In October the Sea of Thieves community team hosted a Q&A with Senior Designer Chris Davies and Game Designer Steven Dillon.
I’ve collected all of the answered questions below, lightly edited. You should note that a small handful of questions were answered with jokes, or in a decidedly ambiguous fashion – As always, these have been omitted from this roundup, but you can go looking for them here (however I’ve left ones in about Captaincy as these seem to indicate that a Captaincy update is in active development).
Q. “Captaincy for Pirate Legends” that is the question.
Chris: This is my favourite question 🙂
Q. Wondering if there will ever be a Captain’s Log kind of page. One of the things that I’ve always wanted is detailed stats about my pirate. Examples, how much loot I’ve stolen, cashed in total, deaths, kills, ships sunk, food eaten, hours played, skeletons killed.
Chris: A log like this would become especially useful to track, not just individual feats, but those achieved by a Captained crew, wouldn’t it…?
Q. Are there any thoughts towards making a pirate’s ship feel more like their own? In anyway possible?
Chris: Absolutely! We think that ships are something that players can care deeply about; the more personal they are to players, the more they’ll take pride in them, and a ton of great stories and emotions can fall out of this. So it’s something we have continued conversations around.
Q. Can we get a tease of what the November update is called?
Chris: Here’s a slightly rubbish anagram for you: Hello EA – Bonus Dust.
Q. During the EGX they mentioned at an upcoming update called Emissaries. Can you elaborate on what it entails?
Chris: I can’t be too specific just yet, but we want this to be a feature for our longer-term, high rep players, giving the choice to opt in to reap higher rewards but at higher risk. It’s something we get very excited about when we talk about the player stories and situations that will play out.
Q: A good amount of players are starting to, or have already reached Athena Fortune 10. Will we be seeing any expansion to this endgame content in the near future?
Chris: Define near future! Rather than simply adding another ten Athena levels right now, we want to broaden the ways players can earn Athena’s reputation before extending this progression.
Q. Is there a Holiday update planned for December, similar to the spooky Halloween-ish one we are in now? Also Are there plans for any larger updates like the Anniversary update? Or are we sticking 100% with the Monthly Updates from here on out?
Chris: There is definitely going to be a festive vibe to the December update. As for the Anniversary Update, that was an unbelievable package of content. The updates over the next few months should hopefully offer you a much clearer view of the size and cadence of our planned content releases.
Q. When will you change the title screen from Anniversary Update?
Chris: I may or may not have seen something like this recently. So expect something fairly soon…
Q. What is the biggest design challenge you face in sea of thieves
Chris: Self-restraint. There’s so much that we want to add to enrich the game, each of which serves different player types and motivations, but we can’t do it all at once. Plus, we are always listening to you all and the things you’re asking for, and when we discuss features it’s impossible not to get excited about them all and want to deliver them all right now.
Q. For maxed out pirates, will we ever be able to hit lvl 50 again with factions and have a reward for leveling again? (Prestige without prestige ranks so to speak)
Chris: I see a wonderful future where everyone has a reason to re-engage with Trading Companies, even when they’re currently sat at Rep 50, and it gets me excited.
Q. Anything around the Christmas release on earning rewards for giving items to others? I know it’s anti-pirate but I gave a swabbie all my loot, even a Reaper chest yesterday.
Chris: Great minds…
Q. Why was the pirate legend banjo not included in this update with all the other banjos?
Aaron (who jumped in for this question): The Legendary Banjo was discussed during the setup of Fort of the Damned and we realised that there are a few instruments missing from that set. We have a plan to complete these cosmetics. Stay tuned.
Q. Now that I think about it, you increased the value of the cursed chests. [Did you make] this change because you’re going to add more cursed chests, or just because you think it would be nice? (or both)…
Steve: The current Cursed Chests can be a whole lot of fun. They can also, at times, be Rage inducing in a a hilarious kinda way ;). It’s only right you receive a great payout for your troubles if you manage to handle the impact that a Cursed Chest can bestow upon your ship!
[Ed’s note: “Rage” is capitalised and in italics in the reply…]
Q. How long do you think you will be maintaining this cycle? This rhythm of one update each month is awesome for content, but I feel it could get pretty intense in the long run.
Chris: Great question – we feel that a monthly reason for players to set sail in Adventure with loot on board their ship is a bedrock for compelling players adventures. We want to minimise situations where players encounter ships without anything on board.
Steve: It’s certainly a challenge. Making games, while incredibly rewarding, is incredibly hard. It’s super demanding, but having a monthly cadence gives us the ability to experiment with different types of things. I recall getting close to the wire for Fort of the Damned, we had some things to iron out but seeing the reception it’s had with players makes it all worth it!
Q. Any chance to have new Skeleton Forts mechanic ? The wave system is boring and not dynamic enough.
Chris: As per the tweaks to Ship Battles this month, we’re always thinking about how we can improve existing features as well as delivering new ones. Discussions about Skeleton Forts ended up evolving into the Fort of the Damned, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the Forts are being left out in the cold. There might be a slight tweak to these coming soon.
Q. Do you intend to reintroduce the earlier Reaper’s Runs and Mercenary Voyages and their respective rewards at some point in the future Content Updates or were they always meant as one time offers?
Steve: We’ve talked about it for sure. I’m a big fan of bringing older voyages back into circulation so players who missed out on them can experience them. We need to narrow down the right way to do this though.
Q. What was your most exciting monthly Update since Black Powder Stashes?
Steve: For me, Fort of The Damned has been the most exciting. Just giving players the ability to trigger a fort themselves. We played it pretty much everyday and each day we spotted a few bits we wanted to change and at the end of each play session, I just got more and more excited about seeing it out there in the wild. It was such a big piece of work and to have it stay around and be a permanent addition to world is great. So many possibilities with it!
Q. Before you guys leave can you leave us with one final tease for whats to come in the coming months?
Chris: No one’s spoiled “fire” yet have they?