Arena - removing the ability to use voice or text to communicate with other crews

  • Hi everyone,

    Ahead of tomorrow’s launch of Season One, I wanted to share some behind-the-scenes thinking around one of the changes to Arena that is arriving at the same time, namely the removal of the ability to use text or voice chat with other crews within Arena.

    The key goal here is to create a more welcoming multiplayer experience within Arena.

    In a given month, just over half of toxicity reports that hit our Customer Service team come from the Arena, despite Arena accounting for around 3% of overall playtime in Sea of Thieves. A significant amount of these reports are of players abusing the ability to communicate directly with other crews.
    To improve the Arena experience and make it a more welcoming one for all players, we made the decision to remove the ability to communicate with other crews, both within the Sea Dogs Tavern, and within the Arena mode itself. Players will still be able to use non-verbal comms, emotes etc so there are options for communication with other crews, but limited to options provided by the game itself, removing the ability for players to abuse the manual text & voice options. You will still be able to communicate via text or voice within your own crew.

    We feel this is a necessary step for Arena to promote more positive play and create a more welcoming experience. It’s part of a wider conversation we’ve been having on the team around how we create tools and features that reduce exposure to toxicity and promote positive social play, which we will be sharing more on down the line when we have more to show & tell about in that space.

    Players that choose to harass or abuse other players within Sea of Thieves have no place on the seas, and we encourage everyone to use the tools available on our website to report any instances of this.

    I hope everyone understands the reasoning behind this change, and we are looking forward to Arena being a more welcoming space for anyone that chooses to play in it.


    Joe “Three Sheets” Neate

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  • @the3sheetsneate idk if this is the way. My most memorable moments in SoT is the voice chat itself. You should make an option to turn off social chats in Arena if you don’t wanna hear it.

  • Please don't remove this function it makes Arena a funny place to be. If new players don't want to hear other players they could deactivate other crews in the settings. I personally play a lot of Arena and without this Function I don't know if I want to play it anymore.

  • @dastallionducky That already is in the game. For a long time..
    Clearly it's not enough to counter the toxicity so I fully support this decision.
    Good on Rare for taking the high road.

  • You could just make it off by default instead...

  • Way to ruin more parts of the game rare I've got my 240 wins and could count the toxic lobbies on 1 hand

  • @dastallionducky said in Arena - removing the ability to use voice or text to communicate with other crews:

    @the3sheetsneate idk if this is the way. My most memorable moments in SoT is the voice chat itself. You should make an option to turn off social chats in Arena if you don’t wanna hear it.

    Agreed. I think the option should still be there. Perhaps having this other crew communication disabled by default, allowing people to turn it on at their own risk of that sort of behaviour. Arena isn't necessarily supposed to be communicative with other crews, but even in the tavern there can be great moments chatting with people. Similarly, certain commendations, tasks and achievements like those seen in the summer events for the arena did require you to be communicating with the rivals in the tavern and in-session to help each other, those would not really be viable anymore :/

  • Although it's true to be an unfortunate decision, I belirve it will make more pirates rejoin the Arena knowing that they won't be called names just because of their PvP skills, as a very respectful Sailor, I welcome this addition to the game

  • @taaaamas agreed!

  • While the intentions behind this decision are absolutely the right ones, this probably isn't the best way to go about it. Perhaps instead of disabling chat permanently in arena you could have it so that individuals can toggle it on/off but make it off by default when you join a new server.

  • Y do you have to ruin my experience because some people can't turn off voice chat?

  • Imagine trying to get some of the group commendations in arena now with no other chat.. Poor form rare

  • i made a forum post about this and it ended up getting around 60 likes which was why this was a bad decision, rare has shown disregard for my post. this proves that rare is finally putting the last nail in arena's coffin. thank you for the journey everyone.

  • @the3sheetsneate I don't think this is the way, Arena already doesn't have many players but it sure will lose more players after this decision. Why don't make it, that the standard setting in arena is a disabled voice chat, but you can activate it, if you want. New players would be protected and people can still activate it, if they want it.
    I just want to have the option of writing a gg, explaining a play I did or have the ability to ask the other teams how they managed to do a certain play etc. You'll also lose all of the pvp players who want to tdm etc., I prefer the naval fights but if you don't even update arena or give 'em a new gamemode where they can just battle with Sniper etc., you should atleast leave 'em the option to ask for a tdm in arena.

  • This is a bad idea. Don't do this, banter is part of any pvp competitive game.

  • @tholzak You can turn it of if you want to already, but the Voice chat makes Arena not only a Challenging mode but also a funny.

  • So what's the plan for people doing the triumphant tankard and instruments commendations?. Those require a little bit of communication

  • @n0tmykd type.

