This week's Sea of Thieves developer update gave us a progress report on the new stuff Rare's been working on, much of which you'll be able to try for yourself soon. The Black Powder update only went live last week, but Rare has a lot of plans for its piratical multiplayer adventure, including improvements to hit detection, more ship cosmetics themed around other games, and pets.
In the space of a year, Sea of Thieves has steadily risen from a briefly entertaining piratical romp that was, unfortunately, filled with holes to something that almost everyone here on HMS PC Gamer plays. The myriad, transformative updates have so far been free, but to continue development, Rare will be selling things in a microtransaction shop. This is something Rare's discussed since before the game's launch, but this week's update gave us some more details on the studio's plans.
Pets, as Rare already announced, will be available in the shop, and they're now coming back to the test servers, where Insiders can try them out. They're getting to where Rare wants them to be, apparently, so hopefully it won't be too long before they end up in the live game.
Emotes will also be sold in the shop and will be available for testing soon. Both pets and emotes will appear in the live game at the same time, however. According to the developer, its philosophy is that microtransactions shouldn't give players a power advantage, people should know exactly what they're getting, the playerbase shouldn't be split up and they should always be optional. Pets and emotes seem to tick all the boxes.
If you've enjoyed decking your ship out in game-themed skins, you'll soon be able to get more of them. My ship's sporting a Spartan theme at the moment, but Rare also created Perfect Dark and Banjo Kazooie figureheads, and new ones will be joining them. What games they'll be inspired by is still a mystery, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a rude squirrel. The new ship cosmetics will appear alongside the pets and emotes.
Insiders can also check out more combat tweaks, which will be rolled out to the live game soon. Improvements to melee combat have already been tested, so now the gun hit detection changes are going to be put through their paces. Combat, at least when it's not between ships, is easily Sea of Thieves' biggest weakness, so anything that makes those pesky skeletons die faster sounds good to me.
Finally, it looks like Rare's going back to the drawing board when it comes to introducing more ship types to the Arena mode. Flinging sloops and brigs into the fights just wasn't working, apparently, so the developer has decided not to let every type of ship compete together, so they're looking for an alternative.
Today is also your last chance to get the Obsidian ship livery for watching the Twitch Rivals Sea of Thieves Showdown. If you watch today, you'll get the Obsidian sail and flag. Give it a watch here.