Sea of Thieves is a bit of an enigma. One of the most polarizing games in recent memory, I know people who flat out hate it, while others boast hundreds, even over a thousand hours played since the game launched in 2018. Then there are people like me, who... simply can't decide whether they like it or not.
In some ways, this was Rare's goal. Back when I previewed the game in 2017, Rare showed off a "wheel of emotions" guiding the game's development, aiming to nail practically every reaction possible with their sandbox pirate fantasy. Taking down the megalodon in a storm on the high seas with my friends certainly ranks up there with some of my most epic experiences this generation, but being griefed over and over while trying to hand a quest item in certainly ranks among the lowest.
Undeterred by the polarization, Rare has pledged long-term support for the game, drip-feeding new content for the past year, culminating in a massive Anniversary Update a few weeks ago, adding full-blown story quests among other improvements.
Sea of Thieves is on the up and up, there's no doubt about it, but what if it had 50 more things to make it even more awesome? That's exactly what this article is intent on exploring, for better or worse, in no particular order! (And Rare, I'm sorry).
Note: This is just for fun, quality of suggestions is not guaranteed.
It's a pirates life for me.
Sea of Thieves is an open-ended multiplayer pirate adventure like no other. However, it still needs precisely fifty new features before it can achieve true perfection.
1. Crossbows and other arrow-based weapons
Okay, I get that pirates aren't precisely Robin Hood, but Rare has us out here hunting pigs, chickens, and uh, snakes, so I figure giving us some proper hunting equipment would be pretty sweet. You could even add balistae-type mounted weapons on ships, perhaps as an optional replacement for the grappling hook.
At the very least, I think crossbows fit the pirate fantasy pretty well, and Sea of Thieves could probably benefit from some silent weaponry.
2. More ambient life
If there's one thing David Attenborough has taught me, is that there are plenty of animals in the sea, of all shapes and sizes. Rare has done a pretty good job adding new creatures to liven up the seas in Sea of Thieves, adding a variety of fish as part of the game's fishing system (most of which are Splashtails... damn Splashtails).
What about dolphins? What about lizards? What about whales? Island-dwelling big cats? Angry seagulls? Squid? Throwable squid! Sea of Thieves practically develops itself.
3. Punishment for Arena quitters
Right now, there's no real punishment for players quitting out of Arena in a fit of rage when they start to lose. There's also not a tremendous amount of incentive to stick around and work towards winning either, reminding me of similar issues with World of Warcraft's PvP system when it launched.
Adding some kind of debuff that prevents gold acquisition or something after quitting out (not disconnecting) should incur some form of penalty. And perhaps the rewards for participation, even losing, could be improved as well.
4. Crab people, and other enemies
I'M SICK TO DEATH OF SKELETONS. Coral skeletons, golden skeletons, exploding skeletons, skeletons skeletons skeletons. It's high-time Rare explored other types of enemy factions, and here are some handy suggestions.
Crab people, you know, like South Park. Evil mermaids you battle underwater — crazy island cannibals. Animated stone golems left over by a dead civilization. Just cool it with the skeletons, please?
5. Speaking of crab people, GIANT ENEMY CRAB
This one is pretty self-explanatory! Think of all the crab meat? This concept was posted on reddit by u/xLegendCry, and it's pretty awesome.
6. More biome styles
While Sea of Thieves has four styles of oceanic isles, they all still feel very tropical in nature. Hopefully, in the future, Rare will begin expanding the world out a bit further, giving us more areas to explore, complete with new hazards.
Imagine sailing through frozen oceans in a frigid northern biome, or charting a course through large saltwater mangrove swamps.
7. Chain shot and grapeshot cannon balls, bolas
Now that we have mast damage, it might make sense to introduce bolas-style chain shot cannonballs into the mix.
Bolas are weapons typified by two iron balls connected by a rope or a chain. Whether or not they were used in real pirate warfare, I couldn't find out, but they do appear in some pirate media. The chains would wrap around masts dealing increased damage, and might help smaller vessels escape larger ones. You could even have shotgun style grapeshot cannon balls too.
Update: Shoutout to Simon Sage for correcting me on the difference between Bolas and Chainshot cannonballs!
8. Throwable weapons
You're telling me that, despite the fact I'm a pirate, with a ship full of alcohol, I can't make Molotov cocktails? Come on Rare!
Throwable weapons in Sea of Thieves could come in all shapes and sizes. Let me throw banana peels to make enemies slip over. Let me throw coconuts for critical headshot damage. What about throwing knives, axes? Caltrops?
