Sea of Thieves – So Good It Broke The GOTY Rulebook

How pirate are you?

Are you pirate enough to launch from a cannon onto another ship? Are you pirate enough to fight cutlass to cutlass and save your hard earned chest from looting thieves? Are you pirate enough to do what you never thought possible?

If you’re nodding your head in accord then welcome to the Sea Of Thieves, my favorite and highly lauded game of the year for 2019. “But why are you naming a two year old game?” you may wonder. Well, in my defence I’m stating that this game is ever changing and in that way becomes forever new.

Sea Of Thieves has been around longer than just 2019, but it’s in this year I can truly say that this particular first person sandbox adventure has been taken to a whole new level of awesome, demonstrating ably how it has been able to carry itself forward for so long. Lacking in content is a term that became synonymous with SoT back in 2017, but now that is laughable as almost the opposite is true – there’s too much content some players will argue – and we are loving it. The team at Rare have done an amazing job with selecting the right bunch of pirates to pull this off. With directive talents and hard working developers bringing new content every month AND still finding the time to keep everyone updated constantly on social media, the team have well earned the rewards they have received and I will not be surprised to see them win many more.

So what is Sea of Thieves? SoT is a pirating adventure game available to purchase on Xbox and PC and also available for download via Xbox Game Pass, wherein lies the goal to become a pirate legend and fulfil your pirating dream in a colorful and vibrant world full of danger and adventure. A world of pirate lords and impressive galleons manned by skeleton crews, A world with secret treasures to find and hidden islands to discover.

You start your adventure by waking up in a strange tavern, with a mysterious figure explaining how you have had a rather festive evening of celebration upon your arrival to the seas and now it’s time to learn the basics. Learning quickly how to locate and find treasure, you now have the ability to buy voyages from different trading companies. These can come in a variety of ways. Gold Hoarders are known for their love of gold and treasure. The Order Of Souls are known for their interest in skulls containing knowledge and the Merchant Traders, who are always looking for animals, cargo crates and gun powder kegs. Once you buy a voyage from one of these traders you can set sail again, but don’t forget to stock your boat with food, planks and cannonballs before you leave as the trip ahead could prove rather risky.

Before you lies the Sea of Thieves; an open world environment based on vast open waters and tropical islands which you’ll need to navigate using your compass and world map, found on your map table located on the ship. Many dangers lurk in the open waters, giant Megalodons can rise up through the waves or you may get a visit from the Kraken, wrapping her tentacles tightly around the boat, squeezing and causing damage. This is where planks come in, very handy for repairing holes on your vessel. When reaching an island, I’d advise to raise sails and only drop the anchor when you see a storm coming as raising the anchor again can take up precious time especially when another player ship sails in for a fight. Skeletons are the enemy on land with many different variations, from Shadows, that require you to raise your lantern before you can attack at night, to Gold skeletons, who like water being thrown upon them using your trusty bucket.

OK, OK, so you know how to sail. Lets move on to some of the more recent events which makes Sea of Thieves so addictive and keeps pulling players back. Content… and a lot of it. Sea of Thieves has held on strong by adding regular content updates, fixes and commendations to each monthly event and tying in with those commendations are cosmetics which you can buy, earn or simply just be rewarded for by logging in at times. Some players have made it their goal to collect every cosmetic in the game; this requires a lot of downtime, so when you see a spiffy ship come roaring in beside yours, you can pretty much guess they have been sailing for a while and are good at the game – so beware.

Coming to the end of the Shrouded Spoils update which finished earlier in the year and brought us the marvellous lighting effects of fog to the seas. The Sea of Thieves Anniversary Update, released 30th April, is one of the biggest updates of 2019, which saw story and lore become a huge part of what we know today, with the addition of Tall Tales providing insight to many characters and the addition of even more within the world. The further addition of The Arena for the battle hungry pirates gave every player willing a quicker, more challenging experience, with more gold awarded if you see yourself through to victory.

Next came the memorable Smugglers Fortune update which brought us the Pirate Emporium and our very own pets. The fact that you can have a little pirate legend running around by your side is adorable; many pirates have taken to owning either a monkey or bird these days, whether it be a Parakeet or Capuchin along with many more varieties, you will find a pet that suits you. This update also brought us our first purchasable emotes which gave your pirate a unique look and a new way to interact with other pirates.

