The unusual thoughts of a Pirate.

  • I've sailed the seas since June 20, 2020. I'm a rather late adopter of this game and I'm about as much of a fan of it as many of the notorious pirates that have sailed since March, 2018. I've played this game for over 17 months, learning so many new things, seeing exploits and tricks get patched (or not), and sunken many ships, as well as becoming sunk myself.

    The adventures and unique experiences you can find and make in this game continues to give me a reason to boot it up, even after I've gained all of my season's renown and successfully participated in the in-game events. Though, lately I've found myself at a bit of crossroads with my mentality and I believe I should share it with you lot to see my unusual perspective in this game.

    Call it ego, superiority complex, inferiority complex, being very whiny about losing and such. I genuinely still have trouble handling failure on the seas, it's to be expected as a guy in their 20s with low self esteem and self worth. I've always tried to hold myself on a pedestal of competency by saying that I've had 'X' months of in-game experience, watched many streamers/partners slay several crews while still staying afloat, and of course, my numerous maxed out ranks in all of the trading companies. I hold the expectation that I should be a pirate than can do anything and/or everything, when I know that isn't true. I rely on having a second, third, or fourth pile of flesh and bones on my side to help me to lessen the intense stress of battle.

    My post game since hitting Pirate Legend and maxing my trading companies was trying to get better at the game, it ranges from being satisfied, to being disappointed, to being victorious, to being shamefully defeated. As an experienced player, I cannot handle the heavily casual play styles that many early game sailors are currently going through now. Usually this is their growing pains phase of their Pirate's Life, breaking into the world and seeing what they can do and win, and what they can't do and lose. By many accounts, this is okay, as long as everyone is having fun. Sometimes, I see the silliness in reddit and twitter posts that just show them having silly fun, even if it ends in them having a sunken ship. Other times, I notice the seething disappointment and anger displayed from a streamer's perspective, a TDMer's 48th hit registration clip, or a forum/twitter post going on about the saddening struggles of their Pirate's Life and their failure to meet with their challenging odds.

    I know at one point, that was me. I was one of the many sailors that didn't know what they were doing. I got tucked on, spawncamped, sunk multiple times by the same ship involuntarily, not watching the horizons to see a galleon, sloop, or brigantine suddenly appear next to my ship blowing holes in it. I was there and I suffered the consequences of my actions, or inaction for that matter. However for some reason, I can't bear to watch or hear the same happen to others. I'm a 17-month experienced player, surely I should know better, and the crew that I'm randomly joining should too, right?

    Of course not. It's an unrealistic expectation, so unrealistic that it's made me not want to utilize LFC crews and LFG Xbox posts, or suffer in open crew's dice roll RNG of crew matchmaking. This has caused me to sail solo often, which while it's seen as the best way to "improve your skills", I've seen it as the worst way to play the game.

    At this point, my journey to getting better is to suffer consistent and constant failure all alone because I place myself on a handicap so I don't feel just as handicapped if I'm in a bad crew.

    Then, when I'm not trying to boot up the game and have free time to myself, I browse Twitter, Reddit, the Sea of Thieves Discords, and even these forums. I once again see the silly clips, the high speed shooting action of TDMers, the many posts that anguish over the insane difficulty of the game when other players seek for you to be a body to stare at on the Ferry of the Damned and your boat nothing but a pile of splinters with some rich gold to be found and made off of its remains. It makes me wonder if I'm even playing the game right, or if I have the right mindset going into it. This unending fear of failure combined with such a perfectly deceptive casual environment, it's like I shouldn't be having fun or enjoying the game, but somehow I still continue to boot up the game and sail.

    I know I've been all over the place with my post so far and none of it is coherent, but this really is just my mindset with this game, I love it to bits, I love to play it, but sometimes I feel like my self worth as a player is always challenged, and the way I attempt to tackle those challenges are in of itself not good for one's mental health. I may not be seeking help, but I do want to open up the waters for discussion.

    Does your playstyle make you happy all the time? What does your experience as a player say about you? Does your experience as a player mean anything to your usefulness and worth as a pirate? Could I be overthinking on simply having fun in a video game, and if so, what do you consider fun in this game and do you get it consistently enough to make you happy?

