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How does customisation work in Sea of Thieves?

Sea of Thieves character selection

After playing the Sea of Thieves closed beta, many were wondering if we would be able to create our own character when the full game launches. The answer is no. But also yes. It is complicated, OK? Get off our backs, jeez

Sea of Thieves has an infinite pirate generator instead of a traditional character creator. When you start a new character, you are offered a selection of randomly-generated pirates to choose from, with a mix of genders, races, and body types. You can refresh the list as many times as you like, until one of these unique characters finally catches your eye. 

The idea behind this was to make sure the game features a diverse array of faces – that players would be drawn to something quirky, rather than making the same character they make in every game they play. Don’t pretend you’re any different, we’ve seen your Skyrim saves. And Mass Effect. And PES. And Fallout. And… well, we’ve made our point.

Try the best PC sandbox games for more freeform fun. 

Outside of this, you will be free to customise that character with accessories and clothing. “The way the cosmetic system works is that you’ve got all the stuff for the player – the beards, the hairstyles, the clothing, weapons, customisable items, compasses, spy glasses, lanterns, all of that stuff,” design director Mike Chapman explains.

Sea of Thieves

“Then you’ve got the ship,” Chapman continues. “As well as your own character, you will be free to customise your ship’s hull, sails, and figurehead. “There’s overarching sets across all of those things. So there’s the Admiral set: Admiral clothing, Admiral weapons, Admiral items, and the Admiral ship. There’s the Sea Dog set, the Sovereign set, the Bilge Rat set.

“The idea is that, by building these up, we can combine them. So we get together and we’ve got a blank slate ship – you’ve got the Admiral figurehead, I’ve got the Admiral hull, someone else has the Admiral sail. You put them together and you’re like, ‘should we dress as admirals as well?’.”

Rare wants to inspire dress-up and roleplaying between crews, perhaps even seeing players dressing deceptively to ward off enemies. You could be a friendly merchant who uses a pirate’s black sails to keep predatory players at bay, for example. It’s little touches like this that lead us to suspectSea of Thieves could be the perfect anecdote generator.

Each of the three factions you can do quests for has a reputation bar that progresses as you turn in quests. The more reputation you have, the more cosmetic rewards you can unlock with that faction. Outside of those rewards, you can also purchase some cosmetics with gold, but the special stuff is locked away behind progression.

If you join a player who has progressed further than you with one of these guilds, you can help them take on a harder, higher-level quest. This method will let you power level by teaming up with friends who have put more hours in.