We have a new trailer for the next two Sea of Thieves updates. Cursed Sails will release in July and Forsaken Shores will follow in September.
We have a new trailer for the next two Sea of Thieves updates. Cursed Sails will release in July and Forsaken Shores will follow in September.
After promising that The Hungering Deep will release in May, Rare have announced a date of May 29th and with it a new trailer. Whilst the trailer doesn’t show any gameplay footage of the new PVE game mode, it does hint at a very large sea creature being the focus.
Narrated by an NPC character who appears to have lost most of his body parts, the trailer tells a story of an ancient danger beneath the waves that can be summoned by the player. Deep within the trailer there are also hints towards spears, rowing boats and perhaps a Megalodon (a really, really big shark!).
More info is bound to be revealed over the next couple of weeks, so watch this space!
Xbox announce the Adaptive Controller, giving everyone a chance to enjoy gaming
One thing that Rare are absolutely nailing at the moment are the weekly developer updates. In the latest video released this week, Executive Producer Joe Neate revealed that a trailer and release date for the first major update “The Hungering Deep'” will be revealed next week, and if they follow their normal schedule then this will be on Tuesday May 15th.
In the latest update Joe Neate also revealed that the Private crew feature will be added to the game on the next patch, giving players the choice to keep open slots on their ships ready for friends to join, instead of being lumbered with a (potentially) griefing random. Also included in the next update is the change to how your gamertag is displayed to your opponents, especially when attempting to be stealthy. After this update the gamertag will not be shown when you are underwater, meaning you can sneak much more effectively.
The Hungering Deep is the first major update to Sea of Thieves, and Rare have promised that there will be weekly events added each week after this release. Great news for you pirates out there, and hopefully this will address some of the criticism that the game has had since release.
Sea Of Thieves Review
Sea of Thieves is officially Rare’s biggest game in its history, according to US industry tracking company The NPD Group who track retail and digital sales of games. Sea of Thieves has sold faster than any other Rare game since tracking started in 1995.
“Sea of Thieves was the second best-selling game of March, and is the eighth best-selling game of 2018 year-to-date,” according to analyst Mat Piscatella. “Sea of Thieves generated the highest launch month sales for any title produced by developer Rare since tracking by The NPD Group began in 1995.”
As this only includes digital and physical sales it will not include those who are playing through Game Pass. In terms of cash sales, Sea of Thieves is the No. 8 game of 2018 so far. That actually makes it the second highest platform exclusive on the list, as PUBG which is at Number 7.
This data goes hand in hand with Microsoft’s own data which shows that over two million people played Sea Of Thieves in March, with most of those playing on Xbox One, as PC numbers show that around 283,000 played away from the console. Given the good but not great reviews this is a great start for the new IP, and the forthcoming additions will hopefully prevent the player base from falling too far.
Sea Of Thieves Review
It’s probably quite safe to say that a large amount of people at Xbox HQ in Seattle, and a smaller, but more personally invested group of devs in Twycross, England have very high hopes for Sea Of Thieves. Microsoft have been loudly criticised for both the lack of first party titles for the Xbox console, and also for the relegation of Rare to development of games for the ill-fated Kinect. But the development of Sea of Thieves has not been without its criticism either, with concern about the lack of content within the game during its various beta phases over the last year or so. This is a difficult review for me to write, as I also share the hope that this will be a huge turning point in the quality of the first party Xbox titles and be a huge success for the English studio that has had so much success in the past. Anything less than an excellent game would surely invite criticism from the more cynical areas of the internet. Although I have the responsibility of this review you will also get the opinions of other members of the TiX team throughout.
I am in an fortunate position of having a full-time job and family responsibilities to juggle with my game reviewing duties, and one thing is certain. I have not been able to devote enough time to playing Sea Of Thieves, as I want to be spending every waking hour in this beautifully crafted world. Since release I have invested around 30 hours, either as part of a four man crew with the TiX team, as a solo player, or with my thirteen year old son manning a two person sloop. And whichever game mode I have played I have had just the best time. Gameplay wise Sea Of Thieves is relatively simple, with the bulk of the game consisting of levelling up three different factions. Each one of these factions, which have stores at each of the outposts, will sell you voyages which will give you and your crew an objective. The Gold Hoarders will generally give you a treasure map, the Merchant Alliance will provide a list of goods that need to be delivered to another outpost, and the Order of Lost Souls will give you a wanted poster for a ghostly pirate.
