It’s a sunny afternoon here at Rare, the kind of sunny that makes you want to sit outside, grab a cool beverage and pick out something good to read. If you’re looking to do just that, then we’ve got something just for you in the form of our latest Community Spotlight. Today Deckhand DILLIGAF - known to many on the Forums as Dilly - is here to tell us about how he tackles the role and much, much more. Here is what he had to say.

Meet Dilly who, going by this photo, is one of the bravest buccaneers we've spoken to.

[Q]: Tell us a little about what got you into gaming?
[A]: When I was young, around five years old, my dad got a promotion at work which meant Christmas was going to be bigger that year. Of course, I didn’t know why Santa decided to bring more expensive gifts that year but who was I to complain? That year I got an Atari 2600 under the tree. Back then we only had one TV (in the living room) so I had little chance to play it. But when I did, I became a master at hitting tanks with bank shots in Combat and being a crack shot asteroid killer in Asteroids. Since then, it’s been a fascination with not only the games and the stories they tell but an interest in the hardware and software that runs them.

[Q]: What’s your favourite Rare game and why?
[A]: Favourite Rare game hands down has to be Conker’s Bad Fur Day, for the obvious reasons. I was in my late twenties when I finally got a chance to pick up a copy and it took forever for me to get through it because of all the jokes and pop culture references. They kept cracking me up and I had to keep pausing the game.

[Q]: What games are you playing currently? Any favourites?
[A]: About a month ago, the hard drive on my Xbox One crashed and I lost everything. So, I’m replaying pretty much everything. But currently I’ve been running back through Saints Row IV and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.

[Q]: Even before our official Forums opened up last year, you popped up regularly on our Twitter. How has it been seeing the Sea of Thieves community grow and branch out over the past year or so?
[A]: To be honest, I didn’t have a Twitter account until I started following “Pirate Port Radio” on YouTube and found out Mike (Abstractacas) & Sebastian (Paladin_Topaz) had accounts on there, so I signed up to follow them. Minutes later, I was following Captain Bones. It wasn't long until I was following more Rare employees than I could keep track of! Once the Forums opened up, I jumped in with the rest of the members to read, share, and speculate on every little snippet we could glean from the videos, even the fun ones which had nothing to do with the gameplay.

The community started small, but it’s been amazing to see it steadily grow from a couple of hundred members to the legion of members we have now. Every day I see a lot of threads from new members looking for information and veteran members not only replying to those questions but also putting a digital welcome out to everyone. What makes it even more impressive is that we have become an extended pirate family that reaches several countries around the world.

Wedding rings fit for a pirate. We approve!

[Q]: What’s great about the Deckhands is that everyone brings something unique to the role. What’s your approach to being a Deckhand?
[A]: The rest of the Deckhands fill out the character spectrum really well. We have some really intelligent and hard-working people who are on the ball, answering questions, pointing new members in the right direction…then there’s me. I suppose my approach is that I know I’m not going to hit every thread or question but how can I make the most of the ones I can get to? Anything from referring someone to a similar thread for more information, an attempt at comedy (bad pirate jokes and puns, anyone?) or just taking the time to “listen” to people in a thread makes all the difference in the world. Basically I want everyone to know that even as a Deckhand, I’m still a member of the community and a fan of Rare and Sea of Thieves. I’m just as curious about new information as everyone else is.

[Q]: Has being a Deckhand given you a different outlook on the community?
[A]: It really has changed my perspective a lot. I’ve never been active on a forum, I've always been a lurker. Now I see there’s a lot more that goes on “behind the scenes” than I ever imagined. When the forums were created, I wondered how long it would take for it to become the toxic sludge most other boards I’ve witnessed were. Nine months later and it’s still a place I enjoy coming back to every day. The community is mind-blowing. We have digital artists, people who make 3D art, poets, LARPers, story-tellers, PC geeks, etc. and it never ceases to amaze me that these people have all embraced their “inner pirate” and banded together in a really positive community. For all the members of the Forums and the other social media sites, “you guys are awesome! Thanks for being a living representation of the game Rare is working towards.”

