Updates to the Non-Verbal System and Radials

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    Ahoy!

    We wanted to give an update on some upcoming changes to the Non-Verbal System and the Radials in Sea of Thieves, with an explanation of the thinking behind these changes.

    Communication
    Communication is a huge part of Sea of Thieves. Being part of a crew, and communicating with them, is at the heart of many Sea of Thieves experiences. Even for those brave pirates who always venture out alone, the shared world is full of other pirates that you may wish to communicate with along the way.

    It is important to us that players have the freedom to communicate how they want to. Whilst voice communication is a very efficient and powerful way of communicating, there are many reasons why players may not either be able to, or want to, use voice. We want to support all our players in communicating whether they have voice chat or not.

    The Non-Verbal System
    From this desire to support our players, we built Sea of Thieves’ non-verbal communication system. This is a set of predefined 'phrases' that players can access at any time, with context sensitive options based on items being held or interacted with (such as the ability to communicate compass directions when you are on the map or holding a compass).

    Improving The Non-Verbal System
    It's also important to us, with all our features, to continually assess where we can make improvements. We are wholly committed to Sea of Thieves as a live service, with regular updates that not only bring new features to the game but add quality of life changes that improve upon our existing foundations. We want to fix two key issues with the existing Non-Verbal Communication system.

    The first is the ability to Talk about Strategy. Up until now, players have had a selection of general phrases and then everything more specific has been locked behind interacting with something or holding an item. We’ve now redesigned the Non-Verbal Radial to contain a set of sub-radials accessed via buttons (similar to how Throwables are accessed in the Equipment Radial by pressing the Y button on controller or E on Keyboard, Strategy is accessed whilst inside the Non-Verbal Radial by using the Y button on controller or Q on Keyboard). This allows us to have a whole section dedicated to strategy - with multiple individual wheels of phrases about what you want to do and where you want to go.

    We’ve also re-assessed the most useful phrases and ensured that anything really urgent (such as “Enemy here!” or “Repair the ship!”) can be accessed quickly from the “Alerts” page of the radial, which is always present as soon as you open it. This does mean that context-sensitive options (such as those about items you are holding) are now accessed via a sub-radial, but we feel that this is the right change to allow you to alert your crew quickly.

    The second is the ability to Talk on the Move. With the Non-Verbal Radial previously being accessed via D-pad Up on controller, players needed to stop moving in order to communicate. We came to feel that this adds too much friction, and can lead to players opting not to communicate because when trying to run away from an enemy, or repair the ship, it’s too much of a compromise to stand still in order to access the Non-Verbal Radial. This is where we’ve made the biggest change.

    Moving The Non-Verbal System
    In order to allow players to communicate and move at the same time, we have moved the Non-Verbal Radial onto RB on controller.

    As is always the case with our approach to Sea of Thieves being available on Keyboard and Controller, we aim to keep the experience as consistent as possible. With this in mind, and the fact that some players using keyboard may still want or need to use the predefined non-verbal phrases, this change is matched to E on Keyboard.

    Previously, Quests were accessed using RB on controller and E on Keyboard. These are now accessible as a sub-radial option in the Equipment Radial (accessed using on LB on Controller or Q on Keyboard). We know that this is a muscle memory change to accessing Quests and appreciate that this may take some time to get used to. However, we feel that the non-verbal changes this alteration allows for are a positive change for all players, as everyone on the seas will now have better communication options.

    Button Mapping Options
    Because we appreciate that some players will not utilise the Non-Verbal Radial, or will prefer to have Quests on RB/E regardless, we are adding a standalone Quest Radial that players can map to any button they wish. Quests will always be available inside the Equipment Radial, but you can also map a standalone Quest Radial to any button that you wish. For example, you could map this to RB on controller and map Non-Verbal to D-pad Up in order to recreate the older version of button mappings.

    In addition to this, each Radial and its separate sub-options are remappable if you wish to change the defaults.

    By default, we have mapped the four sub-options in the Item and Quest Radial and the Non-Verbal Radial to A, B, X and Y as it is the most intuitive set of buttons to use for entering the sub-radials, being a clear 'family' of four buttons. On PC, the equivalent keys are Spacebar, R, F and E for the Item and Quest Radial, and C, F and Q for the Non-Verbal Radial.

    As the A button and Spacebar are used to jump, when you are in this radial you will no longer be able to jump. However, if you remap these options or your jump action, this will re-enable the jump.

    Quick Select
    In addition to the other changes, players will also be able to tap LB or Q to switch between their last equipped item and quest item without even entering the radials – you can use this to quickly change between a shovel and a map for example. This also extends to the Non-Verbal Radial where players can tap RB or E to say their last Non-Verbal phrase quickly. If you have rebound the buttons/keys that open either radial, tapping that button/key will perform the Quick Select action.

    We hope that you enjoy exploring all the options in our new non-verbal system with our June update, Haunted Shores!