There are virtually no menus in SoT, all the actions are done via in-game activities. Whichever voyage you take from the three mentioned above will need to be proposed at the captain’s table on your ship, and then voted on by the rest of the crew. Only when consensus is given does the voyage start, and you will then receive your objectives. The lack of menus also means there is no mini-map, or GPS guidance. Navigating to your destination is done via a map table on the ship and your compass. Forget a nice HUD as well, the only on-screen bar you will see is your health bar, and only when you are less than 100% health. This simplicity forces all of your crew to have roles when sailing, as the captain cannot leave the wheel to check the map, or be expected to move the sail position in order to catch the most wind. It forces communication between players to ensure the ship is a well oiled machine.
However, you can choose a solo adventure in a smaller boat, and the gameplay is extremely similar, although more emphasis is on running and hiding when in your sloop, whilst as part of a four man galleon you take on an air of invincibility. Rare encourage the use of proximity game chat, as this is a perfect way to communicate with others in the world. Just last night our three man galleon came across a one-man sloop and over the game chat we made it quite clear we would leave the sloop alone if he didn’t fire on us. A quick wave emote gesture followed and we all went on our merry way. Little did he know that we were carrying a huge amount of treasure and were desperate to avoid any conflict on the way back to the outpost!
On your adventures you can also encounter shipwrecks – which may or may not contain some random treasure – and on the islands themselves I have found chests, relics or supplies that can all be collected and sold. The islands however also contain skeletons, all fixated on turning you into one of them, which leads us into the combat mechanics. At any time you can carry two of the four available weapons, which can be changed on the ship, but ammo is limited and only refillable once back on the ship. Dealing with some of the tougher enemies mean that there are endless shuttle runs to and from the moored ship in order to refill. Your pirate’s health is refilled by eating bananas and it is highly possible to be killed by the lowest strength skeleton, whereby you will spawn back on the ship, which makes keeping it afloat of high importance as if it gets sunk then you will respawn at a nearby outpost.
Although it feels like a bit of a beast your ship is actually rather fragile. Any scrape on a rock will cause a hole to appear and water to gush in. Failure to deal with this and your boat will sink. Holes can be repaired with planks of wood, and water can be removed by using your trusty bucket. Taking cannon fire from enemy ships or skeleton manned fortresses does even more damage, so again, having a communicating crew is vital in order to fight back, or run away, all whilst repairing and bailing as you go.
Graphically Sea Of Thieves is just stunning, and I challenge you to find another game that looks and feels as good as this. Particular credit must go to the devs responsible for the water. Whether its still, calm and blue or dark and raging with white crested waves, it looks and feels realistic, which is the biggest compliment you could give it. Add to that the sound design, which is equally incredible, from the sound of the water crashing over the ship’s bow to the horrific pressurised creaking you hear whilst on the lower deck when the ship is going full pelt. We have also recently experienced the Kraken in all its splendour, and the ominous sounds of that beast is just insane, not to mention the thrill you feel when taking it on.
Dave Moran – “I’m loving the exploring and the silliness of it all – it’s a gorgeous looking game, I’d love them to add crews to it, so we could have a standard set of ships.”
So, at this point there are no complaints. It looks, sounds and plays pretty much as perfect as you could imagine. But I have one major concern with Sea Of Thieves. For all the beauty in the world that Rare has created, it all feels just a bit lifeless. The outposts contain traders, but they are the only non-skeletal NPC’s you will encounter, and across the large map there are other players all going about their voyages, but it is possible to go a long gameplay session without bumping into anyone, which is strange. In my opinion the world is screaming out for NPC characters on the islands, and the possibility of NPC ships that need hunting down and defeating would add another level to the game.
The perceived lack and variety of content is also a very hot topic at the moment, and I understand the concerns but don’t necessarily agree with them. However, once I had levelled up the Gold Hoarder faction the treasure maps were replaced with riddles, which gave me a fresh impetus to see just what was next, and made the voyages more enjoyable. However I am already extremely bored with the merchant quests, especially the ones where you have to catch Pigs and Chickens. Again, levelling up brought some variety to the merchant quests but I would be happy to never have to run around an island with a crate trying to find a White Feathered Chicken ever again! This could be improved with the ability to have multiple voyages active, so you could animal hunt whilst finding treasure. However, I am witnessing the more cynical places of the internet taking the same agenda it took with Destiny 2 on content, which is a real shame and a huge overreaction. The openness of Rare in the development process so far is not going to wane now the game is released, so lets hope they address some of the more constructive criticism.
Rich Berry – “I’ve had lots of fun with it although I just feel it lacks depth – what’s the point? Had some interesting player encounters but very few. Needs more complexity into the objectives of mystery. Love the adventure with friends part and keeping stock of supplies. When you run a Galleon efficiently it’s pretty cool – its a shame the treasure really only equals atheistic reward.”
