How Sea of Thieves Makes Sure You’ll See Other Players

Sea of Thieves ship combat

The beta for Sea of Thieves sold me. Today’s news/preview dump just makes the wait for its official release even more agonizing. Eurogamer’s short video sums up some of the new stuff we didn’t see in the closed beta.

We also learned how Rare will keep your server from feeling like an empty, pirate-less sea. Sea of Thieves won’t work like a traditional game. Rare isn’t focused on a set player count for each server. Instead, they want to make sure you’re encountering other pirate crews frequently. Lead designer Mike Chapman explained how it works to IGN.

“We step in to ensure that you do have that frequency of encounter,” says Chapman. “So when we detect that there’s fewer people near you, we migrate you to preserve that ratio, so we kind of move you seamlessly across servers.”

It’s important to make sure that server move isn’t jarring. You won’t be belting out a sea shanty in the sun only to shift to a server at night. Every single Sea of Thieves server is synchronized. If you’re plowing through a storm on one server, that same storm is happening across all others.

While the server transition is seamless, visual and audio cues will let you know when it happens.

Sounds good, and it’s a slick way to keep the action fresh and frequent. But such a heavy reliance on server infrastructure does make me a little nervous. Granted, Microsoft owns the server hardware Sea of Thieves will run on. Still, if there are any hiccups with this system – it’ll be painfully obvious.

Toss in the low cost of entry for Sea of Thieves ($10 via Game Pass), and I’m keeping my fingers crossed the servers don’t melt at launch.

Server concerns aside, Sea of Thieves is one of my most anticipated games of 2018. I always thought it looked interesting, but after jumping aboard a 4-person ship and trading cannon salvos with another – I was sold. Fun gameplay is king, and Sea of Thieves has it in spades.

Sea of Thieves comes out March 20th.

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