Sea of Thieves launched worldwide on March 20th, and it’s been experiencing a variety of issues, including (but not limited to) players not being able to connect to servers and rewards not showing up for players who completed voyages, which are really bad issues for a live service, online-only game that revolves solely around cashing in rewards for completed quests to have. In fact, it was so bad that, at one point, developer Rare was restricting new players from joining the servers in order to work out some of the kinks.
In order to resolve the issues players are seeing with the servers, we will be temporarily suspending new players joining the game. We'll get everyone back in and playing as quickly as we can!
— Sea of Thieves (@SeaOfThieves) March 20, 2018
Rare studio head Craig Duncan and Sea of Thieves executive producer Joe Neate recently posted a developer update (in which they look extremely tired) in order to address some of these issues and let players know what they’re doing to fix them.
In the video, Duncan and Neate address five main issues that players are experiencing: problems connecting during peak hours, delayed rewards, delayed achievements, items missing from players’ inventories, and performance issues on the Xbox One X.
Obviously, the most important issue here is that many players cannot connect to Sea of Thieves servers during peak hours. Rare has defined peak hours as 2 p.m. PT to 7 p.m. PT, which are when the most Europeans, east coast Americans, and west coast Americans seem to be logging on. According to Neate, the scale tests that Rare conducted prior to Sea of Thieves‘ launch did not prepare the developer for “the amount of players turning up and playing Sea of Thieves” during this peak time period. More specifically, three to four times the amount of players that showed up for the final stress test are trying to log onto the Sea of Thieves servers during these peak hours at launch.
“We are at a scale we have not seen, [not] anywhere near,” Neate added.
One of the biggest issues, it seems, is how Rare has decided to structure Sea of Thieves matchmaking system. It’s a two-step process: Players must connect with a group and then connect to the server. This is, apparently, causing a lot of clogging during peak hours. The main suggestion that the developers have right now is that, even if you’re playing as solo or a small group, players should try to simply join a four-player galleon (i.e. large boat) crew, as you might have a better chance of being connected to a group that’s already playing the game. That’s a pretty terrible suggestion, more of a Sea of Thieves “life hack” than an actual solution, but Rare is quickly working to amend these issues before upcoming peak hours, according to Duncan and Neate.
The other previously mentioned issues all seem to stem from this first issue, in that the delay in receiving post-voyage rewards and Xbox One achievements can be attributed to server slow-down. I’ve found that quitting out of the game and joining back in will help matters, but Rare suggests not to do that, as it will just create more server clog. Just know that your rewards are being stored on the server and that you will get them, even if they aren’t showing up. Same goes for the achievements.
As well as items disappearing from players’ inventories, Duncan and Neate are attributing this issue to a bug that will be patched out in an update once the servers are more stable. I’ve personally found that either dying or purchasing an item from an outpost store will fix this issue, but neither of these are permanent fixes.
You can watch the full developer update video below if you want to see two extremely stressed-out Rare producers, but be warned that it’s kind of depressing:
I’ll have my full review of Sea of Thieves up in the next few days, and hopefully these issues will be sorted out by then. The game already has enough problems, Rare doesn’t want connection issues added to that list.
Sea of Thieves is available on Xbox One and PC.