Tag Archives: sea of thieves

At Last, You Can Dye Underwear In Sea Of Thieves

Sea of Thieves updates are usually pretty big. That can mean giant shark battles, massive PvP modes, or even grand story adventures. While the newest update does have a big addition—a difficult “fort of the damned” with rare loot inside—it also has a smaller, sillier feature: the ability to change the color of your underwear.

Cosmetics form the core of Sea of Thieves’ progression system. Grind enough reputation or gather enough gold and you can gather a variety of dashing hats, golden swords, and exclusive “Pirate Legend” gear. Through it all, there’s been one boring constant: dull, drab underwear.

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Finally, you can change the color of your smallclothes and, in theory, change out your ragged and well-worn breeches. It’s all thanks to a simple little widget that dyes clothing with a range of basic colors.

It’s as simple as accessing the clothing chest on your ship and selecting a bottle of dye. No hassle, no bizarre quest to steal the ancient underwear potion of Captain Dread Pants, and no need to spend gold on colors. It’s a pretty limited system for the moment, but I’m hoping that an exciting range of designs and colors become available. A captain usually wears a heavy coat or fantastic dress, but every now and then you need to intimidate an enemy crew by running around half-naked. And at least now, you can do it with a little more style.

Source: Kotaku.com

Monkey Pukes On Developer During Sea of Thieves Livestream

Today some Sea of Thieves developers did a livestream to discuss the game’s new store and purchasable pets. They were joined on stream by a monkey. The monkey threw up on a developer.

For most of the stream, Antonio the spider monkey seemed content to sit on people’s shoulders and eat mealworms thrown to him by his handler. He seemed like a chill monkey, and his handler said that he’s very relaxed around humans. He took a particular liking to developer Rare’s video manager Jon McFarlane, who was sitting on the far right.

As senior producer Joe Stevens joined the stream to go over the features that are being added to the game along with pets, Antonio the spider monkey hopped over to McFarlane’s shoulder and threw up on his face, chest and arm. He then jumped to McFarlane’s other shoulder to throw up some more. “A great choice to wear a grey t-shirt,” McFarlane said after he cleaned his now monkey puke-stained shirt with a napkin. Check it out in the video below at around 27:46.

You know when you see something and you think, “They must have prepared for a particular scenario that is very likely to happen,” and then they just haven’t, like that kid trying to cut open an apple with a samurai sword next to an inflatable pool? The people involved must have known something would go wrong, but no one stopping it makes it all the funnier. “That is what we expected to happen,” one of the developers even says as everyone smiles politely through the situation.

Wild animals do not give a shit about human decorum, and monkeys, who are especially smart, love to fuck with people. I love this clip and will cherish it forever. Hopefully Rare picks up McFarlane’s drycleaning bill.

Source: Kotaku.com

Sea Of Thieves Gets Monthly Updates And The First One Is Pretty…Explosive

Sea of Thieves, Rare’s chill pirate hangout game, has been on the upswing lately. After an expansive (and excellent) Anniversary Update that brought story quests and cooking to its cartoony high seas in May, Sea of Thieves is upping the ante yet again with monthly updates. Log into the game now on Xbox One or PC and you’ll be greeted by the very first one, the Black Powder Stashes.

Like the name suggests, the update brings quests that send players off in search of gunpowder barrels. As you complete voyages and score the extremely expensive booty, you’ll be able to earn new titles and exclusive cosmetics for your ship.

As far as updates go, it seems a little light—the most interesting thing here is the way gunpowder adds some more tension to the Sea of Thieves loop. Ferrying loot back and forth becomes a lot more intense when that loot can blow up your entire ship with one lucky shot from a foe.

The prospect of monthly updates, however, is exciting. While it lacked variety in much of its first year, Sea of Thieves has only gotten better with time, and its developers remain vocal about their plan to continue that momentum. Giving players a reason to log in and see something new on their voyages every month is an excellent move. It brings Sea of Thieves closer in line with other live service games like Destiny 2, with one important distinction: You can’t play sea shanties in Destiny 2

Source: Kotaku.com

Sea Of Thieves’ New Story Quests Are Just What The Game Needed

Sea of Thieves’ Anniversary Update is live. The pirate game’s ambitious expansion brings activities from competitive player-vs.-player battles to fishing and cooking. Largest of all are the “Tall Tales,” a lengthy chain of cutscene and exploration driven story missions that are designed to be completed in a group or by your lonesome. The first—hunting down the treasure-studded Shores of Gold—finally gives Sea of Thieves the structure and direction some players have been craving from the start.

