[Mega Thread] Balancing Exploration and Player Combat - Part 2

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    One of the most important topics, the topic of inclusion as we all want to make sure that Sea of Thieves appeals to as many gamers as possible and everyone enjoys the game regardless of their own personal motivations.

    Safe Zones and PVE only Zones are not currently something we are exploring for Sea of Thieves, you can read our public comment about it in this PC Gamer interview with our Design Director Mike Chapman.

    Here's previous discussions on this topic:

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  • Just heard this in another thread but a personal map for burying your own treasure.

    Be great option for escape.When Ships chase you.

    You get off at closest island bury treasure.
    If they sink your ship it wouldn't be so bad now since you still have loot

    You would feel ok because they were to lazy to get off boat and chase you through island.

    If you die though they can find map.

  • @khaleesibot I honestly enjoy where the game is right now with regards to exploration vs. player combat balance, and I think the respawn change will make exploration, in general, more viable. I enjoy that there is always a sense of tenuousness while exploring because you never know when you are going to have to run back to your ship b/c you are about to get attacked. I think this is the whole idea behind this game. That's what makes it fun. Maybe a tutorial to teach players how to be aware of their surroundings would help to alleviate some of the angst from players who (seemingly blindly) wander around islands for half an hour and then return to their ship being sunk. It's important to keep someone on your ship and/or have a mental timer for how often you need to check the horizon for incoming crews.

  • I'll just re-re-mention map scale/size choice as a way to improve this issue.

    Map scale/size as in increasing distances between islands, increasing the "open sea" area as a deterrent to those that consider sailing just the boring part between ship battles while also spreading ships so much apart that finding targets is a boring task better done on a smaller, more compact map.

    So, I'm not suggesting/asking to add more islands (though I'm sure everyone would like that, me included) and I'm definetely not asking/suggesting to increase ship/player count or else it would defeat the purpose of this particular solution.

    Ship/Player count increase, if it happens, then it should be done across all map sizes, of course, to keep the spirit of the solution.

  • @barnacle-blake I love this idea, Not related to combat but I also would love love LOVE to see like say your walking around on a island and you just decide "eh im just gonna jab my shovel in the ground who knows maybe there will be treasure underneath" and wouldnt it be awsome if There was like some code in place to have randomly generated treasure buried randomly thought islands? let me know what you guys think.

  • @lukefurno More for the exploration portion you are right but does effect combat in the way to avoid it for sloops and others who wish to take the battle to land.

    Might be low on cannon balls or planks but want to make other crew work for your loot in a land fight.

  • @khaleesibot How about Diffrent kinds of kinds of cannon balls like flaming cannonballs that do less base damage in favor of damage over time and if Mast damage becomes a thing they could introduce Bolla Cannon balls for taking down masts. I think this could make more naval combat a bit more complex!

  • Safe Zones and PVE only Zones are not currently something we are exploring for Sea of Thieves, you can read our public comment about it in this PC Gamer interview with our Design Director Mike Chapman.

    This decision BAFFLES me.

    If this includes private servers/PvE servers/peaceful mode, you are making a huge mistake. Mark my words Rare, ignoring casual and mid-core gamers is a death sentence for this game, ESPECIALLY A GAME AS A SERVICE SOLD AS AN AAA GAME.

    Are they really waiting for the game to be half-dead to then try to ACTUALLY "appeal to as many gamers as possible"? It might be too late, so many people have had already AWFUL experiences with the "non-consensual PvP", I have friends that played through game-pass and would NEVER give the game a second chance. And if I do, it's because I paid $60 for it, and that's all.

  • Would love to see a PVE only with ghost ships to take out as well as forts and Exploration and a option to play with PC or not there mods make it total unfair the mouse and bot aim makes combat with them a joke

  • @sgt-grogdog-68 I have seen alot of people suggest a "ai Ghost Ship" and I agree that it would be a awesome edition to the game.

  • I cant really speak about "balancing" combat and explorations but some changes/points I would like to see are as follows:


    Add exploration into the game, in the sense where you can gain something from it. The world is so vivid colorful and unique! I think its the one thing everyone in the community actually agrees on. So lets give players reason to go into caves, or find uncharted islands. Maybe add some uncharted ship wrecks what dont despawn ect. I want have a reason as to why i want to sail of into the horizon with no voyages active.

