Sea of Thieves

A letter to the community

Since the launch of this game there has been polarization. «Love the game. Hate the game. Too little content. Not enough goals.» I’ve taken no part in this discussion prior to this as I have enjoyed the game and let people do their own thing. Let me share a perspective with you.

We are all different, and with that comes difference in what flavor of games we like and our wants from them. A big challenge in human communication is that we operate with different definitions and beliefs, yet all use the same language. We often forget or simply don’t take the time to clarify our definitions or what we mean by certain language. Conflict arises quickly when it might not have to.

Sea of Thieves was designed to be a sandbox. A playground of sorts. It was designed to utilize your soft skills and imagination. It was designed to share experiences with friends. It was designed to let you play out each session like you want to, but ending up never being the same. It was designed to scratch the itch of wanting to be a pirate with no set of rules, like a kid would.

Rare has stated that they wanted to make something unique in today’s multiplayer landscape. Most games today (marketing in general) are heavily influenced by psychology, and it needs to be understood that most of them are designed very specifically to trigger emotional buttons and give you a sense of purpose in-game. To keep you coming back for more, to get you hooked.

A sandbox won’t give you this. A sandbox gives you tools to play with, and the freedom to choose your own purpose. This is closer to the reality of life outside games. A big reason for people to play today’s video games, sink a ton of hours in and love it, is because it gives you a CLEAR sense of purpose. Something the world outside of gaming today struggles with. Nihilism (nothing matters) is not uncommon in our society. A sandbox’ purpose is loose and playful.

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The argument of there being too little content is completely valid. A good sandbox has a lot of tools and stuff to do. Like real life. Rare are painfully aware of all the critiques and complaints by the community, as shown when Joe Neate admitted in a dev update that they needed to change their approach for releasing content. They released updates too fast with unwanted bugs, because they wanted to get it out to us as quickly as possible. Action speaks louder than words. They know, and they’ve just started.

With that said; the opposite of love is apathy, not hate. I hope Rare also notices the immense praise their creation gets. And realize that people who are satisfied feel much less inclined to speak up. This game can go very far, and fills a very much needed niche in the gaming market. Rare doesn’t get enough credit for making a game that doesn’t rely on psycological and emotional buttons to hook you.

People care about this game, which in turn makes them passionate or at least engaged in discussion. Rare cares so much. They actively reward the community for stories and things we do with the game. (Loot & Lore sails, Merrick rolled, etc) What’s done is done; the game is out and it is what it is. Find out what type of game hooks you, and make sure you know what type of game SoT is. If it doesn’t fit, there’s tons of games that can fill your needs. SoT will grow. If you want to stick around for that, awesome. If not, I hope you find what you’re looking for and wish you all the best in life.

Added a beautifully crafted YT video for good measure, on video games and purpose.

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