I continue to explore whether or not a pirate’s life is for me in part two of my Sea of Thieves adventures.
Another week is behind us, which means I’ve had another week’s worth of Sea of Thieves under my belt (assuming a week’s worth is ten hours). The continuing adventures continue to be exciting, with each day bringing something different to the table (though still only one type of grog).
The perennially busy friends of mine are not as available as they all thought, so once again I set out in a sloop with one other. In order to better keep track of who’s the most successful buccaneer, and who’s the most likely to stab me in the back, I should probably give these friends names.
So Captain Tooth Canal and I set sail, looking for the gold and chests and One Piece that would one day make us Pirate Kings. That element has well and truly settled into a groove. The treasure maps may have more x’s, and there may be more treasure maps per questline, but if you’ve dug one hole, you’ve dug them all. But I’m known to repeat activities in order to make money (see: my job), so I still stuck my spade where it didn’t belong.
One thing I’ve come to truly appreciate about Sea of Thieves is just how bad at it I am. Because I’m really bad. But I think Sea of Thieves is a game that is better when you’re bad. Every time I step foot onto an island, I risk being killed by skeletons. Every time I step ship onto the island, I risk losing my ship. Everytime there’s even a solo player on the horizon, I risk losing all my treasure I’ve ever dug up.
It adds a certain tension that I think good, confident players don’t get to experience.
For me, the night landing on a beach that I experienced on Day Five was almost terrifying. There were five marked treasure chests, as well as a collection of washed up hoards of spices, scattered around the map. The decision to split up in the dark, knowing that another ship could sneak up on our island and ship and ruin the mission, had an added weight that made every spawning skeleton that much more effective as a jump scare.
(Full disclaimer: I don’t watch scary movies or play scary games.)
Every time a skeleton would appear, I’d screech for help, but Captain Tooth Canal would either be too far or too late.
Not because I had died (ahem), but because I had already dispatched the, count ‘em, three skeletons.
They’re easy even if you’re bad when they don’t have guns.
With every chest, we’d move the ship a little bit more around the island, searching when we did so for our next absconders. There would surely be a sloop. There was always a sloop. Sloops players were assholes.
Anyway, we moved our sloop around the island as we went, feeling the weight of our booty more with every trip. We’d travel by light of lantern, avoid snakes, fight skeletons, and on occasion dig on the wrong half. In my defense, I was holding the map upside down. Can’t you hold the map upside down?
In my defense, I hadn’t yet learned about the compass (that’s my story and we’re going with it; please do not refer to Sea of Thieves Adventures Part 1).
Miraculously, neither myself nor Captain Tooth Canal perished on that island. In fact, we’d gathered every last speck of gold there ever was! Dawn had come, and there was no one to be seen. It was us, the open ocean, and unlimited freedom and access to any outpost we wanted.
There was also a rock.
I guess there’s always tomorrow.
Captain Tooth Canal has joined me in enjoying the pleasure of wearing women’s clothing on the high seas (people just take you more seriously). To celebrate that and the extra plunder we had on board (and to mourn the loss of all the other gold we didn’t get), we decided to see what was beyond the beyond, to find out what would happen if you sailed your boat off the edge of the map.
Full disclosure: it seems I am also bad at sailing off the edge of the map. If you don’t take the wheel, your ship will turn itself on its own. Once again, I was reminded that I was not the master in this relationship.
I took the wheel, and I turned her back around, and I kept her on course this time.
I kind of wish I hadn’t. Because the edge of the map is kind of creepy.
I’m not sure if it’s the blood red hue the water takes on, or the creepy music (I am sure, actually, and it is both those things), but I was deeply unsettled.
By which I mean, I launched myself further into the crimson sea with a cannon and five bananas. (You’ll never hear it said that the Drag Pirate Roberts doesn’t come prepared.)
And then the boat began to fall apart. The pressure of the end of the world was too much, I suppose, and it sunk, Captain Tooth Canal with it.
Suddenly it was just us, floating in blood, with no land or boat in sight. With the enormous swells, we couldn’t even see each other.
We did the only thing to do at that point, and we swam further from the Sea of Thieves, and into the Sea of the Unknown.
