The Captaincy update for Sea of Thieves is the doll outfit I have long desired

The Captaincy update for Sea of Thieves is the doll outfit I have long desired ...

The most recent Captaincy update, which launched at the beginning of August alongside season 7, may be one of the most impactful changes yet. 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 light on the ground. Developer Rare has since expanded the map to include the fiery, terrifying Devils Roar, as well as a slew of new quests and quests to explore. All of these improvements have been external, changing the world. Pirates have received new tattoos or dresses, but rarely have they been given new opportunities to meaningfully tell their own story.

On high waves, peering down a spyglass at a Captained ship plays a little tune, and you see their ships name, which is also emblazoned above their quarters. You cant do anything about it, though, as many others do, often with cannons and fire. Peering at other ships, such as the parrot-cosmetic-adorned Chicken Club or the black and gold Booty Hunter, makes them appear like similar established characters.

In a conversation with Polygon, creative director Mike Chapman says the team has discussed this feature on and off since its release. I think weve reached an age now where players may be allowed to become Captains due to the breadth of experiences and play styles.

Players may go through the Tall Tales quest lines, gain reputation with factions, go on adventures, and conquer world events, but there are no Talent Trees to acquire or Pirate Points to spend on new items. Your pirate might even slap on a new outfit, and each session ended with a fresh, unadorned sloop.

Players may customize their own fleets, by purchasing new ships and locking specific customization slots, like a treasured capstan or cool cannon to automatically load on a sloop, brigantine, or galleon. And if your ship gets crammed, you can straighten up paintings and restore your little statues to look like a new one. If your ship is struck by a bullet or firebombed, the damage will disappear. Pay the cost to repair it.

Shelley Preston, the lead designer for Sea of Thieves, said when we talked about deep customization that players wanted to express how they play and who they are as a captain. Milestones are related to globe-y, volcanic rock-like decorations, so you can progress that way and become that reflection of that play style.

Preston insists that some items are just treasures from dramatic adventures, while others are just nice little ferns or a modest hook on which to hang a hat. It's about ensuring that we've got enough variety and role-playability to make the cabin and the quarters feel like theirs.

When youre under stress and your ship is sinking, Chapman says it was a process to make sure that Captains had fun options without cluttering up their ships too much. What you should not do is push it so far that it can harrass the core gameplay, affecting your free flow of walking around the ship and accessing damage holes. So its trying to tread that line of not affecting core gameplay, but rather giving you the freedom to express yourself and the things that youve done.

Since its release four years ago, Rare has given Sea of Thieves a number of updates, but the Captaincy update is one Ive enjoyed the most. Having a new place to look at is always fun, but the crafty ornament of quickly arranging small items on my sloop is also delightful.

It's also wonderful to sink another ship and read 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, win a brutal war of attrition, and then we seized their logbook and marveled at their achievements. All of the other Captaincy features, including the ability to sell your items en masse to a convenient vendor at outposts, are just the ic