Just this week we reported that Rare is letting players get their friends on board with Sea of Thieves for free this week, but that's not all of the swashbuckling news that we have from the developer, as Design Director Mike Chapman has swung into the forums to tell us that combat is being changed too.
This update that landed in Sea of Thieves to introduce Friends Play Free also starts the process of rebalancing the weapons and addressing the concerns that players have. The team's focus is on maintaining a first-person perspective while not having too many UI elements, but there's also a need for combat to handle a variety of situations you might encounter. Because there's so much to consider, this is why Rare is rolling out updates slowly one set of tweaks at a time, to assess how it impacts gameplay before moving onto further changes.
One change that's landed is to prevent the double gun exploit that allowed players to swap between two guns for quick shots due to the short animation time. Now all weapons have new wield animations as part of a delay when equipping them, in an attempt to prevent this exploit. Speaking of animations, the change to the Eye of Reach recently meant guns reloaded as soon as the hammer is pulled rather than at the end of the animation, which resolves issues where players fire thinking the reload is over but it isn't.
Swordplay is another area of focus for Rare, and they've removed the "enforced slowdown" of swings. This was put in place in order to make sure it remained accessible, but now they've realised they want to prioritise more "fluid" motions over trying to enforce tactics around timing your swings.
The projectile speeds have also been increased for both the Eye of Reach and the blunderbuss, to make the former easier to land shots at distance while the latter will simply feel more powerful. Scaling damage on projectiles was put in place so that longer range shots do less damage to targets too, but this has been removed as well.
Those looking to use the Eye of Reach, however, might not like to hear that the damage has been reduced from 80 to 70, something that Rare says "makes it effective in the right hands but prevents it from feeling too overpowered now shots move faster and hit with consistent damage." Hip firing accuracy with the gun is now much worse too, meaning you can't use it as a sort of shotgun at close range.
Lastly we get to weapon knockback, as Rare thought this feature on all weapons felt "a bit goofy." Now the cutlass and blunderbuss cause knockback, but the Eye of Reach and Flintlock Pistol do not, with the same changes applying to skeletons as well, although with these bony foes they also have blunderbuss knockback removed to make it less annoying for players.
"As mentioned previously, this is the first step in a re-evaluation of combat and we're keen to assess the impact of these changes in this latest release. There are more changes planned... both for player AND ship combat, all with the goal of improving the combat experience across Adventure and Arena. Your feedback and thoughts as ever are greatly appreciated," Chapman concludes.
Do you think these changes are for the best?