Not a day goes by without me hearing about some out of control tale of backstabbing, revenge, and giant monsters from the swashbuckling pirate game Sea of Thieves. Here are a few great stories from the game.
Sea of Thieves is a good place to stage epic battles across the high seas as you fool around with friends. Roberto Valentin Jr. got caught in a long engagement with a galleon one play session. He and his crew sunk the rival ship three times, but they kept coming back.
On their third encounter, they both sunk each other, and the lone survivor of Roberto's crew hid out on an island, with two enemy pirates in pursuit. When the rest of the crew respawned, they sniped the last enemy, grabbed his loot, and ran as fast as they could.
The enemy tried to chase after them as they left, but they managed to shake them. Roberto's crew thought the coast was clear, but they were wrong.
"After nearly an hour and half of this ordeal we are 45.72m tops from the outpost. Our ship stops. 'Who dropped the anchor?' asks our captain," Roberto said. "'No, please not now, please not like this!' I yelled into the mic.
'What's wrong?' asked the rest of our crew. I knew. I knew what was wrong. The water turned black and the tentacles rose from the water. The Kraken!"
Roberto and his crew had used all their canon balls chasing off the aggressive pirates, so they had to jump ship, taking the loot that they could carry. One valiant crew member stayed on board to fight off the Kraken while the other pirates swam back and forth, occasionally being grabbed by the giant beast's tentacles.
Miraculously, they survived the encounter, managing to save over half their loot.
"It was heartbreaking. It was amazing. It was fun!" Roberto said.
Backstabbing and subterfuge are common in Sea of Thieves, which makes sense, because it's a game about being a pirate. A player called Kowboat told a story over Twitter about a player who boarded their ship claiming to be new to the game, only to betray them.
"He jumped back and forth between ships playing music and cracking jokes with us for like ten minutes," he said.
"Then he sank us with three shots because he'd quietly stolen all of our ammo and supplies."
Other players go to much greater lengths to play the villain. Sea of Thieves player Jane Ritt found herself being "menaced by a duo of cheerful burly shirtless guys playing the hurdy-gurdy."
"Two thirds of our crew were ashore on an island when our ship was approached by a galleon full of high rank players," she wrote on Twitter. "They yelled 'let's play music!' as two of them boarded us and the baffled friend who was watching our ship had no choice but to be cool and dance with them."
The strange players mostly just hung out, but Jane said that they were noticeably scoping out her crew's ship. As time went on, they started getting more aggressive, visiting the ship's hold, with their galleon following behind.
"Suddenly the galleon dropped sails and started gaining," she said. "While doing jolly dances, we had to scramble to position ourselves so that we could execute both of them simultaneously ... and then bolt for the nearest outpost while they were still two men down."
"It was really interesting because it was very jolly and very tense at the same time. Courtly intrigue, almost," Jane said. She described as like the Dragon Age: Inquisition quest Wicked Eyes, Wicked Hearts, "but with accordions."
Staff writer Heather Alexandra has done her share of backstabbing herself. In a war of attrition against some other players her crew had pissed off earlier, she came upon another crew and formed a truce with them to stop the pirates that were chasing Heather.
This was when Heather's crewmate decided to swim beneath their ship, blow it up, and take their treasure. "They tried to come back but got attacked by a Kraken and now we're on the run," Heather said on Twitter.
"We hauled in the loot, which sold for an exceptional sum, and I capped off the night buying a fancy dress. What. A. Night!" she said.
Not all players are out to get you, though. Maelztromz, a Sea of Thieves player who plays every day, even made sure to give a shout out to the "friendliest pirate of the year" on the game's subreddit.
Maelztromz said that around half the time, other players he meets are "kill on sight," so when he was taking on water with loot on board and a sloop came up behind him, he assumed he was being chased.
"I jumped overboard to try and anchor him, but didn't catch their ladder," he said. He was able to ride a mermaid back to his ship - yes, that's something you do in this game - but, "I'd bounced off an island, and was too sunk to recover," he said. "The guy chasing me jumped in the water and I was shooting at him when I heard him call out that he was friendly."
The player, called Zeeba5, helped Maelztromz recover his chests, took him to an outpost, and even gave him an extra chest to boot. All he wanted in return was for Maelztromz to spread the word that Zeeba5 was a friendly pirate.
When he brought his story to the subreddit, none of the players had heard of him. Some even lambasted him for his friendly, un-pirate-like behaviour. Still, a lot of player appreciated knowing there was a friendly face sailing the high seas, telling other players to "Be more like Zeeba, sometimes."
"Haven't heard from him since," Maelztromz said. "Hope he's doing well."
Kotaku video producer has a message for all the players who aren't as friendly as Zeeba5:
a galleon blew up my sloop so I revived and destroyed their crew and sank their ship while shouting "this is what happens when you're a dick to strangers on the high seas" like a pirate walter sobchak
— chris person (@Papapishu) March 30, 2018
A lot of players assume that anyone they see is out to shoot them full of holes and steal their stuff. When the player Soggy_Diaper was being chased by a galleon they called out for help to another ship and got lucky. "[We] had nine chests on board.
I saw a galleon docked at an outpost and decided to risk asking for help." He called out for help, and the other galleon raised anchor, rammed the ship chasing them, allowing Soggy_Diaper and crew to get away.
An hour later, they saw a galleon in the distance and assumed the worst - that they were going to be pursued again.
"I was literally screaming 'Shit shit shit, galleon,"' he said, "and heard a 'Hello again.'"
"I can't tell you how relieving it is as a sloop for me and my partner to see this massive ship pull up next to us with 4 people simply waving and playing music," he said on Reddit. "God bless you wonderful bastards."
Another player, Jubear, met their first "honest to god 'nice' pirate," when their crew was out on the town drinking. "He showed up to the tavern with a bucket while my party was there drinking and puking all over everything," Jubear said. This guy had shown up with a bucket and taught them how to puke into that instead of their surroundings.
"He later met up with us again and warned us about a galleon with black sails roaming around to the west and sinking teams," they said, "and told us a grim tale of how his crew got wiped out by them and he was the only one left, and I've never been more invested in a game world."
Not only did this mysterious stranger teach Jubear to puke properly, he seriously improved the game world for them. Shout outs to you, mystery pirate!
Getting drunk in Sea of Thieves seems to lead to bad decisions, which is a lot like real life. Twitter user The Black Nerd was sipping some grog when he and his crew intentionally crashed their boat.
"One of us was locked in the brig," he said, "and the last person was trying to fix the ship." That lone crew member was unsuccessful, and the ship sunk.
"After the ship capsized, the screen went dark and we came to in a brand new ship where all of us were locked in the brig and couldn't get out." After they kept clipping into each other in their attempt to escape, they voted to scuttle the ship and try again, only to wake up in the brig of a new ship. This sounds like a nightmare.
Sometimes players get into altercations just because of misunderstandings. Scarapath, a reddit user who plays duos with his four year old son every day, recently ran into some other players while starting up a voyage.
"They proceed to board us and one of them just pulls some kind of passive aggressive sit in. I figured screw it I'll play some music... When the boy pulls out his blunderbuss," he said.
Scarapath said that his son just likes shooting things - whether it be people or skeletons. I mean, the kid is four. "He fires, the shot goes in the air nowhere close to anyone. His joyous childlike giggles come over the local coms."
After the shot was fired, the other players started to fight Scarapath and his son, seemingly not realising they were fighting over absolutely no loot, against a four year old with an itchy trigger finger.
"I think they ended up sinking us," Scarapath said, "but hey, I think my son had fun?"