Sea of Thieves Technical Alpha Impressions
Sea of Thieves is shaping up to be a fun and adventurous experience. At least that is what I collected from the technical alpha I was able to participate in. At first, I started playing alone as I thought it would help me learn the mechanics of the game. Once I got the hang of it in terms of gaining quests and sailing, I moved on to a four man team. This social experience is where Sea of Thieves shines.
Sailing the Open Seas
Sailing a one man ship had its challenges, but luckily I was able to manage as I slowly learned the mechanics. The process of prepping your ship is remarkably fun. Players are required to raise the anchor, lower the sails and then position them into the wind. This process was fun each time as it made me feel like I was a true sailor. Never once did the tasks feel annoying or pointless.
Once you begin sailing, you have a huge map to explore. After playing all weekend, I had yet to explore each island as I stuck mainly to the south of the map. Every island I explored was very different from the next. Some were only a handful of meters wide while others took me almost an hour to explore completely. The missions I was given from the two available trading companies kept me in the southern area as I was tasked with finding treasure or eliminating a skeleton captain.
Finding treasure would usually give you an island with an X somewhere on it. These types of treasure maps were easy, but for a challenge you could purchase a riddled treasure map. The treasure riddles were fun to solve and made me feel proud that I had solved something so mysterious. Skeleton captains were different. A paper similar to a wanted poster would be handed to you as it gave the name of the captain and where it could be located. These missions featured way more combat against many types of skeletons. Once eliminated, the captain would drop a skull that you could hand in for reputation.
Rare’s objective for Sea of Thieves is to make the game fun with friends without limiting each other when playing together. I have seen this objective successfully integrated and I liked it a lot. Later on, I moved to the four player ship where I teamed up with others from the insider program. For the four player ship, it requires all hands on deck to start it sailing and keep it going.
Raising the anchor required two or three of us if we wanted it up fast. The same went for positioning and lowering the sails. Communication was key in keeping the ship on course, instead of running aground. As each of us had different levels of experience playing the game, we were all able to participate in missions that were available. For example, our highest leveled crew member was able to gain missions that rewarded large sums of coin while starting out it starts at around 25 or 50 coin. Regardless of our levels, we were all able to participate because there were no limitations.
Out of all my time playing, I never once ran into another team of sailors to steal from. I am not sure if this was due to me sticking to the south part of the map or the limited amount of crews placed in the world. I would have really enjoyed taking on another set of players as I am sure the cohesiveness of the crew would have been crucial. Regardless of that, Sea of Thieves is looking to be a fun and social adventure for the Xbox One and Windows 10.
Sea of Thieves releases on Xbox One and Windows 10 on Mar. 20, 2018.