I, Joe Donnelly, staff writer at PC Gamer, do not condone my superiors' behaviour. Locking Sea of Thieves randos in the brig is no laughing matter—but, to be fair, I think Sam and Tom's detainees deserved their incarcerations. Loud people are a pain in the arse. And they did feel pretty bad afterwards, suggesting ways in which the game's lockup might be improved down the line.
To this end, it looks like Rare is working towards private, invite-only crews.
"Players are misusing the brig for various reasons," says executive producer Joe Neate in this blog post. "The most common of these we have seen are to hold a slot, either because they want to play as a private crew or because they want to play with people with mics/people speaking the same language."
In order to fix this, Neate says he and his team are working to "allow players to select whether they want their ship to be open to others being matchmade with them, or closed so that it's invite-only." In turn, he hopes this will mitigate one of the "key reasons" misbehaving buccaneers use to abuse the brig. Moreover, private crews will also let players sail the galleon in smaller groups, or the sloop with larger outfits.
The blog post continues: "Closely related to the misuse of the brig, players don't really have any control over who they play with (apart from playing with friends). The key preferences we see are to play with other players using a mic, or to find people speaking the same language.
"We are working on automatically matchmaking by microphone status. The game already detects if you have a microphone plugged in, and matchmaking will now prioritise matching you via your mic status… We will be adding the option to filter by language for matchmaking so players can find other players who speak the same language to crew up with."
Elsewhere, the post addresses tweaks to ship respawns, spawn-killing and dealing with cheaters among other things. Read about that over here.
Private crews or not, our Sea of Thieves beginner's guide offers tips on voyages, factions, and making money.