    Combat: Firstly the combat just needs an overhaul, well when i say combat i mean sword combat i personally have no gripes with guns. Alhough floating damage numbers would be a nice addition.

    Dodge: We need a better option to dodge, the one we have in game just isn't good, i think also if you dodge or roll at a certain time you should be to mitigate NPC shots from there guns, currently it just feels like you have to tank the damage rather then have a skill play where you can avoid it.

    Stun Lock: This is just more for my own sanity, remove NPC stunlock it boils my blood lol i hate having a crowd of enemies just interrupt your attack cancel it then just all stun lock you to death as soon as it happens you might aswell just put the controller down, very Rarely are you going to get out.

    Parry: Pretty much as stated,i believe instead of having that knockback after being hit 3 times you should be able to (If timed correctly) roll or parry the attack and counter. It would make he fights more fun, skillful and not just a case of running at you tapping RT or Right click.

  • @lukefurno said in [Mega Thread] Balancing Exploration and Player Combat - Part 2:

    @sgt-grogdog-68 I have seen alot of people suggest a "ai Ghost Ship" and I agree that it would be a awesome edition to the game.

    I agree that would be cool!!
    Make it so you can pay Davey jones to send a ghost crew after other player crews.

    A bounty/curse you place on others. Have it so only the affected crew can see the ghost ship and be attacked by them.

    So to other crews it would look as they are fighting nothing.

    Only the cursed crew can see and land shots so this makes a great way to get some pay back also. Curses can sell for different amounts for increasing time of curse.

  • I’m sure this has been mentioned a countless number of times, but PvE needs to be tweaked. This isn’t about player skill, this isn’t about “git gud i destroy mobs ezpz.” If you have five bullets, you shouldn’t be fighting mobs that take 3+ hits conditional on environment. Spamming sword charge seems to be the PvE meta which is fine, but when you delve into that world you also start realizing the accuracy of the skeletons are insane. Not only is it lazy programming, it’s just ridiculous. A mob of gold skeletons with pistols, shadow skeletons at night with pistols, moss skeletons with pistols on a shallow-water island, all ridiculous. Definitely doable, but will ALWAYS involve dying over and over, running back to your boat every 3 seconds, or cannonballing off your boat. Lets not even get started on skeletons hitting you with cannonballs a mile off the shore of an island you’re not even visiting and potentially killing your livestock. PvE needs to be tweaked, it’s completable but through experiences I doubt the devs predicted. Skeleteon accuracy is ridiculous and leaves you helpless without methods to cheese the fights. A mob of 8 skeletons shouldnt pop out of the ground and immediately kill you from full health all hitting shots unconditionally. I can’t believe the death tax was even considered before making ANY balancing efforts.

    One suggestion: Allow us to move our ship ammo box around as a carryable item like a chest or animal crate, on and off the boat. It’ll allow more combat solutions both for PvE and PvP, allow more options in ship combat and another aspect to manage during skirmishes, etc.

    Also allow us to purchase (full) carryable barrels of bananas from a provisions NPC/merchants at outposts. Like the ammo box, will allow us to set up “bases” during skeleton hunts and will add another layer of logistics during skirmishes/ship combat. (i.e board an enemy ship, steal their banana barrels!!)

  • @barnacle-blake Thats a cool idea of implementing a curse/bounty system especially as a way of getting payback after having you and your crew murdered for the 3rd time in a row :(

  • If you really want to balance exploration and PvP, we need to actually have some sense of exploration in the game that isn't entirely player driven. I still think the best way to accomplish this is to take a page from the sandbox book and get rid of voyages. It wouldn't be hard to implement a system where the events of the voyages happen randomly in the world. You go to an island and maybe there's a bottle there with a map to buried treasure, or you find a grave and it has a riddle on it. Perhaps a skeleton crew is there hiding away in a cave, or maybe the cave is abandoned and there are trade goods and trinkets inside.

