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'Sea of Thieves' will live or die by how its world grows

'Sea of Thieves' will live or die by how its world grows
From Engadget - February 13, 2018

The Sea of Thieves is a risky place, though. You do not want to complete five missions in a row, your lower deck piled high with booty, only to have another crew sink you and steal it all. But even if you stop at an outpost after every quest, there's no guarantee that goons wo not be camped out, waiting to ambush you before you can turn that chest over to the Gold Hoarders for your due reward. You could, of course, forego doing quests altogether and spend your entire pirate career profiteering from the labors of others. Interactions with other players is part of what keeps things interesting, after all. That said, mastering the art of warfare on the waves is where the biggest skill cap in Sea of Thieves undoubtedly lies. The few battles I have experienced could be described as clumsy at best.

The big galleons are not at all agile, cannons are hard to aim even in the calmest seas and, while you are fumbling with the wheel, sails and everything else, an enemy can easily sneak aboard with a gunpowder barrel (a recent addition to the game) to decimate your hull from the inside. Though not a particularly menacing sight, a smaller, nimbler boat can easily run rings around a galleon and pepper it with enough point-blank shots to send it sinking to the seafloor in minutes. I have no doubt, however, that a well-oiled and battle-hardened crew could be confident that their chances of success are well beyond the flip of a piece of eight. That's assuming they want to engage in the first place, of course. Everyone has something to lose.

There's a charming rock-paper-scissors simplicity to almost everything in Sea of Thieves, and one that does not change, however legendary you become. You may be the richest, most reputable captain around, but that does not make your cutlass any sharper, nor your cannon more powerful. Every buccaneer is on a level playing field, making your skills as a deckhand, strategist, marksman and the rest what distinguishes one player from another. Keeping all sailors on an even keel extends to making sure the experience is the same, whether you are playing on an OG Xbox One, a One X, a powerful gaming rig with three-monitor setup, or a beat-up old laptop. Resolution does not have a significant impact on gameplay, thanks to the cartoony art style, and you ca not turn the wheel any faster or swing the sniper rifle reticle any quicker on any one platform than on another.

There are two types of primary quests, three sizes of ships and four varieties of weapon: sword, pistol, blunderbuss and the pirate's equivalent of a sniper rifle. Similarly, there are three main types of resources. Bananas restore player health, wooden planks are needed to patch holes in your hull and the purpose of cannonballs is pretty obvious. While it's not hard to find these on the sea's many islands, you can carry only so much to store back on your ship, making a good stockpile key to a long, healthy voyage. Also, you can reload your guns only from an ammo chest on your vessel, so bullets are just as valuable a commodity.

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