Inventory Changes - Expanding the Game

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    Hi everyone,

    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.

    Thanks,
    Mike

    (EDIT)

    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.

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    Thanks for the update @mikethemutinous !

    The upcoming changes I think will go a long way to putting right the QoL issues players are currently facing. Thanks for taking the time to come here and update the community. It is much appreciated!

    PS... I love the idea that we will be able to find random maps in barrels!

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    These all sound great, and I can't wait to see what other ammo types are added. Definitely in support of a radial for cannonballs though.

    I'd also suggest contextual options for an ammo radial wheel while a ball is in your hands. Or maybe using a bumper/key to cycle types without needing to open a radial

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    Thanks for the update @MikeTheMutinous, I appreciate the transparency. I like the changes to the barrels and with a few tweaks it will be great.

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    Your post is most appreciated @MikeTheMutinous!
    Looking forward to trying these upcoming changes out :)

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    @mikethemutinous Cannonball quick inventory is awesome. The barrel interface isn't all that bad IMO, the big issue is equipping cursed cannonballs but a cannonball radial at the cannon would be an excellent fix.

    As far as the barrel interface, I would prefer to be able to use WASD in the barrel interface over having a take all option but I'm sure I'm in the minority there. That way I don't have to move the mouse and can select items quickly but players who are faster are rewarded.

    I really hate the equipment and resource screen that was added to TAB, sorry :/ Wish they could be separate from the voyage and rep pages.

    Also we need the interaction text to be gray if the barrell is empty.

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    Thanks!

    Edit: Removed addtional question.

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    It's such a pleasure seeing someone from Rare, address the problems that came with the new patch. Thank you for listening to the feedback, @MikeTheMutinous !

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    I still feel there should be an option to quick grab standard supplies like before. The menu is way too clunky in the heat of battle with skeletons or players alike. It would be nice if you had the option to for example press F to take standard supplies like before or press Q or something to bring up the menu to go more in depth. I think a hybrid system would be far more favorable. There just really isn't anything you can do to make having to pull up a menu every time not feel clunky.

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    At least it's progressing in the right direction. Thank you for the feedback and hope to see how these changes effect this new UI system. It's understandable that with more additions, bigger and better method to inventory management need to be implemented. It was a shock to the system when I saw it at first, and i guess with time it'll become more balanced and quicker.

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    Thank you for your message @MikeTheMutinous. I can't wait to see what the future of the game will be and I put all my trust into the team. Keep it up!

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    Thank you for the additional information and clarification @MikeTheMutinous. Really looking forward to what this allows for future content.

    There are multiple points that you did not address however, that have been brought up by community members. They are:

    • The ability to at a glance see which barrels are empty, without the need to open them.
    • The ability to quickly grab a resource from a barrel without opening them (i.e. a banana or plank in an active engagement). For example, press X to Grab, hold X to open, and press Y to store.
    • Not allowing players to "take all" unless the barrel UI is open so that you cannot "take all" on the fly.
    • That when in the barrel UI, you can be kicked out of it due to a wave or ship movement (i.e. trying to grab items from a floating barrel)
    • The ability to stack 99 of each resource in each slot of a barrel, and not having hard resource/slot/barrel limits.

    Could you also speak to these questions/concerns?

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    Thanks for this @MikeTheMutinous

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    Why don't we just use one of the hundred other barrels on the boat that do nothing for additional storage? There should be no reason a menu opens when I'm trying to store or grab resources. Been playing since I received my alpha invite but I don't like where this is going at all. Thank you for communicating future plans but I don't think this addresses the community concerns. I need to be able to grab and store supplies with ONE button click. Only ONE. this breaks the entire flow of the game and is not fun. PLEASE roll back and come to with another strategy such as utilizing OTHER barrels. I don't even feel inclined to play if this is the direction it's going. Please Rare, listen to the community. Put it back to what people want.

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    Can we also get visual text or other way to see if a barrel is empty before we open it? Makes looting easier especially in a crew, so crewmates can see which barrels have been looted by crewmates.

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    Thanks for always listening and adapting.

    My main thing, and really surprised it wasn’t mentioned here yet (EDIT: It was mentioned in the time it took to write this), is could we please just get some sort of “at a glance” notification if a barrel is completely empty without having to open it? It can be such a waste of time currently to keep opening barrels just to find they are empty, especially when running out of air in a shipwreck.

