Update on Sea of Thieves Custom Servers

A few words from Joe on this early Alpha rollout to a selected audience

One of the many things we have always loved about Sea of Thieves is being able to witness the creativity of our players within the sandbox we provide. We’ve seen so many things from legendary races, fashion shows and fishing competitions through to entirely new games like SkullBall, The Pirate Games and countless others. We love the energy and variety this brings to our community, not only if you find yourself lucky enough to take part, but because these are just great to watch.

As Sea of Thieves has grown we’ve been supporting some of these initiatives in the background, helping people get together on the same server to save on that initial setup time for our community events, but we’ve always harboured a desire to do more. We have been working for a while on formalising this support, and in the near future we’re going to bring an early Alpha version of Custom Servers to Sea of Thieves as a tool for selected creators and community groups to utilise for community events.

We will be working with these creators and community groups to test Custom Servers in a live environment, to gather feedback and prioritise future development priorities in this area. At the same time as giving us valuable feedback and data, it’ll make it easier for these groups to run community events like the ones we’ve seen already.

With this in mind, the initial feature set for our Alpha release is absolutely reflective of the goals above: giving these creators and community groups swift access to Custom Servers, an ability to run custom events and invite players from their communities to take part.

Key features:

  • Ability to set up a Custom Adventure Server
  • Customisation of ship numbers and types prior to starting
  • Generation of a code to distribute to community members to allow them to join
  • No gold or reputation progression from Custom Server sessions

We will be testing in Insiders, prior to rolling out with our initial creators and groups in the wild. We see a bright future for Custom Servers in Sea of Thieves, but we want to start purposefully with the dual purpose of learning from this initially small audience and expanding the Custom Server toolset before we think about rolling out more widely and what that will entail. The first step is to roll these out in an Alpha state and start learning. We expect this to be a lengthy Alpha phase where we listen, learn and evolve what Custom Servers deliver in terms of tools available to those using them.

To acknowledge some of the questions we expect to see:

  • The key purpose of Custom Servers is to allow creative players the opportunity to use our sandbox to create unique experiences for their communities. They are not intended to be used as a PvE server, hence the removal of ability to earn gold and rep.
  • We are launching early and to a limited audience for multiple reasons:
    •    It’s a very bare-bones feature set, and we want to learn with a limited audience (who have already demonstrated drive and creativity in our community) and build it out before considering how we bring it to a wider audience.
    •    Custom Servers cost money to run. Starting small and learning makes sense from a business perspective.
    •    With the above point in mind, it is likely that Custom Servers will eventually be an optional feature that players can access from the Pirate Emporium. We want to learn more about the desired feature set, usage and cost before deciding exactly how to make this something the wider community can access.

In the near term, we’ll be continuing to expand our Partner Programme and Affiliate Alliance, and will be keen to hear from people with proposals for new community events that could utilise this formative and growing toolset. Please reach out via our Affiliate Alliance programme if you have a proposal or want to find out more.

We are excited to start this new part of the adventure with our community and see the future creativity that this unlocks. Your ideas, energy and creativity inspire us every day.

See you on the seas!

– Joe “Three Sheets” Neate