Community Review: Sea of Thieves

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sea of thieves

More and more first-party publishers are giving their game a second lease of life on Steam. Microsoft got on board with the Halo series, and recently, Sea of Thieves jumped (virtual) ship.

Rare’s pirate adventure is currently sitting at a 87 percent rating from 11,500 reviews. It’s been helped by the last two years of content updates. When Sea of Thieves originally launched, the response was disappointing. Long time Kotaku Australia reader and contributor Adam Wells, who was filling in for me while I was on holiday, found Rare’s seas didn’t have enough opportunity for players to make their own adventures: 

Rare wants players to make their own adventures. To use Sea of Thieves as a playground where fun things happen to those that make them happen. I don’t know if that’s enough. As much fun as I’ve had in the moments where Sea of Thieves has delivered, I’m struggling to think of anything that makes those moments unique to Sea of Thieves.

Rare plans to keep updating Sea of Thieves for some time. Maybe the game will become a rollicking adventure. It’s not there yet.

Now, it seems Sea of Thieves is finally there.

The game has become a regular staple on Twitch. It’s never one of the biggest five games, but it’s become a good second or third fallback option for a lot of popular streamers to unwind from more intense multiplayer games like Warzone, Escape from Tarkov or Valorant.

For someone jumping in today, you’ll find a vastly more polished experience. The melee combat and gunplay is still a little simplistic. But there’s a much wider variety in boat battles now, both visually and mechanically. Ghost ships. Krakens. Megalodons. Skeleton Ships. Skeleton Fleets and Lords.

But what’s always made Sea of Thieves is its core identity. The game has never tied quests to in-game progression. Quests and rewards are all for tricking out your character and your ship. It’s cosmetic only. New players aren’t denied access to anything.

So if you’re looking for a more guided experience, Sea of Thieves doesn’t offer that. It’s just sailing on the high seas with mates. It’s all about the adventure, not the end goal.

So I’d like to hear from you. For people who have jumped in and out of the game over the last two years, how has the experience changed? How are you finding it now, and what are some of the game’s best moments?

Comments

  • I started a couple of months ago at a friend’s recommendation and it has become the new place for our group to chill out online. We started playing close to when lockdown started and the slower paced gameplay made it the perfect way to chill out and catch up over Discord. We’ve since cleared all the Tall Tales together and many of us have reached Pirate Legend along with a growing list of PvP achievements. It is hands down my favourite co-op experience of the last decade.

  • If you’re the kind of person that likes progression, lore, in depth stories, character growth, exploring a wide and varied range of exotic locations and/or in depth sandboxes with a lot of toys then this game is absolutely not for you. If you’re the kind of person looking for a pirate simulator where you raid coastal villages, find buried treasure, hang around in hideouts, hide from the Spanish armada, build notoriety, intercept trade routes, build a fleet and ultimately become a legend of the Seven seas then this is also absolutely not the game for you.

    Unfortunately though the ocean may be deep,the gameplay is shallow and limited, focusing more on the journey and goofing around with friends than anything meaningful. So if you just want a simplistic sandbox to switch off and play with friends in then you could do worse.

  • Played since launch. I still sport my day 1 patch. Loved it and sunk many, many hours.

    However as a solo player i must warn that this game is not built for solo. While they keep adding good and cool stuff that is great for the game, this often just adds to the list of grief a solo player encounters, without balancing it.

    The community started off well, however it just keeps growing more toxic.

    Developers keep making decisions that go against what they have promised in the past and the wants of the community.

    Great that they bought it to steam but very annoying that they didn’t provide original purchasers with a steam transfer when it became available.

    Would love to keep playing but multiple factors keep turning me away again.

  • Originally played over this past Xmas on game pass and enjoyed it but didnt hook me. Picked it up again when a friend got an Xbox and have been playing pretty solidly over the last couple weeks.

    Duo sloops with a friend are frantic when you’re new and have been sunk a few times by larger crews boarding then sinking. Would be nice to opt out of pvp if you just want to pve but get why its not optional.

    Finding a good Galleon PuG is hard but when you get a good crew, its a hell of a lot of fun. Getting alliances of multiple ships even more so. Just wish it happened more frequently.

    Theres lots of googling, reddit reading and youtube watching to get up to speed with combat or you just get annihilated but once you’re up and going, its a great way to while away a day/evening

  • Does it have any PVE servers yet? The fact that my googling is only showing threads from a year ago requesting it means that I’m not optimistic about the chances…

  • I have a friend who has been playing SoT with his social group pretty much every week since launch. He sold it to me a fantastic social game, where you hang out with your friends but also you’re all pirates.

    I can’t say I’ve had his level of fun, as I’ve only really had one mate to sail the seas with, and the difference between sloop, brigantine and galleon is pretty huge, but I still found the game enjoyable, albeit it… small. You can list off everything you can do in the game and it’ll sound barebones, and honestly it sort of is. But! and a big but, but, Rare have been dedicated to this game and I really respect them for it. They’re pushing updates with new content every month. Sometimes it’s just cosmetics, other times it’s a little update or a huge one. Firebombs brought firebombs and a whole fire system to the game. The most recent update brought a new enemy in the form of ghost ships, along with a new type of cannonball. I haven’t checked it out yet, but I’m intrigued.

    So I guess I would say Sea of Thieves is a good game. If you have 1-3 mates, some open minds and a few hours free on your schedule, I think you’ll have a great time. Plus there’s crossplay with Xbox so you or your mates don’t have to have a PC to have fun.

  • Having played this from day 1 and its now my go between for World of Warcraft seasons/patches. I love how laid back it is to just chat with your mates and have a small adventure. I originally got it as i had a new born child at the time and i could play with my mates yet walk away for 5 minutes to deal with any mini emergency my child had and come back. No other online game can really have that downtime where you can walk away at any moment and deal with life. I honestly treasure this game now there is so much to do. and to the people who cry for PVE servers you just cant do that to this game. You have 4 hours of peaceful playing and then all of a sudden a ship on the horizon come bailing towards you, gosh it gets the adrenaline running cause you dont wanna lose that 4 hours of work. and no other game has ever given me that rush of having to defend and when you come out on top. It is a glorious moment to share and makes the story that much better. One time while slooping i had a mate distract them and i snuck on their galleon ship and put all their loot in the rowboat and dropped it off the back and rowed away. my mate got caught and they sunk us, but we got most of their loot and got away with it. It was great. It was some nice Athena stuff too haha

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