Community Spotlight - Solarlunar34

Plants need light and players need a Spotlight – let’s meet one who’s fanatical about foliage!

Across the Sea of Thieves, we see plenty of pirates taking a wide and varied interest in the world around them, often cataloguing anything and everything they see to celebrate it in their own unique way. In this latest Spotlight we’re talking to Solarlunar34, a pirate academic who eventually made it his mission to sail the Sea of Thieves creating a prospectus of plants!

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

[A]: It was definitely my parents. They introduced my siblings and me to racing games when we were pretty little. Mario Kart quickly became a family favorite and we would play it a lot on weekends or Friday nights. Quickly it evolved from that to a Wii, an Xbox and later PC games, which was when I first discovered Sea of Thieves.

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

[A]: Sadly, Sea of Thieves was my first Rare game. I didn’t even know Rare existed until I picked it up but I wish I had played more of their games. Now I really want to go back and do just that.

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

[A]: Currently I’ve been playing a lot of Sea of Thieves, but when I’m not on the waves I’ll probably be cutting through Republic troops as Maul in Star Wars: Battlefront II.

My other favorite game would have to be Superliminal. It’s a very fun puzzle-based game where you’re a test subject in a dream therapy lab. The experiment goes wrong and you end up being stuck moving through puzzles mainly dealing with optical illusions. I love that not only are there illusions, there’s a very intriguing and wholesome story. I highly recommend it.

Solarlunar became hooked on Sea of Thieves’ world and wanted to explore it more deeply.

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

[A]: I picked up the game after it was recommended to me by a friend and we sailed together until we both reached Pirate Legend a few months later. All I remember from my first day was being terrified after seeing a cloud that looked like a skull suddenly appear next to our Galleon.

About six months after my first sail I heard of all the contests on Twitter (#SoTShot and #BeMorePirate), so I made an account to enter and it all went uphill from there. I met Nayfe, 0wl and Draco who all introduced me to this amazing community.

[Q]: You’ve become fondly known in the community as ‘Plant Guy’ or ‘Plant King’ – what made you want to begin categorising all the plants on the Sea of Thieves?

[A]: I guess it almost started off as a way to prove myself. I joined a group called the Ancient Isles University soon after making a Twitter account. We’re a group of scholarly pirates that do just about anything relating to Sea of Thieves. We have many departments, from the heavily used History and Forensics departments to the less frequented Meteorology and Astronomy, but the one that caught my eye as an early sailor was the Biology department.

At the time I felt like I didn’t fit in as a member of the AIU because everyone already had their thing. From fish to solar eclipses, you could find an expert in just about anything within the campus. I decided to look for something no-one else was researching, and what better than the green stuff on every single island in the game: plants. The Biology department at that time was mainly researching Megalodons and I knew it could be used for so much more. The plants quickly grew from a difficult task into an actual love, and here we are a little over a year later and I haven’t gotten bored yet!

In bringing something new to the research of Ancient Isles University, the Plant King was born.

[Q]: Can you tell us more about how you categorise the plants, without giving us all your secrets?

[A]: Most of the plants in the game also exist in real life so those were easy, but a lot of them were artistic design choices so I had to come up with their scientific names myself. All living things are classified using a binomial naming system which means they have two names, a genus and a species. For the plants I couldn’t find in real life, I added them to an already existing genus like Monstera and then gave them a species name (usually in Latin) such as Ferox or Secare, two species of palm trees I made up.

The Captaincy update provided a few loose names for the more common plants, but my goal is to come up with some better ones (no offence) for every single plant, even if they stay in headcanon. A long-term goal of mine is to even provide backstories on how these plants got their names and what uses/properties they have, such as the toxic nature of the ‘Shady Climber’ as it’s named in the Ornaments section of ship decoration.

[Q]: Which plants have been your favourite to find and name, and which gave you more of a challenge?