Before the Tall Tales, there were two things to do in Sea of Thieves: tirelessly grind missions to become a pirate legend or sail around to hunt down other players. That was all right in short bursts, but the charm of hunting down skeleton bounties or delivering chickens wore off quickly. Instead, wouldn’t it be great to hunt down a lost island, delving into booby-trapped tombs and coming face to face with evil skeleton lords? The first Tall Tale, “Shores of Gold,” offers just that, and while I’ve only scratched the surface of it, I’m really enjoying the adventure. The story involves a meeting with the Mysterious Stranger lurking in Sea of Thieves’ taverns. They share the story of the Shores of Gold, an island packed with riches that is caught behind impenetrable fog. To reach it, you’ll need the Shroudbreaker, a hidden artifact that can lead the way.

“Shores of Gold” is something you can tackle with friends or by yourself, an entire series of riddles and missions that tells a story of greedy pirate lords and ancient tombs. I played the first part of the questline this afternoon and spent about three hours on a mission that sent me all around the ocean to follow the last crew that searched for the Shroudbreaker. All I had to start with was their journal, which outlined a ruined journey that left them shipwrecked. I’ll admit that for this first part, I sort of cheated the puzzle. I set sail to where the crew had voyaged and ran into other players around a small island where the wreckage was found. Because you can’t turn Sea of Thieves completely offline, it’s possible to be spoiled by simply noticing where players are congregating.

Thankfully, the rest of my journey was a more interesting challenge. After recovering a log from the ship, I was forced to chart their course and find where the crew abandoned their cargo. This part of the story is randomized for each player crew, meaning that you can’t simply look up hints online. The result looked like this:

So, I’d already hunted down a shipwreck, and now I’d tracked a ship’s course through the ocean. My reward was a chest—one I plucked out of the ocean using Sea of Thieves’ brand new harpoon gun—which contained a magical totem that unlocked the door to a hidden tomb. The first leg of “Shores of Gold” felt a bit like some of the exploration events that Sea of Thieves has held before but with much more drive and mystery. Instead of finding a few trinkets, I had one goal and a series of puzzles and complications to overcome.

The most involved of these was the tomb itself. After lighting a series of braziers, I was locked in the room and needed to solve a puzzle while it filled with water. When I spoke with Sea of Thieves’ producer Joe Neate last month, he mentioned films like The Goonies and the various Indiana Jones adventures as an inspiration for the Tall Tales. This definitely felt like an old-school adventure movie puzzle-tomb. I managed to disarm the trap, find hidden medallions on the island, and grab the Shroudbreaker. I fled the island pursued by coral-studded skeletons. By that point, I’d been playing this Tall Tale for around three hours.

This was only the first part of my journey, and I want to continue the rest. The Shroudbeaker is apparently missing some jewels held by a dangerous Pirate Lord who has killed everyone with whom they’ve crossed paths. That sounds a bit dangerous, so I decided to try to tackle that part with friends.

The opening hours of “Shores of Gold” feel fun. It’s astounding how much Sea of Thieves benefits from having even a little bit of narrative context and some voice-acted quest givers. I’m fine with not grinding to become a pirate legend, and time will if the new arena PVP mode holds interest. For now, having a genuine pirate adventure with a clear goal and neat puzzles is fantastic. If more stories and treasures are to come, I expect I’ll be sailing the sea more often in the future. 

Source: Kotaku.com

A Sea Of Thieves Player Is Hiding On An Island And Waiting For You

Hello! Today we long to ride a motorcycle, discover the corn man, think about tricking pirates on a deserted island and ruin(?) Smash Bros. with dicks. It’s Morning Checkpoint!

Great Kotaku Content From The Past Week

Like most weeks, Kotaku was filled with some great stories. Here are a few of my favorites!

Humanity once again proves we can’t be trusted with too much power and freedom.

