Sea of Thieves – Anchors aweigh

Sea of Thieves came out on March 20th 2018. I was very keen to give it a go. Who wouldn’t be? Living out the pirate fantasy in a game made by Rare no less!

Note: Goldeneye & Perfect Dark are two of my all-time favourite games. Rare are a very big deal to me, like they are to countless others who lived and breathed N64. Seeing them succeed is something that brings me genuine joy.

Yeah, Sea of Thieves was good. It wasn’t great. I don’t think anyone could contest that they created this amazing, beautiful sandbox for adventure. There just wasn’t a massive amount to do (a symptom of pretty much all games-as-a-service titles in the past couple of years).

We sailed, we solved riddles, we dug-up treasure and we had a laugh. Then we moved on. Harsh as it is, we were all a little bored, despite the amazing playground to work within, it wasn’t quite scratching the itch that we’d expected.

Sea of Thieves wasn’t in our rotation, and we were back on Destiny 2 and PUBG etc etc.

Not content with leaving it there, Rare have continued to add to the game, and a pretty robust fanbase has been playing it continually. Pirate legends exist everywhere, the love for the game as been strong and resolute, throughout.

It’s still pretty appealing! But is it different enough to grab me a bit tighter this time?

 

Anniversary

A year has passed since Sea of Thieves was released. I’ve not come back to it for perhaps 10 or 11 months. Always holding it in high regard, but never feeling the need to re-visit.

Then the press starts ramping-up for the next update, a sizeable addition to a world that’s already been gradually improved upon. Nice.

It seems like Sea of Thieves is flourishing, and I’m really pleased for Rare and the guys who have stuck with it.

The community management has been excellent since release, and I’ve kept an eye on tweets, emails and other bits that go out frequently. Always informative, always improving. Very cool.

You’ve got to realise just how much work it must be to not only build and deliver a game, but to improve upon and maintain for potentially years. Particularly with almost direct dialogue from fans/customers these days. If people aren’t happy, developers know about it. Not my idea of a nice working environment!

Still, Rare have soldiered on, and now the Anniversary Update is poised to be released on April 30th this year. Bringing with it an arena mode that looks like a lot of fun! Pitting crews in a competitive treasure hunting environment. Very cool.

Player versus player aside, though, Sea of Thieves is getting some adventures with actual narrative and structure. This. This is what I was missing from the game first time around. I’m not a creative-type when it comes to playing games. I love a sandbox and playing with friends. But I love to have purpose and a goal.

I’m very interested in what’s to come (also, fishing and new ship-damage mechanics and a host of improvements and additions). So I thought it was time to jump back on board…..

Luckily, the VasDown boys are keen to ride the waves again, too! So between gamepass subscriptions and buying copies online, we’re ready to go.

Sea of Thieves is about to see the VasDown boys become a scourge in the arena……..or, we’ll likely float around arguing about who’s doing what, and why was it my fault the ship sank again?

Good times either way!

 

Diving back in

It’s been a few days, and I’ve only managed a few hours of solo play, or playing with strangers.

But within minutes, the fun comes flooding back. The realism of the water and the waves. My very real fear of being stranded in open water being realised (it actually hits me more than a game should!). Sailing, canons, patching up canon holes, maps, riddles, a hurdy gurdy. Everything here is wonderful.

What Rare did with Sea of Thieves, was make a perfect environment, and then they gave you the tools to explore it and just have fun. The style of gameplay isn’t always something that works for me. But right now, it’s hitting the spot.

Very quickly, I’ve found myself out on solo sloop adventures, re-learning how to navigate with maps and a compass. Using maps to find treasure, getting my shovel out to dig it up.

The sunsets and sunrises are gorgeous. Storms are testing and adequately hard to navigate. I’m actually looking forward to my first Kraken encounter (not so much the newer Megalodon…..). Fighting a skeleton ship that just rose up from the ocean is both scary and exciting. There’s so much to experience here now.

As it stands, Sea of Thieves is a game that has had the rough edges rubbed off. Becoming a well-refined platform from which it can launch itself into year two and beyond.

It’s still 100% Sea of Thieves, but it’s just better……

With all of VasDown poised to join in, I feel like we’re on the precipice of giving Rare a lot of our spare time, and honestly, I can’t wait.

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