I didn't think I would play much of Sea of Thieves when I gave it a go using my free trial of Microsoft's game pass. Though I enjoyed my time with it then, I anticipated setting it aside like a do with so many other games.
And yet, here I am, getting a group together to explore the high seas: Digging for treasure and combating the undead hoards of those who came before us and failed in their own journeys.
Welcome aboard The Pride. Let us regale you with a tale of magnificent adventures.
The single greatest strength of Sea of Thieves is a solid fundamental core design and gameplay loop.
Getting a crew together and commandeering a ship to sail across the map is an intrinsically fun experience. There's also a sense of camaraderie to it, as each person mans a separate station on the ship. And, of course, more people make it easier to sail since players can more easily split up the duties.
And when on a island to take on a quest to hunt for buried treasure or defeat an undead pirate captain, the systems at work can allow for all manner of engaging scenarios. Moments of saving my teammate from the undead skeleton with an exploding barrel by shooting them dead in the eye, leaving the barrel intact so that we could sell it to the merchant later readily come to mind.
Thanks to the updates Sea of Thieves has gotten over it's life cycle, these emergent scenarios carry over to the trips back with to town to cash in on quest loot. While it might suck to have a bunch of loot lost to Davy Jones's locker because a kraken, megalodon, or rogue pirate crew intercepted the player, those events ultimately add to the experience by introducing an element of risk that wouldn't otherwise exist.
The lack of true character progression in the form of new skills or stronger equipment is definitely a downside because you never feel like the game is building up to anything, it also allows for people who have been playing a while to slot in a new recruit without worrying that they don't have the necessary abilities to keep up with their more experienced teammates. The game wants you to adventure, and it doesn't want to stop you because you don't have a LV 15 sword or anything like that.
When we next talk of our adventures on The Pride, I will go into detail with some of my complaints with the game.