It’s been far too long since we’ve had a pirate simulator, or a game involving pirates, sailing, and a good cocktail mix of plundering and skullduggery.

True, we can go back to seafaring fares like Sid Meier’s Pirates or Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Or we can play that Monkey Island remake if we just want to get to the comedic aspect of it. However, you’re just replaying games of past yarr..I mean yore. We need something new to fill in that yo-ho-ho-and-a-bottle-of-rum void.

Enter Sea of Thieves, an upcoming pirate simulator game from old-time developer Rare that will be out for Xbox One and PC (via Windows 10). Long story short, you and a group of three other players set sail to find treasure and return it to your home base to increase your pirate status. The end goal is to max out your legendary pirate status; that’s easier said than done as there are tons of other folks online who want to do the same thing.

After playing the closed beta and checking out the latest updates, we’re pretty confident that this game might be the one to get the Xbox One console out of its current-gen funk. Our reasons come sixfold.

This is Truly A Pirate’s Game

Sea of Thieves is a new type of mass multiplayer game where you play a free-roaming pirate. Whoever you team up with or fight against is up to you. There is no safe spot in Sea of Thieves. In a genius move from Rare, you are vulnerable to betrayal at any time when you’re carrying treasure or even raiding forts.

Every corner of the world is filled with islands and coves containing buried treasure and secrets; you have no set path or route to take since there’s no leveling-up system. Everyone has the same set of skills, but you can’t achieve piracy alone; you can, but it’s tougher (more on that later).

You and your crew can pretty much go anywhere and uncover the hidden lore and secrets of the game.

Naval combat in Sea of Thieves (where else would most of it be set on?) is just like being a pirate on a ship. You have to load up your ship’s cannons to fire at enemies. If your ship is getting battered, you need to divide your time and your crew’s to either make ship repairs and fighting back potential boarders.

Remember that no man’s land concept in EVE Online? This is the PG-version of it. It’s got the Rare cartoony googly eyes look, but the open world online gameplay is going to stir up a lot of watercooler/coffeeshop talk since everyone’s experience is going to be vastly different.

Teamwork Matters

At the start, you get to pick whether to pilot a big ship (with a max crew) or sail alone on a smaller ship. Do not select the latter; Sea of Thieves requires you to group up with randoms or pals to set sail and loot/pillage together. Co-operation is a key word in this open world pirate game. Find new people to plunder with, or convince three other pals to join you in your epic seafaring quest.

Unless you’re really good, it’s best to have more people piloting the ship or even go on expeditions and fort raids with.

Your Crew’s Legacy Will Be Known Far & Wide

If you finish all the main quests and epic quests, you will gain access to a secret pirate hideout exclusive to pirate legends. The actual cove contains a ship that’s retrofitted inside the pub. All players who are legends will appear as pirate ghosts in this area.

So how long does it take to get there? It depends, according to the developers. You can either get lucky in a few days and score a Captain’s Ship haul that can bump up your status, or it can take a week or so as you’re grinding voyages and playing it safe.

The Premium Shop Will Sell Awesome-Looking Pets

Sea Of Thieves will ditch loot boxes in favour of exclusive pets. After the game’s launch, developer Rare will start launching a premium item shop that will allow players to pay real money for non-essentials.

The game’s pets, be it a monkey or a parrot, can be used by the player who bought it and by other people; it’ll still be tied to the buyer’s account. In a way, you get a sneak preview of the critter before you get one of your own.

There’s A Friggin’ Kraken To Fight(?) Off…

What would a pirate game be without the legendary giant ship-eating squid? The legendary kraken can strike at any time in the game; it’s not so much a big boss as it is a force of nature. There will be telltale signs, like inky masses within the water that denotes the last place the kraken was so you can sail the opposite direction.

But when it pops up, prepare to get wrecked. There’s a lot that can happen: it can attack and latch onto three ships at the same time. Or it can just zero in on one sole ship. Either way, you can fend it off temporarily or escape to fight another day. Or you can be a true pirate and come back later to loot the remains and wreckage from the aftermath.

Elements like this and the already-wild nature of Sea of Thieves will make this online game a cut above the rest.

… And A Big-As-Heck Endgame

Once you’ve reached the secret cove with the pirate legends, you can then take on Legendary voyages, which will be the most challenging fights and quests you’ll be taking on in the game. These are the equivalent of MMO raids, which means that you’ll be storming tough forts and fighting high-powered commander ships and fleets.

Your tireless slog will net you lovely rewards that are so unique you won’t find them anywhere else in the game. These include clothes or weapons made out of kraken bones, and even undead skins so you can be a literal skeleton crew. Players who have achieved legendary status can share their voyages with others, but they’re expected to pull in their weight.

Sea of Thieves will be out March 20 for Xbox One and PC. 

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