Community Spotlight – Dead-Eye Dray

Roaming from Golden Sands to the Ancient Isles, a pirate with a restless pen!

The latest studious sea rover in the Spotlight has been blogging and detailing all things Sea of Thieves for years now. Their passion for writing and the game sees them regularly contributing to several sites, keeping players up to date with goings-on and giving opinions on the way the game is evolving. As they’ve embedded themselves firmly in the community since arriving on the seas, many are by now familiar with this wandering writer, Dead-Eye Dray!

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

[A]: My earliest gaming memory is playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on the SNES with my mum, and that world of puzzles and mystery really spoke to a core part of me, it got me hooked.

From there I played the usual suspects like Super Mario All-Stars, Super Bomberman and a bunch of SNES games that are honestly a bit of a blur to me now. A friend of mine had a Sega Genesis and we used to play Sonic, most typically Sonic 3 & Knuckles. I became more cognizant of what video games were when I got an N64 in 1998.

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

[A]: I was! I've been following Rare since the late '90s, the first title I played being Diddy Kong Racing. I used to rent that all the time until eventually it was just bought for me, hah! Similarly I stumbled upon Banjo-Kazooie in Electronics Boutique not knowing the same studio made that title. That same friend who had the Genesis had a copy of GoldenEye 007 and we'd play that for hours. Although it wasn't really until Banjo-Tooie that it fell in to place that these games with the golden R were all made by the same studio! Both Viva Piñata and Banjo-Tooie hold a special spot in my heart.

Also l have to shout out the Scribes page on the old Rare website for shaping some of my humour, and being the first website I religiously checked. It was because of Rare that I made the jump from exclusively following Nintendo and branched out to getting an Xbox.

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

[A]: Currently I'm playing through Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE and the Monkey Island series of games. I'd never really played them before this year, but when Sea of Thieves: The Legend of Monkey Island was announced… I felt like it was time! I've been enjoying them and I'm up to Tales of Monkey Island right now. So far I'd say that I've enjoyed LeChuck's Revenge and The Curse of Monkey Island the most, which I'm sure is a contentious opinion!

Aside from those, I've picked up Palia and have gotten completely addicted to it already, help!

Dray has always loved pirates and was immediately enamoured with Sea of Thieves.

[Q]: What brought you over to Sea of Thieves and its community?

[A]: Pirates! Love pirates. With it being a Rare game centred around pirates too… I just knew I had to be there. It was always the destiny of the studio to make a pirate game!

As for the community, well luckily the community has been special ever since its early days. There has always been a real comradery at the core of it. People willing to share their adventures, tricks, knowledge and time. It's truly special and very inviting.

I mostly interacted with people on the seas themselves during the Closed Beta and it wasn't until afterwards that I really began using the Forums, but there was just an undeniably good vibe that I got and wanted to immerse myself in.

[Q]: You’re a keen writer for Golden Sands Blogpost and Ancient Isles University. What got you into blogging for Sea of Thieves and what was your first piece?

[A]: I had been keen to contribute to the Sea of Thieves community in some manner, and Jeff the Brash (owner/creator of Golden Sands Blogpost) asked me if I would like to help with providing guides and articles around the time of the Anniversary Update, so it all started from there. It gave me confidence and a space to develop these skills, and a way for me to feel like I'd be contributing.

The first piece I wrote was this news round-up that covered the latest patch, weekly dev streams and Rare's social engagement. In particular this time around, Rare had done a Q&A on the official Forums. I started off doing these round-ups before moving toward documenting world changes that were happening with lore recaps, and with the monthly updates happening at that time, things were moving very fast!

From there I developed ideas and got involved with other communities, like the Ancient Isles University, helping out with writing and collecting information. I feel as though blogging and writing about Sea of Thieves is a bit of a niche outlet, where most would stream or create video content, or even create art, but it's where I feel most comfortable. Each time I'm learning how to develop a voice, balance humour with information, what is engaging, that sort of thing. One of my goals for this year was to put out more opinion pieces that just conveyed my thoughts and feelings about the game.

Dray started blogging around the Anniversary Update, and things progressed from there!

[Q]: You’re also part of the Affiliate Alliance with your work on Merfolk’s Lullaby, what do you enjoy most about your role there?

