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Video Game / Sea of Thieves

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Sea of Thieves is a First Person Wide Open Sandbox Pirate game made by Rare and published by Xbox Game Studios exclusively for the Xbox One and Windows 10. This marks the first time since Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts in 2008 that they have been the primary developer of a non-Kinect title.

The game is set in a Shared Universe, where players can interact with each other in a wide variety of ways. They can form crews and man their own ship as they set sail to the seas in search of treasure in the massive world. At the same time, they must watch out for enemy crews who possess more malicious intentions. The world is large, and entirely handcrafted, said to take "6-8 hours" to travel from one end to the other. It was released on March 20, 2018.


Tropes related to the game include:

  • Acrofatic: Body types range from "plank of wood" to "spheroid," and neither option hinders your mobility or skill at piracy in any way.
  • The Alcoholic: As one can expect from a pirate setting, you can take part in drinking in-game and drinking too much will make you intoxicated.
  • All-or-Nothing Reloads: Using any of the three firearms available, from the weak, mid-range Pistol, the variable, short-range Blunderbuss, or the strong, long-range Sniper Rifle (referred to in-game as 'Eye of Reach'), the animation will play out very close to how Real Life flintlock weapons operate, save for the parts of plunging the barrel and/or pouring new gunpowder in the muzzle. Every firearm only holds a maximum of 5 rounds before needing to grab more from an Ammo Chest on the ship, though for the Blunderbuss, it's more like grabbing five handfuls of buckshot.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • One of the sea shanties that can be played is "Ride of the Valkyries". Which wasn't written until the 1800's, well after The Golden Age of Piracy ended.
    • The clothing sets available don't adhere to any particular time period, ranging from the Renaissance-inspired Sovereign sets to the Wooden Ships and Iron Men Admiral sets.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: The only benefit to higher levels with any of the quest givers is new cosmetic unlocks.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If a pirate winds up adrift in the open ocean with no ships nearby, a mermaid will show up and offer them a lift, teleporting them instantly back to their ship (if they have one and it's still afloat) or a friendly port.
    • If your ship sinks and you die while at a raid island, you'll spawn at the nearest island so getting back there won't be too arduous and long to do. On the other hand though, that applies to everyone so good luck sinking the enemy ship, because they will be back very shortly with a fresh ship.
    • If you lose your animals or your boat sinks on an Athena's Voyage quest, waiting for the deadline on the Merchant Alliance voyages will automatically complete the quest instead of failing the entire voyage. Slightly subverted in that it takes about four hours in real time.
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: The Kraken consists of several tentacles sticking out of the water, there doesn't even seem to be a body.
  • Border Patrol: Sailing off the edge of the map, represented by a gray-out border & referred to in-game as the 'Devil's Shroud' results in the seas turning blood-red while ominous music plays, and if the crew doesn't take the hint quickly enough, the ship gradually develops numerous holes until sinks.
  • Character Customization: Each player can customize how their pirate looks, from clothes to hair to makeup, right down to choosing their gender, all of which is purely cosmetic.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Actually possible for the player to be this. Treasure is a physical object that belongs to the player holding it, and what happens next is up to the player. It's entirely possible to run away with it and keep it for themselves. However, the nature of the game results in everyone on the crew getting a share of any treasure turned in, regardless of any other circumstances, and as long as you're playing, you're part of a crewnote : you can't backstab your crew no matter how hard you try. However if you work with another crew then you can backstab them and take their stuff.
  • Combat Tentacles: The Kraken has eight enormous tentacles, each ending in a sharp-toothed mouth large enough to pick up a pirate.
  • Constructed World: Sea of Thieves is set in its own pirate-themed world, separate from real life. As such, it does not feature any real world pirates.
  • Cool Chair: As part of the first Bilge Rats Adventure in the game, the crew was tasked with finding 10 Skeleton Thrones scattered throughout the world. Some are in easy-to-reach places, others are cleverly hidden and require a bit of ingenuity to reach. At the same time, the ten were divided so that only 5 could be acquired by the crew, with the other 5 requiring one or more members of another pirate crew to be sitting on the throne at the same time. And this was before the easy-breezy days of making Alliances with other crews, so one had to ply a good bit of faith in hoping there would be at least one Friendly Enemy around if they wanted that 100% Completion for the event.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: The Megalodon, the first 'raid boss' to be added, can take many cannonball shots directly before being defeated (it varies depending on the ship the player is crewing).
