The Captaincy update for Sea of Thieves is the dolly dress-up I've craved

The Captaincy update for Sea of Thieves is the dolly dress-up I've craved ...

From spectral phantoms and coral beasts to Jack Sparrow and Spanish fleets, the Sea of Thieves has continually been updated. Captaincy is a free service that allows players to name and decorate their own vessel, sell to a special vendor, and other activities on the high seas. It's the first update to really shine the spotlight on other players, and it makes the Sea feel so much more alive.

When Sea of Thieves was first released, threats were thin on the ground. Developer Rare has since expanded the map into the fiery, frightful Devils Roar, and added a slew of new quests and maps to explore. All of these changes have been external, changing the world. Pirates have received new tattoos or dresses, but rarely have they been given new opportunities to meaningfully proceed their own narrative.

Peering down a spyglass at a Captained ship adds a little flair, and you see their ship's name, which is also emblazoned above their quarters. On the seas, I run The Bewwowing Hewwo, a fearsome sloop, and I greet others with a heartfelt Hewwo. Many people try to avoid it, often with cannons and fire. Peering at other ships, like the parrot-

In a conversation with Polygon, creative director Mike Chapman says the team has discussed adding this feature on and off since its release. I think weve reached a point now with the sandbox facilities that have evolved so much, and theres such a breadth of different gameplay styles that it was time to allow players to become Captains.

Players can progress through the Tall Tales quest lines, meet factions, and participate in world events without spending much time in the talent tree. There are no Boots of Better Sailing to acquire or Pirate Points to spend on new items, like tattoos or a cool sword, but each session still began with a fresh, unadorned sloop.

Players may build their own fleets, purchasing new ships, or locking in specific customization slots, like a treasured capstan or cool cannon to automatically load on a sloop, brigantine, or galleon. And if your ship gets towed, paint your walls and place your little statues in order.

Shelley Preston, the lead designer for Sea of Thieves, believes that players want to express how they play and who they are as a captain. Milestones that correlate with globe-like, volcanic rock-like decorations are useful in the game.

Preston claims that some of the items are simply souvenirs from dramatic adventures, and some are just nice little ferns or a modest hook on which to hang one's hat. It was about ensuring that we have enough variety and role-playability to make the cabin and the quarters feel like theirs.

When you're under stress and your ship is sinking, Chapman says it's a process to ensure that Captains have fun options without cluttering up their ships too much. You want to not push it so far that it can impair the core gameplay, and you're affecting the free flow of walking around the ship and accessing damage holes. So its trying to tread the line of not affecting the core gameplay, but really giving yourself the freedom to express yourself and the things that you've done.

Since its launch over four years ago, Rare has given Sea of Thieves a number of updates, but the Captaincy update is one I've enjoyed the most so far. A new voyage or glowing landmark on the map to investigate is always fun, but the dolly dress-up element of quickidiously arranging little trinkets on my sloop is delightful.

It's also fun to sink another ship and look over their logbook. When my friends and I were aboard a Reaper ship called The Audacity, we feared for our precious cargo. But we managed to stay afloat and win a brutal war of attrition, and then we took their logbook and marveled at their accomplishments. All of the other Captaincy features, like the ability to sell your treasure en masse to a convenient vendor at outposts, are just the