I’ve been playing the hell out of Sea of Thieves throughout last week and particularly during the weekend, and enjoyed it a lot despite acknowledging the main issue with it. The game’s fundamentally an almost empty huge sandbox, which lacks meaningful content, and has very basic structures when it comes to completing missions and ranking up the multiple vendors you can meet in the several hub islands.
Again, this doesn’t mean the game is not enjoyable, as I spent many hours surfing its seas and still want to, while I’m here writing down my thoughts about how Rare could improve it. Yep, there’s a lot of room to improve here, and that’s something we should all be used to as of now since perhaps all the online games released this gen have had rough kick-offs in terms of the amount and the diversity of their content.
I feel that the British developer has put up a structure that allows all the players to have a great time when they are with their friends, and that structure is something so natural, fluid and well working that it is capable and meant to cover the amazing lack of things to do when playing.
The issue arises, of course, a lot bigger when you play alone, as you do the same fun stuff but getting an experience in return which is way less rewarding, in all the senses. So, starting mainly from stuff that I’d like to see implemented to expand my solo sessions, here’s a quick list of suggestions about concrete things that can be really made to build a much more enjoyable Sea of Thieves out of what it currently already is.
1: AN ITEM TO BRING VENDORS MULTIPLE ITEMS SIMULTANEOUSLY
Yes, I know, that’s quite a silly thing to start from with a list of suggestions to make a game better, but playing it for a lot of hours throughout the last few days I’ve noticed there’s a huge quality of life improvement that needs to be done right away.
When you have missions with multiple items required to be gathered and then brought back to your vendors, and play it solo or just with a single friend, you need to go back and forth from your ship to the vendor only to sell each item and then complete the journey. Why don’t they make an item like a bag to allow you to put, say, three skulls and carry it to the vendors all in once?
2: A CRAFTING SYSTEM
Well, this is much more serious and probably the hardest thing for Rare to do, if ever, in a far distant future update. Look, from my gameplay, I feel Microsoft’s new pirate-based Minecraft has a lot in common with No Man’s Sky, so why don’t they make a crafting system out of it?
The idea, which is quite simple I know, came to my mind when a friend of mine killed a shark and noticed that basically nothing happened – it disappeared, and then we went away from that place. It’s unnecessarily unrealistic and shallow. The assets are already here, so my hope is Rare is able to do something like Massive Entertainment with The Division, where the second paid expansion (Survival) added a crafting system from zero only based on the already existing and unused items. That would definitely add a new layer of possibilities and a huge amount of further playtime as exploration would finally turn meaningful.
3: THE DIVISION LIKE PVP TIERS AND/OR SAFE AREAS
Talking about multiplayer, there’s a lot of stuff I’d like to say, but one thing, in particular, comes to my mind when it comes to playing together with my friends. In a crew of three, I had a lot of issues not encountering other crews of four and not being beaten the hell up, losing all of the treasures we had gathered thus far.
My hope is Rare does something for this, simply because when I’m on my sloop I don’t have similar issues: it feels like the game is completely empty and I’m in a single player title, completely away from the always online requirement. A good solution could be PvP tiers in the style of The Division’s Dark Zone, based on the level of players at each faction and of the treasures they’ve grabbed, and/or – likely easier to work on – a safe area without any assaulters for those simply willing to enjoy a few hours with their friends travelling across the seas. I know that mixing PvP and PvE is part of the ambitious vision of the pirate-based game, but the end result is a bit frustrating, at least at this stage of the title’s release.
4: MORE WEAPONS AND FIGHTING STYLES
I understand this is not among the major issues with the game, but especially when working on the missions from the Order of Souls I noticed that it felt like farming skulls without any deepness in the fighting mechanic.
At this stage, only four weapons are available and they basically cover any need, and all the different style when it comes to multiplayer and crews, but it’s a bit boring to see that, no matter the enemy, you can solve it all the same way. Single-player is the most affected component as always, as playing with friends of course naturally adds a layer of unpredictability, but when you play solo it’s very easy to get in a loop comprising only a couple actions you repeat over and over again just to grab a reward at the end of the day.
5: STORY BASED EXPANSIONS
When you grab a mission in Sea of Thieves, it’s all based on a pre-determined path and description, with no particular nuances to make that mission unique. You’re always required to grind your way up to the ranks of a particular vendor, and that’s it, in terms of the narrative at least.
My opinion is Rare, which still has to share a public roadmap for future updates, has scheduled some sort of story-based expansion in the likes of Destiny’s The Taken King, that’ll arrive most probably in a matter of 6 months – 1 year after the release of the main game. Or at least this is what I hope for because the game has a huge potential in that perspective and not doing so would be quite a waste of it.
6: CHESTS’ VALUE BASED ON YOUR RANK
Let me wrap this up with another quality of life improvement that I think Rare should implement as soon as possible. At this moment, Sea of Thieves rewards you with random chests when playing the Gold Hoarders’ missions, without taking into account your level at the faction nor the level of the journey you’re embarking on.
That’s quite disappointing mainly because, as you might know, the complexity of the missions raises alongside your rank at a specific faction. So, for example, if you’re level 15 at the Gold Hoarders, which is the faction that in my opinion has the most important issue with this process now, you’re often required to travel across multiple islands more and more distant between them, solve multiple puzzles and enigmas before you get to obtain the chests you can sell to your vendors and use as means to rank your faction level up. It simply doesn’t make sense that, after roaming for around 30 minutes, you always get rewarded with a chest of the same level of those you could grab at the very beginning of the game. Not only this is frustrating because of the quality of the loot and disappointing because of the very poor amount of faction points you receive at the end of the mission, but it’s also leading people to refuse 2+ step journeys considering that the probability to grab good level loot is the same that with quicker map-based tasks.