Community Spotlight - Kat

Kat tells us about how a love for Pirate games brought her to the Sea of Thieves community.

The Sea of Thieves Forums have come a long way since launching in June 2016. Over the months, they’ve become a hub of collaboration and shared excitement for the game. With so many new faces showing up on a weekly, often daily basis, the forum community moderators, nautically named The Deckhands have been doing amazing work in helping us make sure that the Froums remain active and enjoyable to be a part of.

In this Community Spotlight, we’ll be talking to Deckhand and pirate game veteran, Kat! She’ll be talking to us about her approach to being a Deckhand, what brought her over to the Sea of Thieves Community and much more. Let’s get started.

Kat, who goes by KattTruewalker on our forums, has been an active and enthusiastic member from early on.

[Q]: Tell us a little about what got you into gaming?
[A]: Growing up, we always played games as a family, whether it was cards, Scrabble, Monopoly, so progressing onto computer games was a logical step. I remember Dad brought home a version of Pong and my brother and I played that for hours, then a ZX81 with Frogger and Galaxians. This interspersed with arcade games like Space Invaders and Asteroids meant I was pretty much hooked. Later on, in the early 90's it was Doom, Hexen and Heretic etc. but what was really exciting for me were games like Myst and it's sequels. I have really clear memory of one called Magic Carpet - the music was really distinctive, annoyingly so!

There were also some great educational games that I used at work (I'm a teacher) . Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, is one but there was also another brilliant little age of sail exploration game that was very popular. Then I had a fairly long break away from gaming - I was working and bringing up a family and you don't get a great deal of free time with 3 under 5's in the house. Funnily enough it was my children playing Pirates of the Caribbean Online that drew me back into the world of online gaming.

[Q]: What would you say is your favourite videogame genre and why?
[A]: My favourite genre has got to be RPG games. But saying that, the most important thing I look for is a good story. I'm a huge fan of imagination and creativity and having the freedom to explore in a game. Role playing games are really an extension of reading all those books as a child I'd guess, except in a game, you control the hero and make the decisions. So, whilst Lord of the Rings is a great fantasy story, being able to log in to LOTRO (Lord of the Rings Online), for instance, and create your own character and adventures is priceless!

[Q]: What games are you playing currently? Any favourites?
[A]: At the moment, I'm sort of in between games, I haven't found one that's grabbed my attention enough to want to sit down and play for hours on end. Part of that is the excitement for Sea of Thieves I think. I'm playing TLOPO (The Legend of Pirates Online), which is a fan remake of Pirates of the Caribbean Online - it really is impressive, the work these volunteers have put in to bring the game back for the pirate community and I'm very grateful that they're even attempting it.

I'm also randomly playing Runescape, another MMORPG which has been around for many, many years as well as Conan Exiles, Rust and Dying Light, plus my regular forays into Skyrim. Of these I have to say that TLOPO is my favourite at the moment! It's easy to pick up, relaxing to play and has a great community of players. Conan is a little like Ark which I sunk a LOT of hours into when it came out and Skyrim (probably my most played game ever) is just an amazing world with a huge history and lore behind it, huge modding community and…dragons!

Kat's father played a big part in her early exposure to videogames. Cool Dad? Cool Dad.

[Q]: You’ve been one of our most active forum members from the very beginning. What first drew you to Sea of Thieves?
[A]: As I said earlier, I was irresistibly drawn back into gaming by Pirates of the Caribbean Online, the great friends I made there and the whole experience of playing as a pirate in the world of Jack Sparrow. In 2013, on Talk Like a Pirate Day (ironically), the game was closed down by Disney and the servers were shut. It was a huge blow to the community and we all met up on the forums and on Facebook to begin the search for an alternative. AmazonEliza, I remember wrote a couple of articles for Gameskinny, some of us went to Pirates of the Burning Sea or Guild Wars 2, some went to LOTRO and others drifted.

I tried all of those games and spent a really fun year or more playing Rift and Runescape, Archeage and ESO (The Elder Scrolls Online) and exploring other options, but I always had my eye out for another pirate MMORPG, particularly one where you could sail a ship with a crew. So, in 2015, I came across a trailer for something called Sea of Thieves and I thought - this is it! This is the one!

The trouble was, there was very little other information about it to be found. I researched everywhere! Eventually I found the Reddit and joined up there, even wrote a poem about Sea of Thieves Fever;

Oh, me soul doth pine for a pirate game, a game that's fun to play
And all I ask is a sailing ship and the sight of the ocean spray
And a scurvy crew and a bottle of rum and a whiff of gold doubloons
Oh, I'd give me leg for a pirate game, and some stripy pantaloons

Oh, me soul doth pine for a pirate game, there isn't a single one!
And all I ask is a treasure map and the sight of the skull and bones!
And a compass and a telescope, and a fat ship's cat
Oh, I'd give me eye for a pirate game, and a battered tricorn hat

Oh, me soul doth pine for a pirate game, a rollicking, rousing tale
And all I ask is a shanty song and the hurdy-gurdy's wail
And a snug berth at the end of the voyage and a sheltered bay to dock
Oh, I'd give me hand for a pirate game that's got the bleedin' lot!

[Q]: How big of a part has Pirates of the Caribbean Online played in both your anticipation for Sea of Thieves and your experience within this community so far?

