Planned Sea of Thieves Death Tax Canceled After Community Outcry

Illustration for article titled Planned Sea of Thieves Death Tax Canceled After Community Outcry

Sea of Thieves is off to a rocky start; it’s a cool game but feels a bit like a beta. Developer Rare has been trying to address this by adding new features. One proposed feature, a sort of death tax, was met with immediate community disapproval, prompting Rare to quickly cancel the feature.


There are lots of ways to die in Sea of Thieves. You can be shot or stabbed by an enemy pirate, blown up by a cannon, drown underwater, fall off a cliff, or even be eaten by a ravenous Kraken. Whenever you die, you’re sent to the afterlife and forced to wait on the ship of an undead ferryman before eventually returning to life, usually on the deck of your ship. The respawn time prevents players from bulldozing through difficult forts or continually dogging other players with immediate respawns. Respawns have no cost other than time. Last week, Rare announced plans to implement a small fee for dying. After community pushback, they’ve decided not to implement it.

Rare first announced this proposed penalty in a forum thread last week. “This new feature has the Captain of the Ferry of the Damned deduct a small gold fee when you die,” the post read. “Rates are dependent on the cause of death, so the more avoidable the death, the less patience the Captain will have when we enable this feature!”

Gold is a precious commodity in Sea of Thieves and lengthy quests to capture chickens or kill skeletons only grant so much. Players responding in the thread to Rare’s suggested tax strongly disagreed with the decision. Others suggested different ways of controlling the in-game economy.

“This will absolutely destroy the game for newer players,” one poster said. “As well as increase toxicity.”

“It doesn’t make any sense,” said another. “Punishing death is the worst idea anybody can come up with. Here’s an idea, a crazy one: Make surviving rewarding instead of dying discouraging.”

“A tax on sunken ships is far more beneficial,” one poster suggested. “Makes us more attached to our ship. Discourages scuttling to restock on supplies and people fleeing from combat.”

Taxes on damaged ship or costs for repairs could make certain encounters that much more harrowing.
Taxes on damaged ship or costs for repairs could make certain encounters that much more harrowing.

Rare later edited the forum post and clarified that the feature was never meant to apply to deaths resulting from PVP, since the game makes it pretty easy to be both a pirate and a bit of an asshole. Concern over the feature eventually prompted Sea of Thieves executive producer Joe Neate to reply on Twitter, informing players that the death cost was no longer being considered.

“Letting everyone know we’ve heard the feedback and the proposed ‘Death Cost’ in #SeaOfThieves is, well, dead,” Neate said on Twitter. “We messed up with the messaging around this, and it’s now gone. Thanks for the honest feedback & discussion on this.”


So don’t worry about tripping and falling down that cliff, ye scurvy dog. You’ll still get to keep your gold.

Former Senior Writer and Critic at Kotaku.



A minor tax (like one gold for a person and 10g per person for a boat) wouldn’t be so bad, and they could put it all into a pot for a weekly raid to rob the Ferryman as he crosses the world? It’d add more content, that’s for sure