- Dec 12, 2018
Understandably, there have been fears in the community that the emissaries system - which incentivises ship sinking - might ultimately tip Sea of Thieves' delicate balance of PvP carnage and quieter PvE thrills too far in the the direction of the former.
Rare, however, believes the emissary system's opt-in nature - and the fact Reaper's Bones players don't earn faction rewards for sinking non-emissary ships - will help protect PvP-shy players from unwanted attention in the long run, offering a "hiding space" for non-emissary players as they become lower value targets in the world.
And less confrontational players will be delighted to hear that the developer is looking to lessen the impact of PvP on other core areas of the game where necessary too.
That includes the story driven Tall Tales, which, in their current guise, are all too easily robbed of narrative momentum when players are forced to start over as a result of critical items being lost or stolen during PvP. The good news is that a solution is set to arrive relatively soon, introducing an exceedingly welcome checkpoint system to Tall Tales.
"We always believed that Tall Tales [should be played] in a shared world," says Chapman, "because of the positivity [around the emergent stories] that comes with that, but the negatives... the kind of excessive PvP leading to loss of time, loss of those physical items... there's a bunch of improvements that we've got planned".
To that end, starting in the update after Ships of Fortune, checkpoint saves will be added at key junctions during a Tall Tale. "The checkpoint is like an open book," explains Chapman, "and at any point you can leave the game, come back, vote on that open book, and you'll be able to pick up your checkpoint right from that point. And any physical items you had with you at that point in the tale... would pop back in on the table.
"So it both protects you against a loss of the items, but it also allows you to play in smaller chunks of play. I think one of the absolute fair criticisms of Tall Tales... was the requirement on players' time - but getting this to work in a sandbox world, where everyone can have different points of progress and tales can play out differently, has been a little bit more complex, but we've got a great solution now and it's coming very shortly."
"We're two years into a hopefully very, very long service for Sea of Thieves," says Neate, "and definitely our goal is to continue growing both the game and the audience that's playing."
Rare on Sea of Thieves' radical new Emissaries system and maintaining the PvE-PvP balance
Today sees the launch of Sea of Thieves' latest update, Ships of Fortune, and it's big 'un, redefining and expanding on…