Sea of Thieves launched in March 2018, and since then it’s had a rollercoaster reputation. Starting with a rocky launch and then leading into some impressive free content, Sea of Thieves looks to be poised for a solid comeback in the eyes of gamers. But the question most are asking is:
Is Sea of Thieves worth it?
So let’s break down each aspect of Sea of Thieves to see if it’s worth your time and money.
Let’s start at the beginning, and although the launch state of a game these days isn’t something you should judge it by, I think it’s still worth mentioning.
Sea of Thieves was in alpha for a few years prior to launch, although it had minimal features, it was a testing ground for developers to test the core gameplay loop. Unfortunately that part of the game is still technically under NDA, so we can’t say much more about it.
Next up Sea of Thieves had a closed beta and open beta. This was the public’s first real opportunity to try out the game. Although it was limited in content, as a beta should be, it still left players worried about content at launch. Although the beta did not include the Merchant Alliance or Kraken (as well as some smaller features), players still had hope the retail game would deliver.
Launch came around on March 20th, 2018. With the game being launched traditionally and on Xbox Game Pass, Rare saw a massive influx of players and had trouble stabilizing the servers. Once stabilized, players seemed to enjoy the freedom of being a pirate. Sea of Thieves seemed off to a great start.
After a few weeks though, Sea of Thieves started revealing it’s ugly side. The core gameplay loop was just that: a loop. It looped and it looped until it drove players away from the game. There just wasn’t a lot to do in the game. So a good chunk of players flocked to other games while the Sea of Thieves veterans stayed loyal.
Luckily though, Rare wasn’t going to let a rocky launch deter them from delivering great content to the game.
Content – Developer Dedication
Shortly after launch, Rare was hard at work squashing bugs and issuing public statements about the state of the game. But one thing they did that was hard to believe (at the time), is change their content plans completely.
Rare had plans to add pets to the game 3 months after launch. These pets were slated to become microtransactions, the first the game would have seen. But as Rare heard community feedback, they realized that pushing microtranscations into the face of consumers looking for content would only result in more community outrage (take notes EA…).
So they put their microtransaction plans on the back-burner and gave us a roadmap for their content plans. They were going to deliver a bunch of updates until the end of the year.
The best part of those updates though is that they would be completely free.
So let’s take a look at the content timeline since launch to see what Rare has delivered on.
Although a rocky launch, Sea of Thieves finally got off the ground.
The Hungering Deep
Introducing the Megalodon into the world with a brand new campaign.
Bringing AI Skeleton Ships to the world, as well as new types of cannonballs.
Expanding the map to now include The Devil’s Roar, a new area featuring volcanoes.
Festival of the Damned
The Halloween event, adding new ways to decorate your ship and your pirate.
Increasing the rate of world events, adding more consistent action. Also, fog, really cool fog!
The largest update the game has seen. Includes fishing, cooking, enhanced quest system, new competitive PVP mode, and so much more.
So that’s a ton of content delivered in about 9 months (excluding the Anniversary Update).
In addition to content updates, Rare also introduced Bilge Rat Adventures to the game. Bilge Rat Adventures are essentially special events that offer limited-time cosmetics. These events would typically take place in between content updates, to keep players entertained while waiting.
Some of these events included Mercenary Voyages, Gunpowder Skeletons, and more. Mercenary Voyages are a new type of voyage that essentially sends multiple crews to the same islands in order to find treasure. Gunpowder Skeletons introduced a new type of enemies into the world (skeletons with gunpowder barrels, duh) and you were tasked in killing them in creative ways.
These events introduced a new currency into the world as well: doubloons. You earn doubloons by completing specific tasks the event calls for. Once you earn the doubloons, you can spend them on the limited-time cosmetics.
So on top of all the free content and events Rare has added to the game, they’ve been excellent at community feedback. Everyone from producers to designers to developers have been active in the Sea of Thieves community. With each update or patch they release, there are always a list of fixes or changes that the community has asked for.
In addition to responding to the players via game updates, Rare has also posted a Developer Update video every week. This is where a Rare staff member (usually the infamous Joe Neate), sits down and discusses changes coming to the game. This is something that could easily be done via a text post on their website, but Rare wants to have a more personal relationship with their community.
Rare also has hosted weekly streams with community members for quite a while. They’re taking time out of their day to play some Sea of Thieves and shine some light on great community members.
Rare has been 100% dedicated to the community of Sea of Thieves and their passion for the game has led to some truly great content.
Listen, if you love pirates you’re going to love Sea of Thieves. It’s really the only multiplayer game out there right now that truly makes you feel like a pirate.
Other games make you look like a pirate, talk like a pirate, or even smell (wait, what?) like a pirate.
But Sea of Thieves makes you feel like one.
The game gives you a true sense of freedom. Explore where you want, fight who you want, and set your own intentions. If you want to steal everything in sight, then do it. If you want to be a friendly chap, then do it. If you want to just sail around to enjoy the scenery, then do it. I think you’re getting the point.
So last but certainly not least is the main reason for this article:
Is Sea of Thieves worth the price?
Sea of Thieves launched at $60 and still remains at that for it’s full retail price. However, the game has seen a TON of sales. It is routinely set at 50% off, even when new content for the game drops.
Sea of Thieves is also on Game Pass, which can also be used on PC. Since Sea of Thieves is an Play Anywhere title, if you subscribe to Game Pass you will also own the game on PC.
Game Pass is only $10 per month but is also routinely on sale. Actually, you can purchase 3 months of Game Pass for just $1 right now. Or if you’ve never used Game Pass before, you can activate a 2-week free trial, which would let you try out Sea of Thieves without spending a dime.
So let’s wrap this up.
Sea of Thieves isn’t a perfect game, but it is something special.
If you and your friends want to hop on a ship and play as pirates, this game will exceed your expectations. It’s that simple.
But the true joy in this game is the support it receives, both from the community and Rare. When you have a developer that can recognize the potential of a game in the same eyes as the community, and they actually work on making that potential a reality, then you know you have something special.
Sea of Thieves didn’t have a perfect beginning, but they sure are making it easy to forget about. Especially since this huge Anniversary Update is on the horizon, Sea of Thieves looks to be in the best spot it’s ever been in.