The Sea of Thieves scale test launched on time Friday morning with a bit of a surprise. Despite Rare stating the test will be similar to the previous closed beta, the developer has added several new features to the open-sea co-op pirate adventure for the Xbox One and Windows 10 PC.
As previously covered, the Sea of Thieves scale test will last until Sunday, February 18 at 5 a.m. ET / 2 a.m. PT. The test is available to those who had access to the closed beta along with Xbox Insiders.
This is the first of at least two scale tests followed by a larger beta test closer to the March 20 launch date. Rare is attempting to see how large a load of players Sea of Thieves can handle while also forcing some issues, such as server outages. Those participating in the test should expect rough waters at times.
The release notes for the Sea of Thieves update 0.4.0 reveal a number of new features. To start, players will be able to choose their pirate from a set of eight randomly generated characters. Another set of characters can be generated if none are to your liking. Additionally, the character will be persistent throughout the scale test and will hold on to the equipment and clothing you acquire.
The game world will be livelier with more birds in the air and fish added to the seas, so you’ll see more than just sharks underwater. Meanwhile, the islands have been updated with booby-trapped chests that will spawn skeletons when dug up. Think the skeletons were too easy during the beta? Now their difficulty will scale with your character progression.
Island beaches are also now worth scouting out to find washed up items like a message in a bottle, treasure chests, or treasure artifacts. Players may occasionally run across a message in a bottle containing a bounty from the Order of Souls Trading Company. This trading company is not fully implemented for this scale test, so the bounty cannot be completed.
New additions to pools of items that can be equipped also come with the Sea of Thieves scale test update. Peg legs, spyglasses, and other items have been added to shopkeeper inventories while the vanity chest on a player’s ship has been added to change things up with an eye patch or a new beard.
Meanwhile, the number of weapons that can be equipped has been reduced, but the weapon shop has received some new items. Additionally, players can no longer carry more than three voyages and the bucket can be used to carry water off the ship to other ships, islands, taverns, or elsewhere.
Finally, NPCs in Sea of Thieves will be a little livelier when visited. Don’t hang around idly for too long, though. You will be disconnected from the game if you do not for ten minutes.
Sea of Thieves will launch on March 20 with Play Anywhere support for the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs. Rare has confirmed microtransactions will be added to the game via an update some months after release, but it will not have any loot boxes.