VIRTUAL seafarers are already storing up grog barrels, salting pork and feeding parrots in anticipation of Microsoft's coming multi-player game Sea of Thieves on March 20.
Unlike most games, where being captain means you just issue a command and sails are unfurled, anchors dropped, rudders trimmed, cannon fired and so on, in Sea of Thieves each aspect must be done manually and at a specific location.
In an optimal situation with a full crew, each player on a Sea of Thieves ship will handle a specific action - adjusting sails, steering, reading maps, loading cannon etc - and co-ordination is the key to success on the bigger ship.
What is clear, Sea of Thieves shows a lot of promise as a multi-player game, provided you have people to play with.
But what about people without friends, or worse, friends who play different games to them?
Are they doomed to sit on the dock, sadly playing their accordion and day-drinking rum while everyone else sails the Spanish Main in search of loot?
Fear not, says executive producer Joe Neate - the game's designers have been hard at work adding new features to the game in recent months.
"The small ship is designed for that but you'll always be in a shared world - that's very important,” he said.
"It's an avenue for people who aren't sure about playing multi-player; it brings them into the world.”
As well as being available for traditional purchase for $99.95, Sea of Thieves will also be the flagship title as part of the Xbox Game Pass, a Netflix-style games subscription service offering access to a huge array of Microsoft games for $10.95 per month
While the official release date for Sea of Thieves is March 20, Mr Neate said there was plenty of exciting content to come beyond that.
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