    Thanks for listening and keep up the great work.

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    This is nice and all, but when will we be gettin' some more gear? The merchants have to have a deck of cards somewhere, maybe a fishing rod? I be wantin' to play some good old fashioned solitaire, and bringin' in the big ones! Also, I be expecting at least two instruments in the near future.

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    @mikethemutinous I think this is a wonderful message to the community and it should go a long way in helping the community come to terms with the new changes and where things are headed and why such changes are necessary.

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    @mikethemutinous Wow, well I’m glad you guys put out a PSA, this story didn’t even make gaming news articles and you’re already on top of it.
    Great job Rare!

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    Another small QoL suggestion:

    When viewing contents of a barrel on the ship, IE: banana barrel, don't show items in your inventory that won't go into that barrel.

    It's a pain, especially on controller, to navigate through your inventory to find the 5 bananas you want to store.

    Perhaps the 'store all' feature will solve this as well.

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    Thank you for the update - we appreciate it! Looking forward to seeing how the game grows and develops with everyones input!

    Is there any information about marking empty barrels as such, so we don’t have to open them to see that they’re empty?

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    Thanks for the update. Any increases in speed will be welcomed. Can you disable highlighting resources, in the inventory pane, that can’t be stored in the selected barrel? Would speed up stocking. Also, an option for stocking the held item without using the “Open Barrel” UI. As you know, the lack of any major HUD and minimal UI really adds to the charm and immersion of this fantastic game- future flexibility is important for sure, but the ability to still complete basic tasks without UI interaction is preferable.
    Empty labels are a must. Contextual radial menu will be great. Thanks for the updates.

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    @mikethemutinous

    Ahoy there, Mike and thanks for taking the time to address the concerns of the community regarding this latest update.

    It's very much appreciated that the work of the Pioneers has been acknowledged and I am certain they'll be ready and willing again, to test and give feedback on any of the new tweaks which you've outlined there, in order to help ensure they're fit for purpose.

    Without doubt, the majority of the community do understand the need to look towards the future when we'll be able to munch on more than bananas, or store different types of ammunition and we're very excited to see the first steps towards those growing possibilities.

    It's really very lovely to see you posting here once again :)

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    I think these are all good steps.

    My single worry with the "Take All" revolves around the fact that with a single click you can, in most reasonable cases, take all of a crews cursed cannonballs that they have stored with a single click. that is far more powerful than just taking 10 normal cannon balls, 5 planks, and 5 bananas. That is to say that collecting say, 9 Grogballs, 4 riggingballs, and 2 anchorballs takes far more time investment than the 10 normal cannonballs.

    This can be addressed by making it so that only "normal" items are taken in the "Take All" button, or limit the number of Cursed cannonballs to either 1) a single type, or 2) a fixed total across all Cursed Cannonballs.

    So rather than having personal inventory limit of:
    10 Cannonballs
    5 Bananas
    5 Planks
    11x10 Cursed Cannonballs (individual stacks)

    you have a limit of:
    10 Cannonballs
    5 Bananas
    5 Planks
    10 Cursed Cannonball (mixed)

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    Thank you for the insight into the changes, I'm very glad to hear some of the Quality of Life changes regarding the Cannon Radial, the food, the Resources tab etc. I love your efforts to keep driving the game forward, and improving. Keep up the good work.

    Now, for feedback purposes however, I would ask that you consider one very important thing in regards to this: the number of barrels.

    The biggest thing this inventory system does, is drastically increase the amount of time we spend in a menu. In a game this incredible, that captures the pirate spirit of adventure, "opening a barrel menu" isn't exciting. It stops me from moving, shatters my immersion, and even with flow improvements, makes checking the 15 or so barrels on an outpost, island or shipwreck onerous.

    Finding a map in a bottle on the beach? Fun and interesting. Finding a map in the barrel menu? What does this add to the experience? You're getting maps either way, so what is unique enough about "but now they're in barrels!" that requires you to spend your time checking every barrel...in a menu screen.

    If you're sticking with this Barrel UI change, i would urge you to consider making barrels more rare, and contain more resources. The math of "Barrel X time to check barrel = Menu time vs Pirate time" should be strongly considered.

