OK so. Sea of Thieves is great emergent fun generally, but today was non-stop. Here’s the story.

So, it’s a cartoon pirate game, right? They’ve done a lot of work to make it engaging, interesting, and relatively free of griefing (as free as an open world PvPish thing can be, I think). But it’s also a superstition-generator, as there are un- and under-explained things thrown into the game all the time, and rare events and weird interactions.

Anyway, today, I had some friends joining but I was free early, so I started a brigantine (really it’s a brig, and the fact that they call it a brigantine bothers me slightly because brig is how everyone in-game abbreviates it but whatever) and started stocking pirating supplies: cannonballs, ship-band-aids (wooden planks), food for healing. Friends showed up and we set off with no particular mission in mind. But I am glad we were so well stocked, because…

… moments away from the outpost we started from, the sea turned an inky black, we slowed to a crawl, and we were beset by the Kraken. We fought, and we won (you never kill the Kraken, just drive it off, because there’s only one). We were about to go after the loot it dropped, floating about on the waves, when, before the ink had even receded, we…

… antagonized the other sea monster, a megalodon. Because while still firing cannon balls at the Kraken’s tentacles, a crewmate hit the megalodon that had just spawned. So it decided to make a meal of our ship. But we still had lots of supplies, and so, we fought! And we won. And we were just about to gather the loot it dropped (and whatever was left of the Kraken loot), when…

… we heard that musical cue that means a ghost-ship is spawning to attack you! A skeleton sloop (mercifully the smallest kind) rose up out of the waves and started firing on us. We still had supplies! So we hammered them with broadsides and sunk them, gathering what loot was left.

Now we had a moment to breathe, so we went back to the outpost to sell all this loot we’d gotten. We were rushing things ashore to deliver to the appropriate trading companies, when we saw sails coming up fast.

It was a player sloop. I hailed them, asking if they were friend or foe, but getting the brig cleared for action. They remained silent, came right up close, and opened fire. At which moment we had literally one piece of treasure left to sell off, so one of us did, while the other two tried to repel boarders and keep the ship afloat and keep the broadsides going.

We failed, and were sunk. But it was OK! We had sold everything, and were out of supplies at this point so respawning across the map was a good way to reset our supplies.

So now we had the flame color for being killed by players (pink) and decided to go for the party boat commendation, getting all six flame colors on our boat at once.

We got shark (blue) easily enough, diving at a wreck, and we got lightning (white) by sailing around in a storm, being chased by a ghost-ship galleon for a while.

(I was happy, I was the one killed by lightning, which I’d never managed before.)

Then we spun by an island known to have snakes to get venom (violet) but we noticed a galleon’s sails coming up behind us.

So we kept an eye on them, and when we determined that they were in fact following us, we decided not to put in at the snake island, but instead just launch a crewmember over with a cannon (CARTOON. PIRATES.) to get the “death by venom” flame while we sailed on.

It worked—he did, and respawned on our ship—but we were still being pursued.

We had two more colors to get, so we sailed towards the Devil’s Roar, the volcanically active region where we could get one of the colors.

It looked like they gave up, not wanting to sail an ungainly galleon into waters where you have to dodge volcanic ejecta.

So we dropped another crewmember off at an island hoping to get another flame. Meanwhile, the other two of us went over to a shipwreck we spotted to see if there was any treasure to loot from it.

Luckily, one of us stayed on anchor watch because we saw that galleon’s sails again—they had followed us. So I got back to the ship and we turned and ran. Our crewmember was killed on the island by skeletons (green flame) and rejoined us, while we just kept running from the galleon. A brig(antine) is faster on a close-haul than a galleon, so we kept to points of sail where we had the advantage, but that pushed us close in to the edge of the map, and we eventually had to give up and let them gain on us a bit as we changed course.

(Map edge is where the sea turns to blood and corrodes your hull and everyone dies in a real Plagues of Egypt way.)

We had one more flame to get—the red flame of “death by volcanic ejecta”.

So we dropped that same crewmember off at the Devil’s Thirst and hoped it would erupt on him. It didn’t—he got killed by a shark by accident—and he spawned back on our ship, while we were still being chased by this tenacious galleon-crew.

We had to do a biiiiiiiig loop to get back to the Roar to try for a volcano again, and they almost caught us. I tried to stop them by blowing up our one gunpowder barrel on their hull, but I messed it up and did not damage to anyone. I tried again, when they had almost caught up to us, and this time was good: I boarded them, dropped their anchor, and defended the capstan to the death, delaying them raising it by a good while.

Finally, we got the red flame once they were attacked by a new ghost-ship galleon.

We partied, and logged off.

PS: that Kraken was my tenth, earning me the “Legendary Kraken Hunter” commendation and title. And this was all before lightning and fire became easier to get in the Seabound Soul update.