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Why Sea of Thieves became popular game during lockdown

6 min read
games by windows

It’s no secret that Rare’s pirate-themed games-as-service title, Sea of Thieves, launched during a rather polarizing state. For many, there just wasn’t quite enough content to stay them returning . Many newcomers had grown familiar with games telling them precisely what they needed to try to to and the way they needed to play to “have fun.”

Sea of Thieves, on the opposite hand, may be a social-driven experience quite the contrary. With a stress on what the dev team lovingly describes as “tools not rules,” it’s up to the player to dive into this world and craft their own story, adventure, and ultimately, fun. within the world of Sea of Thieves, traditional content takes a backseat to the joys of interacting with other players online and the way everybody creates an experience.

This bold ideology goes against tons of core principles (or cliches in many cases) of recent game design and forces a particular level of engagement from the player. People unwilling or unsure of the way to accept these new design philosophies were quick to dismiss the title as boring, repetitive, and for a couple of vocal objectors with less poetic nuance. For better or worse, Sea of Thieves may be a game unlike the other , and to completely appreciate and luxuriate in this beautifully crafted world, you want to step outside of your temperature and embrace an experiment in social gaming.


You have to be social in Sea of Thieves, and that is awesome

Sea of ThievesSource: Microsoft

We all have our comforts , the safe little things we subconsciously neutralize our day-to-day routines. For plenty of players, myself included, this suggests booting up our console of choice and instinctively doing one among two things — either starting a closed party to ask your usual group of friends or launching a single-player game.

Both of those options isolate us in several ways. In some instances, it’s perfectly healthy to fall back on these cozy habits and wrap ourselves within the proverbial safety blanket. But what makes Sea of Thieves so special is that it not only encourages you to abandon these predispositions, it also demands something else if you would like to immerse yourself within the experience fully.

Communicating together with your crew to assist safely dock your ship or address any deep-sea mishaps involving rogue landmasses is exhilarating and forces accountability on all parties. Whether your crew may be a group of close friends or strangers online, your enjoyment is directly tied to what you set into the session. If your rowdy band of pirates has amassed a big horde of treasure, but nobody addressed the massive holes within the hull of the ship, there is a strong chance you would possibly lose everything you’ve worked towards for that haul. On the surface, this sounds incredibly frustrating and disincentivizing, but as someone who’s immersed themselves during this world, I’ve rarely felt a greater sense of camaraderie with my fellow players during a computer game .

For quite a while , game chats are rife with negative connotations. We’ve all had horrifying experiences with aggressive teens shouting explicit and hauntingly vivid descriptions of coital interactions with our relatives. a part of this comes from the perceived humor of anonymity on the web , but primarily this stems from some folks just being garbage people. For years I had no interest in in-game chat for the above reasons, but Sea of Thieves completely renewed my faith during this mechanic and, quite frankly, humanity. Game chat went from a silly option used for infrequent trolling, to the first way I play the sport . For the primary time during a very while , I found myself eager to engage and interact with strangers during a computer game .

In a game where pirates rule, it’s never safe to assume someone’s intentions. this is often where game chat truly shines. Unlike many online lobbies where competition is that the driving factor for communication, almost anything can unfold in Sea of Thieves. Are you within the mood to interact in combat and rob a crew of their plunder, or are you in search of friendly players to make a mighty alliance? These internal dialogues are continually happening while you play. Seeing a random pirate on an island fills you with this intense mixture of excitement, fear, joy, and uncertainty. You’re never quite sure if this encounter are going to be with a jovial sailor trying to find fun on the high seas or a rogue agent sent to distract you while their crew secretly sinks your ship with a carefully placed explosive barrel. Sometimes a correct conversation with a stranger can completely change the tide and stop disaster for you and your crew.

Can it help players in other ways?

Sea Of Thieves SkullcloudSource: Miles Dompier/Windows Central

This is all well and good, but what about the people with severe social anxiety? Can they also get something from this setup? Without imparting gross amounts of hyperbole or trying to impersonate a budget internet therapist, I genuinely believe this pirate sandbox can help some individuals slowly confront and hopefully gradually overcome a number of these issues. Not only does the sport demand you socialize if you would like to urge the foremost out of it, but the character of the chat and the way everybody must work together can create comforting and productive interactions.

As someone who spent an honest chunk of his childhood in therapy and isolated on the playground, I completely understand how debilitating social anxiety are often . i might never scream “Sea of Thieves cures social anxiety” from the rooftops, but i feel under the proper circumstances, and for people that are genuinely invested in making changes, the social nature of the sport has the potential to assist . For me, I noticed a big change in my online gaming habits after my time on the seas. I actively began seeking out other titles that had unique game chat or socially charged gameplay elements.

It’s not all perfect on the high seas

Sea Of Thieves Eat your bananaSource: Miles Dompier/Windows Central

While I’m clearly an enormous advocate for what Sea of Thieves is trying to accomplish, I’m not oblivious to the slew of complaints and therefore the reasons people have them. For me, this game is doing something wholly unique, and that is sure to accompany some learning curves. it is a radical concept to wrap your mind around in some regards, and Rare’s latest voyage into the social gaming space is anything but familiar.

I won’t make everyone a believer or supporter of this endeavor, and that is absolutely fine, but I’ve never been more invested during a game’s future or success. My hopes and expectations for social interactions in open-world games have completely changed following my extended sailing sessions. While this might be uncharted waters for several , I sincerely hope other developers check out what Rare has built and embraced a more friendly future.

In a time where our day to day lives haven’t been more uncertain, and our ability to socialize with our friends, families, co-workers, and members of our community has been legally restricted in many regions thanks to a worldwide pandemic, games like Sea of Thieves offer a social experience that can’t be replicated in the other medium. Empathy for the people we share this society with is critical in working towards the sunshine at the top of this dark tunnel, and therefore the best thanks to truly understand another person is to interact in genuine conversation. Unique social innovations with game chat and player interaction like those introduced in Sea of Thieves eliminate a number of the cold impersonality of recent online gaming. If you are looking for how to remain social while safely distancing from those around you, i do not think I could recommend a far better game.

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