As you may or may not know Sea of Thieves is the newest fix for stay-at-home pirates, and everyone else who loves games that involve exploration and plundering treasure. With the beta coming to an end, I figured I’d do a comparison of single sailor vs. multi-sailor gameplay. Keep in mind I tested two-player with a friend of mine, not a full ship—nor did I try looking for a group. So, to start, let’s break down the game in general.
Sea of Thieves is just that: a game that’s mostly water, and it’s full of would-be thieves (other players). Your object in the game is to take voyages from the gold-loving gentleman you can find in a tent on any Outpost Island. These voyages are your main source of content so far. You buy a voyage, find the location on your ship’s map, sail there, plunder (you search for chests using a smaller map while battling skeletons), and then return to the island sell your chests and repeat. Through doing this, you may encounter a ship belonging to other players. They may decide they want your treasure more than you do, which leads to a battle. Black powder weapons fire, swords flash in the sunlight (or lantern light if it’s night), and, eventually, one group of pirates will fall. Keep in mind that upon death you eventually end up right back on your boat, and the same goes for your opponents. Your best course of action in this situation is to sink their ship. They have to return to an outpost to retrieve it, which leaves you safe to return to your regularly scheduled plundering.
Now that you know how the game works, let’s talk about the multiplayer aspect of this high sea-sailing, plundering playground. You can form a party with up to three of your friends, or do matchmaking for a group of your chosen ship size. This doesn’t mean the random people you meet will be using microphones or communicate all that well, but, at least for me, random matchmaking is a last minute resort. I chose to pair up with someone I often game with, and we took to the water just the two of us.
Now, depending on your crew size, your boat size changes. There are four-person, two-person, and single person crews. Take note that the two-person and one-person boat are the same model. Sailing around, the boat wasn’t too hard to control with only two people. My friend kept the helm, and I ran the rest, which is fairly easy. Finding treasure wasn’t too difficult, having one of us to hold the map, and the other to work a compass made most of it a breeze. I did notice that the game lobby only has one crew size in it, which evens the playing field a tad. Overall, my two-pirate adventure was pleasant, especially having someone to help figure things out and drool over the gorgeous scenery with.
A single person crew, which I’ll admit seemed a daunting task, turned out to not be that bad. I had to put in more effort, but that was obviously expected with being a crew of one. The game is still gorgeous, and the sailing is definitely challenging—especially if you get into a battle with someone. You have to leave your cannon to go fix the holes in the hull of your ship yourself, and that means you aren’t damaging your opponents ship. I’ve only seen one person on my solo adventure, and I was able to dispatch him and his ship after a long, arduous battle.
It was invigorating, then I found the chest of sorrow, which I put below deck, and it sunk my ship because the chest cries and fills your boat with water. Had I been playing with at least one other person, we might have noticed this small issue happening below our feet.
I’d definitely say playing with at least one person, especially a friend, makes this game far more enjoyable. It’s much easier to balance all of the tasks that are presented to you, and it’s just…more fun. This is such a gorgeous game, and having a friend to enjoy it with makes it a memorable experience. Different viewpoints and opinions can lead to a unique experience, and quicker problem-solving. This game leans heavily on people having friends to play it with. Even though a “solo run” is doable and even slightly enjoyable, I wouldn’t really recommend it. I’d recommend you try matchmaking first.
If you’re itching to try this game out, and you’ve missed all of the test plays, it’ll be releasing on March 20, 2018 for the Xbox One and PC for $59.99.
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