After a whirlwind few weeks filled with shows, announcements and Technical Alpha play sessions, things are starting to feel like they’re returning to a relative norm here at the studio. With that in mind, it’s about time we had another Community Spotlight! This time it’s Rare fan Paul (DuMy2008 for those of you who are Forum regulars) who steps into the spotlight to tell us more about how he’s been getting involved with the Sea of Thieves community over the past year.

In our completely, totally unbiased opinion, this photo is evidence that DuMy clearly has great taste in videogames.

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

[A]: The specifics of ‘why’ are not exactly great memories. I have spoken about it in the mental health Forum thread before, so I will make it more joyous and just say it was my brother who got me into gaming. I remember the first game I played was Donkey Kong Country. I was only a few years old, my brother had just got it and was excited to play it (he is six years older than me, so he had all the good stuff at this point). He sat me down with the second controller and I got to be Diddy Kong every now and then. I was useless at the game at first, but I remember we played it for years, the first one always held up the strongest for us (until DK64). The magic of the music, visuals and co-operation of the game was – no, still is great!

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

[A]: Very much so! I was so ecstatic to see Rare Replay announced that I paid no attention to Sea of Thieves at first. I got the game on release day with the awesome Battletoads T-shirt (much to the embarrassment of the other half!) and was super-excited to play the classics again. Atic Atac WAS the only game on that list that I hadn't completed at that stage!

It is hard to choose a favourite Rare game because they are all so varied. It would have to be between DK64 for its humour and that it birthed my favourite Rare character Chunky Kong, and Perfect Dark which is obvious as the game was a masterpiece, with the fun of using the hovercrate from the basement to keep the firing range door open and then unloading hundreds of arrows and mines on the guy running the tests, and also my second favourite Rare character Elvis!

The last of my favourites would be Banjo-Kazooie, of course. Not only did I spend many an hour 100% completing it (and Banjo-Tooie) back when it came out, but as soon as they were on Xbox Live Arcade before the Xbox One came out, I did it all again (twice on Banjo-Kazooie)! The only thing I lack is merchandise. Had a few bits and bobs, but most were lost whilst moving around so I am now planning on building my merchandise collection back up again.

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

[A]: Well, I’m playing FIFA 17, Star Wars Battlefront, Battlefield 4 (and now Battlefield 1 since it is free), Titanfall 2, Fortnite, Portal 2 when Corbshill is ready, GTA V, Dying Light… basically, a lot of games. I have 160 installed at the moment and actively play around 10-20 at a time, sometimes longer on some than others. At the moment, my favourite has become Fortnite because of the simplistic mechanics in it and the fun that can be had in small parties, especially when I get to play with ClumsyGeorge, Musicmee, Gamechick1988, Made In 89 or Corbshill. It’s more the people who make it my favourite game to be honest!

[Q]: It’s safe to say you’re a veteran of the Sea of Thieves Forums at this point. What first brought you over to the community?

[A]: Veteran? Oh, can I have a shiny new badge for that? Originally, I heard about the Forums around summertime 2016, but I didn’t visit until September. I came over to the Forums purely out of interest in the game and as it was a games developer I loved, I thought it would be something I would love to follow. I only became involved after seeing how close the community was. I decided to introduce myself in the Introductions thread back in Jan/Feb, and then had a load of welcoming messages.

After that I just felt like I would help out where I could and then it became a passion of sorts! The biggest thing is helping relieve some of the work from those hardworking Deckhands which is sort of its own reward, knowing they have less work and can concentrate on the more important things in the Forums and have a little extra time in their own lives!

[Q]: You’re also very active on the fan-made Sea of Thieves Discord channel. How did you get involved with that and how does it differ to the Forums?

[A]: Well, as a console player, I hadn’t actually encountered Discord before until shortly after I received my invite. Gurman01 had started an Xbox club for testers and Lizalaroo and J4dio invited me into the ranks as well as into a Forum group chat where the Discord channel was suggested. After starting Discord with this and helping Gurman keep order amongst the scallywags, I remember hearing of another bigger Discord open to all members of the Forums, and that it was a bit ‘unruly’. Me and a few others of the tester group went in to help out until Staticxtasy (the owner) dropped me a message asking if I wanted to help out as a mod. It is a lot different to the Forums, mainly down to structure.

The Forums have a lot of useful posts to redirect to when needed and each thread generally gets its own attention, whereas on the Discord you can get multiple people asking multiple questions and have even more answering with bits and pieces they either know or have heard to be true. The biggest difference is probably that it doesn’t abide by the official Microsoft and Xbox Code of Conduct, so most of the time, it is down to personal judgement (unless a complaint is made) or whether as a mod, we feel something is said that is offensive to others, which can crop up from time to time due to the openness of the channel. The rules generally allow most mature language as long as it is not directly offensive to anyone or could be off-putting to the community.