Why even put that awesome ride in the cutscene if you ain’t going to let players jump on it and take a spin? Just to tease us, Blizzard!?

No Man’s Sky has become very similar, in my mind, to EVE Online. They are both awesome looking games and have amazing communities and stories around them, but I will never try to play them again.

The only way this could be even more anime is a long lost brother appeared and beat them both and the dad and son teamed up to take him down, after 12 episodes of training and sparring.

Tweets!

I remember long ago playing some Call of Duty Modern Warfare with a friend on Xbox Live. They were getting their ass kicked by some snipers and they were getting very angry about it. Eventually, their dad popped into their room and said: “If you aren’t having fun, stop playing the game!!” Which, hey, fair point.

Finally, someone is using the stage builder in Smash for a good and worthwhile reason.

I’ve never met the corn man, but I can tell you this: If I do meet the corn man, I too will love him. Corn is great and someone who can provide me with that wonderful, starchy and yellow veggie sounds pretty cool.

News

Some Good Comments

We’re on our way to lifetime, cradle to grave streamers. I’m so old.

Thoraxifistian from “Through Births, Illnesses And Holidays, This Guy Streamed On Twitch For 2,000 Days In A Row

Go beyond that. We aren’t that far away from someone streaming their pregnancy, the birth of their child, that child then streaming through their adult life and until death and then a final stream of their coffin being slid into the ground. RIP in the chat for…me.

I’ve occasionally marooned myself on an island and just wandered around for a few hours exploring the lagoons and caves, watching for approaching ships. Nobody has stopped at my island yet, but if they do I’m not sure what I would do. I could stay hidden and pull some tricks on them, I could stowaway onto their boat and try to steal their loot, or I could ask to join their crew for a bit. If they have voice chat enabled that would make the decision much easier.

Miles Jacob from “On The Seas Of Thieves, I Only Sail Alone”

I really love the idea of someone hiding away on an island and other folks visiting that island and a rumor starts among those who visit that the island is haunted.

The neat thing about this is it’s the opposite of black magic – it’s extremely easy to do and pretty straightforward. The hard part is just getting the idea.First, the textures in your SNES games are pretty good- you’re seeing them as they’re ‘supposed’ to be now. What makes then look like smeary crap in your games is the limitations of the SNES’s mode 7 hardware (and normally the emulators try to reproduce those limitations).The first fix here is to take your SNES textures and upscale them 4x using nearest neighbor, so one green pixel turns into 16 green pixels. Then it does the scaling and rotation on those higher resolution pixels. That makes a huge improvement (see below). The great thing is that this takes no high resolution packs or anything, you can just use the game’s own textures. No weirdness like neural network upscalers, it’s completely deterministic.The next thing it does is use much better scaling and rotation math than the SNES could afford, so pixels go where they should be, rather than distorted – this was causing a lot of the ‘noise’ in the F-Zero shot up there.

Sarusa from “SNES Mod Performs Black Magic On Mode 7’s Barfy Resolution

There’s more to this comment, explaining how Mode 7 works, why it looked so bad and how modders are fixing it. I always love these deep and informed posts about stuff I always wanted to know more about.

Trailers & Videos You May Have Missed

I can’t wait to play this and try building stuff that ends up being terrible and I feel bad. Just like Little Big Planet!

I’m always down for some new mobile games that look great. Maybe it will be fun to play?

Please don’t make me play more. I’m still recovering.

I love how much effort NetherRealm Studios puts into their story modes. As someone who rarely plays fighting games online or competitively, these modes are awesome.


Morning Checkpoint is all about catching you up on the past week, getting you ready for the next week, answering some questions, sharing stories and having a good time. You can email me anything you want or drop a comment below. Suggest tweets, comments, ideas, new sections and more for next week and thanks for reading!

Source: Kotaku.com

On The Sea Of Thieves, I Only Sail Alone

There’s a reason it’s called Sea of Thieves and not Sea of Thief.

It’s a silly swashbuckling game made for going on treasure hunts and bounty hunts and chicken hunts with friends. Its primary allure is as a pirate-themed sandbox in which you can swordfight with other pirate players and walk away from an afternoon of adventure sporting new inside jokes with your friends. Every part of its design is meant to be experienced in a group setting: ships that must be captained collaboratively, instruments that can be played in harmony with others, and a brig in which to lock rowdy shipmates.

