Just a few days left until launch and endless questions remain about Sea of Thieves. That could be a good or bad thing, depending on your feelings about concepts such as "preserving mystery" and "value propositions", but the developers at Sea of Thieves studio Rare have cemented some more details via an official Ask Me Anything thread on Reddit. I've pulled out the most revelatory of responses to quench your curiosity on topics ranging from rowboats to tattoos and far beyond.
Fishing is a contentious issue
Fishing has been one of the most common requests from Sea of Thieves fans on Reddit. Video games and fishing minigames go waaaay back, after all. But does that kind of side pursuit belong in a video game laser-focused on setting the stage for piratical antics? Even Rare can't decide.
Fishing "sounds like an awesome idea," design director Mike Chapman began. "Not sure fishing is part of the pirate experience," studio head Craig Duncan cautioned, while senior designer Shelley Preston could only manage a "shocked face" emote. "You've now had some insight into a design discussion at Rare," executive producer Joe Neate concluded. "See what I have to put up with?"
Real anchors are a 'no' but rowboats are a 'maybe'
You may have noticed that nothing actually dangles down from your ship when you drop anchor. You also may have noticed that rowboats have appeared in some Sea of Thieves concept art but not in the game itself (yet). You may or may not like what Neate had to say about both of those subjects.
"We discussed [physical anchors] early on in the project and honestly made a call that the investment outweighed the aesthetic benefit of having one," Neate said. "We prototyped rowboats, it was super cool. They might make an appearance in future."
The first in-game event will star glowy-eyed visitors
Sea of Thieves will host special in-game events every now and then, and Chapman delivered a rhyming tease for the first one upon fan request: "New visitors soon there may be, travelling far across the sea, depth of night with eyes aglow, crawling the earth cast in shadow.
To be clear, the tease was requested, but the rhyming riddle was all him. Who could these glowing-eyed visitors from across the sea be? My guess would be the recently revealed Shadow Skeletons, who are extra-deadly at night but are made vulnerable by the sun or your trusty lantern.
There may be free ways to earn pets (and some in-game limits)
"Pets are a post-launch feature that we're currently designing," Neate said (they were initially revealed as Sea of Thieves' first microtransactions). We're considering all options and they're part of our ongoing service. We don't have plans for them to be bought with gold but we're looking at potential ways players could earn them."
In another thread, Chapman confirmed that "you'll be able to own multiple pets but can only take one out on a voyage at a time." Apologies if you were hoping to start a floating zoo all on your own, though with four crewmates you could at least get a mini-circus going.
Minigames are a possibility, but not as simple as you might think
"We prototyped dice early on in development and it was a lot of fun," Preston explained. "All of our mechanics in Sea of Thieves are to provide players simple tools that let players' creativity define how they use them!"
Then Neate followed up with a more holistic view of gambling implements: "If we put dice in the game we'd love to see what players do with them. For example, using them to direct your adventure. Roll six to head West!"
Finally, Chapman brought things back to sea-level: "Whatever we do we'll look to continue players' immersion and not take them out of the world into a minigame or separate modes."
Pirate customization for hair color and tattoos is on the list
"At launch, when you pick your pirate their hair colour will remain the same (you'll be able to change styles in the vanity chest!)" PC design lead Ted Timmins said. "We're currently working on changing color but figuring out how to deliver it. We have the tech working in the IPG (Infinite Pirate Generator) and now we're working on how to bring that to the vanity chest.
Another question led to some more details from Timmins about how tattoo customization could work - like earning a kraken tattoo if you manage to take down the foul beast. "Like hair colour we're working on the design of how we get tattoos to players. We love the idea of unlocking a tattoo after an in-game event. Our IPG tech means we can do this, we think it's super cool and we'll look at it post launch."
Legendary Ships may just be standard ships with special looks
In Sea of Thieves, accomplished buccaneers can become Pirate Legends with Legendary Ships to match. Fans have gotten a little out of hand speculating about what these Legendary Ships will do - including theories about additional crew slots and other special features - but Chapman's comment makes it sound like they'll just be optional tweaks to the standard vessels: "When we bring in ship captaincy the legendary cosmetics that you acquire will apply to both sloop and galleon." Emphasis on cosmetics there.
Sword Lunging through the ocean remains… for now
Charging up a sword lunge at the water's edge to get a quick-and-easy swimming boost has that distinct "beta glitch" quality. However, Neate wasn't ready to count it out: "It's still in at launch but we're monitoring whether it's an overpowered ability. Kudos for discovering it, we've seen some GREAT clips of this. It took Shelley a while to figure out how to do it and she's a senior designer on the game. Ted discovered it from the top of the Crow's Nest."
Drums are coming (just not at launch)
Shanty-prone pirates had their choice of the hurdy-gurdy or concertina as musical instruments in the Sea of Thieves beta sessions. Players have spotted others in promotional materials, including the fiddle, and it sounds like at least one more is coming soon.
"Drum roll please!" Preston began, apparently unable to help herself. "Not at launch, the drum is close. It's currently unavailable as we're using it to drum up anticipation for Sea of Thieves badum tsch."
Four-player sloops are a possibility
Used to be you saw a sloop or a galleon on the horizon and you had a pretty good idea of how many players would be aboard (one to two for a Sloop or four for a galleon). These days… I just don't know. "We're looking to add the ability to play publicly or privately on any ship you choose after launch," Chapman said. "Supporting a four player crew on the sloop is something we're looking at."
Want to hit the ground running/ocean sailing on launch day? Make sure you read through our Sea of Thieves tips for maximum pirate preparedness.