Sea of Thieves fights the negative stigmas of multiplayer gaming

Hopefully if you’re reading Massively OP, you’re not the type of player who holds a grudge against multiplayer games. For those who do, however, Sea of Thieves hopes to break down any preconceived stigma with its fun approach to multiplayer gaming.

“We want to make it more welcoming, more friendly,” Senior Designer Shelley Preston said in this week’s dev video. “We wanted to bring people in to this nice kind of environment and hopefully turn around some of those expectations or preconceptions that they got about multiplayer.”

Sea of Thieves has put a lot of thought into its style of multiplayer, nixing friendly fire in favor of a “sacred” crew bond and giving players the option to dip their toes in the waters with a small two-player ship before graduating to the larger varieties. And if there’s a non-cooperative player on your crew? You can all vote to lock them in your ship’s brig until they behave. Seriously. Check it out after the break!

Source: YouTube. Thanks Kinya!
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18 Comments on "Sea of Thieves fights the negative stigmas of multiplayer gaming"

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kgptzac

I can deal with online gaming, mostly, and ironically that vote jail bullshit will make me stay away from this game, lol.

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Shawn Peyton

Yea, let me know when you get that a$$hole filter perfected so we can use it on humanity in all walks of life not just gaming.

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Andy Turner

As someone with a preference to avoid insults instantly, my experience with the Sea of Thieves technical alpha lasted about 15 seconds. Sad because i was looking forward to this game. As a programmer who has developed games, this unfortunately encompasses IRL and in-game conversations, which has led me to discover a niche subgenre of multiplayer called “enjoyable” where if the game does not facilitate muting everyone by default, then I avoid the game. When facilities are in place to whitelist people selectively, then it’s fine. Sea of Thieves does not facilitate this unfortunately. By definition voice chat does not integrate profanity blockers, so maintaining a peaceful environment can be achieved by text-friendly services like discord, where chatbots make a fine analog to NPC’s where you seek information but don’t want a debased person to rail you for asking questions. I think that in the future when game economies move to the blockchain, then you can reward good behaviour with tips which should clear up the problem of grief-to-win. By good behaviour i do mean a blend of cooperation and being a good sport. Instead of pattern-matching on foul language as in text-chat windows, you can blacklist offenders based on cross-game personae/reputation/success rate. Just my two cents/bitcoins :0)

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Robert Mann

In before players are locked in brigs by groups of people looking to grief.

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Sally Bowls

Noble ideas, but IDK it also has design choices that at first glance seem to be working against that: corpse looting and other people talking to me while I am dead (it could go well but I know what I expect.)

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Sorenthaz

Seems like some good measures to have. That on top of text chat should help what’s probably been brought up regularly on whatever alpha boards they might have. Now what would be really cool is if they allow for fleets to be formed and add in some crazy multi-ship PvE/PvP content. Maybe stuff similar to AC4 Black Flag’s fort sieges or fighting giant sea monsters and the like.

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Schmidt.Capela

And if there’s a non-cooperative player on your crew? You can all vote to lock them in your ship’s brig until they behave. Seriously.

And atop that the game has special, humiliating emotes that can be done to the jailed player, such as vomiting on them. Am I the only one seeing the hideous griefing possibilities this opens with locking up and humiliating players just because you can?

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Dug From The Earth

Those who might misuse the system to grief, are far fewer than those toxic players who these systems were designed to snuff out.

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Serrenity

No, but what do you do about it? Every single one of these systems ever conceived can be misused to grief instead of punishing the asshats of the world. How do you provide systems to allow players to only the mechanics ‘for the power of good?’

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Robert Mann

You need employees working on it, with a record that is not theirs to alter. There’s plenty of people who’d take such a job, given decent hours and fair pay. Of course, that means money and monetization might have to change.

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Paragon Lost

I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around having a bias or holding an actual grudge against multi-player gaming. It’s more options instead of less in my mind. For me, twenty five plus years ago, multi-player gaming ruined me for stand alone gaming, err single player whatever you want to call it.

Anyhow kudos to any game developer who tries to change the bias against multi-player gaming. So well done Sea of Thieves! :)

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wratts

I think it’s because so much of online gaming, really especially MMOs, has tended to break down into 1. environments where players try to murder your face and make comments about your mom, or 2. “what do you mean you haven’t run this dungeon 10 times already, it came out last week, git gud!”

