Sea of Thieves has done well since launch. It shot to the top of the GfK charts for most physical sales in the UK alone, someones chicken got stolen, and over a million players jumped into the game on launch day. It has also become one of my favourite pirate games, and so I grabbed my seven year-old Daughter and threw her into a life of piracy.
Before I rabbit on about the Sea of Thieves experience. I’m usually laid back with video games and parenting. My eldest (7 y/o) is innocent enough to play Grand Theft Auto 5 just to go for a walk in the park with no weapons. She’s cute enough to jump onto Red Dead Redemption and tend to the horses pretending to brush them.
She avoids violence. And with me near, she’ll throw the controller at me, narrowly missing my head if a situation that involves violence arises. She doesn’t get influenced by video games, she doesn’t mimic curse words, and she just enjoys appreciating the world that the developers have created. I’m proud of her for this.
I noticed that the Xbox One allows anyone on that console to play another persons games, and as such it allows other users on that console to use another persons Xbox Games Pass. Xbox kindly supplied me with a Games Pass code to enjoy the seas. I do aim to save up money to buy the game outright eventually however, or at least continue the pass by paying for it until I nab a physical copy for my collection. Something I nearly did until my PC died and required payments to fix it up. Urgh.
So I got my Daughter’s account set up with Sea of Thieves, an account she usually uses to play ROBLOX, or Terraria, and told her to jump on board a boat with me and join me in chasing a life of piracy. Then I retreated to my PC area while she sat on the coffee table in the living room ready to sail with the Xbox One.
We could have used headsets to communicate, but instead, almost instantly she found the in-game dialogue prompt wheel that you can use in Sea of Thieves, and I just used the PC’s chat system to teach her specific things, such as informing her she needs to vote on a voyage, and that she needs to stay on the boat or she’ll get eaten by sharks.
She started to watch me setting the sails, locking the wheel, and raising the anchor, and then as I set off on course for Lonely Isle she started angling the sail, understanding the direction of the wind by following the flowing streaks.
During the voyage she also noticed that different items you hold in Sea of Thieves offer different dialogue options, and soon enough she familiarised herself with informing me that islands are near, and kept stabbing me in the back shouting, “Taste steel!” then rolling on the deck laughing.
At one point she fell off the boat and I just heard her shouting from the living room, “Dad! Stop the boat!”. It was at this point I thought about just leaving her and having a quiet life for a while…but then I felt bad for thinking that so dropped anchor and let her climb back on board.
We came up to Lonely Isle and I typed that we were there, so she dropped the anchor while we were still quite a way away. I raised the anchor and she stood there, her character looking noticeably confused, and I carried on sailing closer to the shore. Then she dropped it again. I turned round and she was staring at me. I sighed and raised anchor yet again and got a bit closer to the island, then let go of the wheel to turn around and look at her.
She was stood still, staring. I went to turn around again and a loud crashing noise sounded through the sky. Wood splintering, and water gushing into the lower decks. I dropped anchor and rushed to repair the ship as she ran up to the crows nest…for some reason.
Ship repaired I shoved the treasure map into her face and we started looking for the treasure. I knew where it was exactly, but I tried to leave it for her to find by hinting, “Maybe it’s near this tree”. She soon got scared about the skeletons that started to rise from the sands, and left me to shatter the cursed boned beings.
We found the treasure, and went to the second island in the world of Sea of Thieves. During the trip to the second island we got out our musical instruments and started jumping all over the ship while playing them, and from the living room I could hear her giggling to herself. I let her sail the ship at one point and she couldn’t get the hang of the ship turning so slowly.
I guess kids are used to the instant turning reactions of pushbikes, and motorised vehicles in video games that they don’t realise a ship turns slower.
Eventually we arrived at the other island, and I went ashore to dig up the treasure and found a crate of sugar. She helped me carry them back to the boat, and then we went off to the nearest outpost to sell them.
When we got to the outpost, we sold the items with me guiding her on who she needs to sell them too, and then she runs into the room and asks me who “Phoenix” is. I was confused, and totally forgot we were playing in an Online world. Then I saw three pirates surrounding us outside the inn.
They had weapons drawn, staring at us and running around. My eldest was spamming, “Ahoy!” to them, and I sheathed my cutlass in hopes they’d leave us alone.
Then the sound of a cannon firing sounded to our right. A sharp look and a cannonball was barrelling towards us. An explosion blew my eldest away. I drew my sword and deflected one of the pirates attacks, then parried backwards to draw my gun. I killed two of the bastards, but the third stabbed me, sending me to the underworld.
After some dancing on the ship of death with the two who were fighting me, we all ran back to the world where I had spawned on a different island with a new ship. My eldest ran in saying our boat had been destroyed but she survived, so I sent her off to find a Merman.
We were eventually reunited and ventured off to go and find some chickens before taking a break from Sea of Thieves and getting some food.
It was a lovely experience, and she really picked up the controls really well, which to me says that Sea of Thieves is wonderfully adapted to both children and adults. I felt like there needed to be more dialogue options available, like maybe a second wheel outside/inside the main dialogue wheel with more variations to choose from.
But it was fun. We got to spend some time on a rainy half-term day together inside a beautiful game world with tropical seas, and pigs to chase. Although now I face the worry of having her pester me to play Sea of Thieves when I have other things to be doing.