[A]: I'll talk a little about my background first because it's all connected in a way. When I was a child, we used to do a lot of sailing. The sea, the coast, being outside in and on the water were a huge part of growing up for me. All my uncles had boats, my grandparents lived on the Norfolk coast and I lived in a sailing town next to the New Forest. Every time we took the boat out, it was an adventure - Dad would say 'Shall we nip across to Yarmouth for an ice cream?' and me and my brother would shout 'Yes!' and then...usually a good many hours later, we'd be on a beach somewhere across the Solent with our ice creams, having had all sorts of adventures in between. So, couple that with stories about the sea, explorations, circumnavigations, a love for history and then the Pirates of the Caribbean movies you can sort of see that I've got salt water in my veins.

Coming back to Pirates of the Caribbean Online- it was my first experience of an online MMORPG. Being able to own and sail your own pirate ship with a crew was a huge part of the attraction. But what struck me most of all was the community. Most everyone was friendly, welcoming and enjoyed playing together. I think Disney did very well when they decided on the ways in which they'd encourage social play. I made some really close friends of all ages, joined a Guild or two, which really helped to cement those friendships. You'd have families playing, pirates of all age groups and all backgrounds, people from across the world, hardcore gamers and those looking for a casual experience, old salts and young scallywags - everyone loves a good pirate story after all.

Another thing that contributed to my enjoyment was POTCO being a small game. It really wasn't very 'massive' at all, you'd often recognise pirate names and Guilds and ships. Added to that, there was also a lot of role play going on, I think you'd call it 'emergent' play now; basically, it was logging in and inventing your own thing to do with the limited tools available. We'd have ship races, play hide and seek, create dancing troupes, a story hour, people formed Guilds that represented the other Caribbean factions of the time and role played wars and the different encounters. You could just let your imagination run riot!

So, seeing that trailer for Sea of Thieves was really very exciting. Then reading about the game, hearing about Rare's vision for the game - working alongside the community and creating a free roaming world where you can 'be the pirate you want to be' rang all the right bells with me from the get-go. It's going to be a fairly intimate, social experience in a wide-open world full of fellow pirates! You can sail your own ship with a crew!! So, after being on the reddit for a while and getting involved in conversations there, I moved across to the forums and after a little while was asked if I'd like to be a Deckhand.

I have to say that I think the Sea of Thieves community is amazing. From those who joined early on to the new ones still joining, there's such a wide breadth of experience and enthusiasm there, from older gamers with plenty of time to the younger ones looking for a new adventure. I really look forward to logging in and reading the posts and ideas and suggestions for the game and just being a part of the excitement and hype.

How about this for a stash of pirate paraphernalia?

[Q]: Would you say you have your own ‘approach’ to being both a Sea of Thieves fan and having the important role of Deckhand?

[A]: I probably do! First off, I'm a teacher - I've worked for The Pilgrim Hospital School for 10 years, a Community Special school in Lincolnshire that does fantastic work with students who are unable to attend mainstream school for medical reasons; secondly I'm a parent, I've travelled a lot and lived and worked overseas and I'm not the youngest on the forums by a long stretch. Those things are bound to influence how I react as a Deckhand, plus I've been active on a fair few of the different pirate forums as well as being an observer of the forums on Steam. The latter, I have to say don't impress me very often and I would hate for the Sea of Thieves Forums to emulate some of those in any way, shape or form. So as I said above, I really enjoy participating in the discussions and I have a lot to say because my experience and interests are all of pirates, stories, sailing and the sea. You'll notice I don't have a lot to say about technical things or in console discussions, and I do feel out of my depth at times, but it's also a great place to learn. I hope I'm doing a decent job of being a Deckhand, I do know you can't please all of the people all of the time, but it really is a privilege to be able to work so closely with Rare developers and yourself and a fantastically fun experience.

[Q]: If you had to choose a pirate name, what would it be?
[A]: Kat Truewalker of course! She has a history, she's a pirate and I like her a lot.

[Q]: What kind of hobbies do you enjoy outside of gaming?
[A]: Well, with teenagers, pets and work, my life sometimes feels a bit like herding cats. What I do enjoy is time outside, when I can leave the phone at home, take the dog and just walk on the beach or somewhere wild and open. I do a bit of gardening, cook, read a fair bit, spend time with my friends as well.

[Q]: What are you looking forward to most in Sea of Thieves?
[A]: Number one has got to be the sailing and having my own ship again. Secondly it will be exploring the whole world alongside the wonderful people I've met so far and thirdly just being able to log in and do whatever I choose - create my own story.

Exploration and crew dynamics are just two of the ways we hope players will find their fun in Sea of Thieves

[Q]: Share a fun fact about yourself. Anything is fair game!
[A]: Ok so fun fact - I once had to dance the Macarena in front of an Iban tribal chief at a feast in a longhouse in Sarawak.

And that wraps up another insightful Community Spotlight. Thanks to Kat for answering our questions and helping support the community. It goes without saying that the team here think the Deckhands are doing a great job, and we’re looking forward to another busy year on the official Forums.

We’ll be back again soon with another Community Spotlight but until then, stay up to date with all of the latest on Sea of Thieves via our social channels!