A Pirate’s Life for Me in Sea of Thieves

Ben Scheppman, Staff Writer

The wind, the smell of the sea, and the terrible diseases that affected many during the time of the pirates, that’s the life for me. Well, maybe that’s a stretch. I doubt I or anyone else would give up our modern lives to live in the time of the pirates and be pirates ourselves. Yet there is something magical about the idea of being a pirate that still draws our curious eye to this day. Is it the idea of a life of the high seas? No rules but your own code on the ship? Singing a sea shanty as you work away under the hot sun? Maybe it’s one or all or more for you; nonetheless, the idea of pirates enthralls us today. Movies, toys, board games, videogames, and more all transport us to the time of swashbuckling pirates, and Sea of Thieves is no exception. 

Let’s cover the basics of Sea of Thieves; it is an online multiplayer game where you and your pirate-playing friends command a ships and seek adventures on the high seas. The game is non-linear and relies on the players to do as they wish. There is somewhat of a storyline, but the game mostly consists of quests, random encounters, and player-versus-player encounters along with other non-player characters (NPCs) like skeletons. The game retails for $59.99 on Xbox One. 

The game has some interesting player ships. You and up to three of your friends can form a crew together and sail in one of two crafts. You can either sail in the small, maneuverable Sloop or the big, powerful Galleon. The Sloop is a small one-or-two-person ship that has one main sail and one cannon on each side. The Galleon is a three-or-four-person ship with three main sails and four cannons on each side. The key differences between the two are that the Galleon is the more powerful with a larger crew and is faster in a straight line, while the Sloop’s only advantage is its better turning radius. With only one cannon on each side of it, the Sloop is unable to match the fire rate of a Galleon, and Sloop are seen as easy targets to plunder and rob. If you are in a Sloop, it is best to normally avoid conflict with large ships. 

Player advancement in Sea of Thieves consists of fulfilling quests for gold and other rewards. The gold you earn from these quests can be spent on outfits, weapons, ship upgrades, and the like to improve your gameplay. Along with quests there are other tasks to do like sail the seas at random and discover interesting locations, like shipwrecks, skeleton fortresses, massive sea storms, sea monsters and more. Be wary of other ships, however; the last thing you’d desire when returning from your quest would be for your treasure to be robbed of you by other players who board your ship. If you are raided, just don’t let your ship sink. The game has an interesting mechanism where once you die you are required to wait some time before you can respawn, and if you die in a raid but your ship isn’t sunk, you are able to respawn right back on it. But not all other players are enemies—you may encounter friendly players and trade with them or play a sea shanty together on the musical instruments you have. There are plenty of other aspects of this game that are hard to cover in an article. 

Now on to an important part of user experience; the graphics. The graphics are very reminiscent of a stylized cartoon, though the water is more beautifully detailed. The game craftily adjusts the weather to fit the mood—storms feel threatening, the sun beating down feels hot—and the islands look tropical and lush. Even though the graphics are stylized they don’t detract from the realistic feeling the game gives off and the fun you can have. The character models vary greatly and grow more unique with the different clothes that you can purchase. The NPC character models are a bit more common place and bland at times, but this can be forgiven since you mostly deal with other players when it comes to prolonged interactions.  

Overall, the game is a blast (did I forget to mention that you can literally be blasted out of a cannon?), and it is something to look into if you like pirate or sailing video game experiences. It’s also a great way to meet others who share the same interests as you or to play with friends. As for me, I say, “Shiver me timbers and drop the mainsail, there be booty to plunder!”