Sea of Thieves needs no introduction, and I dare say that I’ve been harder on this game than I should have been over the last few months. However, I’ll also point out that I love Sea of Thieves, so my criticisms are justified to me. I’ve jabbed at its content depth, I’ve picked on it for its lack of evolving mechanics, and I’ve (more recently) questioned why we’re not seeing many changes to the game’s world, despite Rare stating that its an evolving ocean. Though, amidst all of this, credit needs to be given to Rare for their swift response to feedback.
Sea of Thieves is now nearly half a year old. Since launch in March, we’ve seen the introduction to some impressive content drops; The Hungering Deep and Cursed Sails, as well as, of course, the implementation of bi-weekly events. These drops haven’t always hit the mark, in fact, they’ve oftentimes been a bit hit and miss. The Hungering Deep was short, but this was forgivable given the time between launch and its arrival. Then came the bi-weekly events, which for the most part, have been neat. That finally leads us to Cursed Sails.
Cursed Sails is live right now in the game until next week. Once that time comes, much of the content will remain present, however, a few limited time cosmetics and the game’s story will permanently drift away. Forsaken Shores is the next drop and this is set to arrive in September, bringing a new map section, new threats and more. The problem many players face, including myself, is that Rare don’t always drop the content with common sense in mind. Cursed Sails is a great example of this, but Rare are already working to remedy its design issue.
You see, Cursed Sails takes its three week long event and splits it into three separate weekly events. Sounds good, right? Wrong. The content demands that – in order to unlock exclusive commendations – you need to be at a specific part of the game’s map at a specific (real-world) time, three times for each of the three weeks. These encounters run for four hours each and rotate throughout the rest of the day. This lead to players struggling to be on either during work hours, sleeping hours or anything in between. It’s a piss poor design choice, no excuses.
It didn’t help matters that in order to stand a chance at these encounters, players needed a fully stocked ship, which is a process that can take up to an hour. I myself on several occasions have stocked my ship, sailed to the meeting place to encounter it alongside other players (necessary due to its difficulty), only to find that I’m alone. Jumping to another server doesn’t help because the in-game time is the same across all servers. Sure, I could jump to another server and spend an hour stocking my ship, but chances are, I’ll be too late as many tend to complete the encounter at the start of the event.
To Rare’s credit, they immediately responded to the feedback and made some minor adjustments, but this was more of a bandage fix rather than a full-on turn around. Though with that in mind, Rare has stated that this design choice has already been scrubbed from the Forsaken Shores content drop. This is really where I want to focus this article. Rare’s ability to swiftly adapt to the feedback is only good for Sea of Thieves. Much like us, Rare are learning how this game should be played, and how it should cater for its many, many players throughout.
This isn’t the first time that Rare has swiftly adapted the game based on feedback, in fact, I’ve lost count at how many neat and subtle tweaks they’ve made as a direct result of player outcry. This attitude, grouped with how quickly Rare can implement change, will only serve to elevate Sea of Thieves as time flies by. We’ll see the first strongest example of this in Forsaken Shores, being that according to Rare (in response to feedback from Cursed Sails) players can log in at any time they choose during the event and enjoy everything on offer.
I should point out that despite the game being five months old, it’s still very early days and there’s a massive amount of content planned for the game; pets, new cosmetics, new stories, fishing and so on and forth. Rare have had to put much of this on the back-burner to address immediate feedback, but it’s still very much sitting on the horizon. With each new content drop and bi-weekly event that makes its way to the game, Sea of Thieves is only getting bigger, better and more refined. Alongside this, Rare are taking notes left, right and center.
In practice, this should mean that before the year is out, Sea of Thieves will be an entirely different beast in comparison to its launch state and I have every hope that Rare will steer the game in all the right directions – due mostly to their commitment to feedback. It’s an exciting time to play the game and I look forward to what comes next. It’s a shame we must endure poor design choices along the way, but as alluded to, Rare are at hand to ensure that mistakes are not repeated. What do you think? Hit the comment section below to get in on the discussion.