However, as well as the voyages previously mentioned there is more content in the form of Skeleton Fortresses, which are extremely difficult. They are announced as active with a large skull cloud formation appearing over the island, and are full of skeletons to defeat, from the basic gun-toting model, to the metal ones that are only defeated when standing in (or splashed) with water. Every attempt we have taken at these has resulted in abject disaster, but our time will come!
I have a few more niggles, especially the mysterious stranger in the tavern who tells you to come back when all factions have reached level five, then level ten, then fifteen, without actually rewarding you for hitting those targets. At times I have received an on-screen riddle, with no clue what it relates to. But by far the biggest problem, and it’s not a fault with the game at all, is the toxic behaviour of some players. Yes, it’s a pirate game, and I expect and accept that a rival crew is going to want to attack me and steal my treasure. But when they do it whilst screaming racial abuse, or just to be a nuisance then it is a different matter. On launch night, four of the TiX team were manning a galleon, two dropped out at the end of the evening, and were immediately replaced by two randoms, one of which constantly dropped the anchor, moved the sails and threw treasure overboard, but could not be removed by placing in the brig, as the second random was uncommunicative. Lesson learned to move to a sloop as soon as the full player count was depleted, but there is no way to do this without losing progress on the active voyage. Rare could address this with the addition of a quick player/boat change during play in order to keep progress. This toxicity problem is not Rare’s fault or thier doing, but it is putting people off playing, especially solo, which could affect the games lifespan.
Rob Tonge – “One of the best looking games I’ve ever seen. I quickly forget about any objective and just stand in the end of the shop and gaze upon the beautiful horizon……..only to forget and fall into the sea and get eaten by a shark. Not the most engaging game but there is loads of scope for more content, I just hope they bring it and soon before the dedicated following it has gets bored and moves on.”
It is safe to say that I adore Sea Of Thieves, and I will be continuing to put as many hours in as I possibly can in order to reach the coveted Pirate Legend status. I am also certain that Rare will continue to add new content and patch and improve for the long term. But I also have friends who don’t like it, and describe it as an unfinished game that should have been released into Game Preview. Another one of their concerns is the lack of progression. Whilst each successful voyage will earn you gold, which can be spent on weapons, clothing and your boat, they are cosmetic only, and don’t make your character stronger or give your gun more ammo, so what’s the point? I can see why this design decision was made, as Rare didn’t want a newcomer to the game being attacked by high level players with superior weapons. But again, something just doesn’t feel right, and I can understand the concern.
Given all these concerns I have one final point to make. Sea Of Thieves strength isn’t about progression, or levelling up. It’s all about the adventures that you will have along the way. Every single member of the TiX team who has played Sea Of Thieves will have multiple stories about what happened to them. How they destroyed an enemy ship by jumping on board with an explosive barrel. How they lured a group of enemy skeletons to the beach where the ship was waiting with its cannons. How they found a shipwreck with two lost soul skulls that sold for £1500. And none of these moments are scripted or written. Sea Of Thieves is about having adventures with your friends. And it succeeds.
Arrr… me hearties, Rare have patched Sea of Thieves to address numerous issues that you land lovin’ folk have had since launch.
I say patch… this is actually a full game update so rocks in at a hefty 9.9GB on Xbox One and 18.97GB on Xbox One X – the next update promises to be a more traditional patch, which will hopefully address the ‘known issues’ that Rare have listed, and are as follows:
Rare have also addressed the much debated ‘Death Tax’ that they planned to unleash and thankfully, they have decided to drop their plans. The full notes can be found below or by visiting the game’s official website.
It’s only days away from the release of Sea Of Thieves and Rare have revealed the details of the achievements that can be earned in-game. As per the games – and developers – sense of humour, the achievement descriptions are written in riddles.
Now Bring Me That Horizon [10G]
“With the capstan raised and the sails unfurled, ‘Now bring me that horizon!’ a pirate yelled.”
Full Billow [5G]
“When the wind grabs the sails a pirate will hoot, ‘Full billow mateys, we are full speed en route!'”
Handbrake Turn [10G]
“When you find yourself needing a new direction, turn hard and weigh anchor to plot a correction.”
I Wanna Be a Pirate! [10G]
“Cashing in rewards is always a pleasure, made even better when a number’s the measure.”
Shopping for a Promotion [5G]
“Even a pirate wants job recognition, so buy a Promotion to show your position.”
I’ll Drink to That [5G]
“Nothing says being social, like crews drunk down the local.”
What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor? [10G]
“A tankard or two may make you blue, have a few more and you will surely spew.”
