Get a good crew together and Sea of Thieves is some of the most fun you can have without getting keelhauled, but you'll also plow through pretty much everything the beta has to offer real quick. Developer Rare has avoided spelling out just how much of the game is available to players in the Sea of Thieves closed beta, but an enterprising data miner on Reddit has sniffed out references to a goodly selection of stuffs that could be waiting to debut in the full game.
Consider this your spoiler warning if you don't want to know more about Sea of Thieves than Rare and Microsoft are ready to show. There's no shame in enjoying a carefully-crafted content rollout. For everybody else, here's some of the most promising data treasure to be unearthed.
Ship customization (including a harpoon gun)
Ship customization will be a big part of the final game, Rare has said as much. It's inaccessible during the beta (whatever kind of sails and masthead you get assigned, that's it) but the data mining has revealed several tantalizing points of customization that we'll likely find in the full game.
- Cannons - I could fiddle around with different kinds of cannons all day.
- Capstan - This is the part of the ship you use to haul up and drop the anchor.
- Livery - This likely refers to the icon that appears on your mast and other parts off your ship.
- Mast - The most visible part of your ship from a distance, so make it look good!
- Wheel - The consummate symbol of a pirate's life deserves special attention.
- Figureheads - This is the sculpture that goes on the front of your ship. A few of the options include a parrot, a unicorn, and something called "jdark" - almost certainly referring to Joanna Dark, main character of Rare's Perfect Dark games.
- Harpoon Gun - HELL YES.
The harpoon gun is sorted under "ship misc" rather than "ship customization", so it might be its own special thing. Maybe you can swap out one of your cannons for a harpoon gun? That would be an interesting tradeoff - you'd have less firepower for sinking other ships, but also an easier time taking out would-be boarders and other aquatic threats.
Krakens, mermaids, and beasts
Lurking deep within the beta assets are dangers far beyond those you can currently find in the closed beta. Let's be honest, the little skeleton troops you run into now and then aren't very threatening, but new Mermaid enemies could make your life on the high seas much more dangerous. And sailing wouldn't be complete without the threat of a true sea monster: the data files references a Kraken enemy and multiple animations for ingesting players and spitting them out… In short, stay away from those thrashing tendrils if you don't want to develop a sudden case of thalassophobia. The seas and islands will also be populated with more creatures that don't want to kill you, like bats, seagulls, pigs, and snakes. Ok, maybe the snakes want to kill you too, I'm not sure.
Two new Companies
The only Company you can interact with in the beta are the Gold Hoarders, the folks who sell you Journeys full of maps and riddles to find buried treasure. The beta's assets refer to two other factions - the Merchant Alliance and the Order of Souls - that you can't interact with right now. However, we already know roughly how they'll work thanks to a progression-focused video Rare put out in December: the Merchant Alliance will give you orders to transport or collect goods like livestock and gunpowder; and the Order of Souls will give you bounties for the skulls of powerful NPC enemies. They use the skulls to do weird, necromantic magic, but the important part is that they pay well.
A balanced buccaneer diet
I am so tired of bananas. Good news! The beta contents indicate several more fresh fruit options for recovering health and warding off scurvy: coconuts, pineapples, and pomegranates. Pomegranates seem like a super impractical travel food, but these pirates do eat bananas by shoving them whole, stem-first, down their throats, so… maybe proper pomegranate seeding techniques won't be such a big deal for them.
More weapons for your melees
The beta hands out a Cutlass, a Flintlock Pistol, and Sniper Rifle to all starting pirates (I don't expect the full game to be nearly so generous in handing out weaponry), and you can buy a Blunderbuss at an outpost once you get enough gold. The full version will have a larger arsenal to choose from, judging by the datamine. We only have names, but I've also included a little bit of commentary about how they'll probably work.
Boarding Axe - These little tomahawks were a staple for boarding enemy ships during the Age of Sail. I expect them to be fast, short-range weapons.
Heavy Sword - Like the cutlass, but bigger! Likely a slow yet deadly way to clear the decks.
Rapier - An elegant weapon for a more civilized pirate. These skinny-bladed swords are typically used for thrusting rather than slashing, and could be the preferred choice for duelists.
Pistol - Not to be confused with the Flintlock Pistol already in the beta. Maybe this one will have some kind of anachronistic magazine system for faster firing? Or maybe it's just a reference to the same weapon that Rare forgot to take out.
The Sea of Thieves beta will end on Wednesday, January 31, and after that we may have to wait until the game actually comes out on March 20 to play more. At least you'll be able to play it for cheap the very same day it comes out with the new-and-improved Xbox Game Pass.