Sea of Thieves was released with high expectations in 2018, with the grand promise of legendary sea battles. And while SoT made good first impressions for an open-world pirate game, it quickly lost its appeal through the highly repetitive missions, and the extensive grind towards the ‘prestige’ levels of the game, referred to as Pirate Legend.
Something immediately apparent in SoT compared to other games is the lack of real levels or progression. But this does not mean that there isn’t anything to work towards. On the contrary, there are hundreds of goals called Commendations to work towards as you play, fight, and explore. Each one rewards you with a small amount of doubloons, the game’s equivalent of a premium currency. But the real rewards in SoT are the cosmetics. Each milestone and commendation reached can net you some cool new items for either your character or your ship.
All of that is well and good, but no amount of slick sails or shiny toys could make up for the unrewarding grind to Pirate Legend. The missions were repetitive and relatively unrewarding for the amount of time they required, and the game was strife with cheaters and bugs. The game’s one saving grace was in the PvP. Each time you docked your ship to sell your newly acquired loot, you were constantly checking the horizon for other players and ships. I’ll never forget the first time I crested a wave in my little two-man sloop to the sight of a four-crew strong, eight cannon, three-mast galleon. Needless to say, it was terrifying, and my little boat was swiftly sunk, and my loot repossessed. So, while SoT had its flaws, there was still plenty of content to get hooked on.
Thankfully, Sea of Thieves was made and maintained by what has probably become one of my favorite dev teams, Rare. Almost immediately post-launch, Rare was already hard at work in fixing bugs and addressing the complaints of players. With a content update every couple of months, there was always something new being added to keep players entertained and excited for more.
On release, you could fight the Kraken and Megalodon, and Skeleton-controlled ships and fortresses soon followed in the form of World Events that promised a hard fight and buckets of shiny loot. The Anniversary Update brought with it a new PvP arena mode, new hunting and fishing options, and the first story-driven missions that delivered unique loot.
This was the update that marked the return of SoT to a more positive standing in the gaming community. Since then, we’ve gotten a new content update each and every month, delivering new cosmetics, enemies, and ways to fight with each update to make SoT more and more exciting each month. My personal favorites are the additions of the firebombs and chain-shots, making for more diverse and complex battles as you sail the seas.
There has never been a better time to join SoT, with over a dozen story missions, new ways to grind your way to Pirate Legend, and numerous world events to try your hand in. You can truly play however you want, from hunting down buried treasure to hunting down other players under the ominous Reaper’s Mark flag, informing the entire map of your intentions. You can fight fleets of undead ships, blast yourself out of a cannon at your enemies, and discover lost secrets on the bottom of the ocean.
There is still an undeniable grind to get to the higher levels of the game, but with the only real rewards being cosmetics, the reason you return to the Sea of Thieves is not for the levels you get to show off like other games, but for the experiences themselves. I do not find this to be a flaw of the game, but a benefit. There are very few games out there that actively encourage enjoying the game like SoT does. With the constant supply of updates, I have no worries about the future of this incredible game.
So, if you are looking for a unique, fresh, and gorgeous pirate game, Sea of Thieves, checks all of those boxes and more!