    See you on the Seas!
    Shelley “Pressgang” Preston
    Lead Designer

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    @resident-veg Thankee thee for thine work on thif fine update, I do have one query, however, af to what time the update dropf? Thankee anywayf!

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    @resident-veg

    This does mean that context-sensitive options (such as those about items you are holding) are now accessed via a sub-radial, but we feel that this is the right change to allow you to alert your crew quickly.

    Am I to understand that context-sensitive options will not be returning, because I feel like that's a step backwards.

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    So you couldn't fix the in game chat for Xbox users then.
    And we get this instead?

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    @resident-veg "This does mean that context-sensitive options (such as those about items you are holding) are now accessed via a sub-radial, but we feel that this is the right change to allow you to alert your crew quickly."

    I don't think this is the right decission, it should still be context-sensitive (ask Conker, he will agree 😉)

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    @resident-veg I can't edit my post anymore...
    I'm fine with the changes itself, just want to clear that out, but not with the cancel of the context-sensitive ones...thought you made a mistake, or just forgot about that, because it doesn't make any sense at all

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    @resident-veg
    Quick Select
    In addition to the other changes, players will also be able to tap LBor Q to switch between their last equipped item and quest item without even entering the radials – you can use this to quickly change between a shovel and a map for example. This also extends to the Non-Verbal Radial where players can tap RB or E to say their last Non-Verbal phrase quickly.

    That's a nice one

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    Since this update, regular skeleton ships keep despawning right as they should be sinking.

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    Why is something this basic NOT included in any updates?

    When you load into the games you get instantaneously jumped. This could be prevented by being allowed the ability to load into games WITH your sword equipped.

    This is not allowed in games. Try it. Go to the ghost ship and attempt to equip your sword. You simply can't. You can switch to items but weapons are a hard no.

    Also charge strikes should be sword block able. They aren't. What is this?

    The balance to the game is off. I've provided $$$ to the company and yet they can't give a quality game. I don't care about extra speech while combat lacks.

    Combat is key to defend. What did they provide to this? Slow blocking ability? Charge attacks that cannot be blocked, spawn killing, the ability to log into battle without access to a sword even delayed strikes after blocking? What is this!?

    How about xbox limitations vs PC thrown in the mix. My friend can log in instantly because of hardware limitations whereas console cannot. Then you provide them tools like delayed blocks/attacks or ineffective blocking. So with a delay you speed it up 2x for PC vs console. Or it promotes spawn killing.

    Fix your problems.

    I was happy at first with the game. Had hope's that battles would be manageable. At this point they are not.

    My friends are getting tired of this as well. Your updates for movement and combat are garbage. Game needs an overhaul.

    In summary speed things up and make them more fluent. The delays are garbage. If people have to wait extensive amounts of time to join from being on the ghost ship let them be able to defend themselves quickly from attacks. Otherwise you will lose interest from players.

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    @xcryptxkeeper84 I agree with you to an extent but wouldn't a better defensive option be to not get boarded in the first place? I certainly can't say I'm superior at PvP by any measure but the fact you get a chance to come back and defend your ship at all is a nice feature. You also come back with a fully loaded weapon and now you can rotate out your weapon on the Ship of the Damned. But if somebody uses any type of skill to board your ship the last thing we need to start doing is making it easier for people to come back and retake the vessel. I truly understand the frustration but in the end you just can't let them board to start as I've been spawn killed many times and end up having to scuttle the ship due to letting them on in the first place.

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    @resident-veg Can we get the quick select equipment/map function to select in the same order as the long press?

    Bringing up the radial using Q loads the equipment radial first, and then you switch to maps but the quick select works in the opposite order. First press brings up map, and second press brings up equipment. These should both be equipment first, map second for consistency and also because equipment is generally brought up more often.

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    @schwammlgott
    I agree with this too. Us experienced players are used to using the item chats to express many things now we have to go through a second selection in order to get that praise. The alerting to others can you come second or just in the radio when you're not holding item.

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    Also when you're using the trumpet you don't have that second page that allows you to talk at all caps which is the standard for allowing other Crews to know you're addressing them. This includes sayings like Thanks and Sorry and Ahoy, these are now missing.

    There should be an option for to allow the item is sensitive phrases to be first and the other ones only if you select alerts and other new options.

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    It would be nice if there was an audible verbal dialog cue that accompanied the "non verbal communication". It's probably difficult to wrangle voice actors but I think it would greatly benefit this mechanic. I believe it would make communicating and particularly commanding much more fluid and would also add substantially to the flavor of the game which is already stellar. I just think of other games where you have important commands on a radial like "I NEED HEALING!!" and the character shouts it which typically gets the attention of teammates more effectively than just typing in chat. Just something to think about... Cheers!

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    Still... a long time after this update, I cannot get fully used to the new radial system. Most time I use the communication system I want to say something in context of the thing I'm doing/holding. Right now I have to press "G" for the radial to pop up and then "Q" to go in context ("strategy") of the thing I'm holding.

    For the love of god could you please change it around? 1 button to get into context of what you're doing/holding, or even make a setting for it... I really dislike how it is now.