On April 4, 2019, I stopped by Rare Studios to get a first look at the upcoming storyline Tall Tales – Shore of Gold, which is set for release this month as part of the Anniversary Update out on April 30, 2019.
After a briefing on what to expect, we set out into the studio to play the first quest in a series of quests. In a crew of four, headed by Mike Chapman and three journalists, we set out into the world of Sea of Thieves, only this time we were on a mission. The first thing we did was set out to talk to the Mysterious Stranger, who lurks in Outpost tavern around the map. Once we chose the first mission and decided upon the correct island to get this new questline started.
Upon sailing, we were quickly spotted by a roaming Megalodon. Mike guided us through the encounter and we quickly navigated around the massive beast only to meet the next big monster in the sea – The Kraken. We weren’t ready for this either, we’re all rusty at Sea of Thieves, except for our Captain. We escaped as fast as we could once again and made our way to the other side of the map. About halfway, we came upon our first Skeleton Crew and their ship.
With one journalist handling the ship, the rest of us readied the ship for battle. I made my way to munitions cache and stocked my inventory full of cannon balls. I made my way topside and loaded the cannons, waiting for the enemy to launch a barrage of strikes against us. We weren’t ready.
In fact, the skeletal crew made quick work of us and filled our ship with holes. We went down with the ship, holding on until the very end.
Starting again on an island Outpost, Mike quickly gathered us, and we were on our way to our destination. Diving into the depths of the ocean, we searched the shipwreck of The Magpie’s Wing. Getting the doomed ship’s logs gave us the location of our next destination. Upon arrival, we anchored the ship and swam onto land in search of treasure. By looking at the questline map, the clues hinted at several locations on the island.
Throughout the experience, my team did a fairly good job working together. We hit a good rhythm quickly and that kept us going all day. Playing a game like Sea of Thieves requires chemistry of its players because without it – things might not go smoothly.
Once we located the for red X on the map and after finding the first in a series of buried treasures, we moved from location to location. Once gather the necessary pieces on the island, the questline leads to a cave on the island and hidden secrets. In our mission, my team’s first Tall Tale involved a book we needed to use to solve a puzzle. Did I mention the room is filling with water? Our team solved the puzzle and moved into a vault holding treasure. After picking up the treasure from within the vault, skeletons ambushed. We quickly escaped to the ship but not before blowing up our enemy on the beach.
From what we were told at the event, each trial changes for every crew. One might get a different puzzle from the one we demoed and those who start the questline once again nets you new rewards.
Back on our ship, we slowed down and came together to open the treasure we earned from the mission. Opening the chest yielded a key item for Tall Tales, one that the Mysterious Stranger requested from us earlier. Shortly after handing over the treasure, our time with Tall Tales ended and I was left wanting more. I’m still thinking about the excitement and joy I had while working with others.
The last thing we did before moving on the exciting Arena competitive mode was fish. Fishing and cooking are new mechanics in Sea of Thieves. There is also the Hunter’s Call Trading Company, run by returning Merrick found around the map. With the new Trading Company, you must master the art of fishing from shore and from the ship, hunt animals and monsters for their meat and cook up delicious food.
Each dish offers positive (and negative) side effects. Some fish may offer smaller health recovery but better health regeneration. Others might add more health. Each animal offers a different buff so it’s up to you to cook each one.
With a few weeks left before the Anniversary Update drops, the new content for Sea of Thieves left me wanting more content right away. I knew when the game launched last year that there would be more to come from it, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. One year on, I’m a firm believer in the vision Rare Studios is working towards. What we’ve seen in one day at the studio is but the smallest taste of a large picture and one I can’t wait to learn more when the Anniversary Update drops on April 30.