Well, this was just last night.
I'd chanced upon a megalodon, and then a kraken-... wherein, mid-battle, I made fast friends with another sloop-- who were wonderful enough, but unfortunately, aren't the main fellows of this story-- and, after yet ANOTHER megalodon, and a good half-hour or so of peace, fell victim to a robbery at sea by a stinkin' brigantine. Crates for my quest that I had been carefully guarding this entire time? Gone. (...In retrospect, I now know I entirely misunderstood that mission. Travis didn't WANT crates. He wanted me to take the crates he already had. Apparently it's been a while since I had that sort of voyage.) I'm sure these lovely strangers felt quite triumphant and mighty upon their success of mercilessly scuttling a solo-played sloop. (...Man, I was upset, and spent a good handful of minutes wondering how a game so enchanting could also be sO DARNED PAINFUL. But anywho.)
After maybe another hour of scrounging up crates and loot from different shores of different islands, because as I understood it at the time, dear Travis needed his five crates, which I now had! I'd quietly harbored myself maybe half a shout away from the jetty, and was JUST about ready to sell my wares, debating on whether or not getting closer to the pier would be more or less efficient than where I was currently floating-....
When, quite abruptly, there was a notification. Another ship had joined our alliance. Wonderful! It'd just been myself and that other sloop for almost the entire evening.
And it was then that the dark shadow of a galleon hushedly slipped into view, scaring the daylights out of me, as casually as you'd please.
It took me a moment, but after I realized this said galleon had two flags, one of which I very much assumed was an alliance flag- or so my squinting through the dark suggested- I felt far less jostled. And... considering they'd had every chance to attack me upon their approach? I was darned certain I was safe, chalked this moment of peace up as an unexpected blessing, and got back to the business of getting my ship a touch closer to the merchant. I spent a moment metaphorically shuddering at the idea that a very reckonable enemy could've very well just snuck up and ended my attempts to finish that darned voyage YET AGAIN. How tragic that would've been! Good thing they chose the friendly route. A good thing they were slowly, ever-so-slowly, edging out of view... it was almost amusing, in a relieving, glad-I'm-still-alive sort of way.
And then I died.
It wasn't an instantaneous death, no. But it was a horribly startling one.
I'd had my hands on the first crate when some unseen figure had deemed it necessary to murder me. I'd hardly realized what had happened, to be honest, despite the tell-tale zings of a sword, until I saw the violent thief's playertag slowly getting smaller as my death screen spiraled up and away.
My first, extremely frustrated thought was, so that hadn't been an allied ship.
I couldn't believe it! What a terrible coincidence, I supposed, to get that notification JUST before I saw a strange ship. It had been so perfectly timed. So outrageously perfect. Hoo boy, I was mad.
I spawned back in to be greeted by the sound of my beloved ship crackling under the smoky grips of a nasty fire. The seconds seemed to pass like minutes- it probably couldn't have been more than ten of these said seconds before the sneaky arsonist sent me back to the Ferry, but man, did it feel longer.
I respawned a second time, and-... the ship was still there! Instead of trying my hand at battle (this guy was blatantly far more skilled), I wasted no time in skedaddling off the side, into the water, and onto the shore of the outpost before the fiend could dispatch me again. And then I just took a moment or two to stare at them. A moment or two to stare at them, and my burning ship, and the cargo, still sitting there below deck.
In a desperate attempt to ask for mercy, I approached the water, pulled out my voyage request, and held it out for the devil to see--... only to be rudely shot in the face. I retreated once more. But perhaps they just hadn't seen it-...? They were a bit far away. I tried, once again, this time bowling STRAIGHT at them, certainly within reading view now, parchment held out ahead of me like the world's most ineffective shield. They hesitated, rifle primed. I jumped in the air, once, my attempts at a final plea for quarter. Surely, they had a heart. Surely...!
There was no heart. Only another bullet. Aaand another one. I was down, once again.
And this time, so was my ship.
I respawned on an island a few or more squares away from the outpost, a new ship floating, ready to be boarded, with a hold as empty as anything.
I'm an emotional person, mind you, so I felt like crying at the time. Sure, I'd risen up plenty in terms of Renown tonight, but was that all my time had been worth? It's not like I disapprove of PvP, of course-- the game is literally called Sea of Thieves, so one's bound to encounter thieves from time to time... or, in my case that evening, many times. But they'd probably already had time to see what little cargo I had aboard. They had seen my pleas! They knew I was alone! Couldn't they see how horribly infuriating they were being? They seemed to be stomping on me just for the sake of stomping on me.
I felt like rage-quitting. But, at the same time... nah. I still wanted to play. I just needed to take a breath. I went ahead and took a moment to compose myself as I collected what I could from the island I'd been plonked onto. It was fiiiine. It was all part of the game, I reminded myself, and no amount of loot-yoinkers would stop me from having my fun otherwise.
And then... the notifications came.
At first, there was a weird glitchy bit. Three dark, slightly rounded, horizontal bars in the top left corner of the screen, sort of like what you'd see behind the white text of a notification-... only there weren't any words. There were just these three bars. (I have screenshots if anyone's interested.) I didn't pay much mind to it-- probably just some bug, I supposed. Bah. It was probably just my hard-earned loot being sold by that crook.
I carried on.
The bars appeared perhaps once, maybe twice more- can't QUITE remember.
But then the money notifications started.
At first, I assumed it was from my other alliance member-- that darling sloop that was off heavens-only-knew-where doing heavens-knew-what. But as the 'sold!' notifications continued, I realized the contents were... very, very familiar!
What the absolute, stinking, ever-loving heck was this...?
I was getting gold for the loot that had just been stolen from me!
It was such a stinkin' bizarre turn of events that my mood turned itself on its head, and I actually found myself laughing pretty hard.
Either Rare had... implemented some sort of new feature that you got a cut from the loot stolen from you, which seemed very unlikely....
Or an alliance member had just violently razed my ship to ashes, only to stay in this said alliance as they sold their ill-gotten gains, therefore still giving me fifty percent of the profit. (Or maybe they'd just forgotten to disband from the alliance. Or, maybe, SOMEHOW, they hadn't even realized that I had been part of the alliance myself. Who knows.)
Sure, as far as I had been aware, they had still botched my voyage up, but I wasn't in the slightest bit mad.
Thinking about how overkill they went over this is still cracking me up. They just basically went-
[MURDEROUSLY SETS SHIP ON FIRE.]
"Now here's your gold back. :)"
Heavens on high. Cheers to them and their violent yet amusing-in-the-end antics. May I not be thwarted by you again in the future, but certainly, may our paths cross again!