The pretty-but-too-quiet beta for Rare’s jaunty multiplayer pirate ’em-up Sea of Thieves is currently open to pre-orderers, but it’s not been smooth-sailing for everyone who wants to experience co-op sea-shanties. A bug shut out a fair few paying customers, and so devs Rare and publisher Microsoft have put a few more days on the dead man’s chest by way of apology.
Which is also a good opportunity for me to mention what a total pig to get the beta running in the first place.
The beta was initially due to end on Monday 29, but because a bunch of folk who’d forked out for a pre-order found themselves running into an incorrect ‘too early’ message when they tried to run it, Rare have added 48 hours onto the death-clock. You’ve got until 8am UK time on Weds 31st Jan now, plus the bug has been fixed so you should be able to jump straight in.
As to whether the experience is worth forking out for, I go into that in more detail and with a musical video here, but in short – it’s pretty, there’s some lovely ambient co-op stuff like playing music together and people organically occupying different roles on the ship, but there really isn’t much to do. There aren’t that many players, so combat (other than against occasional, Minecrafty NPC skellingtons) is rare, and many of the features are being held back for release.
There’s also the issue of what a pain in the peg-leg it is to install the thing. For starters, to get in the beta you have to pre-order SOT from wibbly old Windows 10 Store – but you can’t actually install it from the Windows 10 Store.
Instead, you’ve got to search for the Xbox Insider app in said store, install that, log into it, then from there opt in to the SOT beta, replete with assorted permissions-acceptance. Then you have to go back to the Windows 10 Store, search for Sea of Thieves again, and now a magic Install button should have appeared. Naturally, the game doesn’t install anywhere logical, either.
If MS really want their Store to present a viable alternative to Steam, they’ve got to make it easier to use and manage. What shall we do with the drunken games client?