    Before this, barrels were simply part of the world. Now they're a part of the game UI. I implore you to reconsider your approach.

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    @MikeTheMutinous On the note about other items being able to be found in barrels, could this mean that we might eventually also be able to store other items in barrels too? For example, trinkets? Or if messages in bottles (and other similar quest items) become physical objects that can be picked up and carried like a skull, allowing players to then choose to open them for the quest, or instead store them in a barrel to hoard or for someone else to find?

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    Like others have said it should be x to take all, hold x to open inventory. Also add a damn empty on errm empty barrels

    Edit

    Okay so maybe mashing take all on the fly could mean losing a lot of supplies quickly. So maybe instead of a take all you just make each barrel show basic supplies (food, cannon balls, planks) which can be taken one at a time like now but holding x opens the barrel showing additional supplies

  • 15

    @knightx13 said in Inventory Changes - Expanding the Game:

    Thank you for the additional information and clarification @MikeTheMutinous.

    There are multiple points that you did not address however, that has been brought up by community members are:

    • The ability to at a glance see which barrels are empty, without the need to open them.
    • The ability to quickly grab a resource from a barrel without opening them (i.e. a banana or plank in an active engagement).
    • Not allowing players to "take all" unless the barrel UI is open so that you cannot "take all" on the fly.
    • That when in the barrel UI, you can be kicked out of it due to a wave or ship movement (i.e. trying to grab items from a floating barrel)
    • The ability to stack 99 of each resource in each slot of a barrel, and not having hard resource/slot/barrel limits.

    Could you also speak to these questions/concerns?

    Yes, I missed the following in my post, apologies:

    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.

  • 8

    Thank you for addressing the general issue, but as has been said in this thread already, you've seemed to miss a majority of the valid criticism surrounding the barrel UI. The main thing you should be aware of is that anything other than one click to gather supplies is going to fail. This is because you've designed the game to be fast paced. You cannot hide the bananas in barrels if it comes with a death sentence to open them.

    I'm very excited to see what else you have in store but, to be frank, who's going to care if you end up killing the fun to add it all? A lot of the people commenting positive nothings while not taking a harder look into the issues with mechanics are not playing this game at its highest levels. Please don't take that feedback more seriously than those who are spending time to break down the glaring issues. The barrel concept is salvageable, sure, but the UI might need to be rolled back.

    Again, you have my respect, but ignoring feedback from your pioneer team is not an option. Their feedback is just going to be echoed louder and angrier if you do. Every time.

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    Thanks for the update @MikeTheMutinous ! I love the new menu because I can see the future possibilities. I too feel that with a few tweaks like the take/store all option, it'll be top notch.

    I'm glad you all already have a plan for the radial menu for the cannons. This is the main thing I noticed while playing yesterday that took the longest time.

    Again, I appreciate you taking the time to go over things.

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    @MikeTheMutinous it is good to finally get an update. I think most understood why it was done. We all want the SoT to grow. The problem is how is has been done. Overall the inventory system needs to look and feel better than it is now. Scaling down, simplifying what we have now, and more use of radial menus or much smaller box menus would be better.

    The few changes you mentioned is a start. It does not address all the issues or the concerns that have been voiced. Please take time to look at and consider everything that players have been taking about. Thank you!

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    I would also like to be able to press "R" to close the barrel instead of "X" on PC. Like "R" to toggle the barrel. That would be helpful.

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    I would like to make 1 comment regarding the "take all/store all" feature.

    If/When this is implemented, it should NOT apply to enemy ships.
    I should have to take or store 1 item at a time.
    If take all/store all is added, doing this to an enemy ship would allow an instant drain to cannonball supplies in the current state of things.

    Take all/Store all on MY ship and other barrels - YES
    Take all store all on ENEMY/ALLIANCE ship - NO

    Thanks.

  • 13

    A pirate game that places inventory management above the core flow, pace and mechanics is not the Sea of Thieves I or my friends fell in love with.

    More time is spent looking at a dirty great items menu than enjoying the wonderful world Rare created.

    For the first time since March I’ve come home and not wanted to fire up my Xbox.

    Bravo.

  • 0

    @mikethemutinous That sounds just perfect Mike, thank you and your team for the quick update. I for myself love the new Inventory system.