    • From the Tall Tales addition of the Anniversary update comes the Skeleton Lords, powerful undead beings that hold control over the lesser bone-bags fought before, can Teleport Spam, thrives on the subversion of Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy, and just loves to send pirates a-flying with their Ground Pound. Not to mention being only slightly slower-paced than a Chatterbox about their own greatness and/or treasures.
  • Dem Bones: The islands and, with the Cursed Sails update, even the seas themselves, are populated by armed skeletons who are not too keen on letting the pirates get away with their lives and/or treasure.
  • Easter Egg: On Marauders Arch, there is a (non-moving) skeleton holding a banana in its mouth with the word "GRIFFIN" scratched nearby on the wall that is a reference to Polygon video producer Griffin McElroy who shot a video eating a banana both unpeeled and stem first like they do in the game.
  • Everything Is Trying to Kill You: Sharks, skeletons, snakes, and most of all, enemy players all want you dead.
  • Exploding Barrel: Played straight in the form of powder kegs, called "Gunpowedr Barrels" in-game. They can be used to sink ships, kill a group of skeletons/players (and potentially you), or to help fulfill Merchant's Alliance quests.
  • Fetch Quest: A major criticism of the game in its early days was the extreme repetitiveness of the quests, named "Voyages", given by the three available factions, and how they all essentially boiled down to "Go to this place, get this thing, and bring it back for some gold."
  • Fishing Minigame: A long-requested addition to the game since the early days, with the Anniversary update it was fulfilled. Pirates can use their fishing pole and cast off to hook one of numerous types of fish, though some can only be caught with the right bait and/or in certain conditions.
    • Occasionally morphs into Fishing for Sole as pirates can also hook such mundane items as an old skull, a discarded fish skeleton, and yes, even an old boot.
  • Flying Dutchman: The main focus of the Cursed Sails update is the emergence of cursed ships emerging from the seas and crewed by skeletons to attack the world's outposts.
    • When players die, they are transported to a place called the "Ferry of the Damned", where their souls are held temporarily by the 'Ferryman' before being released back to the living world. Though not always...
  • Fragile Speedster: The Sloop. It's smaller and faster than the Galleon (see Mighty Glacier below), and is relatively simple to operate. However, it also has the smallest crew size (1-2 players) and only two cannons, meaning that the ship is often horribly outgunned in most battles.
  • Genre-Busting: To wit, it's a First Person Wide Open Sandbox Pirate game.
  • Gold Fever: The quintessential term to describe the Gold Hoarders. It's in the name. They absolutely crave the idea of gold, the collecting of gold, the wearing of gold, and the sharing of gold, to the point that they all are shown to have patches of skin turned to gold, implied to be the result of handling cursed gold at some point. They offer maps to crews to find long-buried chests around the various islands, that can only be unlocked and the contents dispersed (with an obligatory, hefty cut for the crew's benefactor) if the chest is brought back and they use one of their mysteriously-gained keys on it.
    • It is revealed with the release of the Anniversary update & the ''Tall Tales" addition that the reps' golden skin is a result of their leader Rathbone falling prey to his greed and becoming a Skeleton Lord known as the "Gold Hoarder" residing on the Shores of Gold. And like any decent cult, the rest followed suit & got cursed as well.
  • Harpoon Gun: Introduced in the Anniversary update, though they are firmly mounted on the bow of the ship while serving the same purpose.
  • Human Cannonball: Players can load themselves into cannons to be fired off, either towards an island to save some time or towards an enemy's ship.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism:
    • Pirates can heal themselves by scarfing down bananas, apparently without peeling them first. Even Skeletons can be seen chowing down bananas when damaged despite having no organs to digest them - potassium must have an amazing effect on health.
    • With the Anniversary update, there is a variety of fruits to eat such as pomegranates, mangoes, as well as entire coconuts in one bite, though one still can only eat half of a pineapple at a time.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: When having a full inventory, where the three resources slots are at their maximum capacity, one can only wonder how a pirate, especially one with a thin body type, can walk around unburdened while carrying a cutlass, pistol, blunderbuss, and/or rifle, 5 pieces of fruit, a 5-layer stack of wooden boards, and 10 cannonballs. That can weigh between 4 to 42 pounds at the most. Each.
  • Interface Screw
    • If a pirate drinks a large amount of grog in a short space of time, they get drunk, represented by the screen going wobbly and the controls becoming unreliable.
    • If a pirate gets vomited on (by the aforementioned drunk pirates), the screen gets mostly covered in a vision-obstructing green blob. And then they start to vomit as well.
