You ever want something to be good so badly that you pretty much know you’re setting yourself up for failure? That was me with Sea of Thieves. So full disclosure, part of my disappointment may be my own fault, but I think most people will agree that the majority of it is warranted.
When I heard that there was a game coming out that was one of the most immersive pirate adventures ever, I was super excited. I got my friends together, we all bought the game and agreed that we’d be on a crew together. We decided on a name for our ship, and were good to go. I even bought a new headset just to be optimally ready for the occasion.
So we all downloaded the game. Let me start off on what we liked… This game is on the Unreal engine. The graphics are beautiful. The design of the game is excellent, everything from the mechanics of sailing, to the way storms work, to having to maintain your ship. On the surface, it really looks and feels awesome. I like how you can pick up jobs and the ship to ship combat is pretty good… at first. When you open fire on another ship, the music changes to something more fast paced, and really get’s you in the mood to fight. They even have a brig for players who misbehave!
So my initial impression was that this game was a winner… sadly a week of running around doing the same missions over and over for no apparent reason, and quickly seeing the problems with the combat system… as well as the brig system… soured my experience. So let’s go through the problems…
- Ship Battles:
I could probably forgive most of the other issues if the battles were fun. See initially, you prep your cannons and are ready to get in and put up a fight. Then as you’re training your guns on an enemy ship… you die. You never even got a chance to fire. So what happened? Well apparently, someone either jumped off their ship, swam over and boarded your ship because you can’t retract the ladder… or they loaded themselves into a cannon and shot themselves over to your deck, where they then take out half your crew with a blunderbuss. This completely kills ship to ship battles because once someone boards and kills a few people… battle over.
I get that real pirates used to board ships in order to steal them, but they didn’t do it like this, and it certainly wasn’t this easy. This completely ruined the ship to ship combat system for me.
- The Brig:
Okay, I get it. We all hate trolls, and we don’t want to deal with them. Unfortunately, the problem has become so bad that most teams just lock up random people who join right away, not even giving them a chance. Out of spite, I’ll often just stay in the brig and earn the rewards of the mission for no reason. It also keeps these people from inviting anyone else. This is a broken system and really just invites even more problems than it fixes. I hear there’s even talk of removing it.
- Single Players Disadvantaged:
Let’s say you just want to sail your ship and not deal with a crew. It’s extremely difficult to do because the two ship options are fairly big and need more than one person to function properly. I get that this game is supposed to be for groups, but sometimes you just don’t want to deal with that, for obvious reasons.
- The Game is Horribly buggy:
Need to minimize the screen for a second to check your sound settings? Heh, good luck staying connected. A lot of people have been suffering through having their connections dropped for the screen being minimized. The ingame sound system doesn’t always work, forcing players onto team chats and other services to interact vocally.
- Lack of Ships:
Like ship battles? Enjoy them where you can. There are only 6 ships (MAX) on each map. So at most, you’ll encounter an enemy ship once an hour. For some people that may be enough, but for those of us there who like raiding and pillaging… it’s severely lacking.
- Minimal Content Upon Release:
This… is why I avoid MMOs like the plague. The game comes out to get players hooked… and they blow through what little there is in no time. You do your missions, fight your battles, and… that’s it. You sit there shrugging going, “Okay, I’ve done the skull missions, gold missions, and the merchant missions. I’ve killed the Kracken, defeated Skull Island, and even sunken enemy ships… so now what?”
The truth is… that’s literally all there is to this game. It’s literally a set of repetitive misisons and ship battles. There is no story, no narrative, no nothing that I’ve seen. There is no sense of accomplishment for completing anything. All the upgrades are superficial and it’s like you’re grinding… for the sake of grinding.
The developers have promised more content in the near future, but that’s the problem with these games. They release and sell an incomplete product for $60 and, in some of the less scrupulous cases, force you to purchase the addition features to just make the game worth the original money you spent on it.
Yes, single player games have this problem too, but it’s nowhere near as bad. Often the DLC packages are either just cosmetic or additional side stories that you can play without and still have a good experience. That is not the case with many MMOs and… sadly this game seems to be one of them.
The other problem with doing this is that by the time the problems are fixed and more content is released, the audience will be greatly reduced as many will have gone on to better things.
So in the end, my apologies to everyone who spent the money on this game. You purchased something that had (and still has) a lot of potential, but the fact remains that you purchased an incomplete product. I haven’t attempted to get a refund as so many others have… personally… I am holding out a (admittedly dwindling) hope that this will eventually turn out to be a good game.
So take it for what it’s worth. Hopefully this review will help quell some expectations and maybe help some people avoid making a bad purchase.
Please keep in mind though, this is my own personal experience with the game. Others may view it differently, and that’s fine. What about all of you out there? Have you played it? Did you enjoy it? Am I right on or way off on my opinion of it? Let me know in the comments.
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