There is a mass of dark clouds and turbulent waves that ceaselessly roam the Sea of Thieves. It rolls around the sea, drenching everything and anyone unprepared enough to be caught within its torrential clutches. Intrigued by the behaviour and movements of this mysterious Storm, we at the Ancient Isles University decided to form a meteorological research team. Our journey to learn more about this entity and potentially provide some measure of prediction began with various studies around its size, movements, and intensity. It was essential through each of our expeditions we collected as many positions of the storm as we could to determine its speed but also to find out if this entity trapped in the grip of the Devil's Shroud followed a predictive pattern.
The Beginning of New Knowledge
There are two distinct parts to the Storm that roams the Sea of Thieves. The Eye of the Storm is the darkest part on the surface of the ocean with strong winds that spiral up and outward. The Outflow Cirrus Shield is the mass of dark clouds in the upper atmosphere that delimits the area of thunder and rain.
We collected data during several hours of navigation with two ships on each side of the Eye of the Storm and we are confident that its average width is about 1.2 kilometres (assuming that 1 square on the Sea of Thieves map is 600 metres wide), making it an area of approximately 1.13 square kilometres.
The Sulphurous Moves of the Rain
Thanks to the interactive map of Merfolk's Lullaby which represents the Sea of Thieves in real size (i.e. 1 square equals to 600 metres) and in the real world (i.e. between La Isla Mosquito and Lower Bay) we were able to place markers with geographical coordinates on the map to represent where the centre of the Eye of the Storm was at a specific moment. Initially, we used two ships to determine these positions. Once they became more accustomed to distinguishing the great wall of the Eye of the Storm, the team was able to do it with one ship. Therefore, at each position we recorded the geographical coordinates, the exact time in GMT, the in-game time, and its speed from the previous position.
Our initial Storm Chases immediately allowed us to refute some of the more commonly held beliefs and legends that have been spread; the Storm does not target ships or chase them in their voyages, and it does not bounce from edge to edge like an old screen saver. From following the storm and its behaviour these ideas became less and less likely as it was observed behaving in ways that would be contradictory to those prior statements. We did discover that the Storm holds a more or less constant speed, occasionally making small breaks of a few minutes in some locations, probably recharging its energy. It is often at these places that the storm either reverses or heads in a completely different direction.
The Hope of a Predictive Pattern
Storm Chase #10 started early morning at Wanderers Refuge. The storm was observed headed South, where it decided to take its break between Plunder Outpost and Shark Bait Cove. This place was familiar to us since the storm had already used it to rest in a previous chase, Storm Chase #7, but what was even more interesting was that the storm had been following that same path from Wanderers Refuge. All eyes were on the Storm and its next movements, with the hope that this same route towards the North would be repeated. Chicken Isle, Fools Lagoon, The Reaper's Hideout, Rum Runner Isle, Hidden Spring Keep... the Storm has meticulously submerged these islands again by its fury and was on the verge of the moment of truth, where its trajectory needed to head northeast to confirm our hopes.
And it did, the Storm headed to Old Faithful Isle.
By continuing with Storm Chase #10 we were able to correctly predict its movements while confirming the repetition of positions from Storm Chase #7. Despite this reoccurrence of previously recorded positions having just been confirmed, we did not yet know whether the storm was following a loop or simply repeating small portions of sequences randomly. In an attempt to confirm this, we used two previous dates when the storm swept over Wanderers Refuge to determine the potential duration of its loop: July 5, 2020, 7:12 AM (GMT) and July 13, 2020, 3:38 PM (GMT), which is about 8 days 8 hours 26 minutes or 501 in-game days. This represents a huge amount of time but could very well be smaller and be around 4 days 4 hours. Smaller was not possible since we would have already seen it on one of our previous Storm Chase. With that in mind, we calculated when our previous Storm Chases were likely to be repeated.
Wednesday 15th of July was one of the most important days of our research as we validated the repetition of three previous Storm Chases and the duration of the Storm revolution of about 250 in-game days. This was an important milestone for the meteorological research team where predicting the movements of the storm seemed to become a possibility.
The Missing Pieces of the Puzzle
With 35% of the revolution covered, our next task was to then fill the gaps and chase the Storm at specific times. The following few weeks were spent recording all the missing data whilst also making sure that the repetitions of previous Storm Chases were still happening. The more data the meteorological research team recorded, the closer it came to predicting the weather.
On Tuesday 28th of July, the meteorological research team completed its last Storm Chase needed to map 100% of the Storm revolution. The first greatest accomplishment of the Ancient Isles University was achieved in 27 Storm Chases across nearly 6 weeks time, mapping more than 100 hours of Storm positions.
Sea of Thieves Weather Forecasts
After several weeks of testing, and therefore many revolutions later, we are confident in our ability to predict the Storm positions. However, we found that a small delay of a few seconds appeared each time a revolution was completed, causing a delay of a few minutes 30 revolutions after our first Storm Chase. This being due to the approximate duration of the revolution we based our calculations on initially. For a more accurate duration of the revolution, we collected data from more than 300 repeated positions to get an average value and eliminate potential errors. We will closely monitor the accuracy of our predictions and continue to collect data to regularly fine-tune the average duration of the Storm revolution.
As a result, during its 4 days and 4 hours of revolution, the Storm travels about 1,184 kilometres with an average speed of about 4 m/s. The Valley of Tears is the wettest region of the Sea of Thieves composed by The Reaper's Hideout, The Glorious Sea Dogs Tavern, Wanderers Refuge and Shipwreck Bay. Meanwhile, Booty Isle, Crescent Isle and Mermaid's Hideaway are the sunniest and safest islands of the Sea of Thieves for any buccaneer who does not like rain and thunder.
During their Storm Chases, the team witnessed an interesting event of isolated rain fall. We decided to title this period The Great Rain as the storm spends 15 in-game days (6 hours) circulating the eastern side of The Shores of Plenty and the north-western side of The Ancient Isles. It creates a sort of monsoon season, traveling up and down the map between Lone Cove and Plunder Valley areas. A second and smaller monsoon season can be observed between Wanderers Refuge and Kraken Fall but it is not as important as The Great Rain. However, this one submerges torrents of rain on islands we refer to as The Valley of Tears. For now, the team is keeping an eye on it in case it changes and becomes more important over time.
That being said, it is with great pride that the meteorological research team of The Ancient Isles University can now offer you the first Sea of Thieves Weather Forecasts and storm tracking in real time on an interactive map. The university would like to thank every researcher and student for the passion and efforts they have put into this incredible research, but also everyone at Rare for this adventure! This is just the beginning of our journey at the university and we are committed to adding more features to our weather forecasts.