Sea of Thieves is Terrible - Change My Mind

Nov 24, 2019
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I took a dive into Sea of Thieves and I've gotten about 4-5 hours in.

The character creation process is arduous. Clearly, it's automatically generating random selections based on an assembly of character customization aspects. Can't I just have sliders and presets, please?

As soon as I'd gotten through Maiden Voyage, I did as I was told and grabbed the map from the Gold Hoarders, went out to head to the island. Dug it up, and was immediately repeatedly slaughtered by a four-man crew. I don't even know how ships work yet, and I'm being gank-griefed for my newb loot. So they sink my ship, because that's just funny, and I end up on the other side of the map. I sail south, and have the fun fortune of driving into a gigantic storm which I barely make it out of alive, and narrowly avoid a kraken.

I return to the game the following day, to re-do the previous quest. I succeed, more careful this time, though it does take a few Google searches to figure out how exactly to drop a chest. I do 2-3 "quests" and bring the chests, skulls, gems back for a few hundred gold. The gold, I'm led to understand, is used exclusively for changing my cosmetics, and that's it.

Is...is this the game? This does not seem to be a full game. A game would have some kind of content. This is like a really well-fleshed out tech prototype of some sort, or a very complex mod for Unreal Tournament. Am I the game in this instance? I can certainly see the zen-like appeal of roving the oceans looking for plunder, but there doesn't seem to be any kind of point to it. Usually setups like this have a kind of progression system, or something that lends a little more heft to the exchange of time and skill over the experience of playing. This just lays the exchange out flat - a long hallway of go get treasure, return, cash in for cosmetics, repeat. All while either obliterating other players through sheer force of numbers or being obliterated yourself.

There doesn't appear to be a curve - more a plateau, for both learning and gameplay itself.

Am I missing something? Have any of you tried Sea of Thieves and found it to be enjoyable and worthy of your time and attention? If so, let me know how and what I'm doing wrong.

-JP
 
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Nov 24, 2019
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Alright, so it's a day off, I figured I'd give it another go.

I logged in, took a few quests, dug up buried treasure, turned it in for a measly amount of gold. While out, I saw spirits on the horizon, a thin stream of white energy coming from a shipwreck off the distance. So I spent 15-20 minutes getting to it, narrowly avoiding cannon fire from a nearby fortress. I parked my ship just out of range of the fortress cannons, and dove to the shipwreck. Aha! A sapphire mermaid gem! Grabbed and tucked soundly on the ship, I returned for more.

Only diving in to look back to see my ship being set fire to by some random person.

Someone explain to me how this game is supposed to be fun? The effort involved in player-killing is GREATER THAN the effort of seeking out quests that exist. That is to say, the energy invested in being an actual butthole to others is significantly greater than just doing and doing your own thing, with massively lower reward-to-time ratio. I could understand it if the reward for the massively higher levels of effort spent murdering other players at least could net you a sizable and tidy sum greater than independent action, but it doesn't appear to be that way. Predatory actions are taken at a direct cost to time that could be spent finding chests/gems. In fact, in many instances, it appeared that they were laying in wait for prey.

I can understand PvP for PvP's sake. I can understand PvP for gain's sake. This is neither. Is endgame of "git gud" as an investiture in technique, skill, and refinement in play in Sea of Thieves ultimately culminate in spending my time hoping some day-old newbie stumbles into a meticulously-laid trap for nominal financial gain? What a weird, sad game.
 
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Frindis

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Jan 14, 2020
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The game can be pretty hard on a fresh solo player. Even the smallest ship, the sloop, is meant to be used by two people for more comfortable ship management. There are a few solo sloopers around, but the learning curve is quite steep and against bigger ships, you are most likely going to get destroyed. When it comes to making gold and exploration aspects of the game it is possible to enjoy smalls things like fishing/cooking, picking up treasure, doing tasks, battle against ghost ships, skeleton forts or megalodon/Kraken, finding sunken ships, rob players/infiltrate a group of players and using said money for customizing your ship, items, and character. For many, the goal of SoT is to get enough achievement so you can call yourself a pirate legend and get access to your own pirate hangout.

The problem, as you mentioned, is that there is a risk of doing this. This risk comes not only from the random pirate who just wants to rob you but from the organized crews that are looking for the motherload. You see, while you might be digging up a small treasure from an island and minding your own business making your way to the nearest outpost, there are people scouting out the seas looking for anyone whom might be on a very profitable quest or who they suspect having something on the ship valuable for them.

