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Sea of Thieves Has a Very Smart Approach to Server Size

From IGN - February 13, 2018
By Joe Skrebels

It's never been quite clear how many players will be able to fit in a Sea of Thieves server, and it turns out there's a very good reason for that - Rare's approach to servers is very different to most online games, meaning there's no definitive answer.

The developer's focus is on keeping player encounters regular, but not too frequent - the magic number is apparentlyto see another ship, on average, every fifteen minutes to half an hour, making every encounter different, as well as giving non-violent players the chance to escape.

But in a map as large and spread out as Sea of Thieves', a high number of players might still be too spread out, or a small group too bunched together, to keep that magic number in check. The solution for Rare is to focus on the distance between players in a server, not just how many players are on that server.

"We step in to ensure that you do have that frequency of encounter," explains lead designer Mike Chapman to IGN. "So when we detect that there's fewer people near you, we migrate you to preserve that ratio, so we kind of move you seamlessly across servers."

That seamlessness is the key. All servers are synchronised, meaning that day-night cycles and even weather remain consistent for every player playing at one time. When you are migrated, the idea is that players will feel interested rather than interrupted - meaning you wo not be kicked out of the game to join a new server.

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