Sea of Thieves – Anniversary Update

It’s no lie to say that I’ve gotten back into Sea of Thieves recently. With it being a better realised version of the game when it was released last year.

Of course I’ve already written a bit about that, and I could go on and on about how much love and effort Rare have put into it. However, something even more significant has taken place.

To mark the 1 year anniversary, Sea of Thieves has been flooded with new content. All for free!

If you were struggling to get into it before, now’s the time to try again.

Fishing, competitive multiplayer, cooking and new story quests. If you thought Sea of Thieves was lacking content. It sure as hell isn’t anymore!

 

Arena

Five galleons, fully-manned. A few tiny islands, and treasure maps that all teams have a view of…….

24 minutes of non-stop chaos, in the best possible way.

You’re immersed in the pirate life here. Sea battles on the way to go and dig-up treasure, or to go and hand it in to earn the all-important silver.

Sea of Thieves has always had this element of players meeting each other in-game, and then seeing battles emerge. Ships being sunk, treasure being stolen. A great time, and an example of personal stories being made, to be relived when telling friends about what’s gone on.

Of course, it isn’t always welcomed. You’re working hard to up your reputation with various factions. Hoarding treasure and skulls, and losing it all because you came across someone that was spoiling for a fight. Not ideal.

Well, Rare have implemented the Arena mode which will hopefully alleviate some of this. Giving people the opportunity to actively take each other on. All while still earning gold, and earning reputation with a new faction.

A smart move, and honestly a very fun mode.

I can take a little while to get going, and matchmaking has been a little wonky, but I can see how good this is once the kinks are worked out.

If only my crewmates would stop fishing whilst we’re trying to sail…..

 

Fishing

Sometimes a game developer implements something seemingly small, only for it to end up being a massive part of a game. More importantly, it ends up feeling like it’s always been there.

In Sea of Thieves, the implementation of fishing, is exactly that.

Such a natural fit. A fun and distracting change of pace when you’re sailing across to the Devil’s Roar, or waiting for a volcano to finish erupting and you’re sat, anchor-down at sea.

With a plethora of different fish, and then different versions of each one, you’re at the whims of some luck/randomness. With different types of bait, being useful in different areas, for different types of fish, there’s an element of being able to steer the luck in your direction a little.

Then you have to reel it in, which isn’t too taxing. It doesn’t take loads and loads of time, but you can absolutely lose your catch if you don’t pay attention.

Cooking and eating your catch is a joy (oh…..yeah, you can cook food now too!), and better still, selling your fish for gold and reputation with the new Hunters Call faction.

I may or may not have left the steering of the ship to the gods when I decided to quickly nip and catch a fish. But honestly, I’ve only crashed a couple of times. Nothing that a couple of planks can’t fix….

There’s something addictive here with fishing. It’s minimal effort for some minimal gains, but it’s fun and adds a whole new activity to the game. Not just a tacked-on add-on mode, though. It feels like it’s a part of the very fabric of Sea of Thieves.

Getting a few of you off on a fishing trip sounds like my idea of a dull time, either in real life or in a game. But setting sail with your friends and cashing in to gain reputation and inch closer to that pirate legend status is one of the most fun times you could have in any game.

Wonderful wonderful stuff here.

 

Tall tales and other bits

Having gotten so caught-up in the arena and just playing Sea of Thieves working on my faction standings, I’ve not been able to actually give the “Tall Tales” a go yet.

Adding a proper narrative experience, with quests, dialogue and puzzles. It can’t be a bad thing, can it? As far as I can see online, the response to these story missions is very positive, and I’m dying to get stuck-in.

All being well, a crew of myself and the VasDown boys will get chance to set sail on these adventures casually over the coming weeks. So I can hopefully add a bit more about them, then.

Beyond that, though. Other changes to the game that might not seem significant, are things like improved ship damage, cooking and harpoon guns on ships. Suddenly, the very dynamics of the game have been adjusted, and so far it’s all good.

Ship damage now sees your wheel, capstan and masts needing to be repaired if damaged, which severely impedes your movement at sea. It’s more realistic, it adds to the trepidation of engaging in a battle, and it just works really naturally.

Cooking is great. Either on your little stove below the decks, or at a camp fire on islands. You can cook any food, and now you see meat from sharks, snakes, pigs and chickens, too.

New fruits to eat, so you’re not just chonking on a banana all the time, and of course cooking your caught fish, too.

Harpoon guns! Of course! How did these not already exist? Each type of ship is now mounted with two harpoon guns at the front. They can be used to haul barrels and chests straight to the ship. You can yank your shipmates from the sea, or you can hit a row boat and get someone to pull you along with them as the row.

Better still, you can use the harpoon to latch onto rocky outcrops or even the sea bed, and force your ship into really tight turns.

Just more fun, and it all sits so naturally within the game. Rare are really very good at what they do, aren’t they?

 

Moving on

As always, I’ve never really had enough time to experience everything in one go. The changes to Sea of Thieves are massive, with new modes and changes to the core mechanics of the game.

Being a newly-returned player, this is exactly the game I wanted to play when it first came out. I’ve burned through hours and hours of just sailing and fishing, and digging up treasure. Braving the Devil’s Roar, taking down a Kraken, engaging in a battle with Megalodons.

Every time you load into Sea of Thieves, you’re writing new stories. Solo, with friends or even with strangers. Even the most banal task can become an adventure.

Once I’ve played through some Tall Tales content, it might be worth doing a bit more of a write-up. But if anyone reads this, and is unsure as to whether or not they should either return to Sea of Thieves, or just give it a try. Now is the time to get on board.

Even if the Tall Tales end up being lacklustre (I don’t think they will), the game, as it stands, is a wonderful work of art. Rare have been known for making so many classics over the years, and Sea of Thieves rightly sits-up among Goldeneye and Perfect Dark.

There’s so much here to love, and not a lot to dislike. If the progress over the past year didn’t do it for you. I promise that the Anniversary Update took everything to the next level.

Damn, what a game.

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