    The Merchants could have boards at each outpost telling players what goods and animals they're willing to take. When they receive a certain number of those goods or animals, they'll stop taking them, but another island will start, so players aren't relying too much on one outpost or another.

    You would still gain experience and rank up in the factions, but it would be an indicator of a multiplier that would give extra gold for items turned in to that faction. As your rank goes up, you might also encounter tougher skeletons on islands or get surprise encounters when you try to take unguarded treasure.

    Ultimately, I think the balance issue is largely due to the freeform nature of PvP, while the PvE elements are largely restrictive and lead the player around rather than letting them discover things in the world organically. A more open system for player discovery also works better with future expansions. Having the system in place would make it easy to add different event types in the future, varying experiences even further and really encouraging players to search islands for different content.

  • I want to talk about ship to ship combat. I feel it is the most fun part of the game, but i also feel that we could use some tweaks.

    Gallons and ships in general are a bit too hard to sink. I feel like the only way to properly sink a ship is to board them and camp the holes/ammo chest. I feel like the ship combat should be more rewarding for doing actual ship combat, instead of being forced to abandon ship and go board. A good gallon crew can basically never sink.

    Some suggestions on how you could do this
    -Make the holes on the second floor of the gallon matter. have them do 1/4 or 1/2 water as a lower hit.

    -Make cannon hits to the same spot still do damage, maybe the cannon passes through the hole and hits the other side or the floor.

    -Either make planks more rare or make repairs be more expensive such as, each additional time you have to repair a hole, make it cost +1 plank. (increase planks you can hold to 10).


  • @khaleesibot HI!

    To be honest, I like the current balance. Only thing I would say, in terms of player combat, in some cases there needs to be an incentive to work together. I can only think of community events, for example forts.

    Say that you introduce a much harder skellie fort, marked with a red cloud or something. That means that the skellie fort is too difficult for 1 crew, so 2 or more would need to work together. This might require the combat system to be changed though, as it currently doesn't let you lock enemies,and also people(and skellies) can walk though each other, and this could lead to accidental kills which can ruin the whole plan. Then when it comes time to get the loot, you could have it spawn on the ships to avoid crew fights instantly happening after a fort has been done.
    You could also have events randomly, or timed, spawn throughout the map. Like the Kraken. Honestly thought this would be so challenging, that it wold be marked on the map, and all ships would sail to it to help kill it. That would be awesome! the Kraken in the middle of a circle of ships all firing cannons down into the water at its head/body.

    So basically things like that, a way that we can just play together, but also if we would like to try and screw over those helping us we can, but also gives them a chance to escape with the loot. This gives us a chance to work together at least. ONly problem would be that trolls are gonna troll, so you'd get people trying to sink you straight after trying to help you, but hey, wouldn't be every time... I hope.

  • Me: So when will you implement safe zones or PvE servers?
    Rare: Never.
    Me: Ok, I understand.
    Rare: So when are you buying the game?
    Me: Never.

  • @khaleesibot said in [Mega Thread] Balancing Exploration and Player Combat - Part 2:

    Safe Zones and PVE only Zones are not currently something we are exploring for Sea of Thieves, you can read our public comment about it in this PC Gamer interview with our Design Director Mike Chapman.

    Ok, Thank you for officially addressing this.

    As Such, I will not be continuing my Journey with Sea of Thieves.

    I think you all created a beautiful game, the sailing is fantastic, water effects are great and I really enjoyed searching for treasure, solving riddles, and fighting skeleton captains and slowing leveling up the factions. However, since this is the official stance and since I have no desire to be forced into PvP I will focus my attention, time, and any future money into other products that offer more PvE focus that do not force multiplayer PvP upon players.

    I wish you all at Rare and Microsoft the best. Thank you for a neat experience in Sea of Thieves.
    Best of Luck

  • @navarita well then. Your dening the fact that this is a pvpve game

  • @echodoctrine This is not a single player game! Why is this so hard to understand! Sea of Theives is designed to have both aspects so when people say “forced pvp combat” I laugh. It’s not forced and this isn’t a single player. You want that kind of gameplay play Black Flag.

