There’s a new title dominating both consoles and PCs thanks to its unique twist on an old genre and that game is ‘Sea of Thieves’. Developed by Rare, Sea of Thieves has been gaining some serious momentum as the seafaring pirate-venture has drifted closer and closer to a full release. Amid the many different things you can do in the game, from attending massive ship-based battles, to locking up your enemies in your own brig, Rare is doubling down on making sure that your experience is NEVER going to be ‘pay to win’. Do you hear that EA? Rare is firing shots from their broadside cannons, and you are their targets.
Mike Chapman is the design director at Rare in charge of making sure Sea of Thieves looks as good as it plays (and boy does it look good). Chapman hasn’t been afraid to go on record regarding how his title is going to be different than others out there. Chapman spoke up in a recent interview saying that there are no plans to implement microtransactions for their upcoming launch. While this statement sounds wish-washy on the surface, Chapman goes on to make it very clear where Rare stands on what could become a flagship product. Chapman goes on to emphasise that the team will NEVEr add loot boxes into their game. Chapman explains, “There’ll never be a form of gambling in Sea of Thieves, of any description.” Chapman went on to lob a shot at companies who have embraced random ‘prizes’ by saying that ‘pay to win’ is something that will be ‘completely out of the question’.
With all of that being said, Chapman understands the reality of the gaming market and he isn’t brushing aside the idea of adding expenses into the actual game itself — but they have to make sense, and they can’t alter the balance of the game. Chapman says with a smile, “What’s a Sea of Thieves way of doing it? What’s going to bring value to our players?”
After the great reception of its closed beta from two weeks ago, “Sea of Thieves” is set for another weekend of early access. From Feb. 16 to 18, the game will be playable to those who pre-ordered, are part of the game’s founders club or have Xbox Insider. Rare is using this weekend as a much-needed stress test for their server capacity. The closed beta was much buggier than expected.
Though not officially released until March 20th, Rare’s pirate-themed adventure game is making a big splash in the gaming community. Many of the game’s eventual features were leaked in press conferences earlier this week. With plans for supporting the game for at least five years after launch, it seems that “Sea of Thieves” will offer no shortage of fun pirate activities for groups of up to four players. Some of the announced features encourage several groups to work together towards a common objective.
On the other hand, the developers have caught some flack for opening the gates for microtransactions. Game developers have been exploiting this feature for years, and Rare looks excited to jump into the mix. Rare has made great efforts, however, to point out that only cosmetic gear can be purchased with microtransactions. The last thing gamers want is for “Sea of Thieves” to become a pay-to-win affair.
Despite all the new content on the horizon, this weekend’s playable build figures to be a lot like the closed beta from two weeks ago. Rare has made efforts to publicize this weekend as a stress test and not a sample of new content. Unless there’s full beta between now and launch, we’ll have to wait until March 20th to fend off the newly-announced Kraken.
This morning marked the end of the Sea of Thieves closed beta. The week players spent with the game saw its fair share of bugs and server crashes, but it’s hard not to feel the beta was a massive success. At one point, the game had over 250,000 viewers on Twitch.
The question now is how much additional content the game’s full release will feature. Despite the technical marvel Sea of Thieves already is, some players felt the beta was a bit light on content. Aside from invigorating PvP battles against other crews, the beta only featured quests that send you off to collect hidden treasure on the game’s various islands.
Rare has promised all kinds of content upon the game’s full release, but, for better or worse, the final game will play out a lot like the beta already has. The main draw of Sea of Thieves is the way its rugged sandbox nature that promotes an entirely different play session every time you log in. No two voyages will feel the same.
Still, the game’s public first impression brought in a number of naysayers. Some people are saying that despite how much fun Sea of Thieves can be, it may have trouble building a solid player base. The main reason? The game is much more fun with three of your friends. In fact, playing alone puts you at a severe disadvantage.
Whether you were a fan of the Sea of Thieves closed beta or not, the game’s release date of March 20th is a day to keep an eye on. As other sandbox games have done before it, this is a title that could explode into the next big thing. Depending on how Rare navigates their pre-launch situation, Microsoft may finally have its next big exclusive.