Developer Rare recently announced plans to implement a penalty for death in its online pirate adventure game, Sea of Thieves. After the Sea of Thieves community loudly rejected the idea, Rare then announced that it has changed course, and the “death penalty” of sorts will not be implemented after all.
The original feature was announced as a “Death Cost,” which saw the Captain of the Ferry of the Damned take a gold fee upon a player dying in the game. Players killed by other players would not be penalized, but deaths considered “avoidable” would be subject to fees, which would scale based on how avoidable the death was.
Of course payers argued that implementing penalties for dying was harmful to the sandbox-like appeal of Sea of Thieves. Rare saw these responses, and sent out a Tweet saying the company “messed up with the messaging,” and is not doing the thing, full stop.
This situation is interesting – one, as Polygon points out, is that it’s an example of how fluid we may expect Sea of Thieves to be in the long run. Rare could introduce, change, remove, etc. various parts of the game as the community reacts. On the other hand, it does make me wonder what the full intent of this mechanic was supposed to be, and what sort of “messaging” would have smoothed it over better.