Sea of Thieves: Nearly Two Years Later

Last Updated on January 2, 2020

When I talk about Sea of Thieves, the first thing people often tell me is, “I heard that game doesn’t have a lot of content.” Unfortunately, Sea of Thieves has had a bad reputation since its fairly lukewarm release back in March 2018. Now that we’re coming up on two years since then, I wanted to give the game, and its developers, some well-deserved praise.

The game is pretty gorgeous, too.

It’s true that when the game first came out, there wasn’t a lot to do. I originally bought it about a week after launch and I mostly sailed around (sometimes alone, sometimes with a friend), dug up chests, and delivered goods. That was about the extent of the gameplay. Then I would inevitably get sunk after a long and productive haul, losing everything I’d worked so hard to get, getting frustrated, and quitting.

I stopped playing for a long time. It wasn’t until recently I picked the game back up, after stumbling across some videos showcasing some of the new content. I was immediately hooked back in, and even managed to convince a few more friends to pick up the game.

When you get into it, the changes are relatively simple. But there’s a breadth of new content that makes the game so much more enjoyable on every level. The inclusion of fishing adds a whole new dynamic, with a new faction devoted solely to fishing and hunting. 

Random chests and other sellable items on islands are much more plentiful. It’s actually possible to just set out to some island without a voyage and actually make a decent profit. Quests drop from so many other places as well, which gives you more to do in a single voyage. It’s so easy to get items, in fact, that getting your stuff stolen is actually less frustrating.

Sometimes I like to sit amongst the loot and just bask in it.

Things like megalodons and the kraken used to be pretty rare. Now they appear all the time to give you a challenge between destinations. And if you choose to stay and fight them, they can drop a lot of high quality loot. Skeleton ships were also added, for those who want ship battles without PVP.

The biggest addition by far, though, are the Tall Tales. These are story quest lines with varied and semi-randomized objectives. They make you feel almost like a pirate version of Indiana Jones; delving into ancient ruins and solving deathtrap puzzles. One of the first has you matching pictures on pillars as the room you’re in slowly fills with water. Another has you fighting an evil skeleton lord with actual voiced dialogue and special boss phases.

The Tall Tales are the most fun I’ve ever had in Sea of Thieves, and they’re even more fun when played with friends. The game is fine solo, even relaxing at times. But the real fun comes from exploring with friends. Get four people together on a galleon, and fights with other players suddenly become a strategy game, with the helmsman shouting orders and planning three steps ahead to counter your enemy’s plays.

Now, this isn’t to say the game is perfect. As of the time of writing, there are still a number of bugs that continue to plague the game. Matchmaking is handled by the Xbox app, which can sometimes malfunction in the worst ways. There are a few texture and sound bugs. And every time my crew and I have killed a megalodon, we’ve gotten a hitbox glitch that sometimes pushes us off the deck of our ship entirely, or leaves us standing 10 feet above it.

I also know that PVP always being on can be a big turn-off for some people. But this is made a lot more bearable with friends. Safety in numbers and all that, but it’s not terrible. You can outmaneuver bigger ships if you know what you’re doing, and most people aren’t MLG Pros at the game. I’m normally pretty terrible at FPS PVP and I can still usually hold my own in a one on one fight.

All in all, I would definitely recommend a purchase, preferably next time the game goes on sale. It’s an absolute blast. And if you got the game a while back and got bored, definitely give it another shot – I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

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