How to avoid this? Well, you can't. What you can do though, is joining a party and become stronger on the seas. Having more manpower means that you can also do harders tasks that nets you faster gold than you would by yourself on a solo sloop. That said, there are some players out there with the skills to even down a gallion and take their loot easily just by boarding their ship, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

When I played SoT I particularly enjoyed going on skeleton fort runs. Basically you will see a red skull (At least I think it was red) in the sky and you can travel to the fort and fight waves of pirates before getting to the final boss and the treasure vault. What is so fun with this is that while you are fighting with your crew, there is a very high chance that other ships will be sneaking around (watch out for the fog) and you might end up having to defend your treasure. Some might even tuck/hide on your ship, waiting for the perfect moment and then light the biggest dynamite barrel there are, blowing your ship up to smithereens.

Tyler Wilde sums it up perfectly:

'By yourself, it's either slightly ponderous and peaceful, or frustrating as groups of two-to-four hound you, killing you or sinking your ship just because they can. With random crewmates who silently drop your anchor in the middle of the ocean for no reason, it's obviously a complete wash. But with friends or a good group from matchmaking—I've been matched with a couple fun crews, though plenty of assholes, too—the first five or so hours of Sea of Thieves gush with discovery and surprise and jovial stupidity.'
- https://www.pcgamer.com/sea-of-thieves-pc-review/
 
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Nov 24, 2019
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Thanks Frindis. So you're saying, basically, stop being salty, suck it up, and git gud? A team is required for an enjoyable experience, in essence.
 
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Frindis

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@jpishgar Well, the salty part I can promise you will be there, especially when it comes to the loot or losing a fight from someone who is just being the worst kind of player. Thankfully I have never experienced losing much valuable loot, but I have seen some videos from people who have been on very long voyages, we are talking hours, gathering extremely valuable loot only to get it ripped from their hands just moments from delivering it to the vendor. That pain, offffff!

'A team is required for an enjoyable experience.'. For the most parts, a resounding yes.
 
Nov 24, 2019
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I may reconsider it again at some point, bearing what you've said in mind. I'm not thrown aback by PvP or predatory player actions in games like this (I come from Shadowbane, grand-daddy of players scourging players), but the risk-to-benefit with the payoff didn't seem quite right to me here.

In keeping with the nautical theme and going a more solo route, I'm off to give Subnautica a go!
 
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PCG Chris

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Dec 9, 2019
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I have never gotten 'gud' at Sea of Thieves but still enjoy it a lot. Soloing can be tough but I do it about half the time I play. It's very tense once I've gotten a decent haul on my ship and I'm terrified of losing it (and have occasionally lost it) and sometimes other players have ruined my fun, definitely. But I've had tons of hours of enjoyment without ever running into enemy players, too.

I typically pick up a few valuables via a quest or just by randomly exploring (I like to look for shipwrecks) and then sail nervously to an outpost to sell it. I don't make much money but I still have a nice time! A big part of it is I find the world so wonderfully lovely.

It's true, some players just want to fight even if there's no reward, some will hound you endlessly even if you're not threat and have no treasure. And it can be irritating, but that's the game to them. I always raise my alliance flag to signal I'm not looking for trouble, and I stock up immediately on a few exploding barrels from an inactive skull fort. If someone chases me, I try to get them right behind me and then start dumping the barrels out the back of my ship. Doesn't always work, but it's satisfying when they run over a barrel and lose a mast!
 
Jan 14, 2020
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I think this game is completely pointless if you play it alone. That said, I do have some fun with the game. I have a group of friends and we kind of play it like a D&D Group. Which means we intend to play it every 2 weeks, but in reality we only play it like once per month.

Than its good fun and we play it for 3-4 hours. It works (for me) because we have different personalities on our ship with different aspirations to the session One guy is properly interested in playing effectively. Another guy is pretty relaxed and I try to mildly annoy everyone else.
 
May 5, 2020
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The problem with Sea of Thieves is it pretty much requires group play and larger the group the better. The problem again is compounded when its harder to find a regular group to join.

But if you have a Large group like 8 - 12 people then all of a sudden it becomes really fun to see 3 ships travel together as a large fleet.
 
Jun 9, 2020
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I've played SoT's for a LOT, and I truly love the game above most other games that I have ever played. Here's why.

1. It is a truly skill based game.

Every time you join the game, you start out with a basic ship that has all the same capabilities of any other ship of the same type. If you are in a sloop, you know exactly what strengths and weaknesses anyone else sailing a sloop has. If you are on a galleon, you know exactly what strengths and weaknesses anyone else sailing a galleon has.

