Like many other pirates, my crew and I immediately downloaded the newest update when it dropped and headed straight for Duke. Once we had acquired our Mercenary voyages, we stocked up a little, left port, and began our adventure.
The server was buzzing with ships, nearly all doing the same thing as us. And while our voyage went smoothly, every time we hit an island that was part of the quest (be it ours or someone else’s) I kept noticing a pattern. The cargo run items were left behind…lots of them.
Now, that’s clearly a sign that things aren’t perfect, but I think a good number of players can agree that cargo runs were a welcome addition to the Merchant Alliance’s repertoire. Up until their introduction, it had been a long-standing request that we be able to do merchant work while digging up chests or hunting down skeletons.
Hearing this feedback, Rare gave us cargo runs where as soon as we picked up the items, the mission left our map radial and another voyage could be put down. At its heart, this is a great solution…but the payout for completing a cargo run is meager compared to the effort they require (350G per item for perfect condition, then 250, 150, and 50G for increasingly worse condition). As a result, if cargo is part of a mission (e.g., during Athena’s or Mercenary quests) it is often dropped and forgotten. The effort simply isn’t worth the pay.
With these Mercenary voyages giving players missions from all three trading companies, this is an excellent time to reevaluate the reward for turning in cargo. I have talked to many pirates since cargo runs were introduced, ranging from brand new Sailors all the way to Athena 10 Pirate Legends. Inevitably some people love them and some absolutely hate them, but more commonly the opinion I get is “Cargo runs are cool, but they just don’t give enough gold so I can’t be bothered doing them”.
So, if the perceived problem is that the quest is high-effort, low-value, why not increase the worth of cargo to incentivize completion? I mentioned earlier that there are four tiers of cargo condition:
Tier 1: 350 (best condition)
Tier 2: 250
Tier 3: 100
Tier 4: 50 (worst condition)
I propose that these values increase to the following:
Tier 1: 900 (best condition)
Tier 2: 650
Tier 3: 400
Tier 4: 150 (worst condition)
This value increase would likely make the extra effort associated with transporting cargo worth the risk, especially now that PVE encounters are more active due to the Shrouded Spoils update. At the same time, turning in cargo wouldn’t become the “best” way to level up the Merchant Alliance. Gold animals would almost always be worth more than any piece of prime cargo, but the catch is that they are harder to get in lower level voyages.
At the proposed rate cargo would provide a reasonable path to ranking up with the Merchant Alliance, especially for players who have not put much time into the faction. As players increased their standing, animal quests would also become more palatable, improving the overall experience. Importantly, a Legendary Cargo Run (lvl 50) would, at best, have a pay out of 7200G (eight pieces x 900G). This is a much greater incentive for completion than the current 2800G, but I would argue doesn’t break the quest because catching black and gold animals (current practice) usually nets more gold.
Like many other players, I love Sea of Thieves and want to see it continue to thrive. I made this post because I have observed and participated in a behavior (dropping/avoiding cargo) that I believe is ultimately detrimental to the game. It is my hope that the change suggested above generates good discussion on the topic and maybe, if I’m lucky, makes it to a developer’s computer screen. Thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear what you all think about this.
Even if the values were increased to:
Tier 1: 600 (best condition)
Tier 2: 450
Tier 3: 250
Tier 4: 100 (worst condition)
I think that would be better than what we have now. As for the Devils’ Roar, the cargo is more fragile and faces additional environmental risks. That challenge deserves a fair payout, and if you managed to turn in every piece on time and in perfect condition I don’t see why at most a player couldn’t be compensated with 9600G. The risk/reward ratio isn’t going to be so good that it makes other voyage types in that area less desirable, and outside of the Roar it means that at most a player will be compensated with 4800G. Again, by the time you can obtain eight pieces on a voyage there are much more profitable ways to get gold from the Merchant Alliance.