Not only that, but sailing alone can make you prey for other players who are as likely to befriend you as sink your sloop after stealing the booty you’ve hoarded in your hull. Despite the carefully designed co-op, the risks have failed to sway me from the rewards I’ve found tackling the seas solo.

I started sailing alone in Sea of Thieves because my friends are a bunch of cackling lemurs that drop anchor on our galleon while the sails are still thirty-two weeks pregnant. Every time, the poor hull wails in protest, as do I, but my crewmates hear neither because they’ve already jumped ship and swum halfway to shore. That was during Sea of Thieves’ first week. We all played together for entire days during the beta period, and by the time launch day pulled into port, I was ready for some damn quiet. Just me, the waves, wind, and my hurdy-gurdy.

I love my friends, but sailing solo soon became a guilty pleasure. I started choosing to appear offline when I pulled up the Xbox app on my desktop. When it’s just me, I’m truly the master of my own ship. I know exactly where to stand when raising anchor so that I’m facing the helm when it’s fully up. I know how much sail I can let out without obscuring my view from helm to prow. I know where each of its lanterns are and exactly how close I can steer its hull to a sandbar without scraping against the edge and winding up with a hole to patch.

I was standing on the edge of my sloop’s prow, playing my favorite shanty on my hurdy-gurdy—I’d hum it for you if I could, because I know it well enough that I’ve tried to write lyrics for it as I sail. All of a sudden, six curled tentacles faded into view far enough away that I pulled out my looking glass. I’d only started playing again after a nine-month absence, having been reminded of Sea of Thieves’ first anniversary by Heather Alexandra’s roundup of the changes since launch. So while I had heard of the Kraken, I had not yet espied one firsthand.

It had been a quiet few solo voyages for me, and my ship was empty of valuable cargo, so I spun my wheel portside to take it head on. I did not expect to live. I just wanted to see what would happen. I pulled my hurdy-gurdy back out and quickly shuffled songs until I found Ride of the Valkyries, a fittingly dramatic tune for my impending doom. Just as I was nearly within rifle range, between the swell of one wave and the next, all six tentacles ducked beneath the surface. I rushed from port to starboard to aft of my sloop, waiting for the Kraken to burst from the waves and crush my hull to toothpicks.

It never does. It just leaves. I’m alone, playing a dramatic song in anticipation of a gnarly demise that isn’t coming.

That pretty much describes all of my experiences with Sea of Thieves: mysteriously unmolested despite my sudden desire for a brush with danger. The one time I saw a skeleton ship, a grim and green vessel full of undead enemies, it emerged from the waves with the audacity and ill-fortune of the Titanic. It sailed immediately into a rock twice its size, careened into my sloop, and spun in confused circles while I tilted my sails to the wind for a clean getaway. I continued on to my nearby destination, Rum Runner Isle, with no sign of the ship in pursuit. Thirty minutes after that, a megalodon waved a fin at me as I pulled up to Rapier Cay and, apparently not wanting to interrupt my business, swam off.

I never seem to encounter any of the dangers that a captain is supposed to contend with at sea. I’m untouchable. It’s turned Sea of Thieves into an almost meditative experience. I rarely play for extended periods of time, usually only a couple hours, and not often at peak times. The sea is quiet when I visit. Apart from my one attempt to pick a doomed fight, I don’t mind.

Unlike the relationship I had with games years ago, I now value a certain amount of routine predictability. I don’t want to be that person that compares every game to Dark Souls, but solo slooping has a methodical quality that reminds me of travelling Lordran. In the same way that I grew comfortable with the angle at which I can successfully score a backstab on a Jailer in Irithyll Dungeon, I know the distance from an approaching island at which I should pull my sails up to half-length, and the turn radius I can get out of my sloop when diving into the bay at Cannon Cove.

As Mike Fahey wrote during the first weeks that Sea of Thieves was live, the high seas aren’t meant to be tackled alone. They are a sandbox entirely built around the assumption that you have friends to play with. Everything in the game, from voting on voyages to the ability to turn around your treasure map and show it to someone, is designed with the intention of captaining a ship with a crew.

