A Look Back at Season Nine Community Weekend
There may be a lot to get excited for around the corner with Season Ten boasting three headline updates, the promise of game health fixes and fresh cosmetics in equal measure and the allure of colourful Rowboats, but for a brief 48 hours, from September 30th to October 2nd, we proved that there was still some life left in Season Nine yet.
Which ‘we’ are we talking about? Why, the ‘we’ that refers to all of us, of course! The ‘we’ that includes us, you, your friend and even said friend’s cat if they have a penchant for pirates and pilfering precious possessions. Yes, for as many hours as it would take to walk from Lincoln to London without stopping for as much as a cheese and pickle sandwich, we all enjoyed the good vibes and handsome bonuses of a Community Weekend on the waves.
Image credit: @Taaaaamas
And what a Community Weekend it was! While the foundation of the offering remained quite similar to the shindigs we’ve hosted before, with pirates invited to set sail and enjoy boosted rewards while also grabbing a free flag and emote – the Season Nine Community Weekend Flag and Touch Grass Emote, in this case – the cladding applied was notably different.
First, the Community Emissary Grade was no longer fuelled by hammering out hashtags as we instead asked pirates to enjoy the stories of their fellow filibusters by tuning in to anyone showcasing their skulduggery on Twitch, with the cumulative watch time being responsible for the increasing Grade. You could even watch our own Community crew’s incredibly professional broadcast as we got involved in the fun!
And it wasn’t just rewards that increased with each Community Emissary Grade increase, as another brand new feature debut was initially tied to these in the form of Pop-Up Plunder. This is a system that sees a shared dig spot appear for all crews playing Sea of Thieves, creating a race in every session of the game as crews dash for the cache within the hour that it remains available.
To add to the allure of the spontaneous stash, this edition of the feature saw every spot offering something of a loot roulette, from a collection of Siren Gems to a Chest of Fortune – well, every spot except one, hit upon reaching Community Emissary Grade Five, which boasted a Box of Wondrous Secrets.
To complement the buzz of camaraderie over Community Weekend, the clues for the 12 Pop-Up Plunder spots were shared via our social channels. Not only did this give us some extra flexibility in the challenges we could present – breaking the shackles of mere spot-marked maps to task players with additional decoding, skeleton glyph interpretation and even time-based trailer trawling – these posts also became beacons for pirates to share solutions, spoils and stories.
From Phuzzybond’s brawl over the stash on Smuggler’s Bay to Freyline’s persistence and flabbergasted response to unearthing Wondrous Secrets at Mermaid’s Hideaway, it’s been thrilling to see the community’s response to this first iteration of Pop-Up Plunder.
Also gorgeous to see were the piles of pirates rushing to stand in front of the Picture Walls present at every Outpost! Building on the success of the Anniversary Weekend’s attraction at Port Merrick, the painted planks of these grog-boasting monuments to freebooter friendship were a common, energising sight throughout the weekend.
The energy didn’t end with posing either, if the impressive stats have anything to say about it, with plenty of big numbers suggesting lots of action on the waves – especially for a Season entering its sixth month. Let’s start with the headlines: 32,313,348 cannonballs fired. 2,615,501 grogs guzzled. 166,587 instances of foliage fondling. 14,935,481 skellies smashed. 12,751 Alliances formed. 486,741 pirates sent to the ferry by Gunpowder Barrels. 1,384 burnt leeches also eaten, meaning the Anniversary Weekend’s record remains unbeaten for now…
Now for some more exciting, head-to-head stats! Play along at home if you fancy. Did pirates prefer bananas or coconuts? Despite what you may think, the classic cronch remains superior with 4,383,958 potassium boomerangs devoured versus 4,282,041 coir skulls. And which big beasties sent more pirates to the Ferry, Megalodons or Krakens? If you said the large squid posted the larger numbers, you’re wrong, sorry: while our favourite oversized cephalopod did dispatch 2,472 hapless sailors, members of the Meg family were responsible for 6,354 journeys to the Ferry.
Last one, who do you think won more Hourglass bouts, the Servants of the Flame or Guardians of Fortune? Seems those that fighting in Flameheart’s name have a bit more bite to their bark, given that they chalked up 125,710 victories compared to the 109,667 in Ramsey’s name. We’d say nobody was keeping count so don’t take it personally but, well, we were. Maybe next time, eh?
Less stat-based celebrations came in the form of the Hat of Unfeasibly Glorious Fame, bestowed on many pirates throughout this Event thanks to nominations from others. Pirates such as Gilbot81 for their endless help with the Sea of Thieves UK community group, El Gato Pub for bearing the burden of several thousand excitable pirates when we raided them at the end of our own stream, Unporkable for some outstanding, unique craftsmanship and OrigamiStefan for their impressive Sea of Thieves D&D project. As always, there were more outstanding nominations than we had time to squeeze in, but seeing the outpouring of passion and affection is endlessly heartwarming.
There was plenty of social fun to be had as well, between invitations to misremember quotes and show us your Community Weekend fits to full-on catwalk challenges with a special crew-based #StyleOfThieves contest, even if you weren’t sailing the seas you were bringing a smile to our faces in plenty of other ways.
Oh, and Sea of Thieves also managed that little feat of entering the top 10 games ranked by Twitch viewership, unlocking the Obsidian Captain’s Rugs as a bonus Twitch Drop (and the Obsidian Ship’s Crest, to be delivered later to pirates who redeemed the aforementioned Drop during Community Weekend). We knew this was an ambitious target when we set it, and it means everything to us that our players came together to help hit this goal. Pat yourselves on the back, you all deserve it. Just be careful if you have a hook, please.
Wrapping up now, as we do really need to go and glare at all that newness waiting just around the corner. But before we go, one last cheers to you – thank you for continuing to surprise us with the ways you find to have fun with Sea of Thieves, from playing the game to your many creative endeavours, and thank you for embracing these Events and their ideas with unwavering passion and affection for the seas we share. We aren’t blowing hot air when we say that these Events inspire and fuel us, and that’s all down to you.
We probably don’t need to remind you, but there will be another Community Weekend in Season Ten, so loiter around our social channels to find out when that’s happening. Just don’t loiter too much, else we’ll have to ask you what you’re doing and that might start to get awkward. To avoid this article itself getting uncomfortable, we’re going to end now by simply saying thank you for being the best community there is. Till next time, see you on the seas!