So, you want to hear of our adventures on the Sea of Thieves? Well prepare yourself for tales of emergent gameplay, inadequate explanation, and lovely water.
Every player’s first experience in Sea Of Thieves is waking up in the tavern of one of the game’s outpost islands. Outposts are trading hubs with shops where you can purchase new gear and customisation items, and merchants who will sell you new missions and buy your pilfered booty. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. At the start of the game you don’t know any of this. After waking up in the tavern, a tutorial explains how to eat a banana, and from that moment onwards you’re pretty much on your own.
As with every good pirate yarn, this one begins not with cutlasses, booty, or pieces of eight but grog. You wake up in a tavern with no knowledge of how you got there – what’s the first thing you’re going to do? That’s right, talk to the bartender. And what’s the bartender going to do? Right again, they’re going sell you grog.
Now, no matter how much of a beer monster you might be in real life, do not underestimate the power of grog. One tankard gets you legless, after two you’re paralytic and pretty much unable to walk, and by number three you’ll be projectile vomiting all over yourself and anyone else daft enough to be near you. Never stand near a grog-swilling pirate.
The first mistake
Following that shocking demonstration of lightweightedness, a successful negotiation with the local Gold Hoarders merchant saw the purchase of a mission and we boarded our sturdy vessel to embark upon its maiden voyage. A few minutes were all it took to learn the basics of seamanship. Some successful treasure-hunting and pilfering ensued and, our ship heavy in the water with loot, we charted a course for the nearest outpost.
Just like flying a plane the hardest part is the take-off and landing, but pulling away from the island everything seemed to go well. and yet no sooner were we under full sail than the tranquillity was broken by the sight of water slopping all over our sloop, and within moments it was heading for a watery grave. It turns out that odd creaking noise back at the island wasn’t just the mast rattling in the wind, it was the bottom of the boat scrapping itself to splinters against some underwater rocks.
Always check the hold for leaks after weighing anchor, or a ship battle. Sometimes you don’t notice that little knock that can put a fatal hole in your hull. Or drown that pig you’d spent all that time chasing around an island.
Stealing is wrong
With that lesson learned we managed to spawn ourselves a new ship and successfully deciphered a couple of treasure maps. Overconfidence quickly took over and when we spotted a rival sloop in the distance, who clearly hadn’t see us, we gave chase. The wind wasn’t in our favour though, so it took a while to catch up, by which time they’d docked at an island to do a spot of pirate-ing themselves.
Since they still seemed unaware of our presence we hatched a plan where the bosun would swim over to the unguarded ship and steal it, thereby doubling the size of our burgeoning pirate fleet. This worked like a charm and we were unbelievably amused upon realising that the way the boat was parked meant the other pirates were directly in range of the stolen sloop’s cannons, and one satisfying explosion later we were sailing in tandem with our twin pirate vessels.
The only problem is though that when you die in the game you, after a brief sojourn on the Ferry of the Dead, you get automatically sent back to you ship, if it’s still a float. For the other pirate crew it still was, but the bosun had completely forgotten about the implications of this rule and so was very surprised to find himself being stabbed in the back while at the wheel of what he had mistakenly thought was now his ship.
The healing power of music
Later in port, following a rather more successful voyage, when browsing the merchants and minding our own business, the bosun spied another player. He seemed to be window-shopping too, but suddenly he raised a pistol and prepared to do bloody murder to our crewmember. Quick as a flash the bosun pulled out his squeezebox and started playing a jolly shanty.
The interloper paused, lowered his gun, and joined in on his hurdy-gurdy. His crewmate had a bit of dance and then we all went merrily on our way. Never underestimate the power of music to calm a dangerous confrontational situation! Although in hindsight maybe the bosun should’ve whipped out his gun when the others were distracted, because that totally would’ve worked as well.
Crime and punishment
Sometime later we found ourselves at Dagger Tooth Outpost. Having sold some booty we were preparing to purchase a new voyage when the captain spied a fellow pirate running along the beach with a chest to sell. Seeing his sloop in the distance, the cap’n decided to investigate. Imagine his glee when he found it to be loaded up with no less than six treasure chests, all sitting nicely on the deck.
There was naturally nothing else to do but grab one and made his way down the beach, passing the same rival pirate on the way back. As before the other player ignored everything but his own treasure. The captain sold the chest and headed back to the pirate’s boat, once again passing him carrying a chest.
This went on until all the chests were sold, and it was only then that the other guy obviously realised what had happened, because he ran up to the captain and shot him in the face. However, by then he’d already sold three of someone else’s chests and banked a good few hundred gold for the crew. The lessons here are: 1) never leave your ship unattended when it’s full of loot and 2) never trust a pirate.
If you have any amusing anecdotes from your first few days with Sea Of Thieves, whether it be tales of bravery, heroism, deviousness, or incompetence, we’d love hear them. See you on the high seas!
By Miles Guttery