Sea of Thieves might be a sales success for Rare and Microsoft, but many players have already dropped off the game for one simple reason: lack of content. I spent close to 10 hours sailing the beautiful waters of Sea of Thieves during my 14-day free trial of Xbox Game Pass, but I did not keep the subscription for that very reason. I really enjoyed what I had played but felt there wasn’t much else to discover— and grinding to the top of the factions wasn’t enough of an incentive.
There’s not a lot to do in Sea of Thieves and, shockingly, all we really know about the game’s future content is that they will be adding in microtransactions in a few months. Not exactly what players are looking for. However, I think there many ways to not only make Sea of Thieves a stronger product, but also make a lot of people go back to a life of piracy.
1. Make Exploration Worth Doing
Currently, if I’m out sailing the high seas, there’s no reason to stop on an island unless a map wants me to or if I spot a message in a bottle on its beach. The fact that I can’t land on an island and find a secret map hidden behind a walled off area is absurd. At best, there might be an unceremoniously placed treasure chest. There’s no weird statue that looks like it’s pointing to a rock and behind that rock is a pile of gold surrounded by skeletons. Or a large stone door that can only be raised by rotating the nearby irrigation system to power the lift.
What about a hidden chest that looks like it was carved out of a bush so it blends into the environment? What if you went to pick up a chest and it sprouted skeleton legs and ran away? Or secret underground passageways filled with traps and treasure? The possibilities are endless but there’s literally nothing right now. I’d take having a random chest at the highest spot of the island at this point.
2. Level Up?!
I quite enjoy the simplicity of Sea of Thieves’ mechanics and its lack of experience points and stats, but there’s something to be said for having a goal. Having a thorough in-game list of tasks or ‘feats’ could be just that. Feats would be for doing anything and everything in Sea of Thieves. Not every one of these would warrant an award but some certainly should. You get the Fancy Sandals for running 1.5 miles. The Golden Telescope for sailing for 2 hours without getting off the boat. Or a cosmetic-only pool floaty for swimming a certain distance. Not only would a checklist of feats work wonders for engagement, it would be a fun way to see what other players have done in the game and are skilled at. For instance, if I see someone with the Globe Compass, I might know they have put in several hours at the wheel and recruit them to my ship for that night’s questing.
3. PvE with a Central Gathering Hub and Large-Scale Quests
As fun as it can be to spot another ship on the horizon while hauling back your booty, sometimes you might want a more carefree environment. No player vs environment option in Sea of Thieves is quite frankly baffling. But this should also extend further to a meeting area for players to show off unlocked outfits, gestures, and to sit around the virtual bar and swap tales. There could even be fun pirate themed minigames in this area, such as battleship.
There could also be rare monster hunts where 20 people on a series of different ships all take on a kraken, hydra, whale, or even some representation of Poseidon. It would definitely be more interesting than the stale waves of skeletons the rest of the game offers.
4. Quality of Life
Regardless of how you feel about the lack of a leveling system, the way the shop is laid out leaves much to be desired. There are pages and pages of nonsense and it’s all jumbled. A compass, a shovel, a pail, another compass, a telescope, all shoved together with no thought at all. Are there sets of gear that all go together? Sure, but have fun working your way through either the mess or the item specific tabs to put a matching set together.
Then there’s the completely unintuitive way getting, starting, and turning in a quest is. Did you know where to get a cage the first time? I didn’t think so because the game flat out lies to you about ‘every shopkeep’ having one. So why not have a short, optional in-game onboarding tutorial for people? Give it some cheeky pirate voice over, make it no longer than 15 minutes, and call it a day. For as little there is to do in Sea of Thieves, it shouldn’t be possible to be confused by the basics.
Certainly the addition that would take the most work, but one that would add so much to a world that is pretty bare in its current state. What if the Shiny Telescope costs 5,000 gold but you could also build it, for a small fee, out of a rare lens and 3 small bamboo shoots? This quest for items gives meaning to everything in the world and it wouldn’t even require a huge database of different items. Even 6 base types with a few rarity modifiers gives more than enough much-needed depth. Add in a new faction that offers quests to craft particular items for clients and you have a new pillar of Sea of Thieves. Again, an update such as this would be a huge undertaking and wouldn’t happen for quite some time, but it would be perfect to get people back into the game.
What do you think? Good ideas? Bad ideas? Did I miss something obvious? Are you still playing Sea of Thieves? Sound off in the comments below! And as a final note of missing features: why are there no sirens?