Duo Sloops and Crew Size Changes are coming to The Arena!

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    Ahoy Sea Dogs!

    This week sees the release of Duo Sloops into The Arena, meaning you can now crew up with one other pirate to take to seas and compete for glory! Duo Sloops are a super competitive and exciting way to take part in The Arena and we hope that you have as much fun out there as we have had during our internal testing.

    This change also comes along side another change to The Arena; Crew Size Limits. If you want to play on a larger Ship and Crew, you can select Galleon where you will need at least three players on the Crew to play. If you want to play as a pirate-duo, select Duo Sloops where you will need two players on the Crew to play.

    We have been testing these changes in Insiders, and we have heard your concerns about this change. I wanted to post to further explain the thinking behind these Crew Limits, and why we have introduced them.

    Back in April, a year (and a bit) after Sea of Thieves’ first launched, we launched The Arena. The vision behind it was to create a 24 minute exciting, competitive and crew based experience in the spirit of everything we love about Sea of Thieves. We love that this is a competitive mode that focuses on Sea of Thieves’ unique teamwork as a crew, and that it showcases the crew relationship and the best teamwork, emergent strategies and communication. This is why we launched with the Galleon as the showcase for this vision.

    Part of Sea of Thieves’ identity is its “tools not rules” approach, and we love giving players the freedom to play how they want. So, when we heard the feedback that you wanted more ships and crew size options, and our first approach was a mixed Ship mode where we allowed Galleons, Brigantines and Sloops all in the same contest together. We tried this with our Insiders, and heard overwhelmingly that although this mode had its merits, it was not the right option for The Arena because of one core reason: the competition was not fair. We found that as much as players did not want to be in a competition where they were outmatched, they also did not want to be in a competition where it was too easy – such as when they were competing versus a much smaller crew.

    As a team, we were determined to find the right balance between Arena as a competitive mode and Sea of Thieves “tools-not-rules” spirit and design approach, and although the mixed ships experiment was not a success, we were step further along our journey. This cemented the approach for us as a team that fair competition for everyone in the contest is a top priority when we are making design decisions in The Arena.

    As a result of this, we made some decisions. Firstly, we’re working on an experience based matchmaking system for the Arena, and this will be coming in a later release. This won’t ever impact the freedom you have to choose your own Crew, an experienced player could still invite someone new to their Crew, but when you are randomly matching into a Crew or matching against other Crews we will look to aggregate the experience levels of everyone and match you with the most appropriate players.

    Secondly, we decided to enforce Crew Sizes in The Arena to ensure that the number of players is evenly matched. The vision here is that the competition here will be fairer for everyone. This is why we are ensuring that you need a minimum of three players on a Galleon and two on a Sloop. The gulf between a crew size of one and two is potentially huge. We don’t believe this gulf is as pronounced on a Galleon of three versus a Galleon of four, and we still want to allow as much choice as possible.

    We know that some players want to play alone because they don’t enjoy the experience of playing with players that they don’t know and we are actively looking to improve this. We believe ease of communication is a key part of this. As such, we are planning an evolution to our Non-Verbal system to improve communication.

    Another key focus for us right now is looking at ways to ways to evolve the core mode of Arena to be more accessible and intuitive, and one of the expected outcomes of this is a simpler level of communication required between players on a crew.

    We believe that the option to play in a Duo Sloop Arena, alongside our plans for improved communication will help to lower the barrier to entry for The Arena.

    To every single Sea Dog that has played The Arena, we thank you! We’re still learning, we’re still growing, and we’re always listening.

    See you in The Arena!
    Shelley “Pressgang” Preston
    Lead Designer

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    This is great news. It was super hard to always find 4 friends to play with, resulting in often sailing on a ship of fools or alone, and on a galleon, that was no fun.
    I also hope sincerely that both PC and the opt out players can now get lobbies full of players and enjoy a session or two.

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    Minimum crew sizes in Arena? No thanks. The lack of ability to solo sloop pretty much killed any excitement I had left for Arena. Solo slooping has NOTHING to do with a lack of desire to play with others, it has to do with the challenge, and it has to do with PLAYER CHOICE.

    What a total disappointment.

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    Great. 4 players minimum to start galeon will be better.

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    @itsteotwawki

    Dude, half the time the other random quits at the start of the match, especially if your using an arena title.

    Just get some.
    I bet you will see your share of solo opportunities.

    Looking forward to the implementation of matchmaking and how it changes the game.

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    How exciting.

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    As someone who just had their crewmate quit at the beginning of the match, I can assure you you're going to have your solo opportunities.

    And a sour taste in your mouth as everyone else has 2 crew members.

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    It's in insulting to solo players

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    @itsteotwawki agree,

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    I guess when you put it that way it makes sense, but still, the Sloop is still the only choice solo players have. I still don't get why solo players wouldn't have the option on their own ship! Open crews in arena are horrible and your random mate will leave the match half the time anyways lol. Perhaps in the future Rare will consider adding even another separate option for solo players in Arena. Sloop is a solo ship as much as it is a 2 men. I'm glad sloops were added despite being disappointed you can't solo. Arena is new and Rare is still testing and learning. I hope they decide to change this in the near future. Cheers!

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    As someone who frequently plays Arena, I do like the addition of sloops. I don't care if someone duos or solos, their choice in the end. What I really dislike is the forcing of a crew requirement onto the gamemode. A warning would be preferable. In all my hundreds of hours of Arena I have never seen a closed crew galleon with two or less people ever playing seriously. I have always seen a solo player in the lobby and then his crew joins when they find a good lobby. My crew and I personally hop for people who look like they will put up a fight. Now that style is dead and we are at the mercy of RNG. If Rare wants to see real competition in this mode, they need to add a reason to play other than Legendary Sea Dog.