    And what if you got sunk and defeated by a player of any kind of skill level: What do you think they're thinking, and how do you feel about it?

    Video games are all about fun, but Sea of Thieves is so far, the only game that's made such an extremely strong impact to how I play a game and what kind of fun I can have in it.

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  • sounds like burn out to me

    try taking a break. you'll either miss it or you'll move on but either way you're moving

    emotional stagnation in the bog of eternal stench tends to just lead to more and more negative feelings and then it's more difficult to get back on track as that stink builds up

  • @nex-stargaze

    It's a tough thing to quantify since people enjoy games for different reasons. Some people really enjoy a steep challenge while others (like me) prefer a more laid back time.

    When I first started playing the beta, I had trouble with it as well. I liked everything about Sea of Thieves, the pirate setting, the stylized graphics, the fantastical elements... everything.

    The only thing I didn't like was the fact it was an online, competitive, multiplayer game. My discomfort didn't come from defeat, however. It was just the confrontation itself. I'll try to explain briefly.

    People who PvP talk about the excitement of battles. I understand the idea, but for me, that excitement manifests as anxiety. Whenever I got into a confrontation with another player/players, I just ended up feeling uncomfortable and jittery. And so I simply avoided multiplayer games.

    Sea of Thieves was enough to get me to try again though. It took me a few sessions of my usual multiplayer anxiety before I finally had my epiphany.

    I remember I was rushing to Daggertooth with another sloop on my heels. They were too close to sell any of my loot and and I was feeling jittery and upset as always. But then I had the sudden thought, "what am I worried about losing?"

    I'd already turned in treasure earlier and I never had a session where I made no progress. Dying didn't take any of my cashed loot away and there was no bonus to completing voyages.

    In a state of sudden calm, I dropped anchor, jumped onto the dock, and played a tune as the other sloop blasted my ship to pieces. From then on dying and losing loot means nothing to me. I enjoy sailing, fighting skellies, battling sea monsters, and solving maps and riddles. Treasure and rep are just sprinkles on top. Nice to have, but unnecessary to enjoy the experience.

    That's my playstyle, and it's kept me playing from beta to now. It sounds like you might be slightly more challenge motivated than me, but I also think just about anyone can benefit from getting more comfortable with loss and dying in game.

    I will say that if defeat effects you like that, solo is probably going to be a rough time. Taking a zen approach to defeat is almost a necessity, I feel, for a regular solo slooper.

  • @nex-stargaze We all have different experiences in SOT and that is why this game is loved by many. Sometimes though the grind can get to you so I suggest you to mix and match. Pace yourself with the progress in SOT and try to play different games at the same time. The Sea will always be there for you, anytime you feel the adventure calling.

  • Does your playstyle make you happy all the time? What does your experience as a player say about you? Does your experience as a player mean anything to your usefulness and worth as a pirate? Could I be overthinking on simply having fun in a video game, and if so, what do you consider fun in this game and do you get it consistently enough to make you happy?

    When I started I was completely isolated. I didn't use any forums or sites or know anyone. I was that solo out there getting stomped on daily. I couldn't really figure out the maps, it took me forever to do everything, I had terrible strategy and no skill.

    It began as a mild interest that developed into a habit which turned into a bit of an obsession to climb the food chain. Not a pvp focused thing as I don't really like pvp in this game at all I just appreciate the danger. To me it became like teaching myself a martial art. Not to be the aggressor but to be able to defend myself and not be at the will of other pirates.

    Eventually I started joining open crew brigs to see if there was something I could bring into my learning from that. I realized that I didn't really want a regular crew I only really enjoyed a totally random crew in a totally random situation. Being a part of so much open crew chaos I was able to improve at pretty much everything.

    At some point I reached my personal peak and the valuable lesson I learned (for myself) is that no matter how much time/experience someone has or how much skill it doesn't matter in this environment. I've found victory against a lot of crews that I had no business finding victory against and I've lost to a lot of crews that had no business finding victory against me. None of us as bigger than the sea

    The value in that for me was some sort of captain calming effect where I do ridiculous things and it just works out now. I never start out with any supplies more than just the stock and I go from there. I rarely pay attention around me and it just works out. I say I'm gonna do this or do that and then I do it. Whenever something doesn't go my way it leads me somewhere that works out just fine, or at least that's what I subscribe to.

