Sea of Thieves – The Driving Impetus aka Progression

sea of thieves

Sea of Thieves, the upcoming pirate themed coop game from Rare, has always looked to be an intriguing take online cooperative gameplay, and with each subsequent developer update, has started to take the form of something rather substantial.

Releasing March 20, 2018, Sea of Thieves allows an adventurer or a crew of pirates to take to the seas in search of exploration, loot, PVE combat, and of course, PVP combat through the form of melee weapons, guns, and even illustrious ships.

The latest developer update by Rare has outlined the progression systems of Sea of Thieves which has finally revealed their hand as far as the driving impetus of the game is concerned.

With this dev update it’s becoming clear what will make Sea of Thieves more than a pirate themed sandbox and how it will entice players to dig their teeth into the world.

Progress Among Pirates

One thing that Rare makes very clear about its progression systems is that they want players to be able to play together no matter the level of disparity between ranks.

voyages sea of thieves
Voyages, or quests, are represented through physical scrolls

For instance, the quests in Sea of Thieves, called voyages, are dispersed by entities called trading companies. If you’ve ever played a game like Destiny these are essentially factions.

By completing voyages for trading companies you will increase your rank tied to them. What happens if you are 5 ranks higher for a particular trading company than your pirate crew?

As per Rare’s agenda, everyone in your crew will still be able to take part in whatever quest you have obtained from a faction.

Much like coop loot based games like Destiny or MMO’s in general, Rare’s goal is to allow for tangible progression through use of items that facilitate customization.

sea of thieves cosmetic customization
Progress through the ranks and tailor your pirate to your own liking through cosmetics

This includes the obvious such as cosmetics (peg leg, gear, facial hair, hairstyle, and so on) but also secondary progression tracks like ranks and pirate titles.

The main mover, the penultimate goal, is to become Pirate Legend and it’s the biggest carrot on the stick.

Variety comes into play when you account for the motives of the various trading company. Each faction has a different philosophy and motivation with each of their voyages guiding you along a path that furthers their objectives.

The 3 trading companies revealed thus far include the Order of Souls, Merchant Alliance, and Gold Hoarders. The Gold Hoarders, as you might expect, will have you hunting for gold, the Merchant Alliance will have you scavenging for resources and animals, and the Order of Souls will have you seek out magical souls in a world event/raid type activity.

But what would a shared world/MMO-lite game be without end game content?

Becoming Pirate Legend precedes the Golden Age of Piracy which is what I presume to be the end game content of Sea of Thieves. Rare hasn’t explicitly said this, so take it with a grain of salt, but I would bet this is essentially the end game content.

What they have said is that the Golden Age of Piracy is yet to come and will serve as the jumping off point for players. Rare has also stated that they plan to flesh the game out over time with the help of player feedback and, most likely, insight gathered through player behavior.

All of this speaks positive volumes about the future potential of Sea of Thieves as progression is something that really hasn’t been touched on as of yet. The “Why play?” of Rare’s ambitious new title was a deafening silence for a while there.

Hopefully this connects with players  and critics when it releases for the Xbox One and PC in 2018 because Microsoft could really use a standout IP other than the undying triangle of Forza, Halo, and Gears.

I don’t own an Xbox One myself but I truly do hope Sea of Thieves pans out. It’s a game that has been teeming with potential from the start and a good game is a win no matter the platform.

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