Banjo-Kazooie, released in 1998, is amongst DuMy's favourite Rare titles.

[Q]: You’ve naturally become someone who stands out as looking to help others, answer questions or just contribute to all the big discussions, in-game and beyond. Have you been this involved in online gaming communities before?

[A]: Not a single bit. I was helping as an Xbox Ambassador for a little bit just after I started posting in the Forums, but I have never involved myself as fully as I have with the Sea of Thieves Forums. That, I feel, is mainly due to the interaction between everyone I saw whilst lurking. Not only were there inside jokes between community members, but the Rare devs were popping in and making a few jokes with members too. It is very inviting to see everyone, even newcomers, treated like friends. Previous communities I have lurked in have involved a lot of ‘one-upmanship’ and saltiness which promptly drove me away or just kept me lurking.

[Q]: Alongside CaptnJaq and other Sea of Thieves Forum members, you were heavily involved in the recent charity stream. What made you want to set this up, and are there any plans for more streams like this in the future?

[A]: To be fair, I like to give where I can, and since I haven’t found any legendary chests recently, I have only been donating blood. I had been thinking of doing a 24hr stream but the logistics of handling the day-to-day bits and bobs with the kids and playing for 24 hours straight wouldn’t work, so when CaptnJaq suggested this event, I jumped at the chance to be involved.

The main planners were CaptnJaq, Taydoge Swift and myself, so there was plenty of help, and I managed to sort out just over 15 hours of streaming from the roughly 42 hours over which it took place over (with much help from Tartansnake 8 and Corbshill keeping me company for most of those hours). As for future charity streams, we are currently planning an early October stream, which with more organisation will hopefully make it a more fluid viewing process for any viewers. The charity will be Kinderkankerfonds which will be the sole organisation for this stream, unlike the previous stream where we supported three charities.

[Q]: Do you have any standout moments from your time as a Sea of Thieves Forum member?

[A]: I have many… the mental health thread was a biggy, George’s stories, the pirate pun thread! If I had to choose one, it would be the mental health thread. When I saw it I was hesitant to post, but after I had, I was glad to see the solidarity of all the members involved and was impressed to see how many people were willing to open up so freely and be safe from ridicule. It was also comforting to see people with similar experiences comforting one another even though they were essentially complete strangers.

[Q]: Do you have any standout moments or stories from your time playing the game?

[A]: Originally, I would have said the time ‘SneakyGeorge’ stole a chest from two ships locked in battle and caught the ladder as I sailed by… but Liz stole that one! So, I will go with shortly after ‘meeting’ Nattzz in-game as a very quiet and seemingly unconfident girl. A few sessions later I was sailing with her, our veteran xDILLIGAFx1974 and my friend Mikyle88. Now you would not have known it from those few quiet sessions, but Nattzz is an evil drunk! After standing very close behind Mikyle88 whilst he was on the bowsprit so that as he turned he got scared by Nattzz’s character and subsequently became shark food, much to the delight of Captain Nattzz herself, she did it a second time too! To see someone who was originally shy suddenly come out of her shell and become the life of that session was amazing.

Not a bad haul at all. This pirate must take his treasure hunting very seriously.

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

[A]: Being able to sail the seas with all my friends whenever I want, causing mischief, mayhem and madness! I have made so many great friends in this community that I think it will be a game where I will always have someone to crew up with! Also, I cannot wait to explore the final product. I hope that there is going to be a lot left secret for that!

Easter eggs are always a personal favourite of mine and I love searching Rare games for them. I even took a screenshot on the Xbox One of my favourite Easter egg, one of the Jet Force Gemini posters in Bottles’ house in Banjo-Kazooie! And now that there are community Easter eggs, I cannot wait to find more of those. Especially as I was in a crew with Musicmee last session, dedicated to looking for Easter eggs, and right before we came off at about 3am, we found his one on the last island we got to!

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

[A]: I would have to stick with Captain DuMy2008 (or Captain DuMy for short, DuMy pronounced ‘dummy’) as if it was any other name then I wouldn’t be creating my personal pirate legend! It wouldn’t feel right hearing another name put to a legacy I created!

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

[A]: There’s life outside of gaming?!? But seriously, my main ‘hobby’ is parenting as the stay-at-home dad of five, but I also enjoy playing footy (soccer for those across the pond), badminton, swimming and ice skating when I can! 

And there you have it. A look into the life of another pirate who helps make up the crew known as the Sea of Thieves community. With all that swimming practice, looks like it’s going to take a lot more than sharks to take down Captain DuMy! We’d better get our thinking tricorns on…

That’s an end to our latest Community Spotlight, but there’s still a lot more to see and hear from us while you wait for the next one, so don’t forget to stay up to date with all the latest from Sea of Thieves via our social channels. See you next time!