This was a really fun and entertaining stream with explosions and shenanigans galore. And, lucky for us, a huge amount of Q&A too (despite Jon starting every stream letting the viewers know they won’t be taking questions, nice try Jon).
If you have time, definitely give the full video a watch. But if you’re only interesting in the goss, here are the notes:
Burger: Is the fort frequency going to stay?
Andy: We looked at a bunch of events and things that can happen inside the world – so the forts, the kraken, the megalodon and the ship battles – basically anything that can happen in the world, and with Shrouded Spoils we really wanted to get more control over those events and how frequent they are in the world. So we actually invested in a new system, kind of like a “world event manager system”, that allowed us to look at everything and how often they are appearing in the world; and then when we got that system in place we took another stab at how often these things were kicking off in the world and tried to ratchet everything up a lot more so the world felt more busy and alive with opportunities.
Joe: We’re looking at an option for streamers to turn off [nameplates for] rival crews that they encounter, just as an option in the settings.
Recent Players List
Q: What’s the best way to report toxic players?
Joe: [Report them on the site]. And you can do that [report players] via “Recent Players” as well, go to “Recent Players” and you can report them via the Xbox Live app. On that subject, we did get some reports about the recent players thing not always populating correctly in Sea of Thieves. We looked into that – we have found that that’s a valid issue […] so the team’s working on resolving that [will be fixed in the next update].
Rerolling Your Pirate
Q: Will you be able to make a new pirate (keeping gold, rep, etc)?
Joe: We don’t rule it out in the future, at all. It’s not on our short term roadmap right now in terms of the things we’re immediately concentrating on. Enriching the core gameplay experience is really the key priority for us right now.
Mouse and Keyboard on Console
Q: Mouse and Keyboard for console?
Joe: It is on our roadmap, yes.
Q: What’s happening with Arena?
Joe: Next goal for Arena is very much to get it into Pioneer testing. Like I’ve said before it’s going to be something we iterate on a lot… We’re currently working on getting a build ready for Pioneers, and that will be out first step. I expect us to iterate multiple times, multiple releases in Pioneers before we think about bringing that to the wider audience. We did a play test this morning, we’ve been doing some leading up to Christmas, we’ve done a few since we got back, and it’s a lot of fun! So [it’s a] very different feel in terms of just, it’s a shorter session, high intensity, like really competitive. The fact that as soon as you get dropped in, straight away, it’s like no messing [around]: go! As opposed to milling around at the outpost, pissing around figuring out what [voyage] to do… no, there’s no messing about, it’s straight in as a crew looking at the other ships, figuring out what to do with your treasure map and where to go; do you take that crew down or do you go to ‘here’; and all of that kind of stuff. And at the end of it you feel so different, in terms of your emotions. So yeah, it’s very different. But it’s got all the best bits that [Adventure] has…
Burger: How will the [Sea Dogs] Rep system work, will we be able to keep track of how many ships we’ve sunk, stuff like that?
Joe: Uh, TBD. It’s all about testing the core gameplay system at the moment, and honestly as soon as you put a completely competitive slant on any of the features or systems of the game, and your goal is to try and complete this session and get the most treasure and stuff […] it just puts a completely different lens on stuff. It’s funny, right? [Jon agrees].
Burger: My chat is spamming “Pets?”
Joe: THERE’S A GIANT ROCK IN FRONT OF US KEEP STEERING LEFT. What was the question? Pets! Yes! Yes! So there’s a team working on pets right now; has been for a little while. We’ve always been pretty open about that being part of our post-sales monetisation [plan] for Sea of Thieves in terms of generating additional revenue. Working on that, we will be bringing those in. And they are looking cool from the work we’ve done on them already, in terms of having them around on the ship and being your companion and stuff… they’re super cool. [They’re] a great way to add fun and charm and silliness to the experience for everyone, right? So if the lovely keeya here [Andy] had a pet, then we’d all be able to see it, we’d all be able to interact with it and stuff… it adds to the social, fun nature of the game, right? [Jon: yep]
Burger: Will it be restricted to the ship, or will it be, like, you can have it on your shoulder on an island with it, hang out?
Joe: Well, I wouldn’t want to leak too many details. [Andy laughs] We’re currently working through that exact stuff at the moment. Exactly what it can do, and how it can move, and whatever…
Jon: There’s stuff that’s super cool. Like, I’ve seen some of the videos that the team were putting together, even just this last week, have been really cool.
