Sea of Thieves thinks you are too delicate to handle character customization

Guys, I’m starting to become a bit concerned about Sea of Thieves.

Last week, I listed it as one of the games that I’m definitely looking forward to playing when it comes out on the 20th, but I’ll have to admit that a lot of enthusiasm for this multiplayer pirate game is bleeding off. My three biggest concerns right now are thusly:

  1. That there isn’t enough content to provide a deep and long-lasting experience, especially without many typical forms of progression. The team is putting a LOT of weight on rep grinding for cosmetics as the key carrot here, as there will not be any stats, usable loot, levels, character talents, and the like. We know that Rare held back on showing all of its content in the open beta, so I think it is prudent to reserve judgment on this.
  2. That this title is ripe for off-the-hook griefing that goes above and beyond the PvP encounters that the dev team envisioned. Wolfy lays out a good argument here from his personal experience.
  3. That the devs don’t even trust players to make their own pirates but have inexplicably turned the character creator into a random pirate generator from which you will choose your toon.

This last one might be the most inconsequential when compared to the first two, but it’s also the point that gets me the angriest. I watched this recent dev video in which the team kept patting themselves on the back for this system, defending its inclusion because sliders are hard and they’d been working on it for four years.

Yeah… so?

Do you think we are too delicate to handle sliders? Are there solid metrics out there showing gamers who get to a character creation screen and get so frustrated at picking their own looks that they run from the computer screaming? And do you not see the hypocrisy in advertising this as a game where players can be the pirate of their choosing when you don’t trust the player to be the pirate that they perhaps really want to be?

Actual quote from the devs on this:

“We wanted a way to get cool characters in the game without making a million sliders and toggles and a way for everyone to have a cool character that represents themselves even if they have no artistic skill.”

Yes, because there is NO OTHER GOOD WAY for players to create a personalized character unless you thrust mandatory RNG into our faces. Which, by the way, pretty much all MMOs offer anyway if you want to randomize your look. It’s not a new thing. It shouldn’t take you four years to do. And it’s stupid that this is the only path to picking your character, because now we are all going to have to repeatedly reroll the looks until the game somehow guesses what would best represent us.

The studio also seems to think that this will speed up the entry into the actual game, which ignores that (a) some of us really do enjoy character creation and (b) we’re only going to be sitting there hitting refresh on the generator for the same amount of time that it would take to pick and choose our looks.

Or as one commenter said, “How can I be the pirate I want to be with an RNG system? With that type of system I’ll be the pirate I pick after giving up looking for the pirate I want to be.”

It’s so insulting and condescending that it boggles the mind. And here Rare is just grinning as if this is the best thing ever, because it knows that we gamers would hurt ourselves if we got real scissors instead of the rounded ones that can’t cut butter.

10 thoughts on “Sea of Thieves thinks you are too delicate to handle character customization

  1. Worse yet, the Pirate Carousel or whatever the heck they’re calling it is miserably slow that I eventually just clicked on some random character because I was getting tired of hoping the dice would roll my way.

    Like you said, it’s not the biggest negative tick-mark, but boy is it needlessly obnoxious.

  2. Oh yeah, not having the ability to really customize is stinky. But it wouldn’t be a killer for me because I’m the dude who rushes through it and hits randomize a bunch until one looks cool. Admittedly, I’ll usually tweak hair color and whatnot, but when there are sliders, I generally just leave it as is because that kind of fine detail isn’t fun for me. I’m amazed they don’t even have a WoW-ish option though with just different preset options to click through.

  3. If there’s no vertical/horizontal progression, then isn’t the entire purpose in customization of your pirate? I don’t quite follow why the first part (and the identifying portion for a user) would be removed.

  4. I was never pareticularly interested in Sea of Thieves to begin with because a) I don’t have a thing for pirates and b) I dislike controlling ships. Any residual curiosity I had has been entirely erased as more and more is revealed.

    Wolfyseyes experience is instructive and if anything I would guess he’s still underestimating the issues Rare’s apparent lack of understanding of their audience will have post-launch. In every beta I have ever been in, which is quite a few, the beta players (even in open beta) are more open-minded, more forgiving and better-behaved than the players who wait until launch to commit. In beta everyone knows things will change, their characters and progress may not be permanent and so on. Fewer people behave like arses and when they do it’s a lot easier to roll your eyes like Wolfy and ride it out.

    Come launch, when people are playing their permanent characters and have paid money to do so, that slack won’t be cut but also the real pirates will make their presence known – the ones who are out to get their kicks not just from stealing your treasure but from spoiling your day. If that’s allowed to go unhecked and unregulated then pretty soon there will only be bored pirates and a bad reputation for the game.

    The character creation thing is beyond ridiculous. The lack of oversight and preperation for a full PvP environment could be down to wishful thinking or inexperience but the defense of the design they are imposing for making your pirate in the first place is hubristic to say the least.

    Both of these issues will come round and slap them in the face but I suspect the reall killer is going to be lack of content. Wildly unbalanced PvP, no meaningful character progression and an economy based on cosmetics does not sound like a runner to me.

    Going to be interesting to watch from the outside, this one.

  5. I keep up with the development of this game even though I wasn’t planning on playing the game because I know some MassivelyOP folks are excited about the title. But the resistance to individualized character creation seemed strange. When do you ever hear players say they want LESS character creation? And how will that work for a player who is trying to represent her/his own ethnic or racial diversity within the game world. Frankly, the choice is just plain weird.

  6. Does the game have hype?
    Does the developer have a proven track record of living up to the hype and releasing great games?
    If I cannot answer yes to both, I ignore the game, because it’s most likely going to be a disappointment.
    Rare hasn’t made a relevant game that wasn’t Nintendo-mascot related in a long, long time.

  7. Yeah I agree. For a game that boasts “crafting your own experience”, it doesn’t support that. Random character generators are a bit of a turn off for me in these types of games, as I’d just keep searching for a character I like.

  8. I watched some game play videos. The game lookedreally nice and interesting until people started puking on eadh other. I fail to see the need for vomit in a game.

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