Sea of Thieves on transitioning a live service, plus the Arena mode reveal

Surprise, multiplayer games are hard, who knew?

    
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All these PLAYERS wanting to DO STUFF!

You know what’s wild? When players buy an online game, they want stuff to do in that game. Not just one or two things but a lot of things, all the time. Like a constant stream of content! If that sounds obvious to you, it seems obvious now to the team at Rare in charge of Sea of Thieves… but it wasn’t so obvious at launch, leaving the team unprepared both for the demands of keeping a live game in development and the reactions players would have to a lack of content.

The bright side is that the lesson has been learned and the team is shifting gears to provide the content stream players are looking for, but it was a rocky transition from a single-player developer working to launch to understanding the need for permanent and enjoyable content for players. But it does look like the lesson has been learned ahead of the game’s next major update, and based on early impressions of the game’s upcoming Arena gameplay, it’s a good time to be a fan of Sea of Thieves.

So, about that Arena mode? Good news, it’s not just tossing a bunch of boats in a basin and waiting for everyone to start shooting. Instead, players are given maps to head off in search of treasure, with coins being rewarded to the players who uncover the treasure… or who broadside other players and take down another ship, even if that leads to a third player actually getting the treasure. In short, it encourages the sort of free-for-all open PvP madness that’s fun to play instead of frustrating.

The studio’s streaming the mode at noon EDT today, or you can just watch the trailer below.

Update
The studio’s just formally revealed the Arena:

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chriskovo .

Bought this when it was on sale but only played a few hours. The melee combat is to simplistic. There is no way to increase your power. Grinding only gets you cosmetics. There are idiot pkers that just circle the starter island to pounce on people that dont know what they are doing yet. I will say that the sailing was the best part of the game but that only entertains you for a few hours. Nothing you upgrade has any meaning so what is the point of playing? Would be cool to be able to change our your long guns for carronades or something but there isnt. enough in the game to make it worth it. If they are adding story elements that that is to the good. There was no reason to explore in the game everything was meaningless besides finding a few treasure chests. I would find cave systems on the island that look like they were setup for stories but had nothing on them. In the end it was just kinda dull.

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Armsbend

There is no starter island. There is no one circling to pk new players. The game places you on an island that no other boats are at. When you ‘leave game’ and re-enter you are essentially entering a new server with a set amount of people on it.

There are 5000 MMOs you can grind all day for gear score on it. This game isn’t reliant on the developer to breadcrumb you “fun”. It is reliant on it’s players. It is why people enjoy watching it as much as playing it.

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Jack Kerras

I haven’t been playing it a whole lot just lately, but Sea of Thieves really is a favorite of mine.

I’m really glad to see that they’ve been continuing to add stuff; I should honestly get back into this, and I’d really like to find some folks who’re willing to play on the reg.

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Armsbend

People who never bought into this game are seriously missing out on the one of the objectively best games to be made in the past 5 years.

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Ricardo Baião

You mean the biggest gankfest ever? Where new players just exploring around on their first day and then out of nowhere get their parked ship sunk while the player owner is on the island talking to npcs and killed afterwards?

Yep, I’m glad I did the trial for this and wasn’t robbed 60$, or worse a whooping 70€ in my country, for this… Even FO76 is more worth the price.

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Armsbend

The demo successfully kept a lot of whiners out. That is good for business. Carebears out of pvp centric games. All companies should put out a full game demo at release to cull the herd so to speak.

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BDJoshGaming

Yep. It has always cracked me up. A pvp-centric game and the PvE carebears come out the wood work crying about it. Its gold.

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Armsbend

The smartest thing RARE has done is not stopped to listen to those people. Don’t respond to them. Don’t engage. Let them rage about nothing until they get frustrated and leave.

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BalsBigBrother

I did the trial thing and the best thing I can say about it is that it has a nice clean aesthetic with the best looking water I have seen in any game I have ever played.

That is all the good I can say about it really though as I got a bit bored within a couple of days and ended up uninstalling it well before the trial period was over.

I imagine its much better when you can reliably get a group of folks you can play with and trust but otherwise yeah its wasn’t fun, at least for me personally.

Glad you have found something you like though and hope you can continue to have fun with it.

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Armsbend

Sometimes the bad parties can be fun – the jokes, the bad play, the goofiness of it all. And sometimes those bad parties can find a way to gel together after a weird trust is built. It’s a funny game like that. This is the first game I’ve played where sometimes bad parties are worth staying in. There isn’t some overarching objective people are super invested in.

I love Rare I can’t wait to see where they will go next. Your homeland’s greatest developer treasure by far imho!