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Once again the vast briny depths of Sea of Thieves were opened, albeit for a short session over the weekend. With this being advertised as a stress test rather than a new beta session, we were primed for the usual issues that tend to arise when a game can break, because we were trying to break it now so it (hopefully) won’t (shouldn’t) break when the multitudes of new Blackbeards and Anne Bonny’ flock to their ships come March 20th.
Overall there were a few new additions to the game, now there are Gulls, Parrots and the occasional Bat flying around the islands and caves adding even more atmosphere to an already astoundingly beautiful assault on the senses. There were messages in bottles, some with treasure maps and others with bounties for a variety of nefarious Skeletons to hunt, however as players have been unable to hand these in there is wonder if they were meant to be in this iteration of the game. The ships looked even more polished than previously (somehow, massive props to the design team) with more details on the wheel, the storms and generally pretty much everything seeming to have been tweaked in some way as release date closes in.
Another new addition to the game was the ability to select your pirate! A feature many people have been asking about for some time. Rather than the typical customization menu of sliders and drop down menus to select the correct level of blue hue in your eyes, or the perfect amount of stubble for your chiseled jawline, when you first start delving into the world of Sea of Thieves you are presented with a selection of 5 potential Pirates to choose from, all completely randomised, all totally unique. If there isn’t a model that suits your taste you can refresh your choices and 5 new pirates will appear. Now, the real marmite part to character selection. Your choice is permanently linked to your account. Once you make your choice that will be your model throughout your time in game, and if you re-roll for new pirates you cannot go back to previous selection screens. So choose well whilst you can.
Of course Saturday evening of the test was when we really saw the stress on the servers, with many people not able to gain access and others crashing out of the test, but this was to be expected and should hopefully mean we don’t see the server issues that we’ve often seen from other MMO free roaming games in the past. There were a few clipping issues around stairs that meant you got paid a visit from Lagatha Christie and Sir Lags-alot which we weren’t seeing during the Closed Beta. With a month and a day to go, there’s plenty of time to iron out what wrinkles remain of those that have been noted here, and they are few and far between.
So other than a few animals and character selection and a bit of polish, did we see much else in the test. There were a few more models of the weapons, instruments and clothes available to procure from the various vendors at outposts and the customisable choice of peg legs and hooks… No, no we didn’t, but then it was just a scale test. For one I’m impressed we got as many new additions as we did see, and looking forward to seeing all the additions we have no idea about as well as those that may have been leaked already, if you haven’t seen these, I’m not telling. No spoilers here thank you very much.