According to Wikipedia, rudimentary grenades were commonplace during the Golden Age of Piracy. "Captain Thompson used "vast numbers of powder flasks, grenade shells, and stinkpots" to defeat two pirate-hunters sent by the Governor of Jamaica in 1721."
9. Sea serpents
Sea of Thieves has the megalodon and mythical Kraken, but the oceans are in dire need of some slithering sea serpents too, I feel.
Okay so, I get that this might impact the game's ESRB rating, but it seems odd that there are no piratey-style gambling mini-games.
No cards? No dice games? Pirates loved drinking, plundering, and gambling! It turns out Rare agrees, seemingly. A bunch of tables in Sea of Thieves have dice on them... hmm, maybe in a future update?
11. Spears, axes, maces and beyond
Sea of Thieves is painfully limited with its weapon options. Why can't we get spears? Axes and maces, and their two-handed variants? Glass bottles?! Pirates fought dirty, using anything not nailed to the deck.
12. Ship quarters customization
Just like the lack of weapon options, we don't have that much ship customization in general. Why can't we name our ships? Why can't we customize the interiors with unique features and furnishings? In a game that revolves around cosmetics, it's a bit odd that there aren't more ways to customize and accessorize.
Speaking of accessories... why can't I wear glasses?! NPCs can!
14. Persistent inventory
One of the most annoying rituals in Sea of Thieves is gathering supplies at the start of every game. Why oh why in 2019 doesn't my inventory, my ship's inventory, persist through sessions? I've had situations where I've had to leave a game to make a new session with a different size ship, right after spending 20 or more minutes gathering wood and cannon balls, only to have to do it again. It's worth fixing, mates.
15. More ship types
Right now, Sea of Thieves has three ship types. A sloop for up to two players, a brigantine for up to three, and a galleon for up to four. Oh, and a rowing boat, dockable onto the other ships. There's no reason, though, that Rare couldn't explore adding more types of ships for all team sizes, even if they're just different shapes with different features.
Perhaps there could be smaller boats designed for single players, that are more nimble, or even boats that gain bonuses to fishing and mercantile quests, and so on. It feels like an underexplored aspect of the game, thus far.
16. Central social hub
One of the coolest things about Sea of Thieves' Arena mode is the social lobby where players can rabble and taunt each other before matches. Sea of Thieves' base game can feel like a lonely affair, some form of centralized hub where players could parlay, trade, and just hang out might be something worth exploring.
17. NPCs that do ... something. Anything.
Springboarding from the social hub idea, it would be cool to see an NPC character actually... move around, sometime, rather than just stand still at their vendor spot, waiting to take your gold. It would make the game feel more lived-in and alive.
18. Fish as WEAPONS
Okay, hear me out on this one. Swordfish that can impale enemies. Heavy tuna that can be wielded like clubs. Spiky pufferfish that can be thrown to poke our your opponent's eyes!
The applications of fish are truly endless. And hey, Warcraft did it.
Okay, I am slightly cheating on this one. Rare is indeed working on adding pets, slated to hit the game perhaps as soon as the next big update.
Some of the most essential pets the game needs, of course, include dogs, cats, parrots, rats, monkeys, owls, gulls, snakes, fish in bowls, frogs, lizards, hamsters. A fearsome pirate hamster would be awesome, and I demand that it happens.
20. Potions and herbalism
Speaking of things that might be on the way, how about potion crafting and herbalism? Rare has already flirted a bit with crafting mechanics, allowing us to cook meat to gain a pool of restorative health. The game also seems to have assets for brewing potions, too, somehow tied up to the Order of Souls. Every Order of Souls vendor has a potion shop located above, they're just... all closed, right now.
Coating swords in poisons? Brewing special cursed-chest-countering alcohol? Or even cosmetic potions? There are plenty of ways potions could enhance the game without creating imbalances.
Traps go along with the "more weapons plz" complaint maybe, but they also have more utility features than a spear or an axe might. Imagine placing a row of bear traps to lure hapless skeletons? Or even capture those bloody annoying pigs so you could harvest their delicious pork chops?
Rare already has traps in a sense, in the form of gunpowder kegs, but there's way more that could be included there.
22. Ferry of the Damned Tall Tale
Tall Tales are Rare's take on episodic stories within the Sea of Thieves world, with the first revolving around the Shroudbreaker, and a mystical hidden treasure cache. Rare has hinted that future Tall Tales could be on the way, and I, for one, would like to learn more about the spooky Ferry of the Damned.
