One of the best things about Sea of Thieves is the lurking spectre of danger in every encounter: Is that rapidly-approaching brigantine looking to team up, or looking for a fight? But not everyone cares for my particular brand of "excitement," and for those folks developer Rare is adding a new game mode called Safer Seas that will enable players to sail the high seas alone or with a chosen group of friends.
"Over the last five years of creating Sea of Thieves, the game has grown into this huge experience with so many diverse aspects to it, and the reality of that is, we want to teach people how to play the game, but we also don't want to lose the joy of discovery," creative director Mike Chapman said. "So the way we think about Safer Seas is as a great way to learn the essentials of Sea of Thieves, to be able to learn the flow and the pace of the game before then moving on to High Seas."
High Seas is what the current game mode will be called once Safer Seas goes live.
Chapman said that Safer Seas is meant to be a "complementary" way to play Sea of Thieves, so it will not evolve with its own unique features or content. Reputation and gold will be earned at just 30% of the rate in High Seas mode, trading company progression will be capped at level 40, and players will not be be able to earn the Pirate's Legend rank in Safer Seas mode, meaning all content related to the Athena's Fortunate trading company will be inaccessible.
Here are the key differences.
A least a few hard-nosed Sea of Thieves players will no doubt be shaking their heads ruefully at this point and bemoaning the softness of pirates these days, but I think this mode is long overdue—and I say that as someone who (mostly) loves the thrill of hunting and being hunted across the cold, unforgiving waters. Easing new players into the experience is obviously the big selling feature, but the new mode is also good news for experienced sailors.
Some of Sea of Thieves' story-based Tall Tale adventures are really time consuming, and being able to take them on without worrying about your ship being sent to the bottom while you're horsing around with other things would do away with a lot of unnecessary stress. It could also be a big boon for solo players, who are generally screwed if they get jumped by a competent crew in a larger ship—and sometimes it's nice to just go out and do a little fishing, which is a pleasantly relaxing experience as long as nobody is shooting at you.
Of course, there's one thing not even Safer Seas can protect you from: Your troublemaker crewmates. Never forget.
Rare said that more details about Sea of Thieves' new Safer Seas will be revealed prior to its launch, which is set to happen sometime in December.