I was convinced we’d be eaten by sharks.
After five minutes of floating, mermaids beckoning, entranced by the glowing sun (which I’m pretty sure had also been red), I was less sure. I peeked under the waves, and found emptiness in all directions. Creepy, but not deadly.
In a couple more, I managed to track down Captain Tooth Canal, and we swam onward together, still losing track of each other on occasion (He pressed the sprint button. I played a musical instrument).
Giddy with the spirit of adventure, and feeling safe and sure at last that no harm would come to us, we began to swim in tight circles, showing each other treasure maps and clocks and drinking grog.
Then we had no grog.
Then we got drunk (that’s a real trip on the high seas). Then we became sober.
Then we began to show each other our compasses (not a euphemism) (or is it?).
“Where are we? Where arrrrrrr we?”
Someone may have said the words, “I can’t believe there are no sharks.”
And then there were sharks.
They didn’t sneak up on us, I guarantee you. We were watching each other’s backs (and compasses) (still just compasses). We had scanned the entire ocean.
They didn’t sneak up on us.
They appeared. And they appeared suddenly.
I was looking at a compass, and then I was looking at a shark, and nothing but a shark. My entire screen was a shark. I may have screamed.
Then we looked around us. Suspended in the blood red waters, hundreds of miles from any land, were sharks.
My friend counted three. Either way, we died.
At long last, more friends have joined us! Well, joined me. Captain Tooth Canal was away for the weekend. Happily, Captain Edgebeard McBooty (known everywhere for being edgier than a Linkin Park album) has returned, and Admiral Peg Butt decided to join us pirates. Can you imagine living with a wooden butt?
It’s not a joke for Admiral Peg Butt.
That meant three people, which meant a galleon!
We celebrated with grog. With great difficulty, we made our way to the boat (one of us died on the way) (it wasn’t me) (it was), hoisted the anchor, set the sails, and made way to adventure.
Adventure was marked in the clouds: a skull island had appeared.
Which meant Admiral Peg Butt received a crash course in everything Sea of Thieves.
Which meant I was still driving.
This time I didn’t crash (even I get better with age), but made a nice, safe stop well removed from the island. We routed the skeletons who fired at us with the cannons (sloppily, I might add), and with the tutelage of the much more experienced Captain Edgebeard, we cheesed the skeletons’ attack animations and routed some seven straight waves. Gold skeletons were annoying. Shadowy skeletons were easy (we only encountered them in daylight). And we did still die.
Nobody will accuse this captain’s log as being fiction! (Unless I claim myself as the captain.)
And then everything took a turn for the worse. Not one asshole, but two sloops appeared on the horizon. Well removed from our position, but no distance is far enough when sloops are involved.
They found each other first, and collided for battle just behind an obnoxiously large rock.
Naturally, we waited for them to finish. By which I mean we instantly fired ourselves across the ocean to climb aboard and kill them all. Captain Edgebeard probably told me to stay behind and keep killing skeletons (he did), but would I be a true pirate if I took orders?
The answer to that is no. The answer to, “Would I still be alive if I followed orders?” would be yes.
But I digress.
Captain Edgebeard didn’t need me, so the time spent throwing myself back into the thick of things was ultimately wasted. So I followed orders in the end, and in the end still died to skeletons. Contributing, as always, to our success.
Captain Edgebeard wasn’t as helpful- he sunk both sloops, and then sunk the second sloop another four times. They called him a hacker.
“Nah, I’m just good.”
We called him a tryhard.
But his trying hard gave us enough time to finally conquer the skull island (my very first time!), collect a mystical key, and open a treasure stash with such treasure as to make my head spin. There were chests I’d never dreamed of, artifacts I’d never imagined. I knew once we dropped this treasure off, we would be rich. I could have a peg leg. A new compass to show friends just before being eaten by sharks. The possibilities were endless.
So was the chore of taking every piece to the ship. The time that it took was enough so that when we finally made our merry way onwards to the nearest outpost, Admiral Peg Butt (but how does he poop?) called out his sighting.
The five-times defeated sloop had returned, still seething, still seeking revenge. To protect the Sea of Thieves from hacking cheaters like Captain Edgebeard McBooty. (He may actually be a hacking cheat. I wouldn’t know.)
