Sea of Thieves

Merchant Ships (PvE ships) instead of PvE servers

Content of the article: "Merchant Ships (PvE ships) instead of PvE servers"

I found my way onto this sub while researching "How to avoid griefing in SoT?"

It seems there's no shortage of articles, posts, etc on the topic. They suggest anything from "get gud" to game changing shifts like adding PvE servers, etc. It seems however that the consensus is:

  • SoT is, at its heart, a PvP game. I agree.
  • Adding PvE servers would split the community and break the game. (a bit harsh, but there's substance to this argument).

Instead of looking at servers and player permissions etc, I propose PvE ships as a solution to all our ails and grief.

Think of PvE ships like a merchant marine vessels. These vessels exist historically and contemporaneously in war time and in peace and I think they have a very real place in Sea of Thieves.


  • Your intentions are visible to all players immediately.
  • You're choosing to step into a role, priming your play style from the moment you set sail.


PvE ships would have reinforced hulls, slightly favorable speeds and either no armament or a significantly weakened one (for PvE purposes). I would also be in favour of retractable rope ladders on the sides. This would allow some defense from players going overboard and anchoring merchants (the most frustrating grief tactic). This would require PvP players to git gud and really judge their player cannon-launch perfectly to end up on a merchant's deck.

These ships could even have really cool purpose-built inventory management systems below deck. Storage for skulls, shelves for chests, racks for trophy fish, etc (let your imagination run wild).

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  • Mitigates griefing without splitting the player base.
  • Preserves PvP game play without de-incentivising clever pirates. If lazy merchants leave their ship unattended and beyond their line of sight, busting at the seems with loads of loot – they deserve to be attacked. If they sail in your proximity or try to board your vessel, then you by all means should fire on them.
  • It gives the PvE player an advantage to outmaneuver griefers and leave them in the dust without turning their vessels into killing machines themselves.
  • It also prevents players from faking that they're PvE. If a player attempts to PvP in a PvE ship vs. a PvP ship, they'll get MURDERED.


  • Skeleton ships and forts.

I posit that players who are willing to fight skeleton / ghost ships and who are willing to attack forts, are more likely to be alright in a PvP scenario. In this case, the player would choose to sail a PvP ship even though they're maining PvE.

  • Armament

The reality remains that cannons are useful beyond PvP and heavy PvE (launching onto an island, killing sea creatures, etc). As such, I think it would be appropriate for the merchant marine vessels to have deck-mounted swivel guns that can be used against skeletons, sharks, sea creatures and the like. However, they would not be able to penetrate the hull of a PvP ship. These could also have a swivel gun in the crows nest that fires ziplines onto island as an alternative to player-launching from a cannon.

PvP ships can still do all PvE content and PvE ships can technically PvP. There are no differences between the ships and how the world reacts to them, the only change is to their configuration.

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PvE ships can still be sunk. By reinforced hulls, I mean there is a probability of some shots bouncing depending on angle or distance. I'm not suggesting they should be invincible or unsinkable by other players.


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