Burger: So my chat is saying one more thing, my chat has always talked about the legendary shanty. They *love* the legendary shanty. Any plans to be able to play it away from the tavern?
Andy: That’d be cool, wouldn’t it? I’ll take this one? That’d be really cool. I mean, ideally we’d have more shanties in the game. We’ve had a bunch of discussions, just before Christmas, around how we can get more shanties in the game without running into any technical limitations, or memory concerns or things like that. There’s certainly a desire on the team to get more playable shanties on the ship than the ones that we currently have… but it’s just a case of working out how we can stream them in… I mean, I’d love that, right? I’d love more shanties in the game, I’d love more instruments in the game – that would be amazing.
Jon: It’s no small technical feat, right, the stuff that we’re trying to achieve, just because of being able to join in with each other… which is why it’s sitting in RAM and stuff at the moment.
Andy: Some work has been done on that. It’s just a case of weighing up all the stuff we want to do as a team. It’s a case of when, I guess… hopefully… long term… without committing to it.
Lore and Upcoming Changes
Burger: It’s cool to see the little bits of lore creep in to the game.
Joe: The best bit, is, as kind of ongoing work for new things in the game…
Andy: HERE WE GO! HERE WE GO! TUNE IN! EVERYONE READY FOR THIS! [Everyone laughing]
Joe: No, but you’re going to start seeing little things pop in and stuff, and like, as part of ongoing work and things that are coming in the future, you can’t hide everything… that’s part of having this ongoing game and having the game live.. so you’re going to start seeing…
Andy: Keep a weathered eye, keep a weathered eye [chuckling]
Joe: When you see little things change, like “ooh why is that changed?” There’s usually a reason that gives you a bit of a hint for future things. Even like, the placement of a certain bell I think, um, recently might have…
Andy/Jon: [oooohhh and laugh]
Andy: “Why would they move it so low?” [All laugh]
Burger: Is the Shrouded Ghost a myth?
Joe: [laughs] It’s definitely in the game.
Andy: We’ve publicly said that it is, right?
Joe: Yeah, and people have seen it! Commendations have been earned… It’s definitely rare.
[later, random player]: Can you put the Shrouded Ghost in the game please? [everyone laughs a lot]
Harpoons? Boarding Axes?
Q: Are planning on bringing harpoons or boarding axes or any other weapons to the game?
[Joe and Jon look at each other and laugh].
Q: You can just say TBD if you want.
Andy: Um… TBD?
Joe: I think my look to camera and Andy’s giggle is probably… yeah, no, there’s lot’s of stuff going on across the studio.
Q: Will you be able to summon your mermaid?
Andy: There were actually many considerations when we were trying to create the mermaid, and all the heuristics that went into getting her, or him, appearing as and when the players need them. That was a ton of work [with] edge cases that we had to patch up… [it’s] something that’s so trivial on paper, it’s like “when I fall off a ship a mermaid appears and rescues me”, but the amount of different examples where she would appear, or wouldn’t appear, and working all of those out was a ton of work and planning. … We did consider trying to summon the mermaid as well, whilst we were doing that. [But] there were so many things, you’ve just highlighted one. If everyone in the server gets together and summons a mermaid: what happens? There are so many issues with that. And we always wanted it to be this immersive thing that’s part of the world rather than in the player’s control. So I ultimately think we’ve landed in the right place.
Joe: I actually think it’s evolved into a nice mechanic that helps you as well, in terms of spotting that people are around your ship, or that there’s the potential of something going wrong…
Andy: Like a byproduct of how it works, basically…
Joe: Yeah I think it actually balances it out quite well. Without it… it’s hard to see people, right. It’s a big world, it’s a big sea. So I actually think it balances out quite nicely.
Joe: Ultimately, using two guns to get an instant death-kill like that has never been part of the design of our weapons. So that’s not how we’ve intended people to play. It’s actually something that’s been bubbling around for a while but it’s become a lot more prevalent recently […] and so it’s become more pressing for us to address. We’re working on a couple of options and working out the best solve for that, right?
Andy: We were discussing this just before December, and obviously it’s grown [into] an issue post-December. I had a meeting two days ago about a potential solve for it, and we’ve got a plan and we’re going ahead with that.