They could have had better timing, because selling treasure is a long process that involves multiple trips jumping from boat to shore and high-tailing it over to an old man in a tent (quick tip: don’t sell your treasure to homeless people). Carrying treasure also keeps your hands full, so you can’t fight back. And did I mention were out of cannonballs?
In other words, we were a bit more worried this time. But not Captain Edgebeard. He had hitherto royally mucked up the sloop’s aspirations for booty. He was confident there would be no issue.
We charted a course for an outpost a little further away, and Captain Edgebeard leapt off the stern of our ship, waiting patiently in the waters.
He died three times doing this, and suddenly our minor concerns took shape: we were screwed. Hours of work once again for nothing!
We charted a plan: Captain Edgebeard and Admiral Peg Butt (is it just the cheeks?) would take the most expensive chests and jump off as we passed the next outpost as closely as possible. I would steer the ship onward, maybe distract them with an explosive barrel dropped off behind me, and they would be none the wiser. The plan was we’d do this, circling from one outpost to the next, until either they gave up or we had sold it all.
You may have noticed I was elected to drive. You may think this was a mistake.
I am happy to announce I did my job perfectly well, thank you very much.
Except I lost us a lot of speed because I didn’t turn the sails to catch the wind, which meant their tiny, distant sloop suddenly became less tiny and less distant all at once.
“Guys, they’re catching up!”
The first two chests gave us almost four thousand gold (coins? doubloons? bricks?). It blew my mind, and told me what we were doing was right. It wasn’t just a matter of missing out on the payoff of our adventure anymore. I had caught a taste of richness, and I wasn’t going to let go.
The Captain and the Admiral caught mermaids, angled the sails, and we came upon our next challenge.
A ninety degree turn around an island is not a challenge in practice, but its effects are long reaching: the sloop caught on to our plan, and aimed their course to meet us. It was their chance to catch up, to fire cannonballs or scurvy dogs at our ship.
I was overcome by a vision of how this would end: Admiral Peg Butt (can he still fart?) would die taking a bullet for me. As I watched him disappear in a wisp of green smoke, I would be blown apart before I could beg for my life. Captain Edgebeard would put up a better fight, but he would fall too, after fumbling to decide whether to save the treasure or himself.
And the sloop would make it rich. Corpses would be desecrated. Our boat would make it to the bottom of the ocean.
But they didn’t catch up. We maintained our distance over the course of three different drop off points, and gradually they fell away. We cheered, and set our course directly to the nearest outpost. Victory! Wealth! Infamy! All in a day’s work for the Drag Pirate Roberts!
Anyway then a Kraken ate us.
It was the first time I had seen one. Captain Edgebeard, worldly and traveled and hardened by a life at sea, knew the first signs. The darkening of the sea. The gathering of the clouds. The enormous purple tentacles that surrounded us. It grabbed Admiral Peg Butt. It ate Admiral Peg Butt. It sunk our ship, wrestling it to the bottom of the sea. We all died. Our Captain gave it a valiant effort, taking pot-shots with his sniper, telling the Admiral to slash at the Kraken with his knife, telling me to repair the ship.
I don’t think he expected we would escape with our lives, but I appreciate his willingness to try hard.
Our karma must have been restored by that encounter, because we were able to track down the squishy purple tentacles after we respawned, waited for it to go away, and retrieved the rest of our booty. We sailed towards the outpost, stopped by my first shipwreck for even more plunder, and sold it all to a homeless man.
It was our greatest adventure yet.
There’s a sense that we’re coming upon the point where we’ve seen it all, if not necessarily experienced it all. Ships battles can go in so many different ways, after all. I’m missing a real nail-biter against another galleon, or ship battles that find success in cannons and not boardings, but I’ve had nail-biters of a different kind, and ship battles, and I’ve fired a cannon. But with updates promised in the near future, including new AI enemies and a new ship type, I’m sure the good times will continue!
Keep an eye out for part 3 of our Sea of Thieves Adventures, where I may be assailed by a swarm of chickens or win my first fight against another pirate (It’s doubtful).