  • I don't think that's the best way of dealing with toxicity in a game. There will be toxic people everywhere whether it's in sea of thieves arena or call of duty lobbies. You shouldn't take everyone's ability to speak just because someone is being mean.

  • This is DEFINITELY not the way to go. Unfortunately, "Toxicity" is just something that comes with any kind of multiplayer game style. I use quotes because if you look at it from a distance, sure its toxic. People are rude at times and say off the wall stuff that anyone who doesn't live in that world would see as toxic. When you look at it close up, 90% of the toxic isn't even someone being toxic. Its people riling up other crews so they have people to fight with in the game. Its calling out someone to be your rival for the game. Taking away the ability to communicate with other teams is removing the ability to not only find other crews with like minded players to possibly squad up with later, but is removing a key point on why people play arena. Trash talking is part of any competitive world. Yes if you're sensitive, turn off the option to hear the people talking. That should be the option, but removing it completely is alienating the 2.99% that play Arena and don't care about the public communication. Its the small 0.01% that have issues, and if you really get down to the core of what is actually bothering them, it isn't even the talking. That is just something they're using as a reason to report someone who's beaten them at the game. I know this because they say it out loud in the public forum they're reporting. This is definitely the wrong move, please rethink this decision and come up with a better alternative.

  • @the3sheetsneate Since there are some efforts to make arena better, is there any way you can look into the match making process to see if there are any ways to reduce lobby wait times... especially in galleon arena. There is no reason on solo who has never played arena before should hold up an entire lobby. thanks

  • Rather make it default and allow an option to turn it off in options. Lots of fun seeing people get angry :)

  • @taaaamas That was my first thought as well, disable it by default so newer players who don't know you can manually disable it, are protected. Everyone who want's to communicate, can enable the option. Great idea!

  • @tholzak u probably are getting spawn camped a lot

  • I partionally agree with this, YES players need a better arena experience.
    Yet, I feel like it's important to have those toxic players exposed to others so that reports could actually happen. I have reported and got many players banned for what is to be concidered toxic to the eyes or Rare and I think that simply telling those players to keep it quiet isn't gonna help that much solving toxicity.

    If there is no communication, there is no target to point at to report.
    Adding to that the simple fact that this bareer is eventually going to help but there are xbox messages still happening and I don't think Rare will care as much if it's xbox messages cause it'd just go to xbox report wich do not work the same way at all.
    For Xbox it's not a report themselves that will actually matter but more the accumulation of them (adding to that the fact that all reports expire after 6 months).

    So, if I ever needed to make a deeper toxic-dealing methods I'd probably give to some people the authorisation of being able to hear and/or read arena messages to target toxicity.

    Other than that it's probably going to be a relief for some players and it is indeed a huge change to arena, but other than muting toxic people by preventing many gameplay mechanics (therefore punishing everyone), wouldn't it be better to simply push the deletion of toxicity much further?

  • This measure is too extreme. Not only are we not getting sorely needed updates in arena mode, we're having the few features that allow for fun interactions taken away because of some bad apples.

    C'mon Joe, we're not all kids. Rather disable cross crew chat and voice by default but leave a way for players to enable it if they want to.

  • @tholzak They said that they will disable the chat as well, just the "pirate chat" or what ever it's called is still available

  • @h4x3333 Not at all. You assuming that this change affects me just because I agree with it is wrong.
    Spawn camping has nothing to do with anything on this subject.

  • @daspampigeei Ah, I didn't catch that bit, I thought it only involved voice chat.
    In that case I'd advise using pirate speech to gather a crowd or inviting friends in Galleon arena to do the achievement with.

  • @tholzak ah yes type, when they are removing the ability to type, nice!

  • Great, now how am I going to convince everyone to get in the hot tub so I can get that ridiculous commendation? smh

  • Have you tried:

    -Getting thicker skin?

    -Turning off voice chat on your own?

    -Just not playing arena?

    If you are easily offended by words said by some random online stranger that you'll never have contact with please consider not playing online games in general, and not have others cater for you. Thank you.

  • I would not say that this is the correct way to exactly stop toxicity in arena, you told yourself doing a dev video, that u would not focus on arena but u are doing it anyways?

    doesnt make any sense at all.

  • how much are you trying to kill arena it's already dying due to the pathetic effort that has been made on hit registration and the fact that apparently sword and double gunning is balanced. i would actually like to know how much Rare cares about people who pvp and tdm a lot

  • Yes, completely agree. Definitely needed as Arena is very competitive and can get out of hand very easily. Also cuts down on reports being sent to the support team so they can give better support to other aspects of the game.

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