Sea of Thieves has had an interesting run so far. Rare opted for a very open development plan, showcasing many elements of the game running up until launch. When launch finally arrived, many were left wanting for more. I made a note in my review that the core functionality was top notch and the game had a heap of potential, but was very much lacking in content. This criticism was shared by many fans and outlets alike. In fairness to Rare, they’ve always stated that they want to deliver a great initial experience and build on it.
That’s exactly what we’ve had since launch of the game in March. Rare have three (soon to be four) internal divisions that are working actively on new content drops. These divisions have been working on these content drops since launch and will rotate, queue-esque, to create more content drops once divisions in front have released their drops. The first drop, The Hungering Deep, has been and gone and will be followed by Cursed Sails and Forsaken Shores, respectively. The Hungering Deep’s division will swing back in after Forsaken Shores.
This creates a constant and steady stream of content. It’s also worth pointing out the team that worked on The Hungering Deep only had two months to deliver the content, whereas Cursed Sails will have four months of development time and Forsaken Shores will have six months of development time. Again, the team that worked on The Hungering Deep will presumably release their next drop six months from its release. It’s a very solid road-map that will alleviate the aforementioned criticism. Though, what fills the gaps in between?
Weekly events, that’s what! The first of which is now active in the game and ready for players to take on; Skeleton Thrones. Sadly, the update that delivered this event came with a pretty big issue, freezing. That’s right. Sea of Thieves will now freeze periodically whenever leaving the Ferry of the Damned. It doesn’t appear to freeze the player that’s crossing over from death to life, instead, it will freeze all of their crew-mates for anywhere between five to ten seconds a pop. This, needs fixing ASAP – as does the annoying double-venom snake bite.
With that out of the way, how does the event itself shape up? The Bilge Rats were added to the game when The Hungering Deep arrived but have served little purpose outside of filling up the outpost taverns. Now, however, they’re sober, better spoken and ready to dish out some rewards. Loading into the game, players can approach the Bilge Rats to browse their time-limited wares – which can only be obtained with a specific currency, doubloons. How do you earn doubloons? By visiting each of the Skeleton Thrones that now occupy the map.
There’s a total of ten Skeleton Thrones split into two groups of five. Sitting on each throne will reward you with a set amount of doubloons. Players will earn 8 doubloons for sitting on each of the five single-crew thrones and 12 doubloons for sitting on each of the five multiple-crew thrones. The Bilge Rats now have their own progression chart, found alongside the three factions that are already present in the game. There’s a total of ten commendations to unlock (one per throne) and two new unique titles to chase after.
The commendations will offer up a subtle hint as to the location of where its throne rests, leaving players to travel to the point of interest and scout high and low to seek out the respective throne. That, however, is the easy part. The hard part is reaching each of the thrones. Rare have tucked these thrones away in some very sneaky or ultra hard-to-reach places. Many of these thrones require that players fire themselves from their ship’s cannons to reach them. It’s fun for the most part, but man, it can become more than frustrating.
The single-crew thrones are much easier than the multi-crew thrones. They’re not easy to reach by any means, but at least you can achieve these at your own pace and in your own time. The multi-crew thrones, on the other hand, requires that you and a member from another crew sit together on these thrones to unlock the commendation, and in-turn, the doubloons. Let me tell you, waiting patiently for other players to come by is not fun. Nor is it fun to take to the seas to seek out other players when many of them have already done it.
I spent north of an hour just looking for other ships in the hopes that I would find someone to help me unlock the commendations. The end result? I either bumped into players that had already done the commendations I was working toward, or players that wanted to sink me sooner than look at me. Mercifully, I found another sloop that was willing to help out. Here, however, is where the second problem came into view. The hardest multi-crew throne to reach is the one that’s located on (damn you Rare, damn you) Marauder’s Arch.
This throne is situated on the tip of the highest point of the island, so much so that your accuracy needs to be pin-point precise or else you’re just going to fly over the island and land in the middle of the sea, or, you’ll hit the wrong angle of the throne and be catapulted, again, well out to sea. It’s not at all fun and it’s far from pleasant. If anything, this made me want to turn off the game rather than continue with it. Furthermore, all of your crew members will need to individually reach this throne to unlock the necessary commendation.
This, more often than not, leads to players leaving the area out of frustration. Those that manage to reach it and unlock their commendation don’t tend to stick around for the rest of your crew to reach this throne, again, forcing you to wait for other players to swing by. I suspect a major problem here is that when a few days time has passed and the majority of players have completed their commendations, the minority will be left dead in the water. If not, their ships will be unmanned while they’re sat up high serving as target practice.
Now that I’ve vented and have gotten all of that built-up rage off my chest, let’s talk about the better aspects of Skeleton Thrones. All of the single-crew thrones had me giggling like never before as I watched my crew-mate (or vice versa) constantly missing the mark. With the removal of the pressure of needing another crew, the result was outstanding. I had a heap of fun trying to reach these particular thrones and it’s here where Skeleton Thrones shined at its brightest. The same can indeed be said about the easier multi-crew thrones.
Don’t get me wrong. I know there will be many players out there that relish the challenge of the harder thrones, but for me, I had the best time when I was going for the solo thrones, or casually spending 10 minutes with another crew chasing after the easier multi-crew thrones. I know my frustrations were shared at the time with those I was playing with, with many of them often giving up because it was too tedious and the reward didn’t justify the time and effort. Still, when all is said and done, Skeleton Thrones is an absolute hoot for the most part.
Events like this will come thick and fast in due course and will serve as a wonderful filler while players wait for the aforementioned content drops. My only hope is that Rare brings a better balance to the game from here on out as far as these events are concerned. There’s roughly three hours of work to get through, though, half of that will be spent on Marauder’s Arch alone, and that’s IF you find a crew that hasn’t already done it or one that’s willing to spend excess amounts of time just for your gain. Either way, it’s new, and new is good.
Moving forward, it would be nice to see some events that revolve around photography or something along the lines of a scavenger hunt. Rare are committed to listening to feedback so I have no doubt whatsoever that these events will become more refined as time moves on. When all is said and done, Skeleton Thrones is a great start and it shows a lot of promise for future events. Did you enjoy it? Have you yet to achieve all commendations? Have you spent an eternity reaching Marauder’s Arch’s throne? Feel free to sound off in the comments below.