Sea of Thieves' greatest strength is the freedom it gives the player. You can do whatever in Ramsey's name you want (as long as it's not breaking ToS). You can dig up treasure, you can steal other's treasure, you can fight, and you can run. For some reason, it seems as if a very PvP-centric portion of the community enjoys the insane freedom of the game, however their preferred playstyle is also the source of many of the detrimental attitudes for playing the game. Content creators, as while most of them can be bubbly and fun, can also be a source of an unintentional hive mind, especially in PvP.
Now, to conclude going around the bush here's the main point of discussion: Running.
In a lot of cases, the PvP in this game can be rather upsetting to the average Sea of Thieves player. No one likes ambushes, or the terrifying hovering sound of chainshots followed by intense pressure of cannons, gun shots, and the water splashing of a boarder climbing up your ship's ladder. Players at times, don't like PvP. Ideally, this should be okay, as long as players understand that it's inescapable. Though, the best option to not PvP, is to... not PvP apparently. Depending on your ship type, you angle your ship with or against the wind, angle your sails for the best speed in your direction, and just... keep going.
This is usually seen as acceptable. Until it's not apparently. Players don't like chasing boats for extended periods of time, multiple times a day. In a game where freedom is more than emphasized, it's weird that certain valid choices are just, no longer valid because of loot you decide to have on board, or the flag(s) you decide to fly at the point of combat. Just look at any PvP centric streamer that's chased down a boat before, their somewhat subtle expressions and their chat's seething impatience towards the scenario. Ideally you can turn off of the chase, and let that player get away as they got the successful escape from your attempted attack. The problem though, is that for every person you decide not to chase, there's another 20 players also not willing to trade broadsides with you while you look for meaningful amounts of treasure to steal, and a good naval battle in exchange for it. Doubly so for the Reaper's Bones Emissary, where freedom, the major theme of the Reaper's Bones, is treated as some elite form of gameplay where you must fight everything and cannot run, alliance, or shroud your loot should you want to look respectful in front of other players.
For some reason, most of us know running is a valid strategy, as it is in order to recover damage, to find supplies to continue a fight, to evade imminent danger no matter the crew size. People usually try their hardest to stay as safe and advantageous as possible, most evade combat entirely, some do a little bit of combat and then check out early, and several other scenarios, but they are all assumed the same scenario, running to refuse to fight and sink due to severe damage, extremely low supplies, or crew incompetency.
Is running really all that valid? Why is it acceptable for some people but not acceptable for others? Why is there such a heavy expectation put upon players in a game where you can optionally commit to a fight? I know there are double standards everywhere, but a valid option, that most real life people take to avoid death, is just seen as unacceptable in the name of someone's fun because "it's all just pixels".
What are your thoughts on this odd conundrum? Everyone plays the game a similar but different way, but it just seems weird such an entry level strategy is such a mixed discussion between ideologies and playstyles.