On this week’s show, Justin and Bree sort out the pile of expansions and updates that developers are scrambling to get out of the door before the holiday break. From vampires to kobolds, there’s something for everyone this month, and it only looks to get nuttier with the new year!
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.
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As we do every year, today we’re going to peer back into the depths of last year’s staff predictions for the genre and the games within it to determine just how we fared. After all, what would be the fun of making predictions if we couldn’t have a laugh at how wrong we were a year later? So let’s dig in and find out whether we nailed it or failed it!
Well this is a bit of welcome news before the year rounds out! Rare finally announced a launch date for Sea of Thieves: March 20th, 2018. That’s for both PC and Xbox One.
The announcement came in the form of a new trailer that gives a quick overview of the general gameplay and quirkiness that comes with this pirate title. We are especially excited about the quick bit where they showed a rapid succession of cosmetic outfits — because a buccaneer has to look fashionable, after all!
Pre-orders will get into a January five-day closed beta and secure a Black Dog pack for the live game. Get pumped up with the launch trailer below (and say hello to the chicken when you do so)!
“The only thing that’s sinking here is your dignity!”
It is that time once again for the Sea of Thieves development team to record themselves playing their own game for our amusement. It was a crazy session, too, with three ships full of pirates clashing in a nasty, frantic, and often hilarious battle to the death.
Both small and large ships were used in the video below, and even if you haven’t been able to get a spot in the alpha test, you’ll be able to get a taste for some of the core gameplay of Sea of Thieves through this seven-minute romp. Check it out!
Sea of Thieves is planning to go out with a bang in 2017 as it expands its technical alpha pool for one final, massive test. Rare announced that anyone who signs up to become an Insider by December 1st will be invited to the fun.
“Everyone who joins the Insider Programme by the cut-off date of December 1st will be invited to the next play session — our biggest and best yet — with the latest brace of brand new features to test,” the studio said. “Yes, as promised, all eligible Insiders are now getting their chance to jump in and play Sea of Thieves before its release next year.”
The Sea of Thieves Xbox team recently discussed some of the optimizations that are being done to get the game looking its best for the Xbox One X. Even if you’re not planning to play on that console, you might want to watch the video below and drool over the graphics.
All other studios, it’s time to pack it in: Sea of Thieves has won the Trailer Olympics, at least for 2017.
In Rare’s newest video, the team crams a shipload of awesome into a minute-and-a-half as it challenges gamers to “be more pirate.” While the trailer doesn’t reveal anything new, it does a great job showing off the various activities and demonstrating the overall tone of the game, bouncing from crew teamwork to swimming with sharks to, er, “banana crunching.” Also, a buccaneer throws up on the camera lens. Give that team an award!
OK, it might not be Oscar bait, but this continues to get us completely hyped for Sea of Thieves’ launch in spring 2018. Anyone want to join the crew of the S.S. Mighty MOP?
While Sea of Thieves’ standard pirate vessels require a crew of four, Rare acknowledged that some players were going to ask for boats that could be manned by one or two for that solo or duo experience.
Enter the “efficient” and “vulnerable” small ship.
“When we were making the small ship, we wanted to make it feel significantly different to the large ship,” said Senior Designer Andrew Preston. “We started to looking at how many degrees the ship rotates. It only rotates 360 degrees rather than 720 degrees like the large ship […] It can turn on much sharper angles so it can be more nimble.”
Get to know the small ship in the latest developer video below!
There’s never enough grog when you’re trying to wrap your head around the fast-changing events of the world. Fortunately, Sea of Thieves has a plan to keep you up-to-date with everything going on with the technical alpha: messenger mermaids. Barring that, there’s a new dev video, but it’s not nearly as alluring.
The team discusses some of the big changes that it’s made to the test now that “thousands and thousands” of players have put the game through its paces. The major additions to the technical alpha as of late include the addition of voice chat (“for pirates with mouths full of jewels”), brigs for misbehaving crew members, the ability to scuttle your ship, and smaller ships for a reduced crew.
Check out the content update after the break!
For the most part, Sea of Thieves has delivered a stream of short, bite-sized videos to show off various aspects of the pirate game as it is developed. However, every so often, many members of the team gather for a (goofy) hour-long podcast for fans who are seeking more in-depth discussion.
In this week’s Tales from the Tavern Podcast, the team discusses the panel at NYCC, something about pigs, how the game is handling non-verbal combat encounters, and more. Check it out after the break!
Arrrrrr you the kind of video game geek who collects art books, spending more cash on coffee table tomes than actual in-game anything? Yeah, you know who you are. Welp, Sea of Thieves’ new thingy might be up your alley.
“We’re thrilled to announce The Art of Sea of Thieves, Rare’s first foray into this world of print media alongside the veteran crew at Dark Horse,” Rare writes. “As the name suggests, it’s a book bursting with artwork that ranges from concept sketches to full-colour illustrations, paired with notes and commentary from the team.”
Dark Horse further says the “book features hundreds of pieces of art. Preorders are already up on all the things; it’s listed on Amazon as I type this, if you wanna order it through us and help us too!
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.