[A]: The most challenging were the palm trees. All the palm trees seem to be of the same genus despite colour differences, so I had to figure out how one type of tree could supply us with both coconuts and bananas. I decided that the answer was… they just grew both! In Latin, ‘Musa’ means banana and ‘Cocoes’ means coconut, so combining the two leaves you with the genus for Sea of Thieves palm trees, Musacoco.

My favorite plant to name would have to be the ‘Palm Scree’. While out sailing with 0wl, the wonderful head of Arrt Club and owl enthusiast, I came across a palm tree I hadn’t seen before. After freaking out for 10 minutes we decided to come up with a name for it. Since it was very different from a normal palm tree and I was too lazy to give it a scientific name right then, we decided to give it a common name. Scree, as 0wl would tell you, is the noise an owl makes, and since 0wl was with me when we discovered it, ‘Palm Scree’ was the name it was given.

Here's Solarlunar with Reginald, the smallest palm tree on the Sea of Thieves.

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

[A]: The best moments have been with others, even if the others are trying to sink my Sloop. I love finding new players and showing them the ropes as well. I remember one time, after chest burying had just been added, I finished a Gilded Athena and buried the chests on an island. I then searched for about two hours until I found a duo Sloop of two very new players. Putting on my best pirate voice, I handed them the map and followed them in my ship as they sailed to the island and dug up the loot.

Making memories like that is one of the thousands of reasons Sea of Thieves is such a great game. From hours-long battles between crews over a skeletal hoard to two best friends delving into an ancient Vault, my favourite moments have been with my fellow pirates.

[Q]: What are your favourite additions to Sea of Thieves over the past year?

[A]: Captaincy. One of the main draws of Sea of Thieves is the fact that you can forge your own legend and be your own pirate, and the amount of personalization that Captaincy brought was amazing. I love using my spyglass to spot the names of other boats, and being able to really call my ship my home has been a dream come true. Second best has got to be all the plant cosmetics (still mad I missed my plant crown).

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

[A]: Classifying the plants in SoT is pretty cool, but besides that I’d say the day I got Pirate Legend was the best. I know many people think getting Pirate Legend now is easy and it kinda is, but to me on that day one year ago, it was everything. I still remember the feeling in my chest as I handed in the final Merchant crate and climbed the ladder to talk to George. Hearing the shanty mixed with the sound of magically shifting stone and seeing the view as I stepped out of the portal was breathtaking, I’d give a lot to relive that.

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

[A]: I proudly sail as captain of the Wisteria, named after a magical plant from beyond the Shroud said to bring love and prosperity to those who care for it. The figurehead is carved in the image of Reginald, the shortest palm tree on the Sea of Thieves, as are the sails. Residing on the south-western part of Plunder Outpost, Reginald has a great view of both the port and the sea, and he also happens to make a great spot to sit.

I chose the name Wisteria because not only is it an insanely beautiful word, it’s an insanely beautiful plant. Wisteria can grow up to 20m tall and produces a toxic sap that can cause symptoms of drunkenness. Maybe that’s how they made those Grogballs…

Solarlunar’s glorious green ship, the Wisteria, sailing the seas in search of shrubbery.

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

[A]: Outside of gaming I love to read. My favorite books are currently The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon and Every Day by David Levithan, but I will read just about anything. Currently I’m in the middle of the new SoT novel Heart of Fire by Chris Allcock, which is really good. It ties in both new and old characters from the seas, answers questions us lore nerds have had for a while and creates new ones that could change a lot of stuff in the future. Besides reading, I love both painting and photography!

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

[A]: I help run a greenhouse!

And so ends another Community Spotlight. Thank you so much to Solarlunar for taking the time to speak with us. We can’t wait to see what else he turns his hand to and what other plants may spring up to be identified! If you’d like to catch up with some of the countless other things our players have been getting up to, check out our previous Community, Creator and Legend Spotlights and the regularly updated Community Hub to find a fantastic cross-section of the community. Until next time!