A reader offers a guide for new or lapsed Sea Of Thieves players and details how much the game has improved over the last several years.
Sea Of Thieves is my most played game on Xbox, according to the stats released by Xbox to celebrate their 20th anniversary last year. I have kept going back to it for almost six years now, since I’ve been playing since the closed alphas. Since launch, Rare have kept adding tons of new content that has kept me coming back but it’s always had some frustrating quality of life issues that hampered my enjoyment, which have now been fixed with the latest updates. I hadn’t played in a year but having heard about these updates I jumped back in last week and am loving the game again.
Interestingly it is Lucid Games, developers of Destruction AllStars, who are now working for Rare/Xbox and are focused on quality of life improvements for Sea Of Thieves. They’ve done a great job so far. One thing I found highly frustrating is during a Tall Tales quest, if you were to lose quest items when your ship was sunk either by a non-player character threat or other players you could lose the hours of progress it took you to get said items, which could be up to two hours of progress. Now the items are not lost you can reload the checkpoint and they will appear on the captain’s table.
Another frustration I had with the game is how long it took to gather supplies before setting out on a voyage. This has been fixed in a few ways. First are the storage crates which can be bought for a small amount of gold from the Merchant Alliance. This allows you to quickly gather supplies from the outpost barrels, holding the storage crate and holding ‘X’ you can empty everything in the barrels almost instantly into your storage crate, then hold ‘Y’ to put them in your ship’s barrels.
Another way is the larger Ship Captaincy update that allows you to purchase your very own ship that you can decorate with all manner of trinkets, plus you can name her. I called mine Red Dwarf, naturally. They cost hundreds of thousands of gold coins, so if you’re just starting out or already spent your fortune it might take a while but is absolutely worth it. You gain access to a one-stop merchant called The Soveriegns, which are at the other dock in a navy blue tent with a tall mast that can be easily spotted from distance. He takes everything, so no more running around to the different merchant factions.
You can also buy all your supplies from the shipwright for small amounts of gold, so you can get fully stocked in a matter of seconds, even faster than using the storage crate. Captain’s Voyages, which can also be purchased, also make more money than normal voyages and you get some unique ship parts you can buy or unlock by levelling up your ship. This is another problem I’ve always had with Sea Of Thieves fixed, a sense of progression.
You can level up your ship by completing a wide range of challenges, such as the number of game days spent pirating, treasure collected, the amount of gold you’ve earned, and a lot more. Having my own ship to name and decorate how I want gives me something a lot more tangible, to feel like I’m making progress, so my efforts are worthwhile; more so than the clothes I can only see when doing emotes.
Now, if you are new to Sea Of Thieves, or a lapsed player that’s been away a while, I’d first recommend selecting Maiden Voyage on the main menu. This will present you with a fairly short story led tutorial mission that’ll learn you the ropes. I’d also recommend doing A Pirate’s Life, the considerably longer story driven quests based on Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean films. This is a single-player or co-op story that will give you a lot more practice before jumping in with the full game. It’ll give you an extended tutorial that’ll serve you well before jumping into the full fat Adventure mode.
A few new mission types I have discovered, that you can just sail to, are Fortresses and Shrines. The former are the game’s horde mode, where you fight waves of ghost pirates in a large fortress, ending in a boss battle against the captain of their undead fleet. You get the key to the treasury upon beating them and they’re not too difficult, even for solo players. There is also loot everywhere, as well as another hidden key for the other treasure room at the very top of the fortress.
The shrines are purely puzzle based, underwater areas that require you to pull certain levers on the wall, step on buttons on the floor, light torches, or position mermaid statues a certain way, aided by visual clues you have to figure out.
There is much more I still have to go explore and discover myself, that have been added to the game. One other thing is that enemies now drop ammo all the time, which is another quality of life fix that used to frustrate me, because I had to either run back and forth to the ship or the ammo box somewhere on the island to get more ammo, which was very annoying. There’s also ammo crates that you can pick up and carry with you, but I find them redundant now the enemies drop loads, so I just sell the ammo crates now.
Well, I hope this feature maybe tempts you to give Sea Of Thieves a go, either for the first time or if you’re coming back, having been frustrated by some of the quality of life issues I’ve discussed that are now fixed. One last thing I’ll say is if you’re put off by it being a multiplayer game with other players, who may want to fight you, don’t because it’s a pretty rare occurrence encountering other players and you can still have hours of fun on your own or in co-op with friends.
Sometimes you’re going to run into other players, and if they play regularly they’re probably going to sink your ship and steal all your loot. Play smart. Don’t carry too much before heading back to the outpost and selling it and you’ll do just fine and won’t care if you’ve nothing to lose.
The game is undoubtedly a Rare game, with a certain quality and vibe to it all. I would love to see a PvE single or co-op only mode but you can still have fun that way right now. And if you get the hang of it, it’s incredibly satisfying to sink someone else’s ship. Especially if it’s a much larger ship, like me and my mate just did, with the help of a Megladon attacking their ship!
By reader Big Angry Dad82 (gamertag)
The reader’s feature does not necessarily represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
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First appear at Why I’m still playing Sea Of Thieves six years later – Reader’s Feature