The Fort Of The Damned was a surprising update for all players, as learning that an entire Fort had been dedicated to a Halloween event had the knock on effect of making it the most sought after Fort in the game. Pirates would be alerted that this Fort was active due to a giant red-eyed skull cloud looming above and would call players to this location. Still a challenging Fort to complete, players to this day try to tackle this beast of an island and defeat the powerful pirate lord GreyMarrow.

When we all thought the seas couldn’t get any more dangerous, Sea of Thieves introduces fire. Shot from your cannon or being able to wield as a sort of hand grenade, fire has change a lot of gamer’s play styles and has kept the seas interesting and challenging. The Seabound Soul update brings us beauty with devastation. Accompanied with a great soundtrack which you can find on Spotify, we also see an addition to the Tall Tales in which we see ourselves being led by a now freed Sir Arthur Pendragon, on a ghost hunt to learn the grim stories of a weary crew and the rebirth of a force so fierce we shall not mention its name.

Bringing us to the last update for the year, the festival of giving which finishes just on the other side of the year in early 2020. An event based on the tradition of Christmas and sharing on the seas. During this festive season you are sent on voyages across the map to uncover gifts and in the true nature of the event, give them to other players and share in the spirit of the holidays. Along with gifts we also see the addition of new pirate lords to tackle… or drop a powder keg next too.

So there you have it, a quick rundown of all the major updates and additions to Sea Of Thieves in the last year with many more topics that I didn’t even touch upon but I’ll let you find them out for yourselves – I don’t want to spoil all your fun. But for many it does not end there my friend, oh no. Being a sandbox adventure game many crews have decided to make themselves part of Sea of Thieves making their own personal support crews and help other pirates via social media and Discord channels.

Two of these groups in particular that go out their way for others is the crews of the CSVRobinhood and the crew On The Map. If you’ve not heard of these pirates, check out their Twitter and the effort they put in to helping other pirates reach their goal via loot-stacking.

Many legends have found fame and fortune also in the form of YouTube, Mixer and Twitch like the notorious Captain Falcore, Carrillo, KroTukk and GullibleGambit just to name a few of the awesome players that I follow and watch on social media, and all make great Sea Of Thieves content and more. Many pirates are know for their superb screenshots and creativity like the trigger happy Captain Ballzonia. Some pirates like the popular Dread Pirate Doug hold in-game races, ships against ships in a battle to win some pretty cool Sea of Thieves merchandise from creators like NerdPropellant. I’d advise any new pirate on the seas to check out all of these creators, it’s just amazing how much effort and planning is involved and how much they believe in a game to put this much detail and even create a career from doing so.

Pirate Legend is a goal worth celebrating and an achievement to be proud of as levelling or ‘grinding’ can take a couple months to achieve for a casual player. But things are a bit easier these days with different currencies and more treasures to trade in. I remember a time when we had none of these features and sailing was a lot simpler – har har, now that was a grind!

Let me tell you stories from my own book. I’ve meet so many crews and crew members while sailing the seas, it blows my mind when you see a particular gamer tag or meet a familiar pirate. Crews like the USS Happy Meal, which arrived at the last minute and decided to help us and not the other ship, saved our loot and returned it all plus more. We rejoiced and sailed on as a new alliance is formed.

Another is the famous Sea Of Thieves Police Department or SOTPD who I had the chance of sailing with. Flashing our red and blue lanterns while calling out stereo-typical comments though the speaking trumpet like “license and registration please” just made me laugh and all round just have a good time.

That’s what Sea of Thieves is; it is what you make it. Sail off into the horizon with the wind at your back and see what comes of it. You might come across a way to make the Sea of Thieves a bigger and brighter world, all you need is a ship, a cutlass and a little imagination. This is why I named Sea Of Thieves my Game of the Year, for all these reasons and more.

Congratulations Rare, you have my vote.

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Written by
Hey gamers! Dj Redcap here, been a gamer for years. A passion for video games since the early days of Atari Pong to the modern ages of Xbox One X, I've seen the Sega Master System, the NES, the Dreamcast, GameCube and all the rest. Born 1984, I have seen some great video game advances over the years and I'm glad to be here for them all. Hail from a small dot down the bottom end of Australia and proud to support Xbox. Feel free to hit me up on Xbox GT: vv Dj Redcap vv or twitter @Dj_Redcap

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