There are only a few types of voyages to tackle in Sea of Thieves, even a year in. On my own, I’m less concerned with the novelty and more interested in the simplicity of charting an efficient route to a familiar island and returning to an outpost with my honestly earned loot.

In so doing, I am willfully missing out on the core Sea of Thieves experience. Yes, I did have a good first few days cackling while puking grog all over my crewmates’ sandaled feet a year ago. Maybe I’ll sail with my friends again eventually, but for now I enjoy the silence out at sea, only interrupted by my new sea monster friends.

Lauren Morton is a freelancer stuck in the midwest. She loves RPGs and indie games and can be seen yelling about both on Twitter @ComradeCupcake_.

Source: Kotaku.com

Sea of Thieves’ Producer Outlines A Promising Year-Two Plan

Sea of Thieves’ first year had as many ups and downs as a boat in a storm. A rough launch gave way to numerous updates and events that expanded the game world. The Anniversary Update, to be released April 30, will add a story mode and competitive PVP. I spoke with the Xbox One and PC game’s executive producer Joe Neate about what comes next for Sea of Thieves, the lessons learned from the rocky launch, and how Rare plans to keep its designers happy and healthy.

When I spoke to Neate last week over the phone, he was enthusiastic about what’s in store for Sea of Thieves. For its second year, Rare aims to round out blind spots that players have been eager to see addressed. The first is the introduction of Tall Tales, a questline of nine stories that tasks players with locating the legendary Shores of Gold. To get there, they must find the Shroudbreaker, an ancient artifact that allows them to pierce through thick fog hiding the island. Locating the relic will involve tracing the efforts of lost pirate crews, delving into ruins, and interacting with characters in a much more comprehensive fashion than the game has done before.

“We’ve tried to make it so each tale triggers different emotions,” Neate said. There’s a tale of fear, a tale of love. We really wanted to try different things with each of them.”

To help with this, the team consulted films like the Indiana Jones series and The Goonies to interject some feel-good adventuring into the mix. Tall Tales are meant to introduce new rewards and mechanics, such as a collector’s chest that allows players to haul tons of loot at once, but it’s also a chance for Rare to add a lot more character to Sea of Thieves. Quest givers will speak directly to players, walking through the world and guiding them. And instead of Rare’s developers voicing the characters, it’ll be pros.

“As much as we love the charm of NPCs voiced by development team members, this is professional voice actors, so it really takes it up a notch,” Neate said.

To complement these adventures, Sea of Thieves will add extra mechanics and new factions to the game world. The Hunter’s Trading Corps brings fishing and hunting to the game, allowing players to track down dozens of fish to sell for reputation and gold. A cooking pot can create cooked fish worth more value. It’s a chance to add a slower, more relaxing activity, although players eager for something more hectic can hunt down meat from creatures like the dangerous Kraken or sharp-toothed megalodon and exchange that for reputation as well.

Players looking to become Pirate Legends won’t need to max out all five factions, just three. If you’re tired of Merchant Guild fetch quests or constant treasure hunts, you can turn fishing into a pathway to Legendary status.

Sea of Thieves has always been, in part, about embracing your inner asshole as much as enjoying quiet moments on the open sea. Ship battles and thievery are common. The Sea of Thieves team aims to capitalize on the excitement of ship battles by adding a full-blown PVP mode called the Arena. Teased earlier this year, it provides 24-minute matches where players compete to find treasure and sink each other’s ships. The idea is to provide quick bursts of excitement, instead of meandering voyages.

“If you’re playing Sea of Thieves, you might need a morning or afternoon,” Neate said. “There’s nothing short for a half an hour before dinner or you’re heading out.” Arena, he said, will provide that missing quick-hit experience, with “relentless pacing and action and intensity.”

Five teams of four players each will compete in Arena, sailing galleons around to locate treasure using maps granted at the start of the round. Digging up treasure grants silver, and turning in chests at designated stations will reward even more booty. You can gain small rewards for killing individual players, but the idea is to push players into an experience that’s both a race and massive naval battle instead of a simple deathmatch. Between matches, players will spend time at the Sea Dogs Tavern, a massive social area run by another new faction, the Sea Dogs. Players can chill in a hot tub, hold up parchments with their score, and turn in rewards for unique cosmetics. It’s meant to provide downtime after the rush of victory.

