It's been a while since I posted on the forums. For those that don't remember me, I've been very active on here during the alpha, then moved on to Discord late 2017. I founded Crew of Thieves and the Crewofthieves.com website in November. Currently, I am one of the admins of the Sea of Thieves Community Discord with over 31k members and owner of the Crew of Thieves Discord with over 2k members.
Now one of the last real posts I made on the forums was about problems with the Insider Programme. Back then it got a lot of attention and I believe it changed the game and community a bit, so I'll try to do it again. I have spent a lot of time as Content Creator, Community leader and playing the game myself, as well as talking to others in similar positions before writing this post. The issues listed here do not only affect me and the team behind Crew of Thieves but are rather present for all dedicated people around Sea of Thieves.
I do not want to talk about issues with the game itself here. There's quite a few of those, but they aren't even the main problem at this point.
Let's start with Rare:
When I first joined the forums, Rare seemed like very genuine developers that care a lot about both the game and the community around it. A lot of the dedicated players have defended them for months, even when the game got a lot of hate. Sadly, Rare never seems to value the people that have put time in to make their game more enjoyable for others or to give feedback on it.
This is a very recent issue, so I'll start with it. A lot of the pioneers were also the most dedicated people to this game. It is absolutely justified to start the programme up again and invite new people or kick inactive ones out. However, Rare broke their own rules and lied to the pioneers in the process, which is the real problem. This is everything but a respectful way to treat those that helped get this game to where it is now.
Rare promised to inform anyone before kicking them out of pioneers, which didn't happen. You can tell us that it now is a "new" programme and that the old one was closed, but we all know that this is no excuse.
We all kept our badges after the original pioneer forums were closed and got told that it isn't the end of pioneers. A week ago all of our badges suddenly disappeared. Support straight up lied to us when they got asked about it.
And the statement @khaleesibot posted later completely ignores the fact that the pioneers aren't just some people that got to test new features, they are people with hundreds of forum posts, hours in the game and a ton of dedication to it. We do not demand the right to stay pioneers indefinitely, but a simple email to inform us about the changes would've already come a long way. This is not about the technicalities and we care little if you say this is a new Programme, it's a matter of respect.
This is sadly not the first time Rare has shown a complete lack of understanding and respect for the dedicated people around their game. Giving easter eggs to a lot of people that have done great things and then giving one to a random streamer for doing something a lot of others have done before. The absolute Disaster which was the way they created their own Discord.
Next big point is just the sheer amount of false promises Rare made and the unprofessionalism they have shown since the final beta.
So many times dates for updates were announced (Hungering Deep as the most prominent example) and then changed or delayed. If you know you can't keep to it just don't announce a clear date in the first place.
So many features that were promised to come (You can go through old dev videos and you are going to find a ton of them) aren't in the game.
Sea of Thieves' social media situation is a lot of things, but not professional.
The ideas of death tax and 4 man sloops showed a lack of understanding for the own game, as well as just a major disconnection from its community
Hyping the Kraken up right before launch on Reddit when they knew it was absolutely underwhelming
Looking at those things one-by-one they don't seem like too much of a problem, but if you really dedicate yourself to the game you'll realize how often they let you down or don't keep to what they say. Praising them for "taking their time to fix things" has its limits.
Rare really advertised Sea of Thieves as a great game for Content Creators. In-depth Mixer Integration, Support for fan websites, a dedicated Content Creator contact were promised to us.
Guess how much of it ever happened?
Nothing. Rare has pretty much not offered any support for content creators since launch. There's a reason why there's barely any websites dedicated to this game. Content Creators, which have created hundreds of videos on the game prior to launch have had relatively little support and can often be seen creating content for other games after a long record of Sea of Thieves only.
The user, subscriber or viewer numbers show that Sea of Thieves isn't exactly a successful game on the Content Creators side. Again, we've been let down by a long record of false promises, ignorance and no support whatsoever.
By now there are quite a few big communities formed around the game. They give players the option to find like-minded pirates to play with, a place to talk about the game and share fan creations. Without these communities, a lot of people wouldn't be playing Sea of Thieves or would at least enjoy doing it a lot less.
But once again there are problems.
Most communities struggle to build a solid core of users. Sea of Thieves as a game offers little incentive to keep playing once you reach Pirate Legend or even Athenas 10 if you want to grind some more. This not only impacts players, who lose interest in the game even if they liked it but also communities. Often times, activity there is more based around the frequency of new users than around anything else. People stay dedicated to the game for a rather short amount of time, so clans and fleets have to fight for new people to fill the ranks as quickly as possible. This makes it hard and frustrating to build a solid community dedicated to the game.
Again, communities receive barely any support from Rare. Events which take hours to prepare and run do not get any official recognition. These events are often a lot of fun for hundreds of participants, yet Rare can't even be bothered to respond to emails or help out at all.
Overall, Rare has shown little respect or support for those that dedicate themselves to their game. Whether it is Pioneers, Content Creators or Communities, a lot of us are very frustrated by now. The people that moderate communities, produce funny videos, run the subreddit, give feedback and write guides are the ones that make it enjoyable for thousands of others. There's only so much we can do and only so many times we can be let down before we move on. It has come to a point where people with thousands of forum posts, hours in the game, community members and created videos are leaving the community.