect treasures or bounties and claim the gold reward for turning them in at outposts. The gold can then be spent on new quests, cosmetic items such as weapon and ship skins or spade upgrades, as well as clothing for the player’s character. None of these skins affect gameplay in any way.
Voyages and Rewards
Once they have logged in, players will start out on one of the five outposts along with their teammates (if they have any). If not, they can either look for a ship that’s waiting for a crew in the menu or create their own ship for people to join. They will then need to seek out an NPC vendor that represents one of the three guilds from whom they can purchase a quest (known in-game as a Voyage). Each player can only hold three Voyages at a time, and the starter quests are free.
There are three Trading Companies in Sea of Thieves; namely the Merchant Alliance, the Order of Souls and the gold Hoarding guild. The Merchant alliance will offer missions pertaining to capturing creatures and returning them for a bounty. The Order of Souls rewards players for wiping out skeletal armies and returning with their leaders’ disembodied skulls, and the gold Hoarders will reward players for bringing them various buried treasures. As players complete missions, their standing with the guild will improve, as will their pickings of missions. As they progress, players will receive missions of increased difficulty that also offer better rewards.
Once all crew members are done, they will board their ship. There, they will each place a proposed Voyage scroll on the Captain’s Table, and each crew member will vote on which Voyage they would like to undertake. This is done by hurling a knife at the preferred scroll. Mission scrolls will vary, although they all hint to the Voyage objective’s location. Examples of this can be as a map shape without its name or location or a location name without a visual aid, that players will then need to locate on their main map.
Once they have discovered their treasure or bounty, they will need to transport their treasure an NPC from the relevant guild on one of the outpost islands, which may or may not be specified within the voyage objectives. However, this is where more challenges arise, being the other crews that want to play pirate. As the payers sail back, they will need to keep an eye out for ambushes from PvPers who want to claim the loot and rewards for themselves. This could happen at any time during the game, but it is not uncommon for certain crews to simply lie in wait near an outpost for any returning ships.
Aside from this peril, players will also need to fend off NPC skeleton crew ships filled with enchanted skeletons, various seamonsters such as sharks and krakens, and natural disasters. They will also need to fend off hunger by eating bananas and continually repair their ships if they sustained damage from attacks or accidentally running aground.
If they fail to do so, their ship will sink, and they will lose their treasure. Fortunately for them, their ship will respawn at the nearest outpost. A mermaid with a flair will also appear near them and they can simply swim up to it to be transported to their ship. This also means that they could potentially track down their assailants for a rematch, if they haven’t yet travelled in another direction.
This may be especially tempting given that once a grew has located the treasure, the player’s Voyage scroll will disappear from their Voyage inventory. They will therefore need to start a new Voyage which may include travelling back to an outpost to buy a new scroll. For this reason, it is inadvisable for solo players to attempt to carry multiple treasures back to an outpost.
For this reason, it is also recommended for players to constantly scope out their surroundings with a telescope. That way, if they feel concerned about a nearby ship, they can simply turn around to attempt another outpost, or wait around to see what the other ship decides to do.
In addition to gold rewards, players will also receive a reputation boost within a particular company. This acts similarly to XP, as once enough reputation has been earned, players will reach a higher tier and gain access to more complex Voyages with better rewards. Of course, players don’t need to wait to reach those levels in order to access those Voyages, as they can simply join other crews and vote to participate in their Voyages.
Furthermore, each server will only host 4 – 6 ships on a server. This ensure that while players will have the opportunity to engage with other crews, they won’t be constantly forced into battles either.
Given the above, communication and cooperation obviously plays a key role in this game. Simply getting the ship from Point A to Point B requires teamwork, as someone will need to steer the ship, while others may need to perform repairs, remove flooding with a bucket, trim the sails, verify their ship’s location vis-à-vis their chartered course and possibly fire cannons and weapons simultaneously, among other necessary tasks. Therefore, players will need to decide who is performing which task beforehand, as well as the style of play that they would prefer to adopt. For instance, if the other crew members simply won’t to conduct PvP attacks while the player wants to PvE, they might want to consider logging out and starting over. This is also significant given that there are no location hints in the game. If a player wants to know where there teammate is and what they’re trying to do, they will actually need to describe where they are and tell them what they’re doing, because once they’re out of sight, they’re out of sight.
If a crew-member griefs the other players by refusing to cooperate, the other crew members can vote to send the offending crewmember to the brigs, where they will remain until the logout or the crew votes to release them. Players can communicate via either voice chat or text chat.
Many Voyages can be completed in an hour, but some of the higher-level ones may take hours. The good news is that if a player feels that they don’t have time for a main Voyage, or simply want a bit more freedom, there are side-missions and exploration rewards that are discoverable in the game. A common side-quest is the message in a bottle.
There are also various loot drops and trinkets that can be collected during the game. Some, such as the Magma’s grail can randomly spawn on any island or be found in Fortress Vaults, while other s can be dropped by skeleton crews when they’re killed.
There are plans for collectable pets at a later stage as well. How this will work is yet to be announced, but we can guess that this will likely be either through quests or vast amounts of gold. So far, it seems that there will be cats, parrots and rats available. They will be interactive, which probably also means that they need to be fed.
Paying attention to the skyline is important in Sea of Thieves, as they tells players a lot about their surroundings. For instance, a flock of seagulls circling around in the distance indicates the location of a either a sunken ship or floating barrel. This is worth exploring as it may contain treasure or supply loot. Handing in treasures acquired outside of Voyages will still result in gold and reputation rewards, so the more free treasure that players can potentially take back in a single haul, the better. Eerie skull-shaped clouds indicate skeleton forts (which may or may now be connected to the player’s mission, but will still provide loot and possibly treasure, so why not.)
When players have fulfilled certain tasks, they will receive one of twelve company-specific commendations (which are like badges). These commendations reputation boosts, and are upgradable by five tiers each. They also give players certain titles.
Emotes and Instruments
Players can buy various emotes and musical instruments with their gold. When they use emotes, they will switch to a third person perspective, which will allow them to see the emote. They can also buy tunes for their instruments. Other players can join in when the player is playing a ditty, which can sound pretty good when different instruments are combined. Instruments are also needed to charm and capture snakes for certain Merchant Voyages.
As described above.
This update is due for release some time in 2019. The exact details aren’t yet known, but it seems to be a team of four battle royale where players compete to claim as many treasures as possible on an island within a set amount of time.
While there have been occasional campaigns and stories, but they have been temporary. The developers have announced plans to create some sort of overall campaign, but there have been no announcements as to when or how this will be implemented as yet. Currently, most of the game lore exists outside of the actual game, in the form of the Sea of Thieves comic book series and other sources.
The campaigns that have launched so far have been limited events with campaign-specific rewards. In these, such as the Bilge Rats Adventure, players would need to visit the Bilge Rats company that are found in taverns on the outpost islands during events. They would issue players Voyages according to the regular system, with the players being awarded doubloons instead of gold. These could then be used to purchase commendations as well as limited edition clothing, and item skins.