Sea of Thieves 'fully embraces' power levelling, according to the design director (it's not what you think)

A Sea of Thieves pirate stands before a galleon.

Most video games comes try to stop powerful players from boosting the hell out of their less-accomplished friends, but Sea of Thieves kind of hopes you'll do just that. Or that you'll work your own way up the ranks. Or that you'll disguise yourself as a newbie swashbuckler and join an unsuspecting crew's maiden voyage, only to reveal your resplendent nature as a Pirate Legend when the mood strikes you.

In an interview with Edge Magazine (grab the new issue here), Sea of Thieves design director Mike Chapman made it clear that Rare has no intention to impose a specific progression system on players before they can experience certain parts of the game. Quite the opposite.

“The idea is that players share voyages,” Chapman said. “Power-levelling is, I guess, a bad thing in other games. It’s the best thing in Sea Of Thieves, and we’ve fully embraced it. You want to play with people in your crew at a different level of promotion. You want to have that feeling of, ‘They’ve got something I don’t yet have access to’. And by forging those connections with others, it’s that whole story of, ‘Jack Sparrow’s got the map to Fountain of Youth – but he needs a crew to go and get it.’

“People want to be friends with a Pirate Legend. They can’t get access to the hideout or Legendary Voyages unless they’re with you. This is kind of the endgame for Sea Of Thieves at launch. It’s going to be fascinating to see. Do Legends play with Legends? Do they play with people who’ve just started, and shepherd other people into the game?”

Rare wants Sea of Thieves' first Pirate Legends to feel like celebrities. Remember back in World of Warcraft, how everyone oohed and ahhed at the first folks to hit the level cap? Like that, but with more use for everyone else too - for instance, Pirate Legends can take their less-legendary friends with them into the Tavern of Legends. You can read more about what it's like to be a legend in our own preview of the game from mid-February.

Continue your voyage into the Sea of Thieves by picking up the latest issue of Edge Magazine, available now.

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.