Returning to the Sea of Thieves

Back when I took some breaks from Lies of P, there was plenty of drama around Sea of Thieves going multiplatform. I decided to return to Sea of Thieves to see what changed in the years since I bought the game. Back when I first played, I had plenty of fun until running into other players.

It was also hard to imagine ever playing the game solo. Everyone is busy, so organizing a game was difficult enough that I took years away from playing. Fast Forward to now and playing solo is definitely viable for certain types of voyages.

Deciding to Sail Again as Sea of Thieves Releases on Playstation

Sitting on the boat at night on the Sea of Thieves

To say there was some drama around Sea of Thieves releasing on Playstation caused some drama is a drastic understatement. Pitchforks were out for Microsoft executives and the console warriors stirred thing up further.

Xbox fanatics were enraged, as they knew Sony would not offer up one of their previous exclusives in return. They also saw it as devaluing their console choice. Although those are technically valid points, Sea of Thieves is old enough that it’s not exactly going to drive console sales.

It’s also a live service game that lives and dies by player numbers. Selling on another platform boosts those numbers and adds a cash infusion of sales. The long term benefit is that new customers get to see the quality of games available on Xbox.

Moreover, they could see what they could have played with just a Game Pass subscription instead of paying $70. Long term, that might lead to new players in the Xbox ecosystem that want to play the hot new games day and date. With cross play in place, it will also let the console warriors fight it out on the open seas as pirates.

All the drama around Sea of Thieves going multiplatform also increased player numbers on PC and Xbox. My son started playing it again on PC before I jumped back in, for example. I knew I’d eventually play it again, but the renewed interest pulled me in sooner.

That’s basically the same thing that happened to me with Grounded.

Sea of Thieves Voyage More Solo Player Friendly

Holding the wheel of the sloop on open seas as waves crash into the boat

Way back when I first played the game, it was hilarious and beautiful. The cartoon style and antics led to plenty of laughs. It was also shocking just how good everything looked, especially the water. I played a bit with my son and his friend, taking turns shooting each other out of cannons. Those are moments I’ll never forget.

I’ll also never forget how we were utterly destroyed by the Kraken and then other players. We tried our best to fight in PvP, but lost a lot more than we “won”. Trying to partake in some low key treasure hunts became frustrating when other real players treated us like real pirates.

It’s a pirate game, but a game should also be fun. We all took a break from it, then as busy as life is, we never organized anymore games. I didn’t dare play solo since we could hardly get anything done as a crew back that.

More Solo Friendly Gameplay

It took a long time, but Sea of Thieves finally tried to rectify the issues we ran into. After all those years, they now have actual story voyages, called Tall Tales, and private servers. That latter, known as Safer Seas, provides a nice way to learn the ropes and complete some PvE content without paranoia.

There’s obviously some content not accessible in that mode and lower rewards. Still though, it’s a nice place to take a breather without just quitting. When I completed the Maiden Voyage tutorial mission, it put me in Safer Seas to continue onto tutorial missions.

It was nice to see they added a Pirates of the Caribbean themed story adventure, but the Monkey Island one really peaked my interest. I played the original Monkey Island game so long ago and the pure mention of that game brought back a ton of nostalgia.

My New Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage

Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage tutorial mission

When I finally jumped back into the High Seas (PvP default game world), I kept looking around, paranoid. I had a 2 person Sloop that I knew I could sail alone, but was not prepared for a fight. Lucky for me, it did not appear any other pirate ships were near my starting location.

I’m not sure if it’s just that player numbers were low, if my rank is too low or maybe the game just taking pity. Regardless, it was nice to have some time to get my sea legs back. With some time to relax, I took in all the beauty of Sea of Thieves art, lighting and that, still great, water.

Within a few minutes, I was mad at myself for waiting so long to jump back in. It’s so satisfying to choose a treasure hunt from the mission board, set a course on the map and prep the ship. I remembered my desired compass bearing (there’s no waypoint marker) and turned the wheel away from the dock.

I walked up the stairs to unfurl the sail, then moved over to adjust the angle to catch the wind. With the boat ready to go, I turned the Capstan to raise the anchor and off I went. Grabbing the wheel as the wind pushed me through the water was a great “welcome back” moment.

Recapturing the Joy of Sailing

I watched in awe as the boat went up and down the waves with that hypnotic water to stare at. Since there was no way point, I’d check my map table below deck, then readjust my heading. Once I had the island in sight, I raised my sails a bit to slow down.

I misjudged my speed and lowered my anchor a bit to late, then crashed into some rocks. There was no mistaking the sound of water rushing in, below deck. I remembered what to do, so collected some wood planks and repaired the holes in the ship.

That series of events reminded me of the magic of the game. Once on land, I fought off some skeletons in between glances at my treasure map. X marks the spot, but I had to use landmarks to actually find the spot. After digging my treasure up, I stowed it on my ship and set sail.

I was pleasantly surprised that I reached my outpost destination without much incident. No other players were gunning for my treasure and I was able to enjoy the beautiful lighting changes as the sun set. I did crash my boat again, but that’s a fun and simple problem to solve while docked.

The Actual Maiden Voyage Mission

Later, I was able to complete some delivery and fishing missions without incident. My intention was to get back into the game by completing some of the tutorial missions. It was after some of the lower voyages that I realized there was an actual tutorial mission.

It’s years since I first played Sea of Thieves, but I don’t remember actually completing the official tutorial mission. For anyone starting the game for the first time, I highly suggest not missing the Maiden Voyage tutorial mission.

It’s takes place on a beautiful island with a pirate ghost guiding the way through the game actions. Most of the things I had already learned along the way, but it was a nice refresher for the game basics. Definitely a very worth intro for what this game is.

PVP Battles Before Sailing into the Sunset

Sea of Thieves watching the sunset from our sloop with my son standing watch and outpost in the distance

Hours after my successful low end pirate stuff, I decided to dip my toe into the Sea of Thieves PvP. There was no way I was going it alone, so I drafted my son to work the cannons. We took on a few pirate crews of real people and lost badly.

It was obvious that we were just not ready. Some of the crews easily damaged our mast almost right off the bat. Pretty much all the crews somehow almost immediately boarded our ship. Either they launched themselves via their cannons or somehow swam perfectly into our path. It was ridiculous.

My son played more hours with his friends before our team up and apparently has a bit of PTSD from those sessions. He kept complaining about “those damn Europeans”. It was a bit funny, but the frustration led us do partake in some more low key stuff.

Thankfully for us, there’s a whole set of story content separate from all the PvP stuff. After we enjoyed the sunset of the last voyage for the day, we’ve made planes to try out the Monkey Island content next time. I’m excited to see what the Sea of Thieves has in store for us and solo or small crew friendly gameplay.

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