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Blakey

Sea of Thieves

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Can everyone +1 @Blakey please, he wrote an entire post about a Microsoft game without any sly digs or backhanded compliments... See? It wasn't that hard was it?

 

Spoiler

Joking, man.... Love you really.❤

 

I'd give you 2 +1's if I could.:D

 

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I absolutely adore this game. 

Playing with decent folks with Mics it’s a magnificent experience, by far and away Microsoft’s best exclusive for a very long time.

Its a very special game, got so many little cool stories to tell and so many magical ‘only in Sea of Thieves’ moments.

 

I teamed up with some folks from the Sea of Thieves Discord group earlier, everyone had mics and it was such a fantastic time.

 

We went doing the usual questing, picking up voyages and finding treasure and stuff. Over a certain period of time our ship sustained a lot of damage from rival ships, we actually ran out of boards fixing it up so when we cashed in all our chests at an outpost we all decided to scuttle it. As it was going under a rival lone dude was searching our ship for loot, we were all just on the beach playing our musical instruments in unison as the ship slowly sunk under the waves, it was a 'moment' just felt so magical and jolly at the same time, we were all giggling like school girl at the absurdity of the situation and what was happening.

 

After this we went back to the usual gameplay loop but got distracted by this lone dude in a boat. We chased after him, exhausting all our cannon supplies trying to sink his ship, he was much more nimble than us so it was quite difficult to track him down, he was firing back at us the entire time too. We must've chased him across the other side of the map before we finally managed to plug him with some cannonballs and sink his ship, killing him when he was swimming in the water afterwards :lol: 

 

I also found out earlier that you can put yourself into a cannon and then fire yourself out of it onto islands, yes it is as fun as it sounds! It's crazy how much you get into the pirate roleplay as well, everyone was using tons of nautical terms on my squad today, left and right became starboard and port and you get an extra kick out of the little details, even remembering to correctly raise and angle the sails with the wind and coordinating with everyone so you don't run into rocks approaching an island is a great moment to experience every time.

 

Folks may be worried that the nature of being able to steal other peoples' loot will make it like the Dark Zone in The Division or something. But it really isn't as bad as that, if you get killed you respawn on your ship, and if your ship gets sunk you wait for a mermaid to appear in the water and you get sent straight back to a new ship somewhere in the world. Yes, you do still lose your loot but that risk/reward aspect is part of the game.

 

I'm so pleased I put a lot more time into this as I really didn't think I would after the Alpha. Quite honestly every time I was playing Monster Hunter World over this weekend I would've rather been on this, and that is something I really didn't expect to be saying.

 

Ultimately it's the little stories folks will make and experience that will make the game, and it seems with the gangbuster viewing numbers on twitch and the servers being full pretty much constantly that Microsoft will have their first proper current gen hit on their hands, I really do think this is a strong GOTY contender already and the full game release will have much more content. I guess the art style will put some folks who prefer the grittier side of gaming aesthetics off it, which is a shame, but I really do think it's worth a go. 

 

It's a phenomenal achievement, Rare’s most definitely back!

 

 

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Been meaning to post some thoughts now the full game is out in the wild but just not had the time until now. It's quite a strange feeling going into a game you've already spent 30-40 hours playing over the Alpha's and Beta's, I purposefully avoided the last Scale Test and FInal Beta so I wouldn't feel burnt out when I got into the final game.

 

So yeah, no impressions here really as everything is covered in my previous posts. I will cover the additions which are access to the two other factions - Merchant Alliance and Order of Souls - along with tons of animals roaming about the islands, more fish and coral in the sea and other bits and pieces like that, there's also the Skeleton Fort raids which are signified by the huge glowing skull in the sky and of course The Kraken. The Gold required to buy items seems to have gone up significantly as well by about 10 x as much but I expect that it was put down low in the beta's so players could test them out.

 

So the Order of Souls is basically a horde mode variant. You travel to a named island then set about killing a few waves of different skeletons (Plant, Shadow, Gold - each having their own weaknesses) and a Pirate Captain. Once the Captain is defeated he'll drop a Skull and you can then cash it in at an outpost later on. The Merchant Alliance tasks you with just collecting a certain number and type of animals - for example 1 white feathered chicken, 1 pink bristled pig, 1 gunpowder barrel - and then bringing it back to a certain outpost on the map within the allocated - generous - time limit.

