Since its release, the Sea of Thieves has continually been updated, from spectral phantoms and coral beasts to Jack Sparrow's and Spanish fleets. But the most recent Captaincy update, which launched at the start of August along with season 7, may be one of the most significant updates yet. Players may name and decorate their own ship, sell to a special vendor, and otherwise flex their status on the high seas.
When Sea of Thieves first launched, threats were small on the ground. Developer Rare has since expanded the map into the fiery, frightful Devils Roar, and added a slew of new quests and quests to explore. But all of these changes have been internal, changing the world. Pirates have received new tattoos or dresses, but rarely have they been given new avenues to meaningfully tell their own story.
Peering down a spyglass at a Captained ship plays a little tune, and you see their ship's name, which is also emblazoned above their quarters. Im the captain of this ship, and you can't do anything about it, often with cannons and fire. Peering at others ships, with names like the parrot-cosmetic-adorned Chicken Club or the black and gold Booty Hunter, make them seem like similar established characters.
In a conference with Polygon, creative director Mike Chapman says the team has discussed this feature on and off since its launch. I think weve reached an equilibrium now that there's such a wide variety of gameplay styles and experiences that we're obligated to allow players to be Captains.
Players can progress through the Tall Tales quest lines, establish themselves as faction leaders, and take part in world events, but there are no permanent pirate points to acquire or Boots of Better Sailing to spend on talent trees. Each session could begin with a fresh, unadorned sloop.
Players may now customize their own fleets, purchasing new ships, and locking specific customization slots, such as a treasured capstan or cool cannon to load automatically on a sloop, brigantine, or galleon. And if your ship is struck by a storm or firebombed, the damage will show up.
Shelley Preston, the lead designer for Sea of Thieves, said when we talked about the importance of deep customization. Milestones correlate with globe-like volcanic rock looking decorations, and you can progress that way and become a reflection of that play style.
Preston said it was about ensuring that the cabin and the quarters were adequately equipped for dramatic adventures.
When youre under stress and your ship is sinking, Chapman says it was a strategy to ensure that Captains had fun options without cluttering up their ships too much. What you want to do is push it so much that it can disrupt the core gameplay, and you're affecting the free flow of walking around the ship and accessing damage holes. So its trying to tread that line of not affecting the core gameplay, but really giving you the ability to express yourself and the things that you've done.
The Captaincy update, while rare, has given Sea of Thieves a slew of changes since its launch over four years ago, is one Ive enjoyed the most so far. A new voyage or glowing landmark on the map to investigate is always enjoyable, but the thrill of quickly arranging little ornaments on my sloop is wonderful.
It's also fun to sink another ship and look at their logbook. When my buddies and I were aboard a brig, we worried for our precious cargo. We managed to stay afloat and win a brutal war of attrition, and then we seized their logbook and marveled at their accomplishments. All of the other Captaincy features, including the ability to sell your loot in bulk to a convenient vendor at outposts, are the real deal.