Rare is introducing private servers to Sea of Thieves in an attempt to grant players more creative opportunities. In an announcement last week, executive producer Joe Neate outlined plans for the new system, which will be gradually rolled out to certain sections of the community.
Rare has set up a pretty impressive nautical sandbox over the past few years, but player creativity is somewhat limited by the game's current approach to servers; you can join a specific ship, but if that crew is full, there's no guarantee you'll end up sailing the same sea as your friends. The custom servers will allow players to set a specific number of ships prior to starting, and then generate a code to hand out to friends or a wider community.
Custom servers are for special events, meaning that there's no gold or reputation progression, but that seems more likely to help creativity, rather than hamper it. It could be a while, however, before Rare is prepared to roll out the system across the entire game - Neate suggests that it'll be starting with its Insider program, before moving onto its content creators, pointing to "a lengthy Alpha phase" - but I'm excited to see what comes out of it.