Sometimes, you need to get a little rowdy when playing Sea of Thieves. But if you cause too much trouble, your crewmates might end up locking you in the brig. Or they might just lock you up for the hell of it. Many solo players joining crews are finding themselves instantly locked up without any warning in a new in-game practice called "insta-brigging."
Players manning one of Sea of Thieves' massive galleons have access to a cell on their ships called the brig. If three crewmembers agree, they can vote to lock a fourth member below deck for an indefinite period of time.
The only way to escape the brig is for everyone to vote you out or to quit the game. With friends, it can be a silly way to mess with that one guy who does nothing but drink grog, but some players are using it a bit more maliciously.
When there's not enough room for a full crew of four, Sea of Thieves can look for extra players to round out the positions of a galleon unless the group specifies that they're alright being one sailor down. Tricky pirates are manning three person galleons, waiting for random players to join them, and then tossing them into the brig.
Insta-brigging is usually little more than trolling and pirate mischief. It causes some inconvenience, but it can also lead to some serious problems under the right circumstances. In cases where multiple crewmates need to leave or lose connection to the game's servers - something common thanks to the game's stability issues — it is possible for the game to bring in new players to fill their slots, who might then vote to brig a companion.
"In short, I found myself alone on a galley, with a large stockpile, ready to take on the Skeleton Fort in the distance," one player whose friends had been disconnected said on Sea of Thieves''s official forums.
"However, while my crew were attempting to rejoin the game, a group of three popped into my ship and instantly threw me in the brig. Laughing and telling me it was 'rough bro' when I explained the issue my crew had experienced. There was no prior communication before I found myself locked up."
Even if I leave you in the brig, you'll get cash when I turn in all of my sweet loot.
Players have mixed thoughts about insta-brigging. In cases where genuine trolls have arrived in groups, dropping anchor and blowing up gunpowder stores, brigging seems a godsend. In cases where players are arbitrarily locked up after being sorted into another crew, they see an opportunity to turn the tide on their captors.
Since brigging doesn't prevent crewmembers from getting a share of loot when it it turned in at outposts, brigged players are basically get a free ride. They can also kill nearby chickens that get too close to the cell, preventing trolling players from turning them in to complete quests.
"I'm assuming you have a mate who disconnected and you are trying to get me to leave," a player said on Reddit, addressing players who insta-brig. "I will not. I'll sit down here until you turn in the treasure or until you leave and it becomes mine anyway."
In spite of these small gestures of revenge, some players are not pleased with all of the insta-brigging and are making suggestions for how to address the problem.
These include limiting how often players can vote to brig someone to simply removing someone from the brig after a period of time. For now, though, it may be best to stick with a crew you trust instead of relying on the kindness of strange pirates.