In Sea of Thieves, your character is a pirate roaming the high seas for boxes of treasure, but in real life you won’t need to exchange your own treasures for random in-game treasures. Design director Mike Chapman has stated that microtransactions are possible for the game post-launch, but loot boxes are definitely out of the question for future development. So you might drop a little coin to get a nice skin or cosmetic gear or whatever, but you won’t be looking at lootboxes no matter what.
Of course, if your computer can’t handle the game you probably won’t be looking at anything whatsoever, so you might want to check out the game’s system requirements before eagerly declaring that it’s a sailor’s life for you. The bare minimum specs still require a Windows 10 machine, so if you’ve stuck by an older operating system we’re sorry to inform you that Windows ME is no longer going to keep you in the game. Check out the chart to see if you need to upgrade, and if you refer to buying new hardware as “trimming up the mainsail” in the checkout line, the employees at the store likely won’t care.
The beta client for Sea of Thieves has been updated once again, but don’t get your hopes up about playing it right way, as the game is still inaccessible. What you should get your hopes up about is the fact that a new build means a new bunch of stuff to datamine, and that means hints about what’s coming next for the game’s development and the player experience. Among the things that have been found in the current build? References to an open beta and Order of Souls quests.
Open beta is, of course, what it sounds like: The Order of Souls is the faction pirates can curry favor with by sailing in pursuit of mystical and magical phenomenon. The build also contains new options in the pirate generator, new styles for pocketwatches and spyglasses, more hideout objects, and various other bits of game information. Obviously, nothing has yet been officially announced, but it’s a significant burst of forward movement for players eager to learn whatever they can about the title ahead of further testing and release.
The seas of closed beta be choppy ones for the stoutest ship to navigate, but many captains who seek the blue in Sea of Thieves have found their efforts brought low by an accursed error. Two errors, if your tale be true! But the right fortunate news is that some have discovered how to tack into the wind when this error is a-spied on the horizon; the only catch is that ye must retrieve your doubloons from the digital store of Microsoft what sold ye the title in the first.
Aye, those who request a refund from the direct purchase on the Box of X and then purchase a fresh copy of the game on Amazon have been proper reporting that the closed beta works correctly, so fairly warned be ye. Alas, those captains falling afoul of the fabled BronzeBeard error code have yet to be seen again, and we know not if the sea may ever give up the dead thus confined to her briny depths. Know that ye have one fix, just the same, for my tale be a true one; also know that none shall think ye a coward for waiting until these errors be proper corrected.
Rare has a new Sea of Thieves video out this week that is a listicle… a listavid? I don’t know. It’s a video that is a list, and this particular list talks up 10 of the game’s high points: its “quintessential pirateness,” friendship-oriented gameplay, deep exploration, opportunity to write your own legend, console/PC crossplay, stream-friendliness, and Rare’s own experience building games, welcoming community, and current test schedule. Mutiny not required!
My favorite, however, is #4’s appeal to MMO players specifically.
“This world is a shared world,” Rare says. “Every sail on the horizon is a crew of real players on their own adventures. How you behave when you cross paths is up to you.”
It’s a quick (and staggeringly pretty) watch below.
As I mentioned in MassivelyOP’s Best of E3 Overthinking article, I came away from this year’s con thinking Sea of Thieves was the best playable online multiplayer game with a playable demo there, despite that demo being “terrible.” What I mean by “terrible” is that it created the potential for some of the worst parts of gaming to come true. There’s a reason most MMOs demo a battleground, boss fight, or newbie experience: Those are easy to demo, especially for non-MMO fans. Some demos give players a zone to explore, which is better, when done well. Rarely are people put into a situation where the entire demo requires coordination, but Rare did it, and it paid off, despite the fact that it’s not selling an MMO.
Allow me to explain.
Alpha is beginning for Rare’s pirate-themed sailing MMO Sea of Thieves — technical alpha, that is, for a thousand lucky Windows 10 players.
“Starting this Saturday, May 20th, we’ll be inviting a small initial batch of players to test this first PC release on Windows 10. This test will run from 7 – 10 p.m. BST, and it will be open for these 1,000 invited PC players only. And when we say small, we mean it: this won’t be an armada of PC players just yet. We’re looking to invite around 1,000 Windows 10 Technical Alpha testers to start.”