  • Right now the only way to progress in the game is through PVE related quests. While the only loot you can get from PVP is within a very small window. So all you who say that PVP is unfair it’s not it gets you no rewards and the reason we see so much greifing is because nobody wants to grind for cosmetics and PVP is the only thing to do that’s fun.

  • @xbus6 It is not about PvP being unfair, it is about toxic players/griefers. Have a look around the many other posts detailing the problems. If the only thing you like about the game is PvP, then what's wrong with a separate PvP server for you and likeminded players?

  • @greaseman85 are you talking about spawn camping?

  • @greaseman85 because in order to address this correctly we need a clear definitions what grieving is.

  • @greaseman85 I’m not a pvp only player but changes neeed to made to the progression system and pve quests

  • @greaseman85 The only reason people flock to PvP is because the PvE system is so lackluster. It just feels like it was tacked on to drive the PvP, but does little to engage the player. It's the bare minimum to get people to move through the world and collect treasure for the PvP players to steal. Without the PvP, though, there's very little game, here, just three types of repetitive fetch quests that offer almost no challenge and where the game tells you exactly where to go and what to do. Where's the incentive to actually explore? The game needs to offer real incentives to make choices and explore and it needs to have real challenges when the player chooses to do so. Otherwise, yeah, people are going to continue "griefing" because the only challenge in the game is other players and the only thing that feels like discovery and adventure is hunting them down.

  • Maybe they can do something like signing up to ship battle quests where multiple ships engage in combat while sailing towards islands with a time limit, that way players that sign up and and accept this quest have the same goal while the last ship standing gets the treasure, this would be different from the awful pirate forts where they take you down stabbing you behind your back while you fight the enemy since players would have to be at a specific island before time runs out and then you would need to reach the next one and so on, that way no cheating while waiting at the last island like a lot of the gamers would do, always finding the loopholes to win without actually doing fair combat and then they make it the norm like spawn camping which in my opinion is legitimate cheating since it is allowed and not actually a skill, if that was the case why don't developers put enemies where you spawn? Because that would be unfair and is unfair no matter how you justify it.

  • I would prefer it if ships anchored in shallow waters around islands or outposts didn't sink. They can still be damaged, and any holes need to be patched before you can sail, but the water only gets ankle deep. This would, I feel, reduce the random drive-by-sinkings that keep happening.

    No one should sink you simply because you happened to be there.

    Pirates can still board anchored ships or go on land to fight the crew, but anyone looking to sink ships would need to wait in deep water where the sea battles would and should occur - with both ships at full sail, which would be fairer and more exciting than what happens currently. Any stand-off between anchored ships would end when they ran out of cannon balls, or one ship set sail.

    Pirates would best be prevented from interacting with a ship (a dropped anchor at least) that isn't their own, to prevent hijacking-and-then-sinking which would be the next logical step. But this would also stop multilple squads of pirates serving on the same ship if they couldn't so much as patch a hole, have a banana, fire a cannon or anything on a ship that wasn't theirs.

  • Well then it sucks that you choose to ignore the desires of your own audience. The pass player glut will be over soon enough and if you want to drive sales to keep this game going then the majority want an option to play on servers either with PVP or without PVP. Rare can obviously do what they want. Even if it is sink their own game by catering to toxic players and letting Twitch streamers cheat however they want while ignoring their actual fan base. It's too bad because this is such a fun game I hate to see it sunk by it's own development team.

    I really wish I had seen that interview before pre-ordering the game. Unfortunately I am too late to refund the game and it seems Rare has no interest in growing the game beyond a toxic COD on water experience. To be fair it was my own fault I hadn't pre-ordered a game in several years and hopefully won't make a $60 mistake like that again. I may pick the game up and play again from time to time but only cause I haven't the option to refund it now.

  • Problem is not the PvP. The problem is that there are absolutly no rules. When players come back after you defeat them again and again and again it all gets toxic. And thats why people shouting for PvE servers. Which is bad idea to split the player base.
    Respawns need a work over because spawning further away didnt get rid of the problem.

  • @khaleesibot I think players should be able to choose from 3 different thresholds of server density prior to setting sail.
    2-3 ship servers for those that just want to go on quests, a balanced server ( as it is now ), and an over-populated server for those that want blood.

