Sea of Thieves has just been slated to release to Steam on June 3rd, with another monthly update preceding it on May 27th. The Steam release has been a much talked about subject in the Sea of Thieves community, as players think it will bring more exposure to the game on an established platform. Players hope this will lead to more people playing the game and more in-game action. For other players though, the Steam release is the last chance for Sea of Thieves. Many passionate players have made perfectly clear their grievances with the current version of Sea of Thieves. The game has been notoriously buggy in its past, and the previous update “Ships of Fortune” was no different, having its fair share of bugs.
Sea of Thieves’ newest update, Ships of Fortune, has been one of the most impactful updates in the game’s lifespan. Upon release it drastically altered the way the game was to be played. The emissary system allowed for players to level up their emissary flag from grade one to grade five and take on new challenges, earn more gold and level up quicker in the trading companies. There was also the introduction of a new faction, the Reaper’s Bones. The Reaper’s Bones faction encouraged its emissaries to engage in battles with other pirates and to steal their treasure. For the PvP community in Sea of Thieves, this was a refreshing jolt of energy in the game. PvP was given a purpose and players were rewarded for their success in combat. However, after only a week of release, elation surrounding the update quickly turned to frustration.
When the emissary system was introduced, it was unexpectedly overpowered. Achieving grade five emissary status on a server in any trading company was rather quick and players earned reputation astonishingly fast. The most notable of these was the Reaper’s Bones faction, with some players making it to the maximum level of 75 on the first day of the update. This was, understandably, too fast and a week after the update the game received an update that nerfed the emissary system. But, rather than balance the game, the emissary nerf hotfix did more harm than good. Many players found the emissary nerf to be too extreme and leveling up reputation had been slowed to a snail’s pace. This caused many casual players, who did not want to return to grinding reputation levels for days on end, away from the game. The servers which were so highly populated only a week prior were now left desolate as a result of the loss of these players.
The hotfix also turned the community’s attention to several issues and bugs, some of which were not new. The most glaring issues were that of weapon hit detection, server instability and “black screening”. These were known issues that had cropped up in the game before, and dedicated players have become very frustrated with the fact they have not been permanently fixed. This, along with other common complaints such as PvE interfering in PvP fights, has led to a loud chorus of passionate players calling for sweeping bug fixes and game changes. Among the most vocal of these players are the small streamers, who dedicate themselves to the game to produce good content for their viewers, who are often equally as passionate about the game as they are.
For those players hoping for a turnaround, they may get their wish. Sea of Thieves released a video on May 20th in which game developer Joe Neate addressed the previous “Ships of Fortune” update stating, “We definitely introduced a number of bugs with this build. The emissary system is a very complex system that interfaces with a lot of other systems in the world. Also, we are investigating our own process to make sure that these bugs don’t make it out” Neate also discussed the next monthly update. The new update is scheduled for May 27th and according to the video is based mostly around “quality of life updates, but we are trying to bring as much fun value in as well.” The video did not say specifically what changes will be made, but Neate stated “We have identified some of the top reported issues and are making a concerted effort to shore up any areas that have taken a step backward. Some of those might take a bit longer than the May release, but we hear the feedback loud and clear from our players” For many players, a quality of life update is just what the game needs right now and they are ever hopeful that the issues they have expressed their frustrations about will be dealt with, especially considering the games upcoming steam release.
With Sea of Thieves coming to Steam on June 3rd, many current players are hoping that the game will receive a new influx of players which will re-invigorate the servers. After the apparent loss of interest in the game following the emissary nerf, the steam release might bring a renewed sense of drive to the game. With Sea of Thieves already being an established title coming to steam, the pressure on the quality of life changes is greater than ever. When established games make their way to steam, the steam community will expect those games to run smoothly and have most of their issues ironed out. Judging by the various complaints from Sea of Thieves most dedicated players, the game needs a lot more ironing out. Players are ever hopeful though, that the upcoming changes and steam release will be a turning point for the game as a whole. The rise in player count will hopefully promote more impactful changes to the game, bringing players back to the seas.