 

The Treasure Hunting quests which involve riddles are still by far and away my favourite but I like the Order of Souls quests too, definitely adds some much needed variety in there. I'm not sure what to make of the Merchant quests yet though, you have to get these cages from the NPC quest-giver at an outpost, then scope out a number of islands until you spot the animals you like, then have to coax them into a cage/coop and take them back to the outpost, feeding them bananas on the way to keep them alive and making sure they don't drown. Again, it adds some variety to the mix, which is great, but at the same time getting to an island and finding out it doesn't have what you want isn't very satisfying. The comedy aspect of chasing after chickens and pigs though is pretty cool.

 

The other huge addition is the skeleton fort raids. Once every so often you'll encounter a huge glowing skull on the horizon, if you go to it you'll experience a skeleton fort with wave after wave of different skeletons to fight. Just getting in is a pain as the Skeletons have towers manned with cannons that will fire on your ship as soon as you approach, but once you manage it you have to get through about 10-15 waves of Skeletons before defeating the final Captain boss. Once you've done that you can open the Vault with his key and net a very decent 10-15K gold and numerous + reputation levels in the process. These are really fun and the anxiety you feel booking it back to an outpost hoping a rival ship doesn't turn up out of nowhere is incredibly exhilarating. I haven't encountered the Kraken yet so can't comment on that at all.

 

So yeah, I've put about 23 hours in so far, and just like the beta's and alpha's the social aspect is what makes it so engaging so incredibly fun, can't get it out of my mind :wub:

 

Some pics:

 

 

 

 

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Those water effects are beautiful...

 

Quick Pirate joke... Why are Pirates called Pirates?

Spoiler

Cos they arrrrrr!

 

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What's a Pirates favourite drink?

Spoiler

Larrrrrger!

 

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Me and Maf (Matt) from GTM streamed yesterday.

 

 

Also, I promise the amazing Galleon Skeleton raid story is still coming.

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Also some pics of my Pirate and new ship colours: 

 

 

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So after 120 hours I've finally decided to put this game on hiatus.

 

I got to Level 32-32-30 in the three factions after that amount of time, I was just playing the game to enjoy it rather than rank up necessarily, even so that is an obscene amount of time to be relatively far off Pirate Legend status so I've kind of lost motivation.

 

I think the reveal about what Pirate Legend status meant and the associated benefits - or lack thereof - really put a dampener on my PL ambitions. Once you reach PL status you get a cool outfit, access to a secret hideaway placed underneath a tavern - which you have to play a special tune using the musical instruments to unlock - and that's about it. 

 

Once you get down to this hideout you can access the extremely lucrative Pirate Legend missions. The issue is though that there's no new type of voyages introduced, it is just an amalgamation of the three existing factions bungled together into one voyage. On top of this you're presented with another grind to get a new Ghost PL outfit - Athena's Fortune - along with some custom paintjobs for your ship.

 

Everything else is either not unlocked at the moment or isn't going to be available until the planned 'HUGE' 3 month update drops in late July.

 

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the game though, it has provided me with some of my favourite moments I've ever had in games, when this game is good it is damn good. But likewise, when something awful happens you just want to be done with it and never switch it on again.

 

Two examples. This amazing raid I did with this group of guys, we fought off galleon after galleon and eventually got the fort key from the dead captain. We decided to stash it by swimming under water to the nearest rock formation and leaving it here to pick up later, letting the rival Galleon sink us so they'd think we'd already lost/used the key. 2 people on the ship led this rival galleon on a merry dance whilst me and the other guy went to this rock formation, I died due to shark bite, likewise with my comrade.

 

We respawn at the ship and go back to the rock formation near the fort once the rival galleon is off our tail. We're frantically looking around for 20-30 minutes in the water for this tiny key, my comrade seems to know exactly which rock he died out and looked around it 3 or 4 times, I was looking around too but more in hope that expectation. 

 

After this amount of time had passed we were about to leave the game and accept defeat, not being able to find the lost key. I said to the rest of them 'well I might as well have one last look where you died', so I looked around this rock formation in the water for another 1-2 minutes and I saw something floating under the water near the bedrock. As I swam towards it I saw it was the key, the issue was no matter how many times I mashed X on my controller I couldn't pick it up, I had to switch to keyboard and mash E/F and eventually picked it up.

