I've sailed the seas since June 20, 2020. I'm a rather late adopter of this game and I'm about as much of a fan of it as many of the notorious pirates that have sailed since March, 2018. I've played this game for over 17 months, learning so many new things, seeing exploits and tricks get patched (or not), and sunken many ships, as well as becoming sunk myself.
The adventures and unique experiences you can find and make in this game continues to give me a reason to boot it up, even after I've gained all of my season's renown and successfully participated in the in-game events. Though, lately I've found myself at a bit of crossroads with my mentality and I believe I should share it with you lot to see my unusual perspective in this game.
Call it ego, superiority complex, inferiority complex, being very whiny about losing and such. I genuinely still have trouble handling failure on the seas, it's to be expected as a guy in their 20s with low self esteem and self worth. I've always tried to hold myself on a pedestal of competency by saying that I've had 'X' months of in-game experience, watched many streamers/partners slay several crews while still staying afloat, and of course, my numerous maxed out ranks in all of the trading companies. I hold the expectation that I should be a pirate than can do anything and/or everything, when I know that isn't true. I rely on having a second, third, or fourth pile of flesh and bones on my side to help me to lessen the intense stress of battle.
My post game since hitting Pirate Legend and maxing my trading companies was trying to get better at the game, it ranges from being satisfied, to being disappointed, to being victorious, to being shamefully defeated. As an experienced player, I cannot handle the heavily casual play styles that many early game sailors are currently going through now. Usually this is their growing pains phase of their Pirate's Life, breaking into the world and seeing what they can do and win, and what they can't do and lose. By many accounts, this is okay, as long as everyone is having fun. Sometimes, I see the silliness in reddit and twitter posts that just show them having silly fun, even if it ends in them having a sunken ship. Other times, I notice the seething disappointment and anger displayed from a streamer's perspective, a TDMer's 48th hit registration clip, or a forum/twitter post going on about the saddening struggles of their Pirate's Life and their failure to meet with their challenging odds.
I know at one point, that was me. I was one of the many sailors that didn't know what they were doing. I got tucked on, spawncamped, sunk multiple times by the same ship involuntarily, not watching the horizons to see a galleon, sloop, or brigantine suddenly appear next to my ship blowing holes in it. I was there and I suffered the consequences of my actions, or inaction for that matter. However for some reason, I can't bear to watch or hear the same happen to others. I'm a 17-month experienced player, surely I should know better, and the crew that I'm randomly joining should too, right?
Of course not. It's an unrealistic expectation, so unrealistic that it's made me not want to utilize LFC crews and LFG Xbox posts, or suffer in open crew's dice roll RNG of crew matchmaking. This has caused me to sail solo often, which while it's seen as the best way to "improve your skills", I've seen it as the worst way to play the game.
At this point, my journey to getting better is to suffer consistent and constant failure all alone because I place myself on a handicap so I don't feel just as handicapped if I'm in a bad crew.
Then, when I'm not trying to boot up the game and have free time to myself, I browse Twitter, Reddit, the Sea of Thieves Discords, and even these forums. I once again see the silly clips, the high speed shooting action of TDMers, the many posts that anguish over the insane difficulty of the game when other players seek for you to be a body to stare at on the Ferry of the Damned and your boat nothing but a pile of splinters with some rich gold to be found and made off of its remains. It makes me wonder if I'm even playing the game right, or if I have the right mindset going into it. This unending fear of failure combined with such a perfectly deceptive casual environment, it's like I shouldn't be having fun or enjoying the game, but somehow I still continue to boot up the game and sail.
I know I've been all over the place with my post so far and none of it is coherent, but this really is just my mindset with this game, I love it to bits, I love to play it, but sometimes I feel like my self worth as a player is always challenged, and the way I attempt to tackle those challenges are in of itself not good for one's mental health. I may not be seeking help, but I do want to open up the waters for discussion.
Does your playstyle make you happy all the time? What does your experience as a player say about you? Does your experience as a player mean anything to your usefulness and worth as a pirate? Could I be overthinking on simply having fun in a video game, and if so, what do you consider fun in this game and do you get it consistently enough to make you happy?
And what if you got sunk and defeated by a player of any kind of skill level: What do you think they're thinking, and how do you feel about it?
Video games are all about fun, but Sea of Thieves is so far, the only game that's made such an extremely strong impact to how I play a game and what kind of fun I can have in it.