Looks like a very real issue.
Sea of Thieves has been out for a while now, and while some, like us, were fairly pleased with what the game has to offer, the overall reception to the game by fans and critics alike has been disappointingly lukewarm as yet. And now it looks like yet another issue with the game has arisen and stepped into public prominence. The game’s Achievements, it seems, are ridiculously grindy and very poorly designed, as per a very detailed report by True Achievements.
For the purposes of this analysis, the report went into quite a bit of research, and found that after three weeks of the game’s launch, nineteen of the game’s Achievements had only been unlocked five times in a sample size of 51,000 players, while a stunning fifteen Achievements had not even been unlocked once. And it’s not as if these people haven’t spent much time on the game- the report claims that millions of people have been spending countless hours on the game, in some cases even more than 50 (or even 100), and yet this problem still persists.
After 24 days of release, 32 per cent of Sea of Thieves’ Achievements still haven’t been unlocked, and the only game in the thirteen year long history of Achievements to be above the Rare game in this regard is Onigiri, which stood at 36 per cent. That’s a shocking statistic, to say the least.
But why is this the case? Well, because the Achievements have just been very poorly designed, and don’t seem to be cohesive with the content and nature of the game itself. The report, in fact, claims that it almost feels like Rare outsourced the Achievements to someone else and greenlit them without looking them over properly. For instance, one particular Achievement requires players to deliver 1,000 crates of bananas to Merchants, and while ordinarily this may not seem that egregious (relatively speaking), the issue here is that the game doesn’t even drop banana crates all that often. The author of the report claims that in over 50 hours of gameplay, he didn’t spot a banana crate in the game even once, and was only aware that they even existed in the game thanks to this Achievement mentioning them. One player, in fact, reportedly has over 100 hours of gameplay, and they too haven’t seen a single banana crate.
And where this is a case of one of the Achievements being completely disconnected from the actual in-game content, another Achievement illustrates how many of them require ridiculous levels of grinding on the players’ part. The Achievement in question requires players to 1,000 nautical miles on Merchant missions, Order of Souls missions, and Gold Hoarders missions, none of which can be done simultaneously. The Merchant Forager Achievement in Sea of Thieves has taken over 1,000 days in terms of collective gameplay time to be unlocked just five times, which is more than any other Achievement for any other game, ever. That should give you a good idea of just how grindy the Achievements in the game are.
Lack of content has been cited as a major problem in Sea of Thieves, and this just seems like a ridiculous attempt to artificially create more gameplay time for those playing the game. There’s every chance that Rare might end up releasing a patch to fix these issues (it wouldn’t be unprecedented- Killer Instinct’s grindy Achievements were also fixed post-launch), but as it stands right now, the Achievement design in the game is quite baffling, to say the least. You can get more detailed analysis on this topic in the True Achievements report through the link at the top of the page.