This month, Sea of Thieves has been beating pretty hard on the drum of “our multiplayer is going to be better than most other multiplayer experiences” from the deck of its pirate ship. The crux of this argument came at Rare’s panel during New York Comic Con, during which the team spent an hour trying to explain some of the tools and design features that it is using to encourage cooperative play and good sportsmanship.
This panel, by the way, included a seven-article “Pirate’s Code” that the team is using as a code of conduct for all players to agree and abide.
If you need to hear it for yourself, the team finally released the full, uncut panel video for its fans and any others who might need to be convinced as to the veracity of these claims. For those who lack an hour to watch the full panel, there’s thankfully a list of written highlights courtesy of Rare Thief.
Next up for Sea of Thieves is a trip to PAX Australia, where visitors can get their hands on a demo of the Xbox One version of the game.
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!
If you’ve watched any of the footage of players and devs hamming it up on voice chat while playing Sea of Thieves, you’ve probably gotten the impression that voice comms are going to be pretty important in the game, which is true. But it’s not the only type of communication the Rare devs have planned. As a recent video explains, the devs are working on a non-verbal communication system for folks who can’t or don’t want to join the melee on voice comms.
The basic in-progress demo is currently a scrollable radial menu of phrases that change based on the context of what’s going on when and where the player is. For example, if you’re standing by the ship’s navigation map, the radial menu will display compass directions. That’s chiefly of use to console players or PC players using a controller (as the dev on this video is doing), but on PC, you can also type anything you like and send it straight to the standard chat channel.
We’re still anticipating the game for a PC and Xbox One launch early next year.
Sea of Thieves Executive Producer Joe Neate took a couple of minutes to bring the community up to date on what’s going on with the game’s upcoming appearance at New York Comic Con 2017. He said that the team will be hosting a panel on the evening of October 7th to talk about the game’s features and why the members feel so driven to create this multiplayer experience.
“For us, it’s critical with a game like Sea of Thieves — a sandbox where players can pursue their own goals and own objectives in this pirate world — is that the richer set of player motivations, of players, the more diverse of people, the mindsets that we have in there, the richer the experience is going to be for everyone,” he said.
Check out Neate’s full statement below!
You know what we need more? PC players arguing with console players about superiority, system specs, and exclusive titles. That would really bring peace to our times.
Or maybe we get enough of that already?
This silly friction between gamer camps might have been exacerbated if Sea of Thieves’ developers had pushed through an idea to promote rather than discourage platform tribalism. In a recent interview, the team revealed that it had debated giving players PC and Xbox sails as a way to boast about the superiority of their gaming machine.
Instead, the team elected to “seamlessly” integrate the crowds with Sea of Thieves’ crossplay capability. While you wipe the flopsweat off of your brow in relief, check out some more pirate tunes from the game after the break!
Instead of looking back at MMORPGs this week, the crew of Battle Bards launches forward into early access! What would a show about music from MMOs that aren’t even officially out yet be like? We’re going to find out in this wild and woolly episode!
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 106: Early access themes (or download it) now:
What happens when you die? Sea of Thieves has its own unique answer to the question. Instead of popping back at a binding point or doing a corpse run, dead characters will arrive on the (pause for dramatic effect) FERRY OF THE DAMNED. Featuring Skipper Dan.
In this week’s dev video, Senior Designer Shelley Preston talks about how the team wanted to make this ferry a social space while players wait their time-out period. Players who kick the bucket around the same time will appear on the ship together, and since there’s nothing else to do than talk, hopefully some spirited conversations will emerge between friends and enemies.
Once a player’s time is up on the ferry, she will appear back on her own ship. Or in the case of her ship being sunk, a friendly mermaid will help reunite sailors and their vessels. Check it out after the break!
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.
It probably has not slipped your attention that we cover more than just MMORPGs here on Massively OP these days. There’s a lot of crossover and connection between those and other types of online games, and much of our audience is interested in both. But our primary love is and always has been for the massively multiplayer RPGs.
That is why I am always a little disappointed when promising upcoming games decide to play it safer with a more limited multiplayer route than to go full-bore MMO. Titles like Monster Hunter World, State of Decay 2, or Sea of Thieves are exciting in their own right, but I can’t help but think that they would have been so much better as real MMORPGs.
Which multiplayer game or games do you wish would graduate to the MMORPG level? Past, present, or future titles are all open for discussion!
If you’re ever out casually patrolling the open sea in your pirate ship, you probably shouldn’t light every lantern, dance on the prow, and play your concertina reaaaally loud, lest you catch the attention of an enemy ship passing in the night. That is, however, precisely what the Rare team is doing in a brand-new Sea of Thieves alpha tech demo video.
Fortunately for this merry band of goofballs and their treasured dental plan, their antics merely provoke a friendly sea race, providing us the opportunity to see how the multicrew ships perform — or don’t, as is the case when they “accidentally” ram each other to avoid ramming an island. Yeah, this game can’t come out fast enough. Chuckle along to the video down below.
Are you really excited about taking up the skull-and-crossbones next year with Sea of Thieves — but are concerned that your rig might not be able to handle it? Don’t fret: Rare is giving computer players all sorts of graphical options to downscale graphics so that the game will run just fine on older machines.
While the game can be scaled up to 4K and 60 fps so as to display all of its visual glory, users can also choose to lower settings to a mere 540p and 15 fps. While the game may not look as good, the idea here is that performance will keep up with teammates and enemy players so that a gamer with an older machine won’t be at a tactical disadvantage.
“We’ve actually added a 540p mode, so you can go below HD,” said PC Design Lead Ted Timmons. “We’ve also added a 15 fps framerate lock because when we were talking to the community some people were like: I’m actually happy playing 15 frames per second. We were like: That’s actually really cool, we should support that. And to them go to them and say, oh, we’ve added that mode for you — it’s below our Rare certified min spec, but if you’re enjoying the game, why should we as developers knock you for that?”
On this week’s show, Justin and Bree shovel through the mountain of Gamescom reveals, including a trip to World of Warcraft’s Argus and Star Citizen’s elaborate Alpha 3.0 tease. The duo also mourn the premature demise of SkySaga, a promising-looking MMO that got a raw deal from its publisher.
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now:
If games industry giants can be seen as extremely territorial siblings, each jealously guarding his or her own possessions and unwilling to work with others, then Microsoft is positioning itself as the one who is finally maturing and willing to reach out.
One of the big topics for consoles of late is that of “crossplay” — allowing the same game on different platforms to offer shared gaming space for its community. Some titles have this; Sea of Thieves made waves at Gamescom by announcing that it will support crossplay between Xbox One and PC, while Final Fantasy XIV has had crossplay for its PlayStation and PC community for years now.
Some, such as ARK, are resisting this functionality. Companies such as Sony are being blamed for stonewalling further efforts to break down these walls of segregation.