New Sea of Thieves patch significantly alters weapon balance, halves file size (update)

Updated February 20, 2019: Rare plans on addressing some issues which make certain weapons feel overpowered, like the sword. These small tweaks will roll out on by one in the coming weeks.

Sea of Thieves is an exploration-based pirate game that features great sailing mechanics, but the open-ended plot doesn't appeal to everyone. You have to find your own path as it mostly relies on emergent experiences. Over the past few months, developer Rare has promised numerous changes to the game — from combat to quests — and through constant updates, has managed to turn it around. Recently, Sea of Thieves even became the most-viewed game on Twitch.

It's clear that the developer wants this success to continue and a few days ago, announced a "Friends Play Free" event until February 13. That's not all though, yesterday, Sea of Thieves got a patch which reduces the file size by almost 50 percent across various devices. It also brought with it a number of changes to the combat mechanics. MSPoweruser compiled a list of all the tweaks.

  • Double-gun switching: The 'Flintlock,' 'Blunderbuss,' and 'Eye of Reach' have new wield animations and enforce a delay when equipping and switching.
  • Fluid swordplay: Missing a 'Cutlass' swing no longer slows player movement down, ensuring a more fluid swordplay experience.
  • Eye of Reach hipfire: Rare reduced the accuracy when hipfiring the Eye of Reach. Under pressure you can still get lucky with a hipfired Eye of Reach shot, however at medium to long range this is significantly reduced.
  • Weapon knockback: Flintlock and Eye of Reach shots will no longer apply knockback to enemies hit. However, the Cutlass and Blunderbuss will still retain their ability to knock back players. Skeletons wielding Flintlocks, Blunderbusses, and Eyes of Reach can no longer knock back players.
  • Weapon reload improvements: Following the recent changes to the Eye of Reach, now both the Flintlock and Blunderbuss reload the moment the hammer is pulled. This allows players to sprint sooner when reloading without restarting the animation.
  • Bullet projectile speed: Bullets fired from a Blunderbuss or Eye of Reach now travel faster through the air, providing more predictable accuracy.
  • Weapon damage falloff: Bullet damage no longer decreases over distance.
  • Eye of Reach damage: Rare reduced Eye of Reach damage by a small amount to ensure this weapon is balanced following the changes to bullet speed and damage falloff.

Keep in mind that in order to get this update, you have to redownload the entire game. Luckily, it's around 25 GB now instead of 50 GB on Xbox One X. Hopefully the combat changes will be accepted by the community. Whenever such drastic tweaks take place, there are bound to be issues that a developer couldn't have foreseen.

That's not all though. During the Inside Xbox show, Executive Producer Joe Neate added that he can't wait to discuss what the coming months hold for the game, and that 2019 will be an even bigger year for Sea of Thieves. This is a bold claim because Sea of Thieves launched in March 2018. A major Sea of Thieves announcement is coming next month so stay tuned. It might even occur during next month's Inside Xbox show.

Asher Madan

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.