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    Go to hell soloplayers you make arena is boring! Farm your achievemets with random.

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    Dear sir, I hope the ideas you're incorporating brings the Arena to the glory that has escaped it thus far. Long waits, empty crews, ships quitting, and a lack of options concerning battles (minimal land cannons on islands, no gpb's, no traps to lay, etc) seem to have seriously compromised the success of this phase of the game.
    I know throwing in the towel and rebuilding the concept of Arena from scratch isn't an option as of now but did you all ever consider tying Arena to Adventure mode at any point?
    Can you imagine those glorious horns atop Seadogs outpost bellowing a eerily low base tone every 30 minutes? Calling to the ships on the server and letting them know that a contest is minutes away from starting.
    Imagine battles that are only linked to the North, South, East and West of Seadogs outpost with all the ships starting at docks connected to the outpost. If only two or three ships arrive then the legendary Seadogs themselves may enter the contest as an NPC crew to make things more interesting. I think even Duke of the Bilge Rats would muster up a crew if it was needed to up the challenge. Maybe you could make the winners reward a map of a buried chest that they have to go out into the world and retrieve?
    Imagine spectator ships sitting on the perimeters watching the fights.
    Sure they can venture into the zones but there'll be no rewards for them.
    Imagine taking your own stock into these battles.
    Imagine the doors to the outpost being opened to all.
    Everything I've said here basically already exists in the game (Skellie ships will need to be revamped with npc characters and those characters given strengths). One game character that comes to mind for an npc crew would be the merchant at Lone Cove.
    There are so many ways Arena could be amazing.
    The problem I see is that a phase of a game needs to be every bit as good as the original in order to succeed. My ideas are based on a n "If you can't beat em, join em attitude". Sea of Thieves is an amazing game! Arena could be too!

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    Arenas ruined cant get a game tryn for 3 hrs.

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    The problem of the arena is that there are no levels that separate players according to their ability or commitment to the game.. there are also no penalties for those who do not, who remain afk .. can even report directly.

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    Some parts of this post I agree with, some I don't..

    Firstly, it is great that you're looking into more options and actual matchmaking - As you said, it's no fun winning when it's too easy.

    One of the problems I see though, is that sloops are commonly run either solo or duo, and solo sloops aren't necessarily down to inability to communicate - Some prefer the challenge, some don't have people to play with and don't play with people they don't know because of fear of getting trolled. Something else to bear in mind is that people may be young, and wary of strangers, or not allowed to interact with strangers (Game is rated 12+ after all).

    Fair enough not going for mixed arena, fair enough not allowing solo galley or duo galley, because those choices are a little bit over the top - But limiting a legitimate decision doesn't really seem to fit your "Tools not rules" approach, especially when somebody skilled could legitimately perform better solo than when they're playing with a random.

    It is great to see as well that you're looking into improvements to communication, and yes, it probably is a factor into why some people play solo - But I doubt it's going to be the majority.

    Honestly, it's good to see things being improved rather than just being left to fester, but.. Looking at fairness as a purely numbers thing isn't really the way to go.

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    sloop ya that is a good thing but player can not find the match quickly this is the main problem .

    Suggestion - There are lot of people play this game in Asia region .so you can put the asia server to the game more people start to play some asia peoples left the game because of the PING is VERY high asia server is need add to this game.

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    There's still no quitting penalty, so when someone is left alone if a gally, how is that fair?

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    I am having so much trouble wrapping my head around why the matchmaking is so terrible in the arena. I wish I understood because it boggles my mind.

    There is a list of players. There is a list of lobbies. You need 10 players for the game to start. If you join a game and you get a teammate but they leave the game may start you alone on the sloop.

    What? How? How can a matchmaking system that requires two players on a ship start the game with one player on a ship. That's the most preventable if statement implementation I can think of.

    I hope I don't sound offensive, but it would be my dream to truly understand why this can happen, from like a programming perspective. It's an itch I can't scratch.

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    The Arena is dead!

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    @letslipthedogs said in Duo Sloops and Crew Size Changes are coming to The Arena!:

    The Arena is dead!

    I played three games of duo sloops last night. Games started fast! The biggest issue for me is the long black screen when finishing up in the tavern.

    But duo sloops are a ton of fun.

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    I think it would be fun to have an event where you need to team up with other crews to take on a massive man-o-war ship.

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    @marsmayflower said in Duo Sloops and Crew Size Changes are coming to The Arena!:

    @letslipthedogs said in Duo Sloops and Crew Size Changes are coming to The Arena!:

    The Arena is dead!

    I played three games of duo sloops last night. Games started fast! The biggest issue for me is the long black screen when finishing up in the tavern.

    But duo sloops are a ton of fun.

    The reason their going to Sloops is because no one is playing Arena anymore.

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    @letslipthedogs uh, I'm playing against real people

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    I was h oping I could go in on a sloop alone because I like the difficulty that comes with it. However I can see the other side that it gives an advantage to others. At the same time, anybody could do this by just going AFK or jerking around, as opposed to a solo player legitimately trying. So I'm not a fan of these party size requirements. I don't have any actual friends to play this game with and I hate playing with randoms in a cooperative experience.

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    @alekseylight said in Duo Sloops and Crew Size Changes are coming to The Arena!:

    Go to hell soloplayers you make arena is boring! Farm your achievemets with random.

    Go to hell people telling others not to like what they don't like. What's "boring" to you is thrilling to someone else.

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    I hope not just to the arena, can you please allow 3 people on a sloop instead of 2? I like the sloop because it's easy and comfortable to play with, and it would be nice if at least a third person joins the crew.