    • Getting bitten by venomous snakes will mess with the player's vision of a hazy deep shaded purple.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: The Brigantine, introduced in the Cursed Sails update. A 3-player ship with 2 masts and 4 cannons (larger than a Sloop, but smaller than a Galleon), it has neither the Sloop's speed nor the Galleon's firepower and sheer size, but lacks the weaknesses of either ship as well.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Devil's Roar, introduced in the Forsaken Shores update. It is a treacherous place where most of the islands are formed around active volcanoes that can erupt and hurl out giant flaming rocks that can easily sink the ship of an unprepared crew, boil the seas around the island and even the water inside the ship, cause earthquakes to shake the ground, and geysers to launch unwary pirates into the air for a hard landing. But, as dangerous as it is, the unique treasures that can be found there are worth almost double that of the main seas, so becomes a matter of risk-versus-reward.
  • Letter Motif: All the NPCs belonging to a certain business or faction will have names beginning with the same letter. For example:
    • Every member of the Gold Hoarders has a name starting with H.
    • Every member of the Merchants' Alliance has a name starting with M.
    • Every member of the Order of Souls has a name starting with O.
    • Every tavernkeeper has a name starting with T.
  • Libation for the Dead: As part of the game's first fall season, there was a Bilge Rat Adventure called the Festival of the Damned, centered on the titular celebration hosted by the Bilge Rat faction to give praise to the Ferry of the Damned and its cooly-serious Ferryman for shuttling countless souls to the afterlife (and the doubtless many that had to be shuttled away from it). How did they do this?... By having the crew perform several acts of dying in different ways, from getting eaten by a shark, to being bitten by a snake, to being struck by lightning, to being burned alive in the game's Lethal Lava Land. Then gathering a color-coded flame from an Everything's Better with Rainbows relic on the Ferry. And then locating one of several beacons on the various islands to light with the flame as a final sendoff.
  • Living Legend: The supposed endgoal for all pirates is to gain the maximum level of Reputation (50) with the three factions, by which time they are granted the title, gear, and privileges of a "Pirate Legend"... which itself brings about a whole other faction to gain Reputation for. And this one takes even longer than the three combined, despite only going up to 10.
    • Played with in regards to the Pirate Lord, who was/is the very first pirate captain to have sailed and made it big in the Sea of Thieves. Although he is no longer alive, pirates can still encounter his ghost in the Pirate Legend Hideout to receive voyages for Athena's Fortune. He even manages to manifest after the crew defeats the Gold Hoarder beneath the Shores of Gold, congratulating them on a long and wealthy journey, though reminds them there is still more to learn about the Sea around them.
  • Marathon Boss: Played straight with the skeleton fleet battles in the Cursed Sails update, which blurs the line between this and Marathon Level. Multiple crews are encouraged to cooperate to repeatedly sink one or more ships, typically Galleons, although the *Shrouded Spoils* update introduced Skeleton Sloops as well. Eventually, once enough waves of ships have been sunk and risen enough, one will rise from the deep with a named Skeleton at the helm to mark that it is the final ship, which will drop the good loot upon sinking.
  • Megalodon: Introduced as a boss in the game's first expansion, The Hungering Deep, before disappearing for a time and reappearing as an emergent threat while sailing the seas in the Shrouded Spoils update.
  • Mega Maelstrom: At a single moment, whether far off in the distance or barreling down upon the ship, the world will always have one of these tearing through. If any ship gets too close, the galeforce winds throw the wheel into a chaotic spin that changes direction on a whim, the magnetic waves or somesuch mess around with the compass (in addition to the one in your hand). And it rains. 'Constantly. So constantly, that if not careful, the ship can & will sink from overflow, not even counting the chance that lightning will blast a hole in it (and quite often unlucky pirates too).
  • Mighty Glacier: The Galleon. It has the most firepower (8 cannons) and the largest crew size (3-4 players), meaning that it can handle itself quite well in a fight. However, the galleon is also slower and much more difficult to maneuver due to its large size. Even raising the anchor can take an inordinate amount of time without all four players.
  • Money for Nothing: Played with through the concept that all gear is of a purely cosmetic purpose. As such, the only benefit to buying a blinged out sniper rifle like the Ceremonial Admiral variant is how pretty it looks in your hands. The only other thing money can buy is higher level quests... which reward more money to spend on that shiny compass.
  • No Plot? No Problem!:
    • The game largely eschews an overarching story for a large world with numerous stories that the players can craft for themselves.
    • Averted with the Anniversary update that introduced the Tall Tales series of story-based challenges.
  • Player Versus Player: Pirate crews having to fight each other as well as natural hazards for that glorious treasure. The Anniversary update also introduced the Arena mode that is largely focused on this playstyle.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: There's no difference between male and female avatars in terms of ability, and all avatars can wear any clothing or hair piece (even dresses and facial hair).