[Q]: Having participated in our Technical Alphas so far, any fun stories to share from your time playing Sea of Thieves?
[A]: The first Tech Alpha I was in, I was with three other newbies. We created a group/party and we chatted for about two hours before the servers went live. What were we expecting, what we wanted to do and see. We got to know each other pretty well, laughing and joking, telling stories before we even got into the game. That was when I knew this was going to be something special. Once we got in, we all were taken aback by the game’s look and feel. It was truly amazing. During the end of the session, I was at the helm and the other three crewmates were playing music at the bow of the ship. Night had settled in, the stars twinkled overhead and the moon was full and bright. I saw a rock formation ahead and thought, “I’m going to sail between those two rocks.” As we passed through them, the crew cheered and complimented my piloting skills. I’ve dubbed the manoeuvre as “Threading the Needle” and have done it with each test session since.

[Q]: Being a Deckhand requires a pretty keen eye on everything that’s happening on the Forums. How do you strike a balance between that and everything else that goes on during your day to day life?
[A]: It’s similar to being a ringleader in a 23-ring circus where everything is going on at once and you have to keep tabs on it all. To be honest, if I didn’t keep a lot of notes handy (mostly phone and digital reminders) I’d never get anything done. I‘m really lucky though. I’m part of a couple of great teams that keep me from getting overwhelmed at times. The other Deckhands and awesome members of the community do a great job of keeping the boards in order, which means I don’t feel as pressured to be everywhere all the time, which is fairly liberating. I also have an amazing wife who is extremely patient with me and my insanity. She even humours me with my pirate obsession. She’s not the “diamonds and gold” type but it was an unexpected treat to see the silver skull and crossbones rings she picked out for our wedding rings.

The real trick, though, is not to compartmentalise. There are times, for example, where I’m trying to settle down our 3-year-old daughter who’s upset because she wants dinosaur toast (cinnamon butter toast cut in the shape of dinosaurs, for those who were curious) and I’m trying to do paperwork for my job or read through threads and reply where I can. Sometimes, taking a quick break to make the toast and thinking about how to reply to someone’s question is the right approach. True, it might mean I’m not as quick to reply as other Deckhands but, for me, it works.

[Q]: As a studio making a pirate game, we can always appreciate good beards and yours isn’t messing around. Any tips for prospective bearded buccaneers?
[A]: Thanks for the compliment. Even though I’ve had to keep it trimmed for work, for the most part, I just tend to let it be. When it starts getting unruly, I break out the Taser and threaten it until it settles down. It’s also important to wash and condition it regularly and I use a beard oil on it a couple of times a week as a bonus conditioner and to make it smell like spiced oranges, so I remember my Vitamin C. Scurvy isn’t a joke to us pirates, ye know.

[Q]: If you had to choose a pirate name, what would it be?
[A]: I started a thread about changing my gamertag to a more “pirate” sounding name so I’ve been thinking about this for a while. How about “Dilly McRedbeard” which mixes my gamertag, my reddish beard and my family’s Irish heritage.

[Q]: What kind of hobbies do you enjoy outside of gaming?
[A]: Hanging out with my wife and two kids (12 and three year old) are my number one priority. After that comes playing with our two pitbulls Rebel and Pig, our three ball pythons, Harleys and tattoos. I have a lot of small hobbies like collecting random trivia about movies, sailing or anything that catches my attention. I also really enjoy keeping my hands busy with wood-working projects and carpentry, mostly on home improvement projects lately.

Dinosaurs AND toast? You're spoiling us here Dilly.

[Q]: What are you looking forward to most in Sea of Thieves?
[A]: I want small bands of players taking on the world (and other players) and carving out a niche for themselves; creating legends without having super powers, just the skills they’ve learned by playing. But on the other hand, I can’t wait to see if sailing solo is an option because I love to travel and explore, typically by myself. I can’t wait to see what cool hidden gems I can find in the world that Rare is creating.

[Q]: Share a fun fact about yourself. Anything is fair game!
[A]: This is, by far, the hardest thing to answer. I have a ton of random stories so far and I'm making new ones every day; a few completely random ones have been posted on the forums already. Unfortunately, quite a few of them are “NSFW” so I suppose I’ll go with: I was born (at home) in a log house in the woods. Since my birthday is in the middle of December and the weather was so bad, the local doctor didn’t even get my official birth certificate made up until Spring.

And there you have it, another great insight into the life of one of our Sea of Thieves community members. A big thanks to Dilly is in order, for taking the time to share more about himself as well as his masterfully groomed facial hair. As a fan of Turkey Dinosaurs, I can sympathise with your daughter’s affinity for dinosaur shaped toast!

The Community Spotlight series will be back in a couple of weeks with another chat with a yet-to-be-revealed community member, so until then, keep an eye on our social channels to stay updated on everything Sea of Thieves.

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