Unless you’re joining with established friends, it can be really intimidating to be social in some of the games we’ve created and I think managing that and keeping it fun for all players is really key to long term success

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Paragon Lost

For me, online has always been easier than in person, though I’m fairly social in person as well. I have always just appreciated the filter that online puts between me and others, making it even easier to interact or not.

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K38FishTacos

Pretty much what wratts says. I know I’ve just started grouping a lot less than I used to over the past ten years. I don’t have any friends that play and over time people leave guilds I was familiar with. I don’t want to always look for a new guild during my play time. And doing pugs is really a coin toss as to whether it will be fun or a nightmare/waste of time.

Even if you get into a group with one jerk, it can cause other players to just disband. I’ve seen it happen a lot in ESO. One person starts mouthing off to someone else for no apparent reason and can’t let it go. Tank quits, then healer, then done.

So yeah, in principle, group games can be the most fun, but if you don’t have friends who play, it can just be a waste of time.

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Paragon Lost

Anymore, I have no online friends. Once upon a time I did, back in the 1990s with the earlier forms of online gaming and social interaction. Those were the days when we’d get together in real life and socialize, have parties, go do something someplace, have conventions etc.

As the years have rolled by though I’ve fallen out of the habit of that sort of socializing. Of course it just doesn’t appear to happen and online gamers appear to be more transient in nature with the mmorpgs that they play. So not being friends hasn’t stopped me from interacting with others at all when I choose to do so.

Again as I said to Wratts, online makes it easier to socialize when I want to than actually doing so in real life does. I’m surprised that the more recent generation of online gamers appear to have a more difficult time doing so. It’s much easier than doing this sort of thing in person. I guess it’s just one of those your mileage will vary sort of things.

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Schmidt.Capela

Old gamer here (started with Pong), but I do agree that, for me, socializing in person is quite easier. Most likely it’s because in person there are tangible consequences for being a jerk (sometimes literally so), so people tend to behave better.

It’s why I still prefer couch co-op over online or MMO gaming. Unfortunately, getting a bunch of friends in the same physical location to, among other things, enjoy a few fine games together is fairly challenging for me nowadays, what with even the youngest members of our circle already being adults with jobs, and in some cases living in different states altogether.

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Paragon Lost

My wife and I were talking about how when X-Box and Playstation first came out, they were relatively cheap devices to purchase, still are. Anyhow seems a lot of the current generation of gamers came from playing those consoles where many of them were buddies in school.

We saw this with our four kids as they grew up (all adults now) and how they would play X-Box with their high school buddies often. I assume that this sort of gaming changed “how” gamers approached gaming.

You see it said in posts all the time about how people only group up with their friends. Which always surprised me honestly, how many friends could they possibly have to game with?

As one gets older, you grow apart from friends, lose track etc. I haven’t kept in contact with anyone I grew up decades ago in the 1960’s, 70’s and start of the 80’s before joining the military and heading over to Europe. I barely stay in contact with a few military buddies as it is. (shrugs)

Anyhow I do find it confusing that so many find it more difficult in an online medium socializing than in say real life. Maybe anymore both are a challenge. I often find it strange that when you encounter someone in the store or what have you that they won’t make eye contact. It’s frankly unsettling how little eye contact people will make with you as you encounter them. (shrugs) anyhow I’m meandering… Back to yapping with my wife.

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Schmidt.Capela

You see it said in posts all the time about how people only group up with their friends.

It’s kinda my case. There are many in-game activities that I will only do with players I trust, and I’m very slow to trust people over the Internet; if I never met someone face to face, it would takes months, if not years, for me to trust that person enough to do together content where I could get screwed over.

Thanks to that, despite playing MMOs quite a bit, I tend to play more group content in non-massive multiplayer games, with friends and family, than in MMOs. MMOs tend to make it unreasonably hard to play with specific players and have everyone contribute equally to the group (i.e., have everyone at the same level, with equivalent gear).

Edit: BTW, by the same token, Sea of Thieves adding a way to jail crew members by a vote guarantees that I will never, ever, play in a crew larger than 2, unless I have complete trust in every other crew member. Since I always start from the assumption random strangers will do anything in their power to ruin the game for me, the game giving them the means to do so basically prevents me from ever wanting to play with anyone I don’t fully trust.

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