Sea of Thieves Beta Impressions


Sea of Thieves Beta Impressions


Sea of Thieves is the highly anticipated, swash-buckling, shared world multiplayer game coming from long time English development company Rare. Just recently the Sea of Thieves closed beta came to an end, with only two more months to go before the title hits store shelves everywhere, we were lucky enough to be apart of that beta and experience the slice of content available to the public.


We'll be letting you know how the beta went, what we saw and what you can expect from the full release of Sea of Thieves. Along with some more intricate details on what goes in to building both the large open world and experience within it, from quest lines to secret locations, as we explore the Sea of Thieves.


Exploration 


Most of your time in Sea of Thieves will be spent sailing the vast expanses of water the game world is built up of. Navigating stormy weather, jagged rocks and sunken wrecks, the Sea of Thieves is filled with land marks and obstacles that give you plenty to see and traverse while sailing through the vast open world. Uniquely designed islands give you a strong sense of exploration, tempting you from your ship and onto dry land in search of each islands secrets and history. From desolate mine shafts and abandoned campsites to ancient ruins there's much to discover while navigating the world Rare have lovingly crafted, making exploration rewarding and engaging.

Not only do islands hold secrets to be uncovered, there are also a range of ship wrecks you can happen upon while out on your swash buckling adventures. These ships are identified by the spiral of circling seagulls in the air above them, a handy signifier when on the look out for resources to re-stock your own ship. In certain areas of the world beneath the ocean itself there are also telltale signs that Rare intend to further the detail of the environment extending to under water zones.


In the time we had with Sea of Thieves we were able to discover a vibrant coral reef, ancient underwater ruins and the skeletal remains of some unknown sea creature tucked down in the depths of an ocean trench. All of which lead us to believe that we can expect much more detail below the sea line as the game is released.


Voyages


There was only one quest giving faction available to us in the beta, this faction is known as the Gold Hoarders. The quests, otherwise known as voyages, were focused around traveling to far off islands and following either a marking on a map or a set of riddles to the location of buried treasure.

Using the shovel you'll be unearthing that buried treasure and returning it to your ship, in order to return it to the nearest Outpost island and selling it to the Gold Hoarders for your coins. When you've saved enough gold, this faction will also allow you to purchase more premium versions of these voyages, they cost more but involve finding multiple treasure chests and earning higher rewards.

What we've seen from Rare's promotional material, there will be a further two factions added to the game at launch. This was especially appreciated as there have been concerns that the beta offered too little content and this could be a precursor of what to expect from the full release. This is what we know about the included factions:

Gold Hoarders: "Have come to treasure hunt with the goal of amassing great wealth. They are in possession of a mysterious set of skeleton keys, and they will pay pirates a cut of gold when they return chests to them. The more you build your reputation with the Gold Hoarders the more they'll trust you to go after larger hoards of lost treasure. Some of which will be protected by former pirates now transformed into forsaken skeletons.

Merchant Alliance: "Have come to control trade in the Sea of Thieves. They will pay pirates to scout for supplies and ferry shipments like resources and gunpowder across the sea. These kinds of cargo can earn you handsome rewards if you can fulfill your contract and deliver your cargo on time."

Order of Souls: "Wish to control the ancient and mysterious magic of this pirate world for themselves. They have found a way to recapture the enchanted magic from the skulls of former pirates, and they'll reward anyone who brings the skulls back to them. Voyages for the Order of Souls will take players on the hunt for infamous skeleton crews and captains, presenting players with combat focused challenges as they work together to defeat their targets and retrieve their skulls."


Multiplayer


Sea of Thieves is marketed as a shared multiplayer experience, meaning any time you see a ship on the horizon or docked up at an outpost, you'll be seeing the ship of another player. Each ship can be different, depending on the people sailing it, and the beta offered us up three uniquely designed ships to try out. The first and most popular of ships in the four player galleon, which will pair up either four friends or players met in matchmaking and give them the largest and most complex ship in the game. The galleon is much larger than the other ships on offer and comes with three decks and a captains cabin, along with eight broadside cannons. Due to the social and unpredictable nature of the four man ship, this is where most of the fun can be had, as opposed to the ships offering smaller crews.

Below the four man galleon is the two manned sloop. The sloop is much smaller than the galleon and has only two decks and fewer cannons, however its small size gives it the advantages of maneuverability and the ability to fight head winds more efficiently than the larger galleon. Another downfall to the sloop is its more limiting stock reserves and space for all that buried treasure and precious cargo.

Finally there is the option to play solo, manning a sloop on your own. This means you'll have no crew mates to help you out with the sailing or carrying of any loot. The ship is mechanically the same as the two manned vessel however a solo player will have to contend with steering, sail adjustment, cannon operation and using the anchor.

The player-vs-player experience in the beta really was one of the most enjoyable parts of the time we played, spotting an enemy ship in the distance with our spy glasses and initiating the chase. Having to position your ship masterfully in order to allow your cannons a good shot, nailing planks over the holes in your hull and bailing out water flooding into the ship, these details solidified the combat mechanics adding a depth to sea combat i've not seen in a game before. This aspect was thrilling and Rare works hard to ensure players know that when spotting ships in the distance, this kind of action usually isn't that far off either.

All in all Sea of Thieves didn't fail in delivering an experience filled with high jinx, engaging exploration and swash buckling adventure during its closed beta. The thoughtful additions of items such as the hurdy gurdy and the tankard of grog help to deepen the interactions players can have in such a vast and open world, despite the lack of content to keep those players busy in the long term. The meticulous crafting of each island and the locations found within kept us hopeful for what was to come with the full release, and what we'd continue to find long after the game has launched. There is a lot of promise with Sea of Thieves and with its introduction the Xbox Game Pass you'd be mad to not take up the opportunity to give it a try.

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