Every weapon has the exact same capabilities as the same type weapon that anyone else has. Every sword does the same damage as every other sword, and every sniper rifle does the exact same damage as every other sniper rifle.

In terms of weaponry and ships, you will never lose a fight simply because the other person or crew is able to deal out more damage than you using the same equipment.

This is absolutely awesome because while I love games like ARK, it is quite annoying to lose a fight against someone simple because you have a basic weapon and someone else has a special version of that same weapon that puts out more damage per shot.

2. Crew Cohesion MATTERS.

I typically play this game with my buddy, Bronco Inu, running a 2-man sloop, and we consistently dominate larger crews. We are able to do this because we work very well together. We both solo sloops when we are not playing together so that each of us knows exactly how to manage a ship on our own if needed. Additionally, we communicate, not yell orders at each other, when we are in a battle, and we share the workload. Neither of us get stuck doing the boring job like cooking meat. Most importantly, we actively do our jobs on the ship without having to be told. You'll never see one of us doing all the work while the other one sits around fishing, drinking, or playing music.

Contrast that to most galleon crews you see. Most galleons are crewed by 4 randoms. These are people who do not know each other, are not apt to take orders from each other, and most definitely are not on the same wavelength regarding strategy with each other.

Quick story: I was solo slooping and saw a galleon, so I decided to test how good they were. As I came up on their ship, Two of them began cannoning themselves towards me to board. The other two hopped began shooting cannonballs at me. I saw that nobody was working the sails or helm to get a better shot on me as I maneuvered closer. I began looping around their ship from a comfortable distance, raising and lowering the sails to get shots on them as I could, and specifically targeted the second level of their hull. After a few minutes of firing, bypassing the boarders in the water, and how they were reacting on their ship, it was obvious that they did not have a unified strategy, and no-one seemed concerned about the second-level hull damage I was inflicting. The fight was already over before I ever boarded their ship. A few solid shots to the lower hull, and a couple of blunderbombs to soften them up, then I raised my sails to slow my ship and I fired myself over with the sole purpose of just keeping them busy. Killed two, then ran around constantly healing myself while the other two chased me, until they eventually killed me. A quick trip to the ferryman and back, turned my ship, and cannoned myself towards them just in time to hear the same toxic gloats and insults they had just been slinging at me before I died, now being directed at each other. They were all angry and in a panic. The few holes I had put in the lower level had filled the bottom while they were busy chasing me around their ship, and since there were so many un-repaired holes in the second level, the flood was unstoppable. Mopped them up, got a mermaid back to my sloop, then sweeped up all of their loot.

Their numbers did not matter. They were disorganized and sloppy and it cost them their loot and the embarrassment of a galleon losing a fight against a single guy on a small ship.

3. It is a truly social game.

There are plenty of other games that you can meet other players in, but from what I've seen, there are not that many that are really cooperative. To run a big ship in SoT's, you have to work together with others. All of the players that I sail with, I've met online. Even now, I will put on my basic sailor outfit and board a galleon of random players just to find one to join my Pirate Legend crew. I will agree that there are tons of....whats the nice word for them........ill-mannered people out there, and it can be hard to find other players who you enjoy playing the game with, but that is more a reflection of people in general, not simply a reflection on the SoT community. However, once you find others that you enjoy playing the game with, and that work as teammates with you to manage the ship, your crew can become near-unstoppable. Even without finding crew-mates for your ship, if someone offers you the option to become part of their alliance, you really should take the offer. Besides showing up on their map, there really isn't that much of a downside, and you can make far more money faster in alliance than doing stuff with just your crew. Besides, you may just find more crew-mates to sail with through the alliance.
 
Jan 14, 2020
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I haven't read all the post. But I did want to say, I find this game very interesting in theory. I haven't tried it because I don't have friends that would try this game (we do play some stuff togheter but I would like to try other things) . And I'm not very "sociable" to connect to people online easily.
So that is basically what is keeping me from playing these kind of games.
 
May 5, 2020
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The Problem with Sea of Thieves is it requires 2 things from the players.

1. The players need Friends ( Sea of Thieves is not a game you solo - no matter what anyone tells you )
2. You and your Friends need a sense of humor.

The problem with Public Matchmaking is if you get an overly serious person you will not enjoy the game ( Unless its some sort of Role play thing )

And without 2 - 3 Buddies to be with you on the ship you are going to be seriously outmatched by other players that simply will Gank you if you go for a treasure island.

Essentially the Bigger the Fleet you are part of the more you will Enjoy.
 

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