After a Sea of Thieves datamine revealed info hinting at a premium shop, gamers have expressed concerns that Rare may have plans to incorporate loot boxes. Addressing these concerns, the developers at Rare confirmed the game will have a premium shop, but that loot boxes will not be sold in Sea of Thieves.
Instead, the premium shop in Sea of Thieves will offer optional cosmetic items such as virtual pets. Aside from being fun novelties, these purchaseable pets boast a unique function where they can be held both by the owner, and other players. In an interview with Eurogamer, Rare’s Joe Neate touched upon the functionality of the premium shop’s pets:
“It’s entirely optional. If you had a monkey, for example, you’ll be able to hold it like you can other things in the game. But then I’ll also be able to hold it, then drop it overboard, because that’s funny,” Neate explained.
“It’ll come back, it’ll be fine! I desperately want us to be able to fire other stuff out of cannons, including monkeys and other animals, just because it’s fun, right? So even if you were the only person who had bought a pet, but you had it on board, your crew would be able to enjoy the benefits of a monkey.”
Neate went on to confirm that the items up for grabs in the Sea of Thieves premium shop are primarily for social purposes and won’t impact progression:
“It’s about adding to the fun and social nature. It’s just the right spirit for what Sea of Thieves is. Again, it’s completely optional. You’ll know what you’re getting. It doesn’t affect power and it doesn’t affect progression.”
Another thing to note is that the Sea of Thieves premium shop won’t be made live immediately after the game’s March 20th release. Instead, it’ll be delayed in effort to give the game a strong launch, with the shop’s introduction coming once Rare feels players are ready.
“For launch, it’s about delivering the best gameplay experience possible, being there, reacting, listening, taking feedback, and everything else,” Neate stated. “But as we move into our service and we start growing and updating the game, at that point we’ll turn on the option for players to optionally spend in there.”
It’s nice to know that while Sea of Thieves will eventually feature a premium shop, it won’t offer loot boxes or items that give advantage to paying players. The concept of virtual pets certainly sounds fun, and according to Rare, money accrued through the premium shop will be used to fund the game’s ongoing development.