Published on April 10th, 2018 | by voxx0
Sea of Thieves
Sea of Thieves is a beautiful open world title released on 20 March 2018 by developer Rare. It is available on both Xbox and PC, and allows players from both to play with and against each other. There are two types of ship, the Galleon and the Sloop, that allow for 3-4 player crews and 1-2 player crews respectively, with the Galleon being a huge, eight cannoned monster and the Sloop being a tiny, nimble little ship with only two cannons. The main premise of the game is to complete voyages handed to you from three separate non-playable characters (NPCs) in order to collect gold and experience, with each NPC harbouring its own experience slot and selling specific cosmetic items for the player’s equipment when you reach level increments of 5.
Each NPC has their own type of voyages to go on, although they mostly feel like side quests and general fetch quests.
The Gold Hoarder’s voyages consists of the player either having a map of an island where X marks the spot, or the player having to solve a rather simple riddle to find the treasure. The higher your Gold Hoarder level, the more likely you are to receive more maps/riddles, however the quality of the treasure you dig up is randomly generated, resulting in progression being completely random.
The Order of Souls voyage simply has you go to the islands stated, kill the skeleton captains, and bring back their skulls. Once again, the quality of the skulls you collect is randomly generated, meaning that the player can receive anything from 100-1,300 per skull.
The final NPC, the Merchant, offers by far the most boring and unrewarding voyage. They give you a list of animals or supplies to collect and take to a certain outpost. This offers the least money on average, the least experience, and can take the longest to complete since not all islands house all animals. These voyages are neither fun nor rewarding, rendering them pointless unless you wish to become a Pirate Legend.
One big issue with this game lies in that you can only have one voyage active at a time, meaning it takes longer to complete multiple voyages to gain more experience and gold in a single sitting. To become a Pirate Legend, you need to reach level 50 with each individual NPC, which has been estimated to take 200+ hours. With rewards and therefore progression being completely random, and quests being tedious and repetitive, why would you want to spend that time getting to Pirate Legend?
Well, when you become a Pirate Legend, you will gain access to special hideout, gain a special shanty that can be played, unlock more cosmetic items to be purchased with your gold, and gain access to “extra-lucrative” voyages. Whilst the new cosmetic items do look nice, it really isn’t a big payoff for what you’ve been grinding towards for so long. If you play this Solo, or even as a two man team, this game could become boring rather quickly. However the fun is to be found in playing on the Galleon, taking on the Skeleton forts and fighting players in between doing the quests. There are quite a few random events to partake in whilst roaming the absolutely stunning world in which you sail, including Message in a Bottle, which gives you a random quest for one of the NPCs that you can complete at the same time as the selected voyage. There are the aforementioned Skeleton Forts, which harbour tons of loot, and then there are shipwrecks which can hold loot, or may hold nothing at all.
The Skeleton Fort random events occur on different fortified islands on the map, and these fortified islands only become Skeleton Forts when a large skull cloud appears above it. To defeat these, you need to battle through multiple large hordes of various skeleton types, before defeating the captain to obtain the key to the forts loot cache. This is also random, however always offers up large amounts of loot, with experience gained from selling said loot to their respective NPCs. This is the fastest way to gain gold and experience, although it’s perilous since it attracts multiple crews and ships to try and capture the loot for themselves. High risk, high reward, and very enjoyable. Then there are shipwrecks that appear randomly around the map that can be spotted by a flock of seagulls circling above it. Sometimes there’s good loot, sometimes there’s absolutely nothing. Once again, random.
So why is this game actually so good? What are the positives? Well, for starters, the core mechanics are fantastic. Sailing the ships, getting into ship battles, and fighting hordes of skeletons all just feels so good. The movement and sound of the ship and waves is better than any other game. Then you have the look of the game. At any moment, you can take a screenshot and frame it on your wall. It’s breathtaking. The look of the turquoise sea, the setting sun reflecting off of the steady waves, the clean green palm trees against the sky. All of it is art. And then you have the stories that you make yourself with your friends. In a Galleon, you and your friends need to work together, working as a single, driving unit. There will be laughs, there will be epic moments, and glorious celebrations after a hard fought victory.
This game is something that you should definitely experience, despite the £50 price tag. This is a game like no other; this is a game that has no competitor, that has nothing to compare it too. It’s a fantastically unique concept that simply feels empty, and in a world where first impressions can make or break you, it’s not the greatest. However, this game will evolve, change, and improve over time. Rare is an esteemed developer, and they can and will fix the lack of content over time. With that in mind, I recommend this game highly, although you may want to wait for a few months whilst they add more content.
- By Ben Hanrahan