 

The best part of it was telling the other guys I was playing with that I found it. Everybody went fucking bananas and I felt like I was some kind of superhero that just defeated a villain, it was one of the most incredible moments I've ever experienced in gaming, everyone at first in denial thinking I was joking about having it, then the realisation when I kept saying 'guys, I've found the key' and the sudden realisation 'no, no, no, no, no YOU MUST BE FUCKING SHITTING ME' were their reactions. These 3 dudes I'd just met on a discord channel all lauding me like Superman and the genuine joy and excitement in their voices, it was fucking amazing.

 

But then another example is when we did a different fort, some dude decided to hide the key in a 'secret spot' in the sails on the ship, assuring us that he wouldn't lose it....of course he lost it and our last 2 hours worth of efforts taking the fort were in vein. Likewise the time a few days ago when 6 hours went by with only 1 skull raid to show for it because it was either too hard or me and the folks I was with made too many mistakes attempting to get the key. On the final attempt we managed to track down and steal the key from a rival galleon, stash it on an island and then be chased for the next 1.5 hours, only to go back to the island stash to find out it had either disappeared or it had been taken by a random at some point. Points like that in the game are just so disappointing and annoying, 6 hours of play and 0 to show for it in the slightest.

 

The social interaction between people and even the randoms you meet out in the world is what makes the game. The factions - whilst repetitive - serve a purpose, they are there to get you and friends to have fun, interact and communicate with one another, likewise with how the various tasks on the Galleon need to be performed. But the issue is that the carrot on the end of the stick is more like some mouldy carrot that has been half eaten by a Donkey at the moment. The juice just isn't worth the squeeze.

 

I look forward to going back, and will still dip a toe in every now and then but I don't really care if I reach PL status by this time next year or not now, if it happens it happens, if it doesn't it doesn't. I've still had a whale of a time along the way.

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I had a go on this today, just shy of 3 hours I spent on it. After listening to @Blakey fawn over it the experience I had has me thinking this...

 

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Biggest take away from the whole experience? The Xbox One X is a lovely bit of kit. I understand where the love for that bit of hardware comes from, coupled to a 4k TV I don't think anything could rival how things look on that machine. It's astonishing.

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I did say you wouldn’t have a great time with it with randoms or solo to be fair.

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I played with 3 friends. Although we had to deal with 1 random for about an hour because someone had to leave. Barely changed the overall experience though.

 

It's a novel concept and it looks stunning, but that's where the good points end.

 

I've seen a lot of people reference No Mans Sky when comparing to this game. I've not played NMS, but the closest thing I can line this game up to to something I have played is PlayStation Home. Because that's what it is, SoT is basically a chatroom where occasionally something happens.

 

The things that do happen are so engaging that they feel like the shit never ending missions that generate in Skyrim. Go here. Catch a chicken. Go back. Go There. Fight some skeletons. Come back. Go somewhere. Solve a riddle. Get a chest and take it back. It's this over and over again.

 

It wouldn't be bad if the hook was there. The thing that drove you to do all these things was interesting, but it isn't. You work out where you're going, you raise the anchor and you go on your way. And that's it. You can have anywhere up to 5 minutes or more of dead time. It could be more, it could be less. It's fucking shit. Me and the lads decided to kill this time by climbing to the crows nest and then jumping to our deaths over and over. Because there's fuck all to do. You sort of beg for another ship to show up so you can have something to do. Speaking of which...

 

The PvP is fucking terrible. I'm not entirely sure how it works, but at one port were were at we got fired on and lost the ship. Another ship spawned and that got sunk before we could get to it. When the next ship come in we managed to get on it and this time we sunk each others ships. Then when the ships came in again we all made a rush to each other and we were on what we thought was our ship, which we seemed to fight these guys off for ages until one of our guys noticed we were on their ship because all the stuff was respawning or something? I don't even know. We unknowingly spawn camped their ship though, which is shit. Shit design. Also the guns are awful, they just feel terrible to use, I know that's the period they've set the games in and they're sort of tempered to that sort of fighting, but they're just awful. If all 4 of you pick out a crew member to stab you win. Not that winning matters, because I honestly couldn't give a fuck about the stuff we collected to turn in.