The Ferry of the Damned ushers dead players back into the realm of the living, but the lore revolving around the Ferry is a bit murky. It would be interesting to learn more, and even delve deeper into the spirit world itself.
Update: Apparently this has already been teased!
23. Vertical progression
This one is a bit of a maybe, as it kind of upsets Rare's vision for the game. Sea of Thieves focuses entirely on horizontal progression, meaning you get stuff without getting more powerful, as you do in games with vertical progression mechanics. However, not everybody finds that system appealing.
Even Minecraft has a form of soft vertical progression, with its leveling pool that can be spent on repairs, enchants, and that sort of thing. It gives you something to earn on top of the cosmetics, which can then be spent on tangible rewards. Perhaps Sea of Thieves could explore something similar?
24. Ghosts, and other spooky bois
Speaking of the Ferry of the Damned, Sea of Thieves sure could use more ghosts. What about haunted chests and shipwrecks? A poltergeist chest that tries to jump off your ship? Ghost ships that appear at night? Perhaps we'd need special potions or mystically-enhanced weapons to fight them off?
Anything beats more skeletons for me at this point, to be honest.
Yes, mops. In every shred of pirate literature and media, I have ever, EVER seen, pirates are swabbing the deck. Those decks get DIRTY, covered in megalodon guts, Kraken ink, and pirate viscera. Not to mention banana-chunk-laden vomit.
You could even open up a whole new cosmetic section to go along with it! A golden, diamond-encrusted diamond mop! Let me swab my deck, dammit!
26. A body for the Kraken
I appreciate the logistical and technical challenges that may come along with giving the Kraken a body, but I feel as though it would add enough to the encounter to make it worthwhile.
For those who don't know, the Kraken in Sea of Thieves is, in fact, just a load of independent tentacles that appear up out of inkified water. Perhaps retro-fitting a body onto that specific encounter might be difficult, but what if there was an alternative encounter where you do encounter the Kraken's mouth and body? Rare already has the artwork for the Kraken's body down. It would be great to see it implemented one day.
27. Custom kegs
Sea of Thieves is a game that features dozens, hundreds... nay, thousands of barrels. At the start of every session, you will ritualistically hunt down wood, bait, cannon balls, and other types of consumables from various barrels scattered around the game's various camps.
Like the game's explosive kegs, what if we could fill barrels with other things like oil, to set enemy ships ablaze, or booze, for big pirate parties?
28. More reasons to dive underwater
Some of the coolest moments in Sea of Thieves are when you dive beneath the waves, hunting sunken treasure, or charting lost civilizations as part of the Tall Tale story series. It would be cool if the game had more reasons to go under the waves, perhaps to pry open clams for pearls, loot sea cucumbers for, err, cooking? Maybe this is why I'm not a game developer.
29. Hydra, and other Greek myths
Greek nautical legends are among the most prolific in ancient mythology, popularized in things like Jason and the Argonauts, and ancient theological tales about Zeus and his many exploits.
Things like the multi-headed dragon Hydra would fit pretty well in Sea of Thieves, and could even use the same tentacle system as the Kraken, with some added heads. Sirens are thought to be similar to mermaids, albeit more nefarious in nature, using hypnotic songs and hallucinatory beauty to lure wayward sailors to their doom.
Stepping up the scale we have the monstrous Charibdys, of which no historical description exists. Popular art likes to imagine Charibdys as some giant sea worm. As the legend goes, Charibdys created violent whirlpools when it drank water, sucking ships into Davy Jones' locker.
30. Melee combat overhaul
I pretty much despise Sea of Thieves' melee combat, which feels horrible to use. Sword swings are slow and unresponsive to trigger pulls, and weapon strikes are visually poor. Half the time, it's hard to tell if you've even landed a hit.
There are only three basic moves, comprised of a block, a charging lunge, and a hack and slash motion, with strange, model-turning auto-aim further adding to the clunk. With Arena putting a spotlight on Sea of Thieves' combat mechanics, this is one area I think that is desperate for some improvement.
31. Player-made quests
The systems that govern treasure hunting in Sea of Thieves seem as though they could easily translate into a form of user-generated quest systems. It would be awesome if we could bury our own treasure, set treasure maps adrift in bottles for other players to discover and experience.
Policing this kind of content for trolls could be difficult, sure, but perhaps it could leverage Sea of Thieves' trusted Insider community to ensure nothing seedy made its way into the game.
32. Moby Dick
As ocean legends go, few are as prominent and memorable as the novel Moby Dick, which follows an obsessive journey of revenge on the part of Captain Ahab, hell-bent on vanquishing an elusive white sperm whale that bit off the mariner's leg.
