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Sea of Thieves developer kills plans for controversial ‘death penalty’

That headline sounds scarier than we intended


After announcing that Sea of Thieves would soon include a penalty levied against players who died in-game, Rare is already walking back the plans after widespread complaints.

“Letting everyone know we’ve heard the feedback and the proposed ‘Death Cost’ in Sea of Thieves is, well, dead,” wrote executive producer Joe Neate on Twitter. “We messed up with the messaging around this, and it’s now gone.”

Rare first announced that it would tax players upon dying last week in a forum post about forthcoming updates.

“This new feature has the Captain of the Ferry of the Damned deduct a small gold fee when you die,” the post from a Rare employee explained. “Rates are dependent on the cause of death, so the more avoidable the death, the less patience the Captain will have when we enable this feature!” It was also explained that players killed by other players wouldn’t have to pay any sort of penalty.

The feedback was immediately and almost overwhelmingly negative.

“Death Cost is a bad idea,” one player said. “Personally I have fun randomly blowing up my teammates with gunpowder barrels. Death cost removes the ‘sandbox’ ‘make the world what you want’ type of feel. New players are going to see the biggest impact. Please don’t do this.”

Other fans argued against the addition for similar reasons.

“Normally I’m up for being careful and having a punishment for death, but I just don’t think this is the game for it.” another player explained. “I like doing crazy jump or insane plans and wouldn’t not want to do them for fear of having my gold slowly trickling away.”

The developer listened, and the death penalty will no longer be implemented. This situation is a good example of just how fluid (get it?) Sea of Thieves development is likely to be post-launch.

Sea of Thieves has earned a large amount of player interest and enthusiasm, but there just isn’t that much to do in the game yet, as we noted in our review. Moving Sea of Thieves forward from this point on is going to involve a lot of communication between the players and the developer, in order to shape the game into the most fun version of itself it can be. The amount of freedom you’re given to be goofy and tell your own stories is a large part of that charm.

This isn’t a game where you should be afraid of dying. We’re glad Rare got that message loud and clear.

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