Editorial: Sea of Salt, or is Sea of Thieves a Game Changer?

Reviews Sea of Thieves

It’s finally here. After all the betas and the stress tests, Xbox and PC gamers can finally get their hands on Rare’s newest game, Sea of Thieves. The sea of reviews, and apparently lots of salt, has been flowing across the internet. In my opinion, Sea of Thieves is a game changer.

Editorial: Sea of Salt, or is Sea of Thieves a Game Changer?

In case you’ve been living under a salt rock: Sea of Thieves is an open-world multiplayer game on Xbox and PC. You play as a pirate, solo or with a full crew, and sail the high seas seeking challenging fights, treasures, and other pirates to rob blind. It is produced by Rare.

Sea of Salt

I won’t name names, but there are a few articles out there making absolutely absurd statements about Sea of Thieves. One particularly harsh review claimed the game is actually no more than “5 or 10 percent” of a completed title. I would love to know the math behind that statement, and how exactly a game that has been worked on for many years is only 5 or maybe 10% finished. This particular writer has been known to bash the Xbox brand since his red ring of death back on the Xbox 360, so if you are reading this I will tell you one thing: Take those opinions with a grain of salt.

As with any open world game that pits you against other people, there can be players who will look to troll (harass) you. Although, maybe you didn’t read the title of the game? It’s called Sea of Thieves. What are pirates going to do but try to loot and steal your stuff? That being said, it can allow for bad experiences so Rare has put a few things in the game that help offset this.

One of those options is being able to manually scuttle your ship from the menu. If you are being griefed by someone, you will die and then auto respawn on your ship. The aggressive players may wait for you to return and kill you again, but there is one handy tool to prevent this. Go into the Crew Menu and scuttle your ship. Your loot and your ship will go down in a blaze of glory and respawn at another location, giving you a chance to flee or prepare for the fight.

Can You Play Solo?

Yes. The quick and simple answer is yes. I played for a solid two days by myself. As I stated before, there is always room for trolls in a game set in a massive PvP sandbox, but Rare has given you ways to try to prevent that. I also learned that you can hide your chest on nearby islands. In one such instance, I was sailing too fast and ran aground the island where I was meant to try to find some buried treasure. It was too late for me to save my ship, so I grabbed my treasure chest, swam ashore, and hid it under some foliage.  I swam out to get our friendly neighborhood mermaid to respawn me at my ship. I then simply sailed back to the island I was at and grabbed both my chests.

Is playing solo the best experience? No. Arguably, playing with a group certainly makes this game way more enjoyable. The solo experience offered me something most would not expect, however: A chance to chill. I found myself just looking at the horizon. It was absolutely beautiful. The art style, the water, all of it gave me such an immersed feeling.

Editorial: Sea of Salt, or is Sea of Thieves a Game Changer?

Editorial: Sea of Salt, or is Sea of Thieves a Game Changer?

A $60 Game?

Yes, this game is a $60 dollar game, and allow me to expand on this thought for a moment. From the very beginning stages of development, Executive Producer Joe Neate and other crew members have said that the way they have gone about making this game is to make it easy to add items, cosmetics, and gameplay elements. Many were upset at the “lack of content” in the game, but this is what Rare has been saying from the beginning. Neate had a great quote in this recent IGN article stating this again,

“Sea of Thieves is designed from the ground up to be a game that grows and evolves, and we will release new cosmetic options ongoing as part of that, alongside new mechanics and ways to play. Our focus for launch is on delivering a great initial experience, and as we move beyond launch we will be assessing and reacting to player feedback across all areas of the game. We have worked with our community throughout the development of Sea of Thieves, and that will continue in exactly the same manner beyond launch.”

What makes Sea of Thieves a $60 game to me? It’s got good bones, and the playground has been set with this launch. There are so many possibilities that can be added to this game. Raids, clans, seasons, fishing contests, mod support, events, and so many more options are possible. Rare’s options are endless, and with their openness and willingness to listen to the community, I’m excited about Sea of Thieves’ potential.

In my opinion, this game is a game changer. Sea of Thieves enables playing rather than just gameplay. Rare has provided us with this massive playground where we, the gamers, get to participate in the game and the experiences we can have. This is why many, including myself, agree that playing with a full crew makes the game that much more fun. This game breeds shenanigans, but that does not discount how fun the game can be while playing alone. It has always been my opinion that the job of a game developer is to create fun, and for all those shouting about lack of content, well, I find myself playing for hours and still having fun. 

Editorial: Sea of Salt, or is Sea of Thieves a Game Changer?

(source unknown)

I feel like after years of conditioning, gamers start to think a certain way about games, namely that games are all about gameplay. They may be missing out on very fun titles, like Sea of Thieves. As I stated before, making games and playing games should be about creating an environment of fun and having fun playing it. For me, this game accomplishes both.

Final Score

I have to give this game a solid 8/10. The reason for that particular score is for the sheer potential I see coming from this game. There are so many more layers that Rare can put into the game moving forward, and I can’t help but be excited for the future of this game. With good bones and the fun factor, I think Sea of Thieves is a game you would want to play.

Co-founder of MHG, Podcast Host for Analog Assault Podcast and The Bendu Podcast

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