Sea of Thieves has the potential to be a return to colorful, charming form for the developer who brought us the likes of Banjo-Kazooie and Viva Piñata, but one question has stuck with Rare’s multiplayer pirate sandbox: what do you actually do? Thankfully, the developers have opened up about the game’s progression and quests in a new gameplay demonstration today, finally making some of those details clear.
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Quests in Sea of Thieves are known as “voyages,” and these are purchased from one of the in-world factions, who’ll offer you more items, titles, and more complex challenges as you rank up. Voyages appear as physical contracts in-game, which members of your pirate crew can vote on to determine the shape of your next adventure. While these quests increase in complexity as you rank up, there are no level or gear requirements limiting you from taking them on, so if one of your crewmates has access to more advanced voyages you won’t be limited in what you can join them on.
There are three factions, each with challenges focused on a particular playstyle. The Gold Hoarders are all about digging up treasure, which for you means either fighting back undead guardians or exploring islands and shipwrecks for the treasure they seek. The Merchant Alliance will set you on missions to find supplies and deliver resources, or to capture, care for, and return livestock to them. Finally, the Order of Souls want magical artefacts, which are guarded by undead armies, testing your combat muscle in small-scale skirmishes and full-on fortress sieges.
As the early looks suggested, the game’s focus seems to be squarely on providing a piratical sandbox to be explored with friends, but at least we now know a bit more about what that actually means in practice. Sea of Thieves is scheduled to release March 20, 2018.