 

Talking about the melee stuff as well. The bits where you're sent to kill the skeletons. The fighting in Minecraft is deeper. Minecraft! The only thing that's dangerous when fighting the skeletons seems to be the other players, which randomly show up. The combat has as much depth as the skeletons can cope with when you walk them, to the water. Walk them to the water and kill them at your leisure. Or just kill them at your leisure anyway, it's not hard. I understand there's meant to be harder mobs to fight, but unfortunately I didn't see anything like that during my time with the game. I noticed that some skeletons were covered in gold or moss and that they had strengths and weaknesses, but dispatching them was never hard. Just dull. The kind of MMO go kill x amount of mobs dull.

 

They say that friends can make anything better, I'd hate to think what this would be like without them. At best I spent time catching up with friends I'd not seen for a few weeks. At worst I made us go to that dive bar that none of us like but we all go there anyway because it's the closest social space we all share.

 

This is a husk of a game. It's OK saying that more's coming, but that's not really good enough when this is a fucking £40 release right this minute. As it stands this is one of those Summer of XBLA games that everyone froths over that in retrospect is actual shit. Looking at the metacritic sites I'm truly astonished that this got anything over a 40%. Nice water effects aside  (and they are amazingly pretty, especially from underneath when you're swimming) this game offers so little to the user that it's just reinforced my opinion that this will go off a cliff if something isn't done to salvage.

 

Sea of Thieves? Nah, more like Crock of Shite. Truly a wasted opportunity if ever I saw one.

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I'm surprised you even played it to be honest @Sly Reflex the mere suggestion of you joining me in the open beta for free was met with a 'not into pirate games, not interested' response :lol: likewise with my repeated offers of a Game Pass Free 14 Day Trial that I have available (if anyone else wants it let me know by the way).

 

I agree with most of your points, I don't think SoT is an excellent game per se but some of the experiences and bonds I've formed (explained at length in previous posts) I've never had in any previous game. The combat is shallow yes, the missions are repetitive yes, there is only 1 type of enemy yes etc. but I don't play it because of that I play it to feel a certain way, and it's incredibly difficult to describe.

 

When you first spawn and you hear the music in the tavern playing, the trees at the outpost gently swaying in the wind against a beautiful sunset. Then you get on a boat and you're setting everything up with your crew, working out where to go etc. and then you set off into the open seas and someone will open their concertina or hurdy-gurdy and start playing one of the shanty's whilst you watch the waves and islands roll by with all the reflections bouncing off the surface. It's just phenomenal and can't be matched, above everything else it just has a fantastic sense of place and gives you an experience you can't really have anywhere else - AC4 is the closest example but even then there's no PvP. It just fills me with joy like no other game can, I can't help but get a big dumb smile on my face every damn time even after the amount of hours I've put into it.

 

I will say as well that I don't really think you've seen all the game has to offer in 3 hours. There's probably huge swathes of the map you've not been to and I doubt you did a Skeleton Fort in that time, admittedly once you have seen everything there's not much else there but I think that's when you hit 20 hours rather than 3 I'd argue.

 

As one of the most obstinate people I know, I know you're not likely to come back anytime soon but if you fancy giving it a second chance with me and some folks from the SoT ERA/SoT community discord I'm always here and I think you'll enjoy it more. That invitation is open to anyone as well.

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I honestly don't think the game in its current form could be any more enjoyable even with the worlds best company. It's a pirate themed chatroom.

 

Initially it leaves such a great impression too. It's so full of character and charm when you jump in the lobby that's it's hard not to be won over, but it's such a thin veneer over what barely constitutes to be a game that that feeling goes right out the window.

 

I'm not ruling out never ever playing again, but it'll be a long time before I come back. They need to fill out the world they've crafted here with stuff to do that's actually worth a time investment. It's currently a fairground with no rides. Completely pointless.

 

I'd have been so angry if I'd have invested anything more than the handful of hours I spent on it. It's barely worth the sub to Game Pass as it stands. There's less game there than running patrols on Destiny. It's kind of beguiling that it hasn't been crucified by press.

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