Community Spotlight - DrBullhammer
In this week’s Community Spotlight, we catch up with one of our beloved Boatswains. Granted the role for their involvement in the community, knowledge of the game and love of all things Sea of Thieves, Boatswains usually find the most fun and creative (some might say chaotic) ways to sail and can be found on our Forums and official Discord sever, welcoming and helping new players to the seas.
We spoke to DrBullhammer about how he first got involved in the Sea of Thieves community, why he stuck with it and why he thinks you should never, ever angle your sails…
[Q]: Can you tell us a little about what got you into gaming?
[A]: My parents bought me and my brother the NES for Christmas when I was three years old and I’ve been hooked on games ever since. It made TV interactive, even if I couldn’t really grasp that concept at the time. Instead of using action figures and my imagination to re-enact things I saw on TV or in movies, I could actually control what the hero was doing on my TV. That’s mind-blowing for an almost-four-year-old in the late ’80s.
The Mario/Duck Hunt combo cartridge is the game I played the most, followed by Mega Man 2. The title screen and theme for Mega Man 2 are amazing. That’s the first game I remember thinking had incredible music. If you haven’t played it, do yourself a favor and at least find the Mega Man 2 title screen on YouTube.
[Q]: Were you a Rare fan before Sea of Thieves? Do you have any favourite Rare games?
[A]: GoldenEye. My brother, cousin and I played entirely too much GoldenEye. Stack is the best multiplayer map in the game, everyone knows it. Those who disagree know in their heart that I’m right.
It wasn’t just the gameplay and graphics (good for the time), but the ridiculousness of everything. I was the one who chose Oddjob and crouched everywhere I went, but that didn’t help much because we played in DK Mode, which gave characters giant heads. I loved the end of match awards. Most Dishonorable was my most commonly earned award, because I like to shoot people in the back.
[Q]: What other games are you currently playing? Any favourites?
[A]: Aside from Sea of Thieves, I recently finished Halo Infinite and I’m playing through all the previous Halo games for the first time. There’s an indie game that just launched in Early Access called Breakwaters. It’s a survival/exploration/base-building game. Want to push back the water and walk across the sea floor like Moana? You can do it.
As for my favorites, aside from SoT, The Outer Worlds is a surprise favorite from the past few years. I never really cared for games like that in the past, but its storytelling, humor and music all pulled me in right away. It’s one of the games that I’ll happily leave on the title screen to hear the music. Other favorites are pretty much Legend of Zelda titles. I’m always happy to go back and play The Wind Waker or Twilight Princess. Breath of the Wild (a great LoZ game, DuMy2008), like SoT, is a game I’ll play just to experience the world rather than accomplish anything.
Even seasoned scavengers must look their (mismatched) best at all times!
[Q]: What brought you over to Sea of Thieves and its community?
[A]: I’ve been a fan of pirates for as long as I can remember. The earliest Halloween costume I remember was being the Smee to my brother’s Capt. Hook when I was maybe three years old. Pirates of the Caribbean was one of my favorite rides at Disneyland, decades before the film adaptations. So when my brother saw the 2016 E3 trailer for Sea of Thieves, he sent it to me immediately and I knew it was the pirate game I’d always wanted. I signed up for the Tech Alpha in early 2017 and was invited to play during E3. From that point on, if I didn’t have to work, I put as much time into those playtests as possible and loved every minute.
The first thing that brought me into the community was how friendly the players were in my first session. I never talked on voice comms with people I didn’t know in real life, until that first SoT Tech Alpha session. For the first time, I actually wanted to talk in a game. From the beginning, it just felt like it made the experience better.
My first activity in the Forums was because I thought my lantern was broken. Musicmee kindly suggested actually raising it with the other trigger on the controller. Had he been condescending rather than friendly, I probably wouldn’t have become so involved with the community, so grab your torches and pitchforks, it’s his fault I’m here.
[Q]: You’ve been a part of the Boatswains since the early days. What’s your favourite thing about the role?
[A]: First off, I’m honored to be recognized. I just want people to enjoy themselves when they play games. That’s always been the most important thing to me. There’s nothing more satisfying than a hard-fought battle in the game, then a friendly chat with your opponents after. My favorite thing about being a Boatswain is being included in a group with so many other amazing people. These are all genuinely good people who were brought together because of SoT and the community. We didn’t know each other before meeting in this community, but they are always there to support each other, even through real-life losses. It’s a truly special group.
The Boatswains are a friendly, knowledgeable, chaotic bunch of pirates. Never a dull moment!
[Q]: So we have to know – how did you make it to Pirate Legend without buying a Voyage? Didn’t your crew ever question this, and did they know this was the goal?
[A]: It wasn’t something I had considered until about three days after the game launched. Erikinthebakery, one of the many great people I met on the Forums, mentioned that he hadn’t bought any Voyages and was going to try to get to Legend without buying any. I realized I hadn’t bought any either and thought, in my true leechy fashion, that sounds interesting. He didn’t seem to have a problem with me going for it too, so my ridiculous journey began.