To add tactical depth and flair, ships can now be damaged in unique ways. Aiming at the mast might knock it over and slow down ships. Blasting the ship’s wheel can limit maneuverability. In addition, new weapons like harpoon guns can help with boarding, enable ships to turn quickly, or even let dead-eyed pirates snatch booty from their enemies’ hands.

“You always feel like you have a chance of coming back,” Neate said. There’s a real good ebb and flow. It always feels like you could make a decision. Winning feels a lot like that PUBG or Fortnite kind of success, but in a very different mode.”

Rounding out the Sea of Thieves experience with story and PVP brings the game closer to the varied experience that players wanted. At launch, players criticized Sea of Thieves for a lack of content and ways to make progress. It was a grind, one made more fun with friends, but still slow and repetitive. The launch itself was plagued with server troubles and even hackers.

Neate was open about the lessons learned during those difficult first months. “It has been a roller-coaster ride of all different kinds of emotions,” he said. “It felt like you were in the Jurassic Park control room, and the gates were down, and you needed to find out how to get them back up.”

Part of the solution to overcoming pitfalls has been to communicate often with the player base, both through blog posts and weekly livestreams with the developers themselves, he said. It was a learning process, as designers adjusted to spending time in front of cameras. Sometimes changes occurred without communication, such as when adjustments to inventory management and ship barrels led to angry feedback. Those changes were implemented to help make it easier to manage Tall Tales’ new items and goodies, but a lack of communication left players feeling the decision was arbitrary. Neate and the Sea of Thieves team have been careful to communicate their decisions more clearly as time moved on.

“We acknowledge when we get things wrong,” Neate said. “I love the relationship we have with our community and how we can talk about pretty much anything or change our plans because shit happens. Because it does.”

Rare’s designers didn’t have much experience with live service games before Sea of Thieves, and the adjustment has been rough. Numerous content updates have required teams to rotate members in order to release new monsters and activities. The first year was tumultuous and draining, as the team worked to get Sea of Thieves where in the state they wanted, he said.

“We haven’t found the right rhythm as a studio about working sustainably as a team and what that right balance is,” Neate said. “We want to be focused on players and the experience and what we bring in next, but we need to be learning how to run these teams sustainably.”

“We haven’t quite struck the right balance in the last year, but now it’s a conversation we have in the studio and we want to do better as we move forward,” Neate added.

The Anniversary Update is ambitious, bringing in many of the things players want. Moving forward, Neate envisions that releases will be smaller and more manageable for the team: a new story chapter here, new voyages and missions there, special cosmetics from time to time. The second year aims to round out the Sea of Thieves experience, but it will hopefully also be done in a way that’s less taxing on the team. It’s a way to make players happy and the workers behind the scene healthy. The end result will hopefully offer an experience that offers something for all kinds of players.

“There should be no reason not to fall in love with Sea of Thieves now,” Neate said.

Source: Kotaku.com

Apex Legends Might Have Killed Sea Of Thieves’ Twitch Momentum

At the end of January, Sea of Thieves seemed to be on the cusp of pulling off one heck of a trick: joining Twitch’s upper echelon after nearly a year of relative irrelevance. Popular streamers were piling onto the newly-refurbished ship’s deck, curious to see if it could provide a viable alternative to Fortnite, which everyone has been playing for approximately a million years in Twitch time.

Then, Apex Legends happened.

During the final week and a half of January, Sea of Thieves saw a string of days in which it regularly peaked at an hourly average of over 100,000 concurrent viewers, sliding into second or third place on all of Twitch alongside Fortnite and League of Legends. But when Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment launched Apex Legends on February 4, Sea of Thieves’ concurrent viewer average plummeted back down to the 2,000-15,000 range, where it now sits most days.

This might strike you as strange. After all, Sea of Thieves and Apex Legends are superficially different types of games. But like Fortnite before them, both have that Twitch “it” factor: they can facilitate spectacular, skill-based shenanigans, chill after-school hangouts, and everything in between. But in a world consumed by battle royale fever, ApeLegs has a big leg up—especially given all the subtly revolutionary ways it’s iterated on the battle royale formula.