Sea of Thieves, funnily enough, has its own "Moby Dick"-like legend. It's known as the Shrouded Ghost white Megalodon, whose appearances are pretty rare. The Meg isn't a whale though, dammit. Melville's whale deserves its own encounter.
As oceanic hazards go, one notable and fearsome species group has come to terrify seafarers for hundreds of years - poisonous jellyfish. The Portuguese Man o' War, the Sea Wasp Box Jellyfish, and there is even a poisonous jellyfish called a Cannonball Jellyfish (which could make for a very novel weapon?)
Falling into the ocean in Sea of Thieves is only really hazardous if you run into a shark, for the most part, adding a few more creepy pests would add a bit of variety.
34. Whirlpools, cyclones, and other oceanic hazards
Speaking of dangers at sea, it feels as though Sea of Thieves is missing many of the typical ocean phenomena that mariners dread. Whirlpools can be large, ship-churning vortexes where opposing currents meet, typified and exaggerated in pirate myths represented as gigantic, ship-swallowing oceanic black holes.
Sea of Thieves already has a good engine for storms, but it would be cool to see cyclones hit the game as well, throwing ships up into the air.
35. Legendary hunts
One of the cooler things about Red Dead Redemption 2 and Assassin's Creed Odyssey's hunting side objectives is that they culminate in "legendary hunts," which pits the player against gigantic boss-versions of typical everyday critters.
Imagine a giant boar boss battle, after hunting all those little cute piggies, or some kind of gargantuan chicken fight. C'mon Rare, you know it's the right thing to do.
36. More cooking recipes, with deployable camps
The Sea of Thieves' pirate diet is pretty simple. Bananas, coconuts, raw fish, and so on. If you're lucky, you might get some fried fish, or even fried Megalodon steak.
I feel as though Rare could give us a little more on the cooking front, perhaps with unlockable recipes. What about fish and chips?! Also, it would be great if we could set up our own cooking camps out in the wild if we're away from our ship or one of the cooking camps dotted around the game. Roasted marshmallows under the stars sounds good to me. Did pirates have marshmallows? ... Maybe not.
37. Custom flags and sails
Sea of Thieves has a bunch of pre-made sails and flags you can use on your ships, but over time, you end up seeing the same colors time and time again, particularly among pirate legends who have even fewer options for customization. What if we could create and upload our own ship branding designs? Similarly to the avatar editing options in games like Call of Duty and Battlefield? Sure, people may abuse it, but that's what the report button is for!
38. More customization in general
Sea of Thieves offers a pretty decent range of customization options for budding seafarers, allowing you to tailor your clothes, hooks, peglegs, eyepatches, and so on. What if we could also have custom emotes and dances? A wider variety of clothes and other cosmetics? There's a lot more that could be done here.
39. Rip off Apex Legends' ping system
Sea of Thieves' non-verbal communication system is... okay. It gives you a range of contextual statements you can make based on what you're currently doing, but it's EA's battle royale game Apex Legends that truly nailed it with its "ping system."
Apex Legends gives you the ability to target specific objects and state your intentions. It's far more responsive than Sea of Thieves' current implementation and would boost communication or those who don't have or don't want to use microphones in the game.
40. Fix Tall Tales lameness
One of the most annoying aspects of the new story-based Tall Tales missions is that toxic, griefing players know full well where these quests start and end. The quest rewards associated with Tall Tales are inaccessible to players who aren't on the quest, and return no monetary investment. The only, only reason to kill someone on a Tall Tale is to be a dick, and that sucks the fun out of the game.
Rare could fix this in a couple of ways. Either make it so Tall Tale quest items are unable to be stolen by other players, but that kind of screws with the sense of danger that comes from simply playing Sea of Thieves. Alternatively, they could make it so the quest items are actually worth money, so that at least it gives players a reason to attack people on Tall Tales, rather than to simply be jerks. Alternatively, they could make it so you hand them into different places, rather than specific NPCs, to prevent griefers from simply camping the NPCs. Either way, something needs to be done here.
41. A real endgame
Many of Sea of Thieves' most hardcore players are pretty much sitting pretty with nothing left to do. Nothing to grind, nothing to spend their gold on, and no goals to chase. Players who achieve "Pirate Legend" and end up buying literally all the cosmetics available in the game report that they are sitting on literally millions of gold with nothing left to sink their time and efforts into.
Perhaps it's time Rare started to look into some real endgame content for the game's most dedicated players.
