Rare’s Sea of Thieves open-world pirate simulator is currently in a closed beta testing phase on the Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, so I fired it up on my One X to hit the open seas to find out what this interesting title is all about. While I can confirm the game looks interesting and has a concept that I think many gamers will buy into, my first foray into the world of Sea of Thieves was a ho-hum experience at best.
Now I chalk this up to a few factors, so I’m not saying that I already hate the game after an hour or so of time with it, but I do find its lack of even basic guidance to be problematic for new players. In my playthrough I chose to play on a galleon-sized ship, so I could be paired with other human players, because that is definitely how this game is meant to be played, but as soon as I spawned, my team ditched me and left me clueless as to what I was supposed to do. There are zero objective markers and nothing on the UI to indicate how to start a quest or treasure hunt, and there’s no map to allow yourself to orient yourself in the world. There is a map in the ship’s underbelly, but with no objective markers it served me no purpose at this stage of my playthrough.
From here I eventually set sail on a ship meant for four by myself, which was a lesson in and of itself, because navigating a massive galleon by your lonesome is a dangerous and cumbersome affair. You have to control sail angle and lengths, as well as the rudder, so trying to do all three jobs made it hard to navigate to any location of interest. So again, I found myself wondering what the hell I was supposed to do to get into any sort of structured gameplay in Sea of Thieves.
I cover the rest of my hour long adventure in the 30-minute preview video below, which I do provide commentary for, even though most of the action is very unexciting due to my lack of direction and general understanding of what one is supposed to do in the game world. I’ll leave you with these bullet points for what I found to be problematic in this closed beta though, because I don’t think these were beta issues.
Sea of Thieves Caution Points
- Highly recommended to play with people you know, or only stay on teams that openly chat.
- Playing with others who don’t chat gets frustrating fast, and just leads to more confusion and aimless wandering.
- I would say that unless you know exactly what you’re doing, you should never play this game solo, because it makes you feel very alone and aimless, which to me is off-putting.
- If you want to play solo I’d put in some serious time studying any available videos and tutorials that other players have created, because the game world itself gives you nothing.
- A little direction could benefit everyone regardless of how you play, so hopefully a tutorial comes in the final version.
- If you don’t like games with minimal direction, you will have a hard time accepting Sea of Thieves unless you play with experienced players, or the point above gets ironed out in the full release.
Like I said you can get a better understanding of my experience via the video preview below, so if you want to see what it’s like to play this game with randoms who don’t chat while you also have no clue what is going on, the video below provides a perfect look at that scenario.
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