And so the time has come for another look into world of the Sea of Thieves community. At this point, if you've been keeping up to date with our Community Spotlight series then you'll have read about most of our Deckhands by now. We've taken a look at the lives of some of the people that help make our Forums great, but of course there are others amongst the ranks! This brings us to the man who is the centre of our latest Spotlight, Deckhand Shane, otherwise known as Runic on the Forums. He'll be telling us about his life, what brought him to the Sea of Thieves community, the Forums and just what it is about Skyrim that has rendered him unable to finish it years after launch.
Wouldn't mind one of those for our wall...
[Q]: Tell us a little about what got you into gaming? [A]: The first gaming device in my life was one of those Pong devices that hooked up to the TV. I have no idea where it came from, but I loved playing on the thing when I was little and thankfully it had a solo mode where you just bounced the ball against a wall, because my little sister was useless and no one else in the family would play with me.
My first console was a Sega Master System 2 (the PAL one), and with its fancy graphics and colour it blew my mind after only knowing Pong, although I don’t think I was any good at it as I remember my Mum would get sick of the music that played every time you died in Alex Kidd.
Not much later we got our first family computer, on which a family friend had installed a bunch of games for us. The games I remember most on it were the original X-Wing and a strip poker game. I thought the strip poker game had been put on there by mistake, so being a young scallywag I told no one and set to work learning how to play poker so I could beat it. After many failed attempts, I finally managed to beat the lady on screen. Just as I was thinking all my hard work was about to pay off, a message came up thanking me for playing the demo and advising me to purchase the full game to see more. Our family friend had set me up and I fell for it, hook, line and sinker. This was the first time I got trolled while gaming, but at least I learnt how to play poker.
[Q]: What’s your favourite Rare game and why? [A]: I presume you mean aside from Sea of Thieves. Then it has to be GoldenEye. I love that game and not just for how great it was but for opening up my gaming world. Up until then my gaming had been mostly been a solo affair. But then GoldenEye came alone and my mates and I were hooked. We said goodbye to the sun and packed away our wargaming miniatures and spent the rest of our days in my mate’s basement, trying to see who was the world’s greatest secret agent and yelling at anyone who had the audacity to pick Oddjob. Honestly Rare, what were you thinking including a character who was too short to shoot normally. I don’t get it, especially as Oddjob isn’t even short in the movies.
Honourable mention goes to Kinect Sports for being one of the only games my wife liked.
[Q]: What games are you playing currently? Any favourites? [A]: Currently playing Skyrim again. When I was playing it on the Xbox 360 I had a bad habit of spending all my time exploring and not doing the main quests, so when I got the special edition for Xbox One I promised myself that I would finish the main story this time. So, I started a new game and needless to say, half way to Whiterun I got distracted and wandered off in the wrong direction. I keep saying I will go back and do the main questline as soon as I check out that area just up ahead, but it never happens.
I have too many favourite games to list here but I do have a soft spot for games I can play with mates and have a good laugh. Some of my favourites include Chef’s Love Shack on the PS One (a South Park quiz game that featured minigames between rounds), Kung Fu Chaos on the original Xbox, and the Jackbox collections. I also have fond memories of LAN parties for the Halo and Gears of War games. The introduction of Horde Mode was a special time for me.
Wondering what's behind this curtain of clothing?
[Q]: What was it that drew you towards Sea of Thieves initially? [A]: The very first time I saw or heard anything of Sea of Thieves was on a “The Know” video on YouTube. They were using the E3 2015 trailer footage for a video and I instantly fell in love with the art style and wanted to know more about the game. Then came E3 2016 and a barrage of new info and actual gameplay! I was hooked. I knew I wanted this game, so I made my way to the SoT Forums and the rest is history.
[Q]: As one of the Deckhands, have you been this involved in online communities before, and what made you want to be so involved in this one? [A]: I have been a member and poster on a number of forums over the years but never anything to the degree of what I do on the SoT Forums. Even back in the early days I found myself logging in each day to share stories and discuss topics, both SoT and non-SoT related. Everyone here is just a joy to converse with. I felt like the Forums had given me so much enjoyment that when the opportunity came up to join the deckhands, how could I refuse? It was a chance to give back to a community that had given me so much.
[Q]: Aside from being a Deckhand, how has being part of the Sea of Thieves community been so far? [A]: Fantastic, this is by far the best community I have ever had the privilege of being part of. Not only has this community made me want to be a more active member of it, but I look forward to playing with all the different pirates I have met and then coming back to the Forums to share the tales of our adventures. I remember being blown away when I first joined the Forums by not only how friendly everyone was, but also by how open and friendly members of the development team were. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before.
[Q]: During Technical Alpha play sessions, the Forums have even more activity than usual. Are there any particular ways you and the other Deckhands approach this? [A]: The truth is I get to work with a great group of Deckhands and we all keep in very regular contact and support each other when needed. That means that even during extremely busy times such as during an Alpha test session you are able to keep your head above water, which is really important as it would be easy to feel swamped by the volume and complexity of stuff that comes up during the test sessions. Also, I really can’t say enough good things about the community and website teams at Rare. Along with the amazing support they provide us they do a lot of truly amazing work and do not get enough credit for it.
[Q]: If you had to choose a pirate name, what would it be? [A]: I would like something that rolls off the tongue, like “Runic Stormcaller, the Slayer of the Seas, Slaughterer of Skeletons, Killer of Krakens, Master of Maelstroms, Wooer of Women, Bane of Open Buffets, Seducer of Storms, Devourer of Drinks, Sinker of Ships, and all-round nice guy when he’s not gutting you”. I just hope pirates don’t get charged by the letter when they order business cards.
Shane's makeshift gaming set up, purpose-built for the his impending house move. Dedication? We think so.
[Q]: What kind of hobbies do you enjoy outside of gaming? [A]: My wife and I had a kid a couple of years ago and since then, gaming and playing with my daughter have been the only two hobbies I have had time for. I was trying to combine the two but at the age of 1, my daughter was getting a bit too good at Goat Simulator so my wife put a stop to it. Kind of hoping I can get her into Lego Worlds soon and convince my wife it will help her creativity.
[Q]: What are you looking forward to most in Sea of Thieves? [A]: Sailing and exploring. I have really loved being part of a crew and trying to get as much speed out of the sails as possible (normally while chasing or running away from another pirate ship). There is just something great about being part of a crew that is working together as a well-oiled machine. And exploring game worlds has always been a favourite of mine (in case you didn’t get that from reading the bit about Skyrim above).
[Q]: Share a fun fact about yourself. Anything is fair game! [A]: Growing up I was not allowed oranges so my loving mother would give me lemons and tell me they were oranges. I would eat the whole thing every time. To this day I still love all things sour.
Thanks to Shane for taking the time to talk to us for this week's Community Spotlight and best of luck in your quest to finally complete Skyrim. It goes without saying that the team here really appreciates your contributions to the community.
We’ll be back again soon with another Community Spotlight but until then, stay up to date with all of the latest on Sea of Thieves via our social channels!