  • I don't understand. Rare says they want to do regular updates and listen to player feedback. Yet the thing people seem to ask for the most is being completely pushed aside.

    It sucks because I feel like a lot of people will stop playing after a while because they will get tired of the PvP. And yes I know it's a pirate game and I know it's an MMO but consider this:

    1. Not everyone enjoys PvP
    2. Not everyone is good at the game (or any game for that matter)

    And I feel like my second point is overlooked too often. Should Sea of Thieves only be played by an elite crowd who knows exactly which button to press at every second? What about kids? What about older people (like my dad for instance)? Or what about people who just aren't very good at gaming or who don't have enough time to dedicate to becoming good at it? Should they be excluded?

    I feel like this game has so much potential but it isn't reaching as many people as it could.

    And I hear you, it's a pirate MMO and the people who (let's face it) suck at the game or dislike PvP shouldn't ruin it for those who love the game for what it is (with safe outposts for example, which would take away the fun for many players). But maybe a separate server, ghost mode, or easy mode (max 4 ships on server) could fix the problem without ruining it for anyone else.

    I'm sure there are a million possible ways to fix this problem without ruining anyone's gameplay experience. And I'm convinced that the people working at Rare are clever enough to come up with a good fix. The only problem is that they seem to be reluctant to do so.

    Also, the "you can read our public comment about it" part was a little disappointing. They say "Safe Zones and PVE only Zones are not currently something we are exploring for Sea of Thieves" stating that it might happen one day but not right now. The 'comment' they then refer to is: "Never" says Chapman. Well okay I guess that's settled then.

  • @xbus6 you say "nobody wants to grind for cosmetics" but I think what you mean is "me and my friends don't want to grind for cosmetics" and you are frustrated with people who do.

    Obviously, a lot of people just want to sail around, find treasure, play music, get drunk in the tavern and buy a pretty hat. That's the reason why there are so many discussions about this topic . You could say that you think that's stupid and you have every right to have that opinion. But people who like 'grinding for cosmetics' definitely exist.

  • Reward me for PVP:

    Im not into grinding skullforts or voyages. I'll do them here and there, but this game, to me, is all about the fight. All things are even in this game. My cannon, my sword, my guns, all the same as yours. If I win, it's because I won.

    But what do i win? A good time for a bit, sure, but most of the time, my prey is broke. I think fixing this issue will cool down some of the griefing.

    One thing I've heard discussed by other Privateers, (If you people digging in the sand and hunting bounties are "pirates" I guess we're "privateers")is having taverns spawn reward posters for people on the server the ammount the person is worth can be determined by several factors. (time alive, loot turned in this session, pirates killed this session, ships sunk this session, ect.) And would be tied to sinking the ship of the associated crew.

    Those of you who only dabble in privateering might question what this will solve. It's simple really. by tying the pvp reward to sinking the ship, you entice the privateer to sink the ship, rather then spawn camp for amusement (our current only reward most of the time) This doesn't mean that camping a ship for a bit of time wont be required.( Examples: 1:Your ship is taking on water, i need to make sure you dont respawn and repair. 2: We have had an hours long struggle of will, our supplies are spent. I've boarded you and killed you, but don't have the means to sink your ship, if im duo, my partner camps, while i loot, if I'm solo, i need to pilot your ship aground to get it sinking, or camp you and force you to skuttle ship, hopefully before another pirate vultures my prize, Also, each time you respawn, it's a chance to retake your ship)

    Other things I have heard talked about by other privateers, is stats we would like kept. Most times, our prey is poor (hopefully because you all are remembering to turn in regularly) So stats like, chests turned in, ect, mean little. Distance sailed is a helpful stat, but there's not much to go on, when recruiting a privateer crew. Why not keep track of how many pirates we kill, or ships we have sunk, or chests we have stolen? (there is an achievement for having a chest stolen, so the tracking code is there)

    Another fix could be auto skuttling a ship after the victim is killed 3 or more times within 2 minutes. This means I have to kill my prey 3 times, then the ship is gone, and the booty is mine.

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