[A]: I love having the opportunity to work on new features and projects that we can use to really engage our community, from the Timeline to our Quizzes and the games that we put up as part of the interactive website. I'm a bit of a strange egg in that I really enjoy filling in data and fleshing out what we have.

The community we've cultivated at Merfolk’s Lullaby are an incredibly inquisitive and eager bunch, especially with how perceptive they were when we launched our own mini-Mystery, the Missing Ships Mystery. Getting to work with on projects with Skulliah and the team is great, and I've learnt things from each one we've done. A particular highlight was the interactive Merrick we developed as part of an April Fool's Day game, I got to do a bit of coding as well as trying to mimic the writing for Merrick as best as possible.

And to be part of the Affiliate Alliance? That is a great honour to be entrusted with.

[Q]: We've also seen you at SoTFest and in various other Sea of Thieves communities. What is it that draws you to them?

[A]: I always want to give others the warmth and time that people have afforded me, so I try to get involved where I can – be that with things like the programme for SoTFest 2023, encouraging projects or just being a friendly face that makes people feel like they can belong too. There are so many brilliant people across the community, it feels like there are boundless opportunities to do new and interesting things with such a creative cast of corsairs.

[Q]: Thinking back, are there any standout moments for you in Sea of Thieves since you started playing?

[A]: Encountering the Shrouded Ghost immediately comes to the forefront of my mind, but that feels like a cheap answer! I recall being awestruck the first time I played through the ‘Shores of Gold’ Tall Tale. Tribute Peak is such a massive island with a foreboding atmosphere that still manages to give me shivers even upon revisiting it now. Would be a great place for a parkour course, just saying…

Most people will mention The Hungering Deep as one of their standouts for interaction, but I had a really wild one during Cursed Sails where I Allianced with two other player Sloops. The session became this convoy of three Sloops aiming to take on the fleets, but none of us spoke the same language! Despite the language barrier we still knew where to go and when to help each other out. Those Skeleton Ships back then were brutal!

Alliances made for adventure form some of Dray’s favourite in-game moments.

[Q]: What are your favourite recent additions to Sea of Thieves?

[A]: I've found myself having a blast capturing Chests of Fortune. That one little chest has managed to create a lot of engaging and thrilling moments.

If I can include Adventures in this too, I would make an argument for ‘The Herald of the Flame’ being one of my favourite story-focused additions. It wrapped up loose ends with Stitcher Jim and delivered them in a way that felt like we were turning the pages of a book.

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

[A]: Tripping Mike Chapman up with some questions during our Merfolk's Lullaby Sea of Thieves Awards 2022 Opening Act quiz, as it was a lot of fun to see him trying to figure out if 'where to sell chickens' was a trick question…

Outside of Sea of Thieves, managing to beat the story mode of F-Zero GX on all difficulties, and some of the ridiculous challenges it wants you to beat to unlock the AX tracks and characters.

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

[A]: The Sloop that I regularly sail on is named the Seaworthy Scribe, and my pirate also goes by my screenname, their real name a secret to most. Fun fact, the Dead-Eye part is not because they are any good at firing guns, but because they are in fact absolutely terrible at aiming. I've a Galleon, the Beleaguered Behemoth, and a Brigantine, Warsmith's Wordsmith, too. See if you can find a common thread between them all…

Dray roves the seas with their crew, gathering inspiration for the next guide or article.

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

[A]: I'm involved with a local theatre, both volunteering front of house and as part of a community group where we create original productions alongside adults with disabilities and disadvantages, and have done amateur dramatics over the years. I'm quite keen to try out different forms of acting, as well as seeing where I could potentially go with it in the future.

Outside of that I play trading card games like Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic: The Gathering, my main focus being the One Piece card game at the moment.

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

[A]: I once acted alongside the nephew of Sir Ian McKellen in a production of Twelfth Night!

And that's that for another Spotlight – thank you so much to Dray for taking the time to speak with us. Check out some of their writing if you get the chance, we love to see how that passion for Sea of Thieves shines through!

If you can’t wait to hear more from our community, you can check out our previous Community, Creator and Legend Spotlights. Or to see what else our players have been up to and some of the wonderful creations they’ve been making recently, head over to our Community Hub. Until next time!