“A new peg leg, an eyepatch, a hat and a hook, maketh the pirate to complete the look.”
Aye of Reach [5G]
“Head to the Weaponsmith to extend your Reach, please excuse the pun, it was a figure of speech.”
“Visit the Weaponsmith to empty your coffer, we hear there’s some buckshot on special offer.”
Colourful Sails [5G]
“Many people claim pirates had black sails, visit the Shipwright and she’ll prove they’re folk tales.”
You Fight Like a Merchant [10G]
“Block an attack as you scream ‘parlay!’, then strike them down to ruin their day.”
How Appropriate! You Fight Like a Chicken [10G]
“When an attack is blocked then fret you may, as being counter-struck will ruin your day.”
But You Have Heard of Me? [10G]
“Halfway to Mastery is an important occasion, mark it with a Promotion to display jubilation.”
“Pirate Titles are earned in many ways, and owning ten will leave enemies agaze.”
In Good Company [5G]
“A Trading Company item is great to behold, but upgrade it five times for a beauty untold.”
Did Everyone See That? [10G]
“Meeting a rival pirate stood on their ship, will become legend if you send them in for a dip.”
Ignoring the Rules of Engagement [15G]
“To shoot from behind is a cowardly act, unless it’s with a blunderbuss as matter of fact.”
Kraken Good Job [15G]
“A number of tentacles appeared from the ocean, you quelled the beast without showing emotion.”
Perfect Dark [15G]
“A lady once sailed through a storm at night, turned off her lights did she to show off her might.”
Friends Not Foe [10G]
“A pirate salute proves you follow the Code, then upon you a new friend was gratefully bestowed.”
A Titanic Ensemble [10G]
“A pirate once said that when you are sinking, playing some music is more helpful than drinking.”
“Patiently wait for a skeleton to ‘cronch’, then blow it away to ruin its ‘lonch’.”
Dead Pirates DO Tell Tales [10G]
“The Ferry of the Damned opened its gates, and a tale you did tell through the circle of eights.”
Hold My Grog! [50G]
“To fire oneself and nail a deck landing, requires a good aim and much understanding.”
I Don’t See Your Ship [20G]
“One thing all pirates do share in common, is the first memory of watching a ship sink to the bottom.”
Laden With Treasure [20G]
“If you are of chests aplenty, this achievement unlocks at twenty.”
On a Whole New Adventure [10G]
“To be a good crewmate is thinking of others, so vote on a voyage from your sisters or brothers.”
Tactical Chunder [20G]
“There is an old saying that to win a sword fight, a tactical chunder will ruin their sight.”
When You’re a Professional Pirate [20G]
“Being Commended is a pirate’s delight, times it by ten and we’ll celebrate all night.”
You Can Always Trust the Untrustworthy [30G]
“To plunder one’s captain is a good ploy, but take it to port to experience the joy!”
Become Pirate Legend [50G]
“Your dedication to piracy shall never be questioned, once you earn the hideout of Pirate Legend.”
There are also some “Legends” achievements, which relate to some of the more humorous events during the games production.
Legends – “Cronch” [5G]
“The month of June had a legend told, of a Griffin who ‘cronched’ a banana and was a sight to behold.”
The tale behind the Legend
Legends – “The Greatest Race in History” [20G]
“Sometimes hostility is not the answer, try racing a ship to see who’s the faster.”
Legends – “This is Unacceptable!” [25G]
“Give a chest away or have it stolen, once it’s cashed in your story is woven.”
Legends – “The Skullduggers” [5G]
“A legend was told of a five-piece band, who played shanties together and best witnessed first-hand.”
The different trading companies and their activities also have a group of achievements;
It’s a Pirate’s Life for Me [5G]
“Into a Golden voyage a dagger was struck, but when voyage was completed you proved your luck.”
Master Gold Hoarder [20G]
“The Hoarding of Promotions is one to embellish, to reach the top is a memory to cherish.”
Taking Orders [5G]
“From the Captain’s table you searched for a hoard, and upon completion you earned the reward.”
Master of the Order [20G]
“First scale the heights in the Order of Souls, then to Master the Order is one of the final roles.”
I Am Not Obsessed With Treasure [5G]
“A vote for the Alliance was one well placed, completing the voyage will give you a taste.”
Master Merchant [20G]
“Becoming a Master Merchant is no doubt vital, so celebrate your reputation with a new-found title.”
And finally, within the world of Sea of Thieves, certain deeds earn what is known as a Commendation. These range in difficulty requirement from Grade 1 through to Grade 5, and upon unlocking the fifth and final grade of Commendation in each set a matching Pirate Title is awarded. We felt therefore it was only right that given how clearly this is an achievement, that it is remembered as such!