Sea of Thieves’ sudden burst of early-2019 momentum stemmed from two things: a December update that made the game more exciting, and interest from a handful of bigger streamers—one of whom, Summit1g, led the charge with his 3.5 million followers. His PVP-focused, almost griefer-like antics attracted a whole new audience to the multiplayer swash-and-buckle-’em-up and buoyed his slightly stale streaming career. He kept this up for more than a month, at which point other Twitch mega-stars like Dr Disrespect, TimTheTatman, and even Ninja decided to pop in and see what all the fuss was about. This led to faux rivalries, media coverage, and a reaction from developer Rare.

At the time, I wondered if Sea of Thieves could sustain its momentum. I wrote:

At this point, Sea of Thieves could wind up being just another flash in the pan on a platform prone to giving games 15 seconds of fame and little more. Right now, it still seems like big streamers, Summit aside, are feeling curious rather than committal. In another week or two, they could easily jump ship back to Fortnite without so much as a tear shed over their short-lived seafaring days. But Rare’s promised more support for the game, and if it can keep things fresh, this might be just the beginning for Twitch’s latest major player.

Instead of jumping ship back to Fortnite, however, many of them slid right into Apex’s open arms. Thanks in large part to a sponsored partner program, Apex Legends immediately attracted the likes of Ninja, Shroud, Dr Disrespect, and pretty much every other top-tier Fortnite streamer, pulling double the number of people watching Fortnite when it launched on February 4. It’s cooled off some since then, but it still regularly averages between 200,000-300,000 concurrent viewers and has been the number one game on Twitch since it came out.

Summit1g is one of the many streamers who joined Apex’s day-one stampede, and he hasn’t looked back since. The last time he played Sea of Thieves was February 3. When asked by a fan if he was done with Sea of Thieves forever shortly after Apex came out, Summit replied “Fuck no,” but went on to say, “Who knows? You never know which games blow up nowadays, man.”

Not all big streamers have abandoned Sea of Thieves. CDNThe3rd, who has 1.7 million followers, still plays it regularly, and last Thursday, the game’s concurrent viewer count briefly spiked into the upper 30,000’s. Earlier today, popular French streamer Squeezielive also briefly popped into Sea of Thieves, catapulting it into the 50,000 range for a little while. Once he swapped over to Apex Legends, though, it dropped down to a paltry 2,000.

Apex is, for now, certifiably The New Hotness on Twitch. But that, too, may not last. Streamers and audiences are fickle. Just ask Sea of Thieves.

Source: Kotaku.com

Sea Of Thieves Has Unexpectedly Become One Of Twitch’s Biggest Games

After an intriguing but worryingly barebones launch in March 2018, Rare’s ambitious pirate opus Sea of Thieves found itself lost at sea. There just wasn’t enough for players to do, causing many to fear that the game would never live up to its potential. Late last year, that began to change. Now, Sea of Thieves is improbably scaling Twitch’s mast, getting closer to the top every day.

For the past few weeks, it hasn’t been uncommon to see Sea of Thieves in or hovering just outside of Twitch’s top 10 most-viewed games. The past handful of days, though, have seen it rocket all the way up into the top three at peak hours, with an especially strong Monday showing putting it in second place with 102,000 viewers to Fortnite’s 217,000.

This is, in many ways, unprecedented. Launch aside, Sea of Thieves spent most of 2018 peaking well below 10,000 viewers on any given day. Then, in December, Rare released the “Shrouded Spoils” update, making the game more unpredictable by adding new enemies, giving old ones new tricks, and improving other haggard systems like loot as well. This rekindled fan interest in the waterlogged ship of a game, and then it hooked a big one: popular streamer Summit1g. With the 3.5 million followers that he’s accrued since 2012, Summit’s PVP-focused antics—whether they involved insanely improbable plays or, somewhat controversially, trolling the heck out of other players—brought a fresh helping of new eyeballs to a game sorely in need of them. Since then, Summit’s ruled the roost, becoming far and away the most-discussed streamer in Sea of Thieves’ community. Other, smaller streamers also gravitated toward the game, causing it to gradually peak higher and higher throughout December and early January.

