Following concerns over Sea of Thieves’ lack of content, and worries for the game’s future, Rare today released a video detailing Sea of Thieves’s upcoming content updates, major and minor. And they’re exactly what the game needs.
Design Director Mike Chapman and Executive Producer Joe Neate sat down and discussed the variety of content coming to Sea of Thieves over the course of the next 6-12 months.
The video discussed 6 major updates containing a mix of new playable areas, a new ship type, new mechanics, in-game events, new quests, and more; as well as smaller weekly events starting in May, which will include a variety of events, quests, new mechanics, and fresh additions to existing mechanics or gameplay loops.
This news has me incredibly excited for 3 main reasons:
- The stream of content is going to be consistent
- The content included primarily targets areas the community wanted to focus on
- The updates focus less on changing the core gameplay loop, and more on expanding it
Timing is Everything
Following Sea of Thieves’ launch, players were primarily concerned with the lack of content outside of the 3 Trading Companies and PvP. Moreover, they were worried that if it had taken Rare 4+ years of development to reach this state, how could they add meaningful content in an appropriate amount of time?
The roadmap specifically answers that question by targeting quality as well as quantity – and with the bones of the game in place, time can instead be spent on enriching the world with new gameplay mechanics and challenges.
Within the next 12 months we’ll see 6 major updates – we currently have details on the first three, which you can read about here. These major updates include a variety of content from new mechanics to new enemies to new areas of the map to explore, and a lot in between.
Alongside the major content updates, May will see the start of weekly content, which aims to introduce new mechanics and new ways to play as well as weekly events.
This provides a steady stream of new things to do in the game on a weekly basis, which then ramp up into major content releases every few months. For a game like Sea of Thieves – labelled as a ‘service’ based game – this schedule is more than the community could have hoped for, and the perfect way to offset the lack-of-content upset following launch.
Content That Targets the Community’s Needs
Based on our writeup of the Sea of Thieves community’s requests last week, we established that the community had many wants and needs based on what is and isn’t currently in the game. Rare’s content roadmap does a great job of addressing the most important points first and the lesser priorities second.
Aside from just ‘more content’, the updates address some of the following community requests:
- More focus on exploration/discovery
- More quests/voyages to do with current Trading Companies
- In-game events
- Exclusive rewards/cosmetics earned through in-game activities, quests, and events
- Variation in/new types of quests
- New game mechanics
- New areas to explore
- New ship types
- More types of enemies
- Generally, just more to do!
Within the roadmap they didn’t mention things like fishing, mini-games, whales, etc – even though they’re all highly requested, they aren’t what the community needs right now, and Rare recognised that.
To that end, Rare also mentioned that Pets – Sea of Thieves’ first microtransaction item – will be delayed indefinitely while they work on adding more meaningful content.
If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix it
Going back to the content within the upcoming updates, let’s quickly break it down:
Major updates: introduces new major changes and features to the game (enemies, world areas, etc)
Minor updates: focuses on introducing new mechanics, new ways to experience current content, and utilising the existing mechanics/world (quests that encourage exploration, new Voyages within the current Trading Companies, adding in new things to find within the world, etc)
You’ll notice that these updates have one thing in common – they enhance what’s already there, instead of overwriting it.
Reviewers and gamers are generally in agreement when they say that Sea of Thieves’ core gameplay loop is great – it’s fluid, easy to learn, and somewhat difficult to master. The current mechanics within the game make for an incredible foundation, with the only issue being that there wasn’t quite enough there.
Rather than reinventing the wheel, these content updates take what’s already there and expand on them – using the same areas in new ways, encouraging players to explore hidden islands they would have otherwise sailed past, adding in new quests that provide completely new ways to use the existing mechanics, introducing entirely new mechanics that blend seamlessly into the existing gameplay loop, and so on.
The thing that these updates focus on – and what it looks like they get right – is that they build on the current experience. And that approach is exactly what Sea of Thieves needs.
What do you think? Are you excited for the first lot of updates in May? Let us know in the comments below!