Today was a pretty busy Sunday and despite the fact that I got up at a reasonable hour I'm still getting a late start on this. Maybe by now that's just the norm. There is no late start. This is just protocol. There wasn't a lot of time for reflection today so instead, I'm going to be talking about something that I'm still pretty hyped about. Sea of Thieves.
I don't know if I consider Sea of Thieves a good game. I streamed the game for seven hours on Saturday, had a ton of laughs, brought in an admirable amount of concurrent viewers, and a plethora of clips, but I don't know if I would recommend the game to someone. In fact, the question, "is it worth it," was brought up a lot but every time I was faced with giving the same conflicted answer of, "I don't know." The gameplay loop is short. Get a treasure map, sail to the island, find treasure, and bring it back without getting harmed by the environment or other human players. The first few go-arounds are fun but it's something that should get stale pretty quickly, especially if you're playing solo. The islands are all pretty similar, the enemies seem to be limited to snakes and skeletons of slightly different varieties, and as far as I can tell the only real use for treasure is to buy more items to dress up your character. Bear in mind though, I am me after all, so there is a pretty high chance that I'm doing something wrong. However, if that's not the case then I feel like I've seen just about all this game has to offer in a relatively short time. So why am I still so hyped about this game? Because the game finds its strength in facilitating ways for the players to tell stories, something that is incredibly invaluable as a streamer.
The very first time I loaded up this game I spent thirty minutes terrorizing other players with an accordion. That's it. I didn't even mean to play for that long but I was instantly hooked in watching what the other live player would do if I just constantly followed them around while the same sea jingle belted from my player. At first, it was fun and games as they would respond with the proper emotes of dancing or clapping, but eventually as they grew annoyed they tried to outrun me. Their escape sent them straight into the ocean where they thought they would finally find safe haven from my antics, but no. The game didn't care for realism, I continued playing my accordion underwater and I couldn't stop laughing. When I actually streamed the game I found myself befriending wild chickens and giving them different names and 'jobs,' while I continued on with my pirate business. Sometimes that business involves finding ways to distract other players while trying to turn in your buried treasure and then having that go horribly wrong.
Sometimes it's as simple as just sailing out on the open sea and enjoying the scenery while having good conversations with chat only to be quickly alerted to the pressing need of patching up a boat that's taking on water in the middle of nowhere. Other times it involves spending a good amount of time securing a bunch of treasure only to return to your ship and find out that it's been captured by enemy players who are ready to ambush. Success brings moments of elation and celebration where failure leaves you stranded on a new island trying to decide how to get yourself out of that predicament with whatever loot you may still possess. Either way, you're in control of the narrative. Sea of Thieves has found this sweet spot of being just enough of a blank slate where the streamer gets to take center stage, while still offering up enough things to keep things from being too stale. You're ability to tell stories and flex your improv muscles shines in a way that many games don't allow. My main concern is how much mileage can you squeeze out of a game that's already feeling kind of thin? I definitely don't have the answer, but I'm willing to give this game more time to find its groove. After all it's only been one stream on my end so far. There'll definitely be more to follow. If you got Sea of Thieves stories of your own though feel free to share. I can't be the only one getting into this much mayhem!
p.s. My schedules are about to get a lot more lax so hopefully we'll get back to less excuses and more words. We'll see
Streamer, writer, creator. One day I woke up painfully aware of my existence and I've been apologizing for it ever since.