One of the fundamental elements of Sea of Thieves' open-world gameplay is the sense that players are truly sailing around the open sea. With that in mind, having too many players on a single game server would totally muddle the experience — players might be fighting over resources, running in to one another, or just engaging in an all-out melee. As such, it's important to keep the per server player limit balanced, and Rare has an interesting system in place to limit the overall number of players in the in-game world.
Server Player Limit in Sea of Thieves
Loads of players have taken to the internet wondering how many players can join a single Sea of Thieves server. Surprisingly, there's isn't too much word on the matter from the team at Rare, though many believe that the limit is anywhere from one up to a maximum of 99. However, the team has outright denied the 100-figure player count, and though they haven't said specifically how high the player count can go, the Xbox Live game description indicates between 1 and 32 players. With that said, the development crew did recently speak with IGN regarding their vision for how the game's servers would be populated, and it seems the overall player number is manipulated in such a way as to provide the team's vision of the best possible seafaring experience.
Rare reportedly puts an emphasis not on player count, but on player distance. In a nutshell, it seems the team wants sailors on the open sea to wonder, not know, whether or not they're alone. With that in mind, there really seems to be no firm maximum player count per server. After all, being around too many other boats would shatter the illusion, as would being on a server that's completely barren. As such, the game is set up to migrate users between servers to maintain an ideal distance and create the ideal chance for encounters.
"We step in to ensure that you do have that frequency of encounter," Sea of Thieves lead designer Mike Chapman told 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."
Though it may not seem immediately noticeable to some, Sea of Thieves players will occasionally see their screen react in a strange way, popping up a riddle and playing a short musical tune. This is the tell-tale giveaway that players are being migrated to a different area within the game's world.
Stay with us here at Shacknews as we dive into everything on offer in Rare's latest ocean-bound adventure, and keep fresh with the newest strategies and how-tos over on our Sea of Thieves walkthrough and guide.