  • Psychopomp: Pirates who die end up on a ghost ship. They can respawn when the door opens for them.
  • Scenery Porn: The water physics is absolutely amazing, especially when combined with a sunrise or sunset.
  • Shout-Out: One achievement requires you to play a song on your ship while it's sinking, and to keep playing until it sinks. The achievement's name? "A Titanic Ensemble."
  • Shared Universe: Everything happens on one server on the same map. When there are too few crews on the waters, the server simply brings in more.
  • Skeletons in the Coat Closet: Straight with the Bone Crusher gear set. Although broken up across several different events in the game's history, the full set consists of articles of clothing adorned with several preserved bones, from ribs on the brow of the hat to an entire spinal cord upon the right arm of the dress. The weapons follow the same, the blunderbuss being most prominent as the entire length of its barrel is the limb bone of something massive enough for it to be able to hold and spew a flurry of bullets. The equipment gear really takes the cake, among such pieces being a shovel with the upper part of a skull, a speaking trumpet decorated with a small ribcage, and a tankard that is a literal, scalped skull that you can drink grog from.
    • Of particular note with the associated ship liveries set is the fact that the figurehead consists entirely of a mounted kraken skull.
  • Snake Charmer: In order to peacefully capture snakes in basket-cages for sale to the Merchant Alliance, you have to play music for them. You're using an accordion or hurdy-gurdy instead of a flute, but the end result is the same.
  • Soft Water: Landing in water negates falling damage even if the pirate has been launched into the sky, or jumped from a really high cliff carrying a golden chest.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: During the "Wild Rose" Tall Tale as part of the Anniversary update, the crew is tasked with finding out the fate of two pirates that were hopelessly in love, only for it to be learned that they were attacked by another envious pirate who cursed them and bound their souls to the two halves of the pendant they shared, keeping them separated and unable to reunite in death. Subverted when the crew helps them get better...
  • Storming the Castle: Played with in regards to the Skeleton Forts. Popping up in one of the six forts (seven as of the Shrouded Spoils update), the fort becomes "active" and populated by skeletal enemies. Crews must travel to these locations, braving a hailstorm of cannon fire from the emplaced cannons as well as any watchtowers. Once the ship is in a safe place, the crew has to endure at least 10 waves of skeletons, sporting any weapon from bony claws to any of the three firearms, or a mix of both. Once the last wave pops up with the "commander", once they are defeated as well, a key to the fort's vault is dropped, and inside the crew finds an assortment of loot, including the high-value Stronghold variants.
    • The aftermath, however, is likely the more dangerous part, as with the vault open, anybody can take the loot and sell it, including other crews that weren't even involved in attacking the fort.
  • Team Chef: With the introduction of the cooking mechanic in the Anniversary update, this is both active & inverted, as every member of the crew is capable of using the added stove to fry up whatever meat they might come across, be it fish, pig, snake, chicken, megalodon, or kraken. The incentive to cook comes from the high health boost in addition to the Gradual Regeneration Regenerating Health that it gives.
    • Unfamiliar players, however, can easily slip into Lethal Chef territory as undercooked/raw meat afflicts food poisoning on the unfortunate pirate, causing a row of vomiting and hazy vision. At the same time, overcooked/charred food grants only half the health and none of the regen.
    • Don't even bother trying to cook fruit. Just don't.
  • Tutorial Failure: Good luck figuring out the controls or even how to do the most basic things (eg. How to equip a weapon) without asking someone (that is, if you can even figure out how to bring up the text chat) or checking out a guide, because the game offers absolutely no help in that regard.
    • This has been averted as of the Shrouded Spoils update, with a more fleshed out tutorial that educates new players on the proper mechanics of turning in treasure, customizing a character, etc.
  • Water Is Air: You can do lots things underwater that you shouldn't be able to such as reading paper maps, playing musical instruments, firing presumably powder-based guns, etc.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: A large open-world game said to take "6-8 hours" to go from one end of the game world to the other. There are also different regions with different settings, such as one based on the classic Caribbean, a lush wilderness with ancient civilizations, and a barren wasteland.
  • Witch Doctor: The Madames that represent the Order of Souls in the outposts. They focus on sending crews after the cursed captains of fallen pirate crews that have turned into skeletons, retrieving their skulls, and returning them for a sum of gold. They profess to be proficient in all sorts of mystical rituals centered on the manipulation of the soul, whether cursed or no, and are rightfully given a wide berth by the majority of the characters on the Sea of Thieves unless absolutely necessary. One of them even makes a habit of making alliterative puns about bones and destroying them.


Example of: