Community Spotlight - Dan and Mia

In this Valentine's Day special, the Spotlight shines on a true Sea of Thieves love story!

For a long time now, we've been seeing heartwarming stories of friendships forged through life on the Sea of Thieves. One story in particular caught our interest recently that we just had to find out more about.

So in this Valentine's Day special, the Community Spotlight shines on Dan and Mia, otherwise known as Cap'n "Scruffy" Beardstroker and MidAngelWing, who met through a mutual interest in rhymes and a passion for Sea of Thieves. Their relationship blossomed both inside and outside the game, and after a real life riddle quest proposal against the backdrop of the Lake District, the two are now engaged!

We caught up with them to find out more about how their relationship came to be, and hear more about their adventures together on the seas…

Congratulations on your engagement, Scruffy and MidAngelWing!

[Q]: Tell us a little about what got you into gaming?

[A]: Scruffy: "Arrgh, me love for gaming does goes way back, to discoverin' as a kid that I had quite the knack."

I've been a gamer ever since my mum bought me an Atari 2600 when I was around five years old, and I got hooked on games like Dark Chambers, Dig Dug and Space Invaders. From there I moved on to Game Boy, Mega Drive, PlayStation and then Xbox as I got older, finding and maintaining a love for the adventures and experiences that the games could give me.

MidAngelWing: Well, my dad did. I grew up with my dad and we enjoyed playing together. I was sitting on his lap and I remember the first game we played together was Doom back in the early '90s. He would walk and I would shoot, and I was terrible. Then we got a Commodore 64 and I have played ever since.

[Q]: Were you a Rare fan before Sea of Thieves? Do you have any favourite Rare games?

[A]: Scruffy: "Aye, a big fan I were, and I always have been, since I first saw Rare's logo appear on me screen."

I've always loved the games that Rare makes, going back to before I even really knew who they were. There is something about the visual style that seems to run through every game that just makes me smile. You can always rely on a Rare game to make you laugh too… unless it's Battletoads. I lost so many controllers to that game!

If I had to pick a favourite Rare game (aside from Sea of Thieves, obviously) it would have to be Conker's Bad Fur Day. It’s one of my favourite games of all time, in fact. The humour in that game still makes me smile today and I love replaying it time and time again.

MidAngelWing: Yes, very much so. I remember when Digger T. Rock came out. I was only a young girl back then, but I played all the time. I was alone a lot growing up, so gaming was kind of my escape from the world.

[Q]: What other games are you currently playing? Any favourites?

[A]: Scruffy: "Well now, I've an eclectic taste I have to say, but anythin' with a good story is what I will play. I'm afraid battle royale just ain't my thing, but the praises of Spyro and Red Dead I will sing."

I have so many unfinished games in my library right now, it's not even funny. I am a multi-platform gamer too, so I have a backlog of games spanning Xbox, PC, PlayStation and Nintendo consoles. Whenever I have time to play though, I just find myself constantly drawn back to Sea of Thieves.

I did manage to complete a playthrough of the Resident Evil 2 remake recently, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I've also been enjoying Red Dead Redemption 2, Spyro Reignited Trilogy and State of Decay 2.

MidAngelWing: Call of Duty: Black Ops III, State of Decay 2, Jurassic World Evolution, Diablo III. A favourite? That's hard. Even though I love all the games for different things I would still have to go with Sea of Thieves. Mostly because of how it lets me be me. I can just set sail and not worry about anything.

[Q]: What was it that first drew you towards Sea of Thieves and its community?

[A]: Scruffy: "Arrgh! 'Twas me love of the sea that first drew me in, and the thought of bein' a pirate that did make me grin."

Well, when I saw the very first reveal footage of the game, I thought “a pirate game from Rare… I'm in!”. However, when I discovered that it was going to be a shared world kind of thing, I went off it a bit as they have never really been my cup of tea.

Because of this, I unfortunately missed out on the early demos and didn't really notice the game again until I saw an Achievement Hunter Let's Play on YouTube just before the game was due for release. Watching them play and make their own adventures just sparked my imagination and I knew I HAD to get this game. The fact that the guys playing had adopted pirate voices for the duration of the video was just the icing on the cake.

What drew me to the community was my sister (Mad Madam Pegleg) and her insistence that I should post the shanties I did after every sail for others to see. I set up a Twitter account to do this and then just started seeing all the other awesome people posting videos, screenshots and stories of their voyages. Then I started watching streams from people like Captain Daggers McTimbers, FrostE and Captain Carrillo that just made me smile and want to get involved.

The positivity that seemed to flow through the whole community was incredible. When I eventually got to sail with pirates like Captain Ballzonia and Captain Nightmare too, that just drew me in even deeper and I quickly formed friendships that I wouldn't now be without.

MidAngelWing: I follow Markiplier on YouTube, and one day he was playing it and I watched him play a few times. I remember in the beginning I didn't think much of it and I couldn't see myself playing, but when it showed up on Game Pass, I thought I would give it a go and I've been hooked ever since.

With me posting my own videos from YouTube to Twitter I came across some players who were playing SoT and started following them and talking to them. I eventually started sailing with some of them, and just seeing their support of both me and others was amazing. Having played a lot of MMORPGs I have to say I haven't seen any other community that sticks together and supports each other as this one does.

A romantic treat for two: loading a cannon at sunset.

[Q]: Hearing that you both met through Sea of Thieves is awesome! Can you tell us a bit more about how you first met?

[A]: Scruffy: "Well, I was stood one day out on me ship, with this peg leg of mine givin' me gyp, when all of a sudden me heart started to sing, at hearin' the voice of Ms. MidAngelWing."

We first became aware of each other via the Twitter community and I wrote her a short shanty after seeing that her profile description was written in a rhyme too. After that, we got to sail together through a mutual friend (The Dread Captain Trident) and the rest is history. We hit it off straight away and we pretty much talked and sailed together every day after that.

[Q]: How did Sea of Thieves play a part in building your relationship once the two of you had met?

[A]: Scruffy: "It brought us together across six thousand miles, and still is today the reason for our smiles."

Whilst I am from the UK, MidAngelWing is originally from Denmark and was living there when we met (on the seas). Forgetting for a moment that, without Sea of Thieves, the chances of us ever finding each other would have been astronomical, it was the fact that we could jump on a ship every night and have something to do whilst we chatted and got to know each other that really helped develop our relationship. We had this mutual love of the game that just made everything seem easy. We never actually planned for any of this to happen to be honest, we just started off being friends on the sea and the rest just grew over time.

[Q]: What would you say are your favourite things about being part of the Sea of Thieves community?

[A]: Scruffy: "It be all the pirates that it's allowed me to meet, and the findin' of me love, which was one heck of a feat."

It's hard to put that into words really. I've never gotten involved with a gaming community like this before as, from what I've heard from other people, they are often just full of aggressively competitive and/or toxic personalities that seem to focus on putting others down. The Sea of Thieves community, however, is the complete opposite. Everyone is so supportive and friendly towards each other, going out of their way to cheer you up if you are sad or cheer with you when you are happy. On Twitter especially, I always feel like I can be myself and love the reaction I get from everyone when I just make little rhyming replies to their posts etc.

My favourite thing about being part of the community is obviously that it enabled me to meet my future wife, but after that it would be the sheer number of friends I have made that are now always there for me. Even though this is a game about thieving, murderous pirates, it seems to have attracted the kindest and most supportive community I have ever seen.

MidAngelWing: The support and understanding and building of friendships across the world. People don't see a girl playing, they just see a player. They don't see age, they just see a player. Of course, there is the odd one who has to be a jerk, but they don't last long in the community. It's like an extended family that you don't always see but you know they are there and most of them will have your back.

[Q]: Aside from when you first met, do you have any standout Sea of Thieves moments you've experienced together?

[A]: Scruffy: "Arrgh, 'twas a terrible day, I remember it well, for findin' that chest became me own personal hell."

MidAngelWing: Well… the first time we played with Scruffy's sister we went out on a Gold Hoarder run and were on a very small island. Me and his sister had dug up a few chests and were waiting for him to get the last one, and we were talking when I realised we hadn't heard his voice in a while.

I called out to him and got a big sigh back. I asked what was wrong and he told us he was having trouble, so his sister ran to find him and came across 50-odd holes in the beach and Scruffy still trying to locate the chest. She looked at the map, put her shovel in the sand and found it on her first go. He then turned around, didn't say a thing and just started walking out into the water trying to drown himself out of shame. We still pick on him about that.

Scruffy and MidAngelWing deciding who gets to load the next cannon...

[Q]: A question for you, Scruffy: what's the story behind your rhymes, and how do you come up with them?

[A]: Scruffy: "It started out as fun, at the end of each quest, writin' about how we found each skull and each chest. Thinkin' up rhymes can sometimes be hard, but such is the life of a piratin' bard."

The origin of my shanties goes back to watching the Achievement Hunter guys playing the game and hearing Michael Jones (aka Peg Pecker) summing up their voyages with a shanty at the end of videos. This inspired me to start doing the same whenever me and my sister got out on the sea. Before getting involved with the community, I didn't really have many friends that were into games, apart from my sister. So whenever we played, it would just be the two of us sailing for a couple of hours a few evenings a week.

