I’d like to share the thinking behind the inventory changes introduced in the last update, why we’ve made such a change now as well as detailing some of the improvements we’re planning to make in the coming weeks.
First and foremost, a critical mistake that I’d like to apologise for is that we haven’t been pro-active explaining why we made these changes, rather we’re doing it now after the fact. We certainly didn’t make such a change to the core flow, pace and mechanics of the game lightly, but we should have done a better job of being up front and detailing precisely why we feel it’s important to the future expansion of the game. This is something we’ll strive to handle better in the future.
We’ve also unfortunately ended up in a situation where the Cursed Crews event and the addition of the Cursed Cannonballs are so closely tied that we ran out of time to react to feedback from our Sea of Thieves Pioneers. Let me assure you that the motivation behind this was around pushing to deliver new content quicker, but we’ll ensure that we plan to have more time in future to iterate on the changes we want to make based on valuable Pioneer feedback. This is worthwhile lesson and an area where we want to make improvements.
In terms of why we made this change, I’d like to look into the future of Sea of Thieves in more detail, especially the areas of the game that we see evolving over time. As you’ve no doubt heard us say many times, Sea of Thieves will continue to be enriched over time, presenting new ways to play, new goals for players and new tools that add to the unpredictable and surprising way the game is often played.
Up till now, Sea of Thieves has been fairly UI light and we’ve always been especially critical of anything that may change that, however, I’d like to call out some of the changes we intend to make in the future that become unlocked with the new inventory, including changes that will ultimately lead to a richer and more immersive experience:
Expanding The Game
Richer Exploration & Resource Gathering
Although barrels are purely just for resources at the moment, we want to support more possibilities for what could be inside a barrel. Part of the experience of exploring the world is coming across a message in a bottle and finding an emergent quest, and we’ll shortly be adding the chance to find maps in barrels. Beyond this, we want to add a greater variety of items in barrels that can surprise players while adventuring the world, rather than barrels being purely about supplies.
More Food Types
Bananas are currently the only food item and the only way to replenish health in the game, but we plan to add more depth and strategy around the use of food. When we added the ‘Food’ barrel to the ship, we did it knowing that it would be only bananas initially, but that this would be expanded to many more food types over time.
More Ammo Types
Cursed Cannonballs are the first time we’ve expanded the ammo on offer in the game and we want the flexibility to add further different types, some rare like the cursed cannonballs, but also more core types in the future that players can choose strategically when to use. We don’t feel it’s as flexible to make each new ammo type physical in the world like skulls, chests, crates etc. We also don’t want to be limited by having to add a unique barrel type for every new ammo type we add. Ideally, the inventory system should never be a constraint in adding more variety to the game, which is why Cursed Cannonballs have instigated this change, but this really is just the beginning.
Upcoming Inventory Improvements
Although there will never be a perfect time to make such a change, especially one that affects those who have put most time into the game and who have become most adept at using current systems, we feel strongly that we need to make this change to unlock the scope of improvements we want to make to Sea of Thieves in the future. With this in mind here’s some changes we plan to start introducing in the coming weeks, all with the focus of improving the speed and flow of using the new system:
‘Take All’ & ‘Store All’
The biggest and most frequently recurring point of community feedback is the slower pace of resource gathering, including how this impacts tense situations such as skeleton forts and ship battle scenarios. Rather than summoning the barrel interface to then click each resource items multiple times to store and take the desired number, this change will allow players to open the interface and quickly take and store stacks within the barrel with less button presses. While this is still a fundamental change to muscle memory compared to how the system worked before, this will allow players to take and store full stacks of resources in less clicks.
Quality of Life Improvements
Examples include swapping around the newly added Equipment and Resource tabs, not highlighting stacks of resources if you’re already full of that type as well as removing empty stacks, allowing players to ‘Take all’ of multiple types without having to reselect another resource. There is also a bug we’re aware of and want to resolve that prevents players looking and moving around immediately after leaving a barrel.
Cannonball Quick Menu
Another upcoming change is allowing players to see and select everything they can load and fire from a cannon with less button presses. We plan to introduce a contextual radial that players can summon while interacting with a cannon, allowing them to select any ammo types they have, including standard cannonballs and any cursed cannonballs they may have found.
With all of these upcoming changes, we’ll continue to identify any further speed and quality of life improvements as we implement and iterate on the above, in addition to continuing to review feedback from each change we make. In the future, we’ll strive to communicate our intentions clearer and ahead of time, allowing the community to have the opportunity to understand the context of any major upcoming changes to the game and provide feedback.
We’ll share a further update next week on our recent commendation rebalancing and how we plan to grow this in the short term to accommodate more goals for Pirate legends
We understand the patience needed here and thank you for bearing with us as we roll out these changes.
I missed the following when I first posted:
We're adding an 'empty' tag to barrels so players know in advance if its empty. This will be available in the next update.
We're fixing the issue where players get disconnected due to wave / ship movement.
We're going to review the stack limits.
Also I want to address the reasoning behind not having a 'take all' option on the fly. This is related to us expanding to multiple items types in a barrel, otherwise this would only work for what are currently single item barrels, although we want to expand the items they can contain in the future. Also, we need to be mindful of potential crew disharmony issues with a single crew member taking all various item types from a barrel in a single button press. This would become the primary way versus making a more considered choice. For players who just want to grab a stack of cannonballs quickly, we're confident the 'Take All' option from within the interface will be a considerable improvement.