Sea of Thieves has teased the addition of a brand new rowboat with a cannon on board.
I’ll say that again for the SoT veterans in the audience — it’s a rowboat with a cannon on board.
See for yourself:
Looks like the shipwrights have been busy… pic.twitter.com/FbNk9shhML
— Sea of Thieves (@SeaOfThieves) November 23, 2021
To the Sea of Thieves novice, this won’t look like anything at all. It’s just a rowboat with a cannon on board. But to the Pirate Legends everywhere, it changes absolutely everything. Suddenly the nature of the rowboat itself is turned on its head.
Previously, rowboats have been used for stealth plays. Their small size and relatively low profile make them hard to see on the waves. Players looking to abscond with valuable loot will often try to do so in a rowboat under cover of darkness. People use them to approach active forts undetected and locate a convenient hiding spot while they wait for it to end (a strategy the community calls “tucking”).
Rare later added a second rowboat with a harpoon attachment. It was intended as a way for players to more quickly ferry larger stockpiles of loot from an island to their boat. However, the unspoken rule of Sea of Thieves is that intended use cases mean nothing to pirates. Players dragged harpoon rowies loaded with treasure up the beach at different outposts, bringing them to rest in front of each vendor. Harpoon rowboats have also been used to “surf” after passing ships, latching on with the hook and being dragged in a larger, faster boat’s wake. Craftier players looking for a sneaky board on a larger ship will quickly reel the rowboat in close and dock it on the back.
Questions about Sea of Thieves‘ new cannon rowboat abound. It appears to be slightly smaller than the cannons aboard the game’s three ships. Does that mean players can’t get in it? Would it be quieter than the main cannons? If you attach the cannon rowboat to the back of your ship, is its angle of rotation wide enough that it can fire off the back? If you attach it to a sloop, does that effectively grant the sloop an extra port-side cannon toward the stern? Could you rotate it far enough to turn it into a rear-facing cannon? Will this new rowboat replace the existing standard rowboat that does not have an attachment?
The thrill of any new addition like this is the ways players will find to use it to their advantage. A few of the questions above give some insight into potential uses, but they could prove to be devastating in naval combat. Dropping a rowboat off with cursed cannonballs in the middle of a fight could be the interference a fleeing ship needs to get away.
Ships in death spirals and duels could be easily harassed, and the rowie would be hard to hit from a deck cannon due to its size. If the cannon is large enough to climb into, that turns rowboats into staging platforms for battle. Pirates will be flying onto your boat from angles Pythagoras never saw coming.
And if you can turn it far enough to become a rear-facing cannon? The dynamic of ship battles as we know them would be completely changed.
So many possibilities. So many new avenues for being really, really crafty.
There’s no word on when the rowboat will arrive in-game. However, if Rare is willing to publicly tease it, then it stands to reason we’ll see it in Season 5, which is just around the corner.
Sea of Thieves is out now on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and Windows PC. It’s available via Game Pass. Season 5 begins in the next two weeks. More on that soon.