Rare’s Sea of Thieves is a remarkable canvas as far as potential is concerned. The developer made it clear that they want to create a great “initial experience” and then take things from there. Arguably, they managed to do just that. Most of the major criticisms at launch, from fans and critics alike, sat with the fact that outside of cosmetic acquisition, there isn’t a great deal of things to do. That’s all about to change in the coming months. Rare has outlined plans to release three content updates; The Hungering Deep, Cursed Sails and Forsaken Shores. The Hungering Deep will release in May and bring with it a new AI threat, new gameplay mechanics, unique rewards and weekly events. Evidently, Cursed Sails and Forsaken Shores will also bring new AI threats and unique rewards, as well as a new ship type and an expanded world, respectively.
First and foremost, these updates will be free of charge. However, the trade-off is that Ship Captaincy and Pets have both been delayed whilst Rare improve the game based on feedback and priority, a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things. Beyond this, more content will be added leading up to Fall, which as aforementioned, is a big step in the right direction for the game as a whole. I myself play the game quite regularly and one thing always haunts me when I turn off the console and put down the controller. There’s just not enough variety (outside of the cosmetics) to maintain engagement in the long run. With over thirty hours of playtime, do you know how many times I’ve seen the Kraken? Three times in total. I understand that this mystical beast was designed to be a rare occurrence, but three times in thirty hours is a little too rare if you ask me.
It’s also slightly underwhelming that this fascinating and tense encounter doesn’t reward you for surviving its devastating power. It would have been great to see a unique chest float to the surface once the Kraken has been bested, or maybe even a Kraken skull to take back to the Order of Souls, but no, players are given nothing for their hard work. These new AI threats on the other hand promise a return for your efforts, which again, is a move that will better the adventures that we all tackle when we login. Right now we’re unsure as to what these new AI threats will bring, but my money’s on a huge warship or a Megalodon encounter. In any case, I can hardly wait to see what Rare has up their proverbial sleeve. Similarly, the inclusion of a new ship type is a much needed addition. Though much like the AI encounters, information as to what this may be remains thin on the ground.
Will it be a ship that’s suited for three players? Something between a Sloop and a Galleon makes the most sense. Or could it be new variations of the Sloop and the Galleon? A Sloop that has more speed but slower turning, as well as a Galleon that has better turning but less speed? It’s all guesswork at the moment, but more variety is key, regardless as to what this may be. The same can indeed be said about the expanded world. The world size of Sea of Thieves is vast and varied enough to keep the game feeling fresh, hell, even now I have yet to travel to each and every island within, so to learn that this is being built upon gets a huge thumbs up from me. Fingers crossed this new location has its own unique theme and design to further bolster the variation.
Weekly events will also help to maintain interest. Much like Bungie’s Destiny, one of the most alluring features in a game that heavily relies on replay value, is the prospect of working towards several things. Rare gives no clue as to what these weekly events will entail, but it will probably fall inline with the likes of killing a set amount of enemies, gathering a set amount of resources, or downing a set amount of ships. Weekly events are hardly revolutionary, but the chance of obtaining more rewards on your journey is never a bad thing. Rare states that whenever they look at improving the game, they take the following into account;
– Bringing players together in interesting ways, encouraging different types of player encounters.
– Enriching the world that players adventure in.
– Giving players new ways to play.
– Giving players a variety of goals and rewards.
– Broadening the journey to Pirate Legend and beyond.
With that in mind, as well as taking the newly outlined content into account, Rare has certainly piqued our interest. The game as it currently stands is a gorgeously designed canvas that’s screaming to be built upon. Right now any given voyage typically amounts to nothing more than a cruise, the occasional battle and grabbing loot to take from A to B. Once The Hungering Deep, Cursed Sails and Forsaken Shores arrives, Sea of Thieves is looking to be a much deeper experience, with broader content no doubt sitting on the horizon beyond that.
I made a point in my review of the game that we need more than what we have, and Rare seems keen to deliver. This is just the tip of the iceberg and I feel as though Rare’s fanbase are right on point when they suggest that the game will be a whole new beast in the coming months.
Commendably, Rare are very driven by the community and utilize their guidance very well. Top requests include the likes of fishing, trading, rewards for PvP, more vendors, and so on and so forth. With such a passionate community behind them as well as a clear commitment to evolve the game, Sea of Thieves has a lot to look forward to, and in turn, so does each and every player that continues to take to its beautiful world.