It was only a matter of time before other popular streamers—ever vigilant for the next big thing after Fortnite, whose constant changes have caused consternation—clutched their knives between their teeth and boarded the ship. Over the past week, battle royale superstars like Dr Disrespect, TimTheTatman, and even Ninja have dipped their toes into Sea of Thieves’ shark- (and kraken-, and skeleton ghost pirate-) infested waters, generating everything from comedic highlights to themed production gimmicks to simmering faux-rivalries with Summit. This, alongside Summit’s continued success, has boosted the game’s Twitch numbers and led to what fans believe is an influx of new players. Some longtimers believe it’s their duty to help these fresh-faced sea puppies, while others, true to the pirate spirit, suggest robbing them blind.

Developer Rare, too, has taken notice, with executive producer Joe Neate describing the upswing in players and streamers as “incredible” in a recent developer update video. He specifically noted that, based on Rare’s metrics, monthly active users, sales, and streaming numbers are all on the rise. And sure enough, the PC version of Sea of Thieves is currently the second-best seller on Microsoft’s store. (The Xbox version is still far from a top-seller.) Neate also said that more changes are on the way, starting with combat balance tweaks and measures against cheaters.

Some streamers, however, have expressed trepidation over this rising tide. Hero of Oakvale, a smaller streamer who made Sea of Thieves his primary game months before Summit and crew elevated its profile, is worried that big names will sponge up all the potential viewers. He recently wrote about this in a thread on the Twitch subreddit, with other users telling him to do everything from “ride the waves (pun intended)” and try to stream during hours bereft of big streamers to find another game.

In a Discord DM, he told Kotaku that he’s seen his viewer numbers drop from 12-14 people to “maybe 5-7 viewers peak” since Summit and others have taken over, but he plans to stick with the game nonetheless.

“I will stick with Sea of Thieves because I enjoy their game overall,” he said, expressing his appreciation for Rare and its ongoing support of the game. “I haven’t had one bad stream while playing their game. I may not be getting as many views as I would like, however I think the game is wonderful, and [I’m] very happy to see more people picking it up for the first time.”

At this point, Sea of Thieves could wind up being just another flash in the pan on a platform prone to giving games 15 seconds of fame and little more. Right now, it still seems like big streamers, Summit aside, are feeling curious rather than committal. In another week or two, they could easily jump ship back to Fortnite without so much as a tear shed over their short-lived seafaring days. But Rare’s promised more support for the game, and if it can keep things fresh, this might be just the beginning for Twitch’s latest major player. 

One thing Sea of Thieves definitely has going for it, though, is an open, socially focused environment that allows players to just chill—as long as they’re not being marauded by pirates, anyway. Given that Fortnite became a phenomenon in part by functioning as a hangout as much as a competitive game, it’ll be interesting to see if people start using Sea of Thieves in a similar way.

Source: Kotaku.com

Sea Of Thieves Update Will Cut Down On File Size

Sea of Thieves is a constantly evolving game with an expanding roster of monsters to battle and islands to explore. In a blog post yesterday, Rare announced that it’s nerfing a dangerous foe: file size.

Executive Producer Joe Neate announced the changes in an official blog post. Following an update on February 6, Sea of Thieves’ installation size will be greatly reduced. Here are the new file sizes:

Xbox One – from an install size of 35GB to 10GB

Xbox One X – from an install size of 47GB to 25GB

Windows 10 PC – from an install size of 47GB to 27GB

Sea of Thieves launched in choppy condition. Server stability was a major issue and hackers plagued the seas for a time. Since then, it’s expanded with bug fixes and a series of free content releases. This size adjustment, which will require a larger than usual patch on the 6th, will help the game continue to expand.

“Changes to how we generate game updates/patches will better enable us to manage future content being added to the game,” Neate wrote. “This might mean that patch sizes increase slightly in the future, but the benefit is that the game install size won’t increase significantly. If we didn’t make this change, the game install size would continue to increase, taking up more and more of your hard drive space.”

If Sea of Thieves is going to keep growing and as more and more games use lots of disc space, taking up less real estate on players’ drives will be crucial. It also means that if you ever want to install and check out the seas again, you won’t wait as long. It’s a little random—I can’t think of the last time I’ve read an announcement like this—but if that means clear skies and clear hard drives, then sure.

Source: Kotaku.com