It started with people asking who had a Voyage and me always saying “I don’t…” and that kind of became an annoying running gag. Whatever they wanted to work on, that’s what I’d work on. If I was sailing solo, I would scavenge what little loot I could from islands and shipwrecks (there was so much less loot in the seas in those days). Earning about 6k gold per hour was a pretty good pace for scavenging back then. So it was a combination of scavenging solo or just doing whatever was proposed by my crew.
I managed to reach Pirate Legend the day before The Hungering Deep launched. SirioNDB tried to blow me up in the tavern at Ancient Spire when I went to talk to the Mysterious Stranger, but I managed to jump through the door and escape with a sliver of health left. I think he has a clip of it somewhere.
[Q]: Can you share your top three DrBullhammer sailing tips for anyone wanting to sail the seas in a more non-traditional way?
[A]: 1) Angle the ship, not the sails. Sails go up and down, not side to side. Need the wind to favor you? Turn your ship. Thor von Blitz and I live by this and we don’t get caught unless we want to. I think he would agree, outsailing your opponent is a battle of wits more than anything. It’s not just about what you can do, but what you think they will do.
2) Don’t waste time stocking your ship. The real treasure is the supplies you find along the way. At most, fill your pockets, then set sail. For me, the thing that takes the longest on an Outpost is setting up my ship’s cosmetics. If you have a Thor von Blitz with you, all your supplies will be properly stowed in the storage crates you find on your journey and will be easily retrievable should you sink. This is the way.
3) If your crew asks which direction to go, never give a bearing, only point. Words are hard, pointing is easy. They’re too lazy to figure out which direction to go? Be too lazy to use your words. This will enrich your experience. Trust me.
Top DrBullhammer tip: don’t stock your ship.
[Q]: Thinking back, are there any standout moments for you in Sea of Thieves since you started playing?
[A]: So many moments. Three days after the game launched, four of us from Fortune spent three hours gathering booms to spell “Happy B-day K-Bot” for Khaleesibot, former Community Manager. My big, fat, tired finger hit a key and dropped a boom off the side of the boat. Needless to say, the Galleon and the 40+ booms on board were gone in a blink. We were left with enough to spell “HA”, so “HA” was the birthday wish we delivered.
During one of the Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life tall tales, we set sail with Captain Jack Sparrow. He told us we should stock up on supplies. Thor von Blitz and I looked at each other in-game and said “uh… I didn’t get any supplies”. Refer to Tip 2 in the previous answer.
Recently Sshteeve, Thor von Blitz, PersonalCoffee and I were sailing. Meg spawned, then glitched, and just pushed our Galleon around until we ended up at Snake Island. PersonalCoffee was AFK, so he missed Meg launching our Galleon into orbit, three giggly Boatswains watching it fly as we fell back to the sea.
Ha birthday to you, ha birthday to you! At least there was an attempt…
[Q]: What are your favourite additions to Sea of Thieves over the past year?
[A]: Of course, Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life. It’s not just creating a story with the characters from the films, but playing the Tales and knowing from my childhood trips to Disneyland that I was in the ride. My other favorite addition is burying treasure. It’s something I asked for during the Tech Alpha and it’s been implemented almost exactly as I hoped it would. 5/7, perfect addition. Don’t sell, only bury.
[Q]: What are your greatest achievements in a game, Sea of Thieves or otherwise?
[A]: Really, becoming a Pirate Legend without buying a Voyage. I did it just because I didn’t want to play the way people think you’re supposed to play. I don’t really care about comparing stats, but it was fun to compare my stats to the stats of other Legends back then, because mine seemed far too low for me to be a Legend.
[Q]: If you had to choose a pirate and ship name, what would they be?
[A]: Every ship needs a doctor, why not DrBullhammer AKA Bull/Bully? My ship is The Leech. I promise, it’s much prettier than its name. Its name is a reflection of my leeching Voyages from people and no two parts match, to honor the scavenger in me.
[Q]: What kind of other hobbies do you enjoy outside of gaming?
[A]: Typical nerdy books and movies/TV, but most of all I love to travel. I’ve had the good fortune of being able to travel to three continents so far. But I’m very much the same in real life as I am in SoT, I just go with the flow. I wouldn’t have thought to travel to any of the places I’ve been without the brilliant travel ideas of my better half.
[Q]: Share a fun fact about yourself. Anything is fair game!
[A]: One time I woke up in a tent on an island in a lake in upstate New York. I had two BB guns, a hatchet and a machete under my pillow and there was half a burnt sock on a cinderblock near the campfire. I don’t remember what led to that.
That concludes our latest Community Spotlight! Thank you to DrBullhammer for taking the time to talk to the team – we can’t wait to see what shenanigans he gets up to next, and might even pencil in a catch-up to see if he can get to Athena’s Fortune 20 without buying a Voyage. May his glorious Briggsy sails never be angled!
If you’re eager to hear more from all areas of our community, you can always check out our previous Community Spotlights. Until next time!