Sea of Thieves Beta Impressions

If the beta is anything to go by, Sea of Thieves is going to be a spellbinding experience for solo and cooperative pirates alike.

The latest Sea of Thieves beta, in the guise of a stress test, sailed off into the sunset last weekend to find calmer seas, more enemies to hunt, and greater treasure to plunder. Now that the full release of Sea of Thieves is less than a month away, we’re getting pretty excited at the idea of really sinking our teeth into the full game. There’s a lot to love about Rare’s pirate title, but if you’re still on the fence about boarding the Sea of Thieves vessel, our impressions of the beta might change your tune!

Piratey Cooperation

Probably the most important aspect of Sea of Thieves is its multiplayer and cooperative nature. Setting sail with three other friends as you strike out to find riches and glory is one of the purest forms of joy. Your giant galleon will stretch out before you as everyone scrambles to fill one of the game’s many roles, from manning the helm, scaling the crow’s nest for a view of the horizon, using the lines to capture the wind in the sails, or patching holes in the hull.

The ship isn’t the only place where you will need to work together with your friends, searching for buried chests and scouring an island for clues and symbols is a team job. You’ll lower the anchor off-shore near an island, and as you swim to the beach, you’ll need to split up to cover more ground. When someone finds the location, they can either proceed alone or call everyone else over to them. It’s a magical moment when you’ve got several chests to dig up on an island, and everyone returns to the ship with their chest in-hand. You just better hope there isn’t an enemy ship waiting further out to plunder your goods…

Ship-to-Ship Battles

As you would expect from a pirate-themed game, you’re going to encounter other pirates out on the open sea. This will be a make or break moment for you and your trusty crew, so you better be prepared. Communication will be absolutely essential to your success, which is why a headset like the Stealth 700 for Xbox One is going to save the day.

When you’re in the heat of battle, with thunder clapping overhead and cannons blasting to and fro, the Dynamic Chat Boost will lift incoming voice to help you hear your allies over the raucous. If the enemy is using the in-game proximity chat, you’ll also be able to hear their calls and plans of action, which will invariably give you the upper hand.

These ship-to-ship battles can be intense, and last from a few extreme seconds to drawn-out battles of attrition, where the first ship to run out of planks to repair the holes becomes the loser. This can all change in the blink of an eye though, as other vessels might appear on the horizon to assist. During the beta, we were manning a simple 2-person sloop and encountered a massive galleon harassing another smaller vessel. We aided the other small craft, causing the larger vessel to limp off and lick its wounds. We docked at the closest island to gather supplies and speak with the other pirates, who thanked us for saving them.

Exploring the World

The world of Sea of Thieves consists of large islands to discover and huge bodies of water to traverse, and both hold their own treasures for you to find. During the beta the Gold Hoarder Company was available for players to experience. This vendor sells maps, which lead to chests, which can in turn be sold for a considerable profit.

As you improve your standing with the company, better maps will become available to you. These become multi-step voyages that take you all across the watery world of Sea of Thieves as you solve riddles, follow compass directions, and desperately try to figure out where the “X” on the map corresponds to on the island.

Even after dozens of hours playing the beta, we were still reaching new islands and planning adventures to the corners of the world to see what lay beyond the borders. Between the numerous islands to visit, seemingly infinite variations on quests, and the ever-present danger of other players, no two moments in Sea of Thieves is alike.

While the Sea of Thieves beta was incredibly fun, all good things must come to an end. The good news is that there’s not long now until the full game lands on our Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs to soak up even more of our time as we fulfill our life’s dream of becoming a pirate!

Sea of Thieves is set to release on March 20.