Rare says that you lucky thousand seafarers will be focused on auto-detection – “how effectively the game analyses and assigns low, medium, high, or ultra settings” – as well as generating feedback on control schemes. It’s basically the same build features from the Xbox One tech alpha.
“Similarly to our Technical Alpha on Xbox One, we’ll be starting slowly but gradually building up our audience,” says the studio.
What’s going on right now with the piratey Sea of Thieves? The game is currently in its technical alpha (the best kind of alpha there is!), with the team occasionally posting developer gameplay videos to entertain and enlighten the masses.
In this week’s Tales from the Tavern Podcast, the team discusses those play sessions, the recent additions to the game, and a studio update. The team also hinted at some things to come, such as “putting emergent things into the world to mess with the players.”
Curious about when Sea of Thieves will be coming out? Previously the team had said “early 2017,” but in the show comments, they clarified that “we haven’t announced a release date yet. Fully focused on the Tech Alpha for now!”
Check out the full hour podcast below!
After months of waiting and some tongue-in-cheek speculation that the game was nothing but a series of audio design diaries, Sea of Thieves is ready to start letting players on board soon. The game’s first technical alpha will start on December 16th, with select players signed up as insiders getting invitations to take part in organized play events with the early versions of the game. And it will be select players; the team estimates that about a thousand players, all told, will be getting into the test events.
Of course, you won’t be able to say much about it anyway, as this early stage of testing will be protected by NDA. Still, it means that the game is starting to weigh anchor and get out to sea, something you can see in a more visual format in a video just below. It’ll also give you an idea of what to expect for yourself… or the other lucky people who get into the test. Either one.
Ever wondered how it is that game designers actually build the locations you’ll be tromping all over in MMOs? The latest Sea of Thieves video from developer Rare gives a glimpse into just that process, with a focus on the outposts hinted at in the last video on islands.
Environment Artist Joe Bradford shows players how the team begins with a design requirement for an outpost, which then goes to the concept art team, and then the environment team turns it into something workable, from a low-res block-out to a terrain-sculpted, properly asset-filled scene.
“The outposts are a really important part of our game,” he says, “and we spend a lot of time hand-crafting them so that they’re the best experience they can be.” Watch along below!
There’s more to be learned about the sound design behind Sea of Thieves, and the most recent video diary for the game covers one of the important parts of that sound design: the ship. After all, if everything else sounds right but the boat is constantly making motor sounds and quacking like a duck, will you really be able to convince yourself you’re on an old pirate galleon?
If so, can you tell us how? Your vision of pirate ships sounds kind of awesome.
The video can be seen just below and shows off the various sounds you can hear all through the ship, from the wash of water ahead of the bow to the gentle creaking deep within the hull. It’s enough to make even the most hardened pirate nod appreciatively toward the intricate sound design before he tells you to give him all of your dubloons and hardtack or he’ll keel-haul your landlubbing hide.
Should pirate music played by pirates sound like a professional orchestra? Nope! Nor will it in Rare’s Sea of Thieves. Head of Music Robin Beanland and Audio Director Jon Vincent have a dev video out today for all the music geeks in the audience. They discuss how they salvaged a bunch of old, rickety, folk instruments (like a concertina), actual animal bones (for the rhythm bones), and a custom-made hurdy-gurdy to create the sound of the music in the pirate-themed MMO, including the music the players will make themselves. Listen along below!
First there was realistic water. Then there were fluffy clouds. And now, Sea of Thieves is proud to present its glorious light.
In a new Inn-side Story video, the team talks about the warmth and volume of its lighting system. As Sea of Thieves will feature a full day/night cycle, the lighting will adjust accordingly depending on the time. Plus, screenshotters who adore sunsets should be in for a treat: “We can let the sun hang on the horizon to give you that nice sunset image, let it last a bit longer. As the sun sets, it gives the illusion that it gets bigger, so we increase the disc size of the sun.”
Check it out below!
When Sea of Thieves releases, it won’t just be on console; Rare is developing the game for both the Xbox One and Windows 10. In a new developer video, the studio explains why it’s giving both platforms equal attention.
“We have to build credibility in [the PC] space,” said Executive Producer Joe Neate. “I think it’s important that we do get people to understand that we are taking this as a really serious platform, that PC and Xbox One are equal partners. That they’re both as important as each other to us.”
The developers assured fans that the studio is “full of PC players,” just in case you were worried that they were completely prejudiced against computers for some reason. You can listen in on the discussion after the break.