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Game Spotlight: Sea of Thieves

After being announced at Microsoft’s E3 press conference in 2015, we’re finally nearing the official release of Sea of Thieves. For those of you who are unaware, Sea of Thieves is the latest game by one of my favourite developers; Rare Studios. Rare have developed quite the reputation in their 23-year history, having developed classics such as Banjo-Kazooie, Goldeneye, Donkey Kong Country, and many more.

The release of Sea of Thieves is a notable occasion for Rare with it being the first big-budget, non-Kinect title that they have released in almost ten years. As a massive Rare fan, I’ve been keeping my eye on this game since its initial reveal, although with a lack of information about the game I found it hard to get excited about. But now, after the recent success with the closed beta and media blowout that has explained various aspects of the game, they have caught my attention.

Rare have finally drawn back the curtain and showed us what the game’s all about, so let’s talk about what we can expect from the game upon release. Introducing the very first Game Spotlight; Sea of Thieves.

What’s it about?

Sea of Thieves is an open world, free-roaming multiplayer game that allows players to voyage across the seas alongside your fellow pirates as you uncover new islands full of treasure to uncover and places to explore.

Your purpose is to become a pirate legend, which will grant players access to an exclusive hideout that cannot be entered without a key. Rare recently revealed the location in a media blowout, and highlighted the Tavern of Legends; a place that gives access to high-tiered quests and rewards. This is the initial end goal for players to strive for at launch, but Rare have been vocal about this not being the end of the game, with more content to be added (for free) post-launch.

What can players do?

At launch, players will have a wide variety of activities to participate in, some of which we didn’t get the chance to experience in the closed beta that ran earlier this year. Sea of Thieves allows players to sail to the seas alone or with a group of up to four players.

Players can accept quests and tasks from one of the three trading companies that will be in the game at launch (with at least one more being added in the future). The three trading companies are different to each other, with one handing out tasks focused more on hunting bounties, another on collecting and making trades, and the other on finding treasure.

There are no safe zones in Sea of Thieves. No matter where you are, whether it’s on an island or sailing the seas, any player you come across could be hostile. It adds an interesting element in the game, with players bound to be kept on their toes every time they spot another ship sailing the ocean.

There are also harder challenges for players to undertake, such as skeleton fort raids and the Kraken event, which players can encounter randomly during their trek across the ocean.

What’s on the horizon?

Rare have already begun to outline their post-launch plans for Sea of Thieves. What’s arguably most important to note about what has been revealed is that there is no season pass. As a matter of fact, every expansive update to the game will be free, although micro transactions will be added to the game three months after launch alongside the first additional update. Rare have stressed that purchasable items will not affect power or progression, and are merely designed to be fun, social items. The first optional purchases will include pets, such as a cat, parrot or monkey.

In terms of content, Rare have created a detailed roadmap of releases until the end of this calendar year. What I find most intriguing about what they’ve said is that small additions will be added to the game as soon as they’re ready, no waiting for a large patch or anything similar. Additionally, they have the ability to expand the world with new islands appearing, but they can also alter current islands or remove them completely. It’ll definitely keep things interesting as time goes on.

It’s genuinely surprising to see just how much attention Sea of Thieves has attracted since its beta. If I were to ask anyone about the game beforehand, I think I’d be hard pressed to find someone that was actively following its development, yet here we are. The game had an extremely successful beta, and was also successful across streaming platforms such as Twitch and Mixer. Like many others, I’m excited for the release of Sea of Thieves, especially as a fan of Rare.

Come March 20, I’ll be diving deep into the game. Check back to see my thoughts.

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