As epic as Sea of Thieves' weather mechanics are, particularly when it comes to the new fog system, it has become pretty easy to crash into rocks and other things as a result of the decreased visibility. Sure, that's going to be inevitable in some situations, but at the very least outposts should be a little bit more visible.
Perhaps there could be random lighthouses out and about, maybe as part of a new trade company?
43. Bounty system
Perhaps given how annoying griefers can be in Sea of Thieves, particularly with Tall Tales story quest item theft, it might be cool to implement some sort of bounty system you can pay for to place rewards on players that have killed you.
You should be able to set your own bounties by spending your own gold with some sort of bounty mediator NPC, perhaps with modifiers for killing the player or simply sinking their ship, and so on.
44. Crafting systems, trading systems
Back when I initially began speaking to Rare about the game, they talked about scenarios where players might meet and opt to trade with each other. Problem is, there's pretty much nothing worth trading in Sea of Thieves as it stands.
With mercantile vessels tied up intricately to pirate lore, including outfits like the East India Trading Company, it seems a bit odd that there isn't a greater emphasis on trading (and stealing) goods around the Sea of Thieves.
45. Seasonal events and contests
What if there was a grand, monthly fishing extravaganza? Where the crews with the most caught fish gained special and unique rewards? What if there were quarterly ocean racing events which rewarded the greatest wave riders in the sea? They seem like they'd be fairly easy to implement, and would offer more competitive types of gameplay beyond the Arena.
When Rare added The Devil's Roar biome to Sea of Thieves, they also included things like geysers and volcanos that spew fireballs into the sky. Weirdly, though, they just cause the same old types of ship damage we all know. What if Sea of Thieves actually had some kind of fire system, requiring you to extinguish the flames with buckets of water (or vomit?) This would also feed into my earlier suggestion about adding Molotov cocktails, and perhaps even barrels of oil that could be ignited with a lantern.
I'm a pirate, am I not? Then why can't I dual-wield pistols, swords, and other weapons? Why is my second hand apparently useless while holding a cutlass? There's no rhyme nor reason for it, Rare!
48. Optional third-person view
I'm not sure if there are performance issues or systemic engine problems tied to this, but it seems frankly strange that in a game based entirely around cosmetics, Rare only lets us see our character during emote actions.
Games like Star Wars Battlefront II have been able to implement optional first and third-person options for the game, without impacting competitive play at all. There's no real reason to not give us the option to play in third-person, if we so choose.
49. Encroaching law and order
The Golden Age of Piracy is typified as an era with minimal interference from the establishment. Later on, though, the British Empire spread across the globe, bringing harsh penalties for pirates of all types.
It would be interesting if some sort of "law and order" faction somehow appeared in the Sea of Thieves, boarding ships smuggling goods, or even invading pirate outposts, requiring you to go and recapture them.
One of the most notorious Japanese nautical legends, Umibōzu is basically the Slenderman of the Sea, appearing as a giant, haunting jet-black shadow entity in the ocean. The creature shows up when the oceans are peaceful, catching sailors off guard. Then, it requests loot, opting to drown sailors who don't deliver the goods.
Umibōzu can be evaded by giving it a barrel without a bottom, so that it gets confused while trying to scoop up the bottomless contents bobbing up and down in the ocean. If you fail, however, it will drag sailors with it into the ocean depths. On second thought, maybe don't add Umibōzu.
WHEW. That was a big one, but we got there, in the end, me' hearties. The real question is, what do you want to see in Sea of Thieves? What do you think of our suggestions? Hit the comments below, and maybe Rare will grace us with their approval, and add some of these features to the game.
It's a pirates life for me.
Join up with up to four friends and take on the Sea of Thieves, plunderin' ancient loot, solving mysterious riddles, or battling other players in the Arena. There's tons to do and lots to sea (get it? Sea? Sorry.)
Awesome Sea of Thieves merch
If you're a Sea of Thieves fan, show off your piracy with these great gift ideas.
Sea of Thieves: Athena's Fortune (From $7 at Amazon)
Athena's Fortune charters the infamous pirate Ramsey and his quest to find the legendary treasure stash, fraught with peril, plunder, and plenty of piracy.
Tales from Sea of Thieves ($23 at Amazon)
Tales from Sea of Thieves is essential reading for any fan, granting a huge amount of background lore on the game and hints of possible future content.
Official Sea of Thieves keychain ($10 at Amazon)
Show off your love of the open ocean with this epic keychain (not real silver ... sadly.)
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