Seeker of Lost Maps [10G]
“Awarded the Commendation for purchasing 250 X Marks the Spot voyages!”
Golden Voyager [20G]
“Awarded the Commendation for 500 Gold Hoarder voyages completed!”
Sailor of the Gold Horizon [20G]
“Awarded the Commendation for sailing 1,000 nautical miles on Gold Hoarder voyages!”
Hoarder of Barnacled Gold [15G]
“Awarded the Commendation for 1,000 Shipwrecked Chests sold!”
Keeper of a Glittering Hoard [30G]
“Awarded the Commendation for 150,000 gold earned from Gold Hoarder voyages!”
Hoarder of the Captain’s Gold [50G]
“Awarded the Commendation for 1,000 Captain’s Chests sold!”
Merchant Adventurer [10G]
“Awarded the Commendation for purchasing 250 Merchant Alliance contracts!”
Merchant Voyager [20G]
“Awarded the Commendation for 500 Merchant Alliance voyages completed!”
Sailor of the Merchant Alliance [20G]
“Awarded the Commendation for sailing 1,000 nautical miles on Merchant Alliance voyages!”
Black Powder Merchant [15G]
“Awarded the Commendation for 1,000 Gunpowder Kegs delivered on time!”
Merchant Forager [50G]
“Awarded the Commendation for 1,000 Banana Crates delivered on time!”
Gilded Merchant [30G]
“Awarded the Commendation for 150,000 gold earned from Merchant Alliance voyages!”
Seeker of Lost Souls [10G]
“Awarded the Commendation for purchasing 250 Cursed Captain Bounty contracts!”
Voyager of Lost Souls [20G]
“Awarded the Commendation for 500 Order of Souls voyages completed!”
Sailor of the Whispering Bones [20G]
“Awarded the Commendation for sailing 1,000 nautical miles on Order of Souls voyages!”
Hunter of Cursed Captains [15G]
“Awarded the Commendation for 1000 Skeleton Captains defeated!”
Mercenary of the Ancient Order [30G]
“Awarded the Commendation for 150,000 gold earned from Order of Souls voyages!”
Master Hunter of Villainous Skulls [50G]
“Awarded the Commendation for 1,000 Villainous Skulls sold!”
We are literally only days away from the launch of Sea Of Thieves and Microsoft have announced that from March 18th through to March 24th – at selected retailers – a purchase of an Xbox One X will come with a digital copy of Rare’s Sea Of Thieves.
If you’re still not convinced by the 4k loveliness of the Xbox One X there is also the Xbox One S Sea of Thieves Bundle, which comes with an Xbox One S with a 1TB hard drive, Xbox Wireless Controller, a full-game download of Sea of Thieves and 1-month of Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass. The Xbox One S Sea of Thieves Bundle is available for pre-order now at participating retailers.
Also, don’t forget there are special edition and limited edition accessories available, including the Xbox Wireless Controller – Sea of Thieves Limited Edition, Seagate Special Edition Sea of Thieves 2TB Game Drive for Xbox and Controller Gear Limited Edition Sea of Thieves Xbox Pro Charging Stand and Xbox One Controller Stand V2.0.
Its been teased and anticipated but Rare have now announced that the final beta for Sea Of Thieves will run from Friday 9th March at 12pm GMT to Sunday 11th March at 10am GMT.
It is open to ALL Xbox One and Windows 10 owners, and the aim of this beta is to get as many players into the beta to really test the servers. Also included in this beta is the opportunity to try out the Skeleton Forts, which will be recognised as a huge skull in the sky as you are sailing across the world.
The Merchant Alliance will also make its first appearance in one of the betas. See you on the seas this weekend!
The official description on Xbox store is as follows!
The Sea of Thieves Final Beta is here! Before we set sail on March 20th, this is one last opportunity for budding brigands to sample the pirate life through a selection of the activities offered by the full game – a fine way to master the basics and find your sea legs ahead of launch. Players taking part in the Final Beta will be able to:
With only 19 days – 19 DAYS!!! – until release Rare have announced that the Scale Test will be running again this weekend, from Friday 2nd March to Sunday 4th March. There will be no new features in this build but your progress from last weekend will be saved.
For more details on the scale test check out the official blog.
The latest episode of the Inn-side videos has also been released, this time giving details of the customisation available to your ship and your pirate.
Its great to see that there will be a multitude of customisation available for not only your pirate, including hooks for hands and peg-legs, but also being able to change the figurehead on your ship, and your sails!