Loss sucks. Nobody likes to lose anything, be it contests, passwords or their marbles. In early video games, losing was often linked to failure. “Losing lives until quarters end” has remained a staple arcade strategy for years. Home consoles changed that and, because losing sucks, our games pampered us with unlimited continuous and saved files. Is there a game that makes losing fun? Can you buy a dancing sea monkey there?

Yes and yes. sea ​​of ​​thieves from Rare offers an MMO experience like no other. It’s not just the charming pirate aesthetic. There are no experience points in Fool, no rare gear, no player levels. Just cosmetics and shiny loot. Shiny loot that can be lost. Or taken. Either way, it’s great fun.

Which makes sea ​​of ​​thieves standing out among a crowded genre is its unconventional take on everything we’ve typically come to expect from MMOs. Because there are no tiers, each player has the same health and damage. Victory often depends on luck, technique or teamwork. Solo play is possibleand fun in its own way, but the joy of Fool is to band together with a team of misfits and loot some treasure (or steal it from someone else).

Most MMOs are big on improving quality of life. Fast travel, massive inventories, minimaps littered with quest markers. sea ​​of ​​thieves has none. The mechanics are purely tactile. To go somewhere, you navigate. Piloting a ship requires you to manually raise each sail, adjust the angle, and steer with wide turns in mind.

To collect loot, you must carry each piece individually, valuables never enter your inventory. The treasure is always vulnerable. Transporting loot to an outpost, including bringing each chest, trinket, or enchanted skull to vendors one by one, often takes longer than the adventure itself.

So why is it fun?

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The fun is in the thrill of those moments. When things are going well, you have a straightforward session with friendly teammates chatting as you manually unload cargo. But things tend to get out of hand on the high seas. There are plenty of NPC dangers, from ghostly galleons to mighty krakens, all capable of sinking your ship quickly.

These pale in comparison to what a crew of your fellow gamers can do to decimate your ship in the blink of an eye and steal all that hard-earned plunder for themselves. Either way, the sense of danger that hangs over everything makes what’s commonplace in most MMOs risky and exciting.

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And as losses come, even the biggest ones sea ​​of ​​thieves are bearable because you can only acquire cosmetics for yourself and your ship. You won’t buy better guns or faster sails and then feel discouraged when a competitive advantage is gone for good. You’re just wasting money that you can spend on things that look cool. Because it’s an MMO, the social component of looking cool is still important, but you never feel like you’re worse off at the game after a big loss. It is simply not possible.

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This slow but chaotic pace is usually the sticking point for most players. sea ​​of ​​thieves is a game that takes time, while promising nothing and everything at the same time. Find treasure, fight ghostly skeletons and sea creatures, grieve other players, go fishing or just hang out. You really have nothing to lose.

sea ​​of ​​thieves is available now on Xbox and PC, and included with Game Pass subscriptions. It is also available on Steamwhere it is half-closed until April 15.


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