The Hungering Deep

The first proper content update has arrived for Sea of Thieves in the form of The Hungering Deep and it paints an optimistic future for the game.

The Hungering Deep introduces us to Merrick who tells you a tale of a new AI threat in the form of the Megalodon, it introduces – although very briefly, a new faction in the form of the Bilge Rats who will be informing you of weekly events taking place, and adds a few other bits and bobs including some new cosmetic items for players to purchase.

Merrick resides on Shark Bait Cove and this is where your new adventure of hunting the giant shark begins. I decided to tackle it with a friend so we were playing on the smaller Sloop ship. As we made our way across the seas we couldn’t help notice the increased number of ships dotted along the horizons – more than I’d probably ever seen before. We also happened upon another sloop at an island, we spoke to them and found out they were heading to Shark Bait Cove just like us, we sailed there together.

As we arrived at the island, there was already another sloop moored up, they too were on the same quest and were open to chatting with us.

Ever since I started playing Sea of Thieves, I’ve only encountered one other ship that turned out to be friendly, ever other ship I’ve seen has had a shoot on site mentality. The game never really seemed to give players a real reason to play together. I know in some cases alliances have been made and we even made a fragile one when completing a skeleton fort, although that turned out to be a little too fragile and the other group turned on us as soon as we completed the fort.

To come across two friendly ships within the first 10 minutes was a surprise indeed, they weren’t just friendly either, they were helpful, letting us know what steps we would need to take in order to complete our quest.

Once we’d spoken with Merrick and parted ways with the friendly ships we set off on our adventure that actually had us sailing across a fair portion of the map. I like these moments, sure there isn’t much to do when you’re sailing a long distance, but it allows you to just kind of relax – or in my friend’s case, go and stir his pasta.

After around an hour of sailing to our various destinations we’d done what was needed, we headed back to Merrick to progress to the final stages of summoning the Megalodon.

In order to summon the beast from the depths, you need to carry a song from Merrick to a point on the map and have five people (although this is now said to not be the case and you can just have one person do it) play that song at once. This means there has to be at least one person constantly playing that tune from Merrick to your destination which requires some coordination. Thankfully we happened upon a galleon looking to take on the shark, so we teamed up with them and set off to our destination.

The simple addition of needing five people to summon the shark had completely and utterly changed the game. It had given people a reason to talk with others, given them a reason to try and be friendly. Sure before you could team up with someone to take on Skeleton fort, but you didn’t need them, it could be handled by a few people. But this new encounter won’t start until you have more players. It forces your hand and I think that’s a great thing.

Eventually the summoning took place and the Megalodon appeared. It smashed our ships, killed crews, put holes in the boats, and eventually bested us. But it was an epic fight that saw us coordinating with the other ships around us as they ran low on resources. A few times we’d have to swim over to them or visa versa to exchange planks and cannon balls so the galleon could keep fighting. It’s easy to say that this encounter is much, much better than the Kraken fight.

We don’t know if the galleon eventually won or not, but they were dangerously low on resources so it doesn’t seem likely. But our own small sloop was sunk and then when died we respawned a long distance away unable to get back in to the fight. We shall be back though.

This little update has changed the way people play the game, I’m sure it won’t last and that people’s friendly nature will wane after the newness of The Hungering Deep wears off, but it makes me very optimistic about the future of the game. The Megalodon was well executed, it looked cool and created a fun fight.

This update is also noted to be the smallest one out of the upcoming ones, so it’s nice to know that future content drops will feature more. Sure it’s not hours and hours of new content, but it’s another little thing that starts to build upon the world of Sea of Thieves. I for one really like this update and what it adds and it makes me feel really hopeful for future content.

-Will

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