I would write down little verses as we played and then pull them together at the end to perform whilst we stood up in the rigging playing 'Becalmed'. It was just a fun way to end each night. Then I designed a Sea of Thieves-inspired background in Photoshop to type up my shanties onto… that's when my sister convinced me to start posting them online. When I started getting people following me on Twitter and leaving nice comments about my shanties, I thought it would be fun to keep up this 'Pirate Bard' persona and began replying to everyone in little rhymes.

With over 2000 posts now, all written in rhyme, I've kind of made a rod for my own back. I now see rhymes in my sleep and even catch myself unconsciously rhyming in day-to-day life too. As to how I come up with them… I really don't know. I just think of what I want to say and then try to build a rhyming verse around it. Some days, trying to find the right rhyme almost drives me insane.

[Q]: What are you looking forward to most in Sea of Thieves' future?

[A]: Scruffy: "More great adventures with me crew is what I want most, along with even one sightin' of that damn Shrouded Ghost."

That is a tough one. I think the scope for what could come next to the game is endless, and it excites me to imagine what new areas you guys might be working on, the new enemies you could be cooking up and the new gameplay mechanics you might have in mind. Most of all though, for me personally, the things that I enjoy most with every new content release are the stories that enrich the game world and the characters they bring. Of course, some kind of community event whereby player-made shanties get put in the game wouldn't go amiss either… just saying!

MidAngelWing: That's a tough one, to be honest. I am looking forward to seeing how the game will develop across time, but I am really hoping for pets.

Inseparable pirates sharing a quiet moment between Kraken and skelly attacks...

[Q]: What is your greatest achievement in a game, Sea of Thieves or otherwise?

[A]: Scruffy: "The day I became a Legend with me crew all around, when the stair to the Hideout appeared in the ground."

I've had many great moments in my gaming life when I have felt like I've achieved great things, be it gaining certain achievements or just finishing really hard games. But the best feeling I've ever had was when I became a Pirate Legend and had Captain Daggers, Captain Ballzonia and Chris Marlow all there to celebrate with me. Hearing that special shanty and getting to see the Hideout for the first time was just something else. I'll never forget that moment.

MidAngelWing: That would have to be back in the early 2000s. I was at a gaming café with an old friend and he was going to play Counter-Strike and asked me if I wanted to play too. I said yes and sat down. I had never played that game before and I was the only girl in the joint, so I took it slow and got into the game. It started out really well, I killed a lot of the other team and this had gone on for 20 minutes when I shot a guy for the fourth time. All of a sudden, I heard this guy scream out: "Who the hell is SilverRain?!" I raised my hand and waved at the guy. He got up and stormed out of the building screaming as he went: "I got beat by a fricking girl?" I loved that feeling and I still remember that to this day.

[Q]: If you had to choose a pirate name, what would it be?

[A]: Scruffy: "I'm Cap'n Beardstroker to me foes but known as Scruffy to me crew. Why Beardstroker, no-one knows, all except a special few."

Cap'n "Scruffy" Beardstroker is my pirate name… I leave it up to others to imagine why.

MidAngelWing: Wow, you really ask the tough questions… I've never thought about that. Maybe "Boom Barrel Bella". I like my boom barrels and my middle name shortens to Bella.

Scruffy and MidAngelWing relaxing at home!

[Q]: What kind of hobbies do you enjoy outside of gaming?

[A]: Scruffy: "Sailin' the seas and bein' a pirate, be first upon that list. Yet while that life, I do admire it, a landlubber does in me exist."

My main hobbies outside of gaming include actually studying game design (hoping for that big career-changing opportunity one day), some freelance graphic design work and fiction writing (I'm currently working on my third self-published novel under the pen name DTAngell).

MidAngelWing: I crochet, draw, write books and try to do my videos. I also come up with silly little games within SoT like pirate peekaboo… yeah…

[Q]: Share a fun fact about yourself. Anything is fair game!

[A]: Scruffy: "Arrgh, so ye want to know somethin' fun about me, well let me think, what could that be…"

I love to sing Disney songs in the shower.

MidAngelWing: I do impressions of creatures from movies and TV, like Gizmo from Gremlins, Pikachu, and Stitch from Lilo and Stitch. I can do a mean Fran Fine from The Nanny when she laughs but I do need to have a cold to do that one!

And so ends another Community Spotlight. It goes without saying that it fills the team with joy to hear stories of the community forming bonds, especially ones like this that show how closely games can bring people together. To Scruffy and Angel, or should we say Dan and Mia, we wish you luck for the future and we'll hopefully see you on the open seas!

That's it from us for now, but we'll be back with another Community Spotlight in the not-too-distant future. Until then, keep it locked to our social channels for all the latest on Sea of Thieves.