    Like Captain Curly said the secret of pirate life is one thing
    I stumbled into what I wanted to find even though I didn't entirely know what I was chasing.

    Now I just sail around and wait to see what happens.
    and contemplate rage quitting every time the cannon shoots me into random locations

  • I felt like I just read a book after reading your post lol.

  • @nex-stargaze said in The unusual thoughts of a Pirate.:

    Does your playstyle make you happy all the time? What does your experience as a player say about you? Does your experience as a player mean anything to your usefulness and worth as a pirate? Could I be overthinking on simply having fun in a video game, and if so, what do you consider fun in this game and do you get it consistently enough to make you happy?

    Video games are all about fun, but Sea of Thieves is so far, the only game that's made such an extremely strong impact to how I play a game and what kind of fun I can have in it.

    Most insightful!
    Like the OP, I solo most of the time these days and often encounter hazards (mainly pvp) that make me question my competence as a pirate. I avoid pvp when possible because that's when my self-esteem is most vulnerable. But earlier this year I was ambushed by a sloop and had no choice but to fight. The sloop was obviously crewed by new pirates, and to my pleasant surprise I was able to dispatch them both with pistol-shot and blade then make good my escape while they visited the Ferryman. As I sped away under full-bellow, I realised my hands were not sweating, my heart-rate had barely raised, and my jaw was unclenched. For the first time, I participated in pvp in SoT and truly did not care about the result. It was a moment of epiphany for me.

    I quickly attributed this new feeling to the fact that I had 'won' the encounter with the enemy sloop, reasoning that if I had 'lost' and been sunk I would have been far more invested. But no, this new calm feeling persisted even when I was thoroughly trounced during a different session. And it has persisted ever since. Somehow I have managed to temper my investment in the game - I still love and enjoy playing it, but I no longer measure my self-worth by anything that occurs while playing. For me, losing/failing on the Seas is like when my football team loses a match; it's a little annoying, but there's always next week!

  • @nex-stargaze I think that you're thinking too hard. Don't break your brain. Relax... And breathe.

  • @wolfmanbush said:

    stagnation in the bog of eternal stench

    Nice reference!

  • Another small portion of my mindset in this game is the thought of other players. My mental state is wrecked following getting sunk by players of any skill level.

    For a short story, I recently queued up an open crew galleon and managed to load into a crew doing a Fort of Fortune, seemed fine and all. A minute later, 2 brigantines and a sloop start approaching, all in an alliance, one brigantine being a high grade Reaper's Bones Emissary, the other being a low grade Athena's Fortune Emissary, and the sloop not having any emissary at all. In a panic I dropped the sails attempting to get away from a deadly broadside. While my open crew consisted of a relatively competent player, an inexperienced player that normally solo sloops, a fresh install sailor, and myself, we were ultimately defeated in a single board, getting anchored, and then broadsided by 2 brigantines until sunk. Following a back spawn after we sank, I typed into chat "you just sank an open crew galleon in an alliance, you proud?" They responded... "yea" and "LETS FREAKING GOOO" before commenting on going back to the Fort of Fortune I hadn't even stepped foot on, while the single boarder felt extremely proud of themselves because they got to wipe the entire crew of a galleon all on their own.

    This mentally broke me, because I got to see the thoughts of another player following my defeat, it was the exact thoughts I feared, the same thoughts that questioned my worth as a pirate, even in a crew that ultimately wasn't going to win an impossible fight. I couldn't look at that encounter as a learning experience, or something to feel better about. My enemy, was happy about making me look like nothing more than a pawn for their unearned success. My 17 months, they mean absolutely nothing to the enemy player, they weren't left in fear or felt impressed about any efforts I could have made, they felt confident, proud, and celebratory, even though I couldn't give them an honest and fair fight.

    Those in the Pirate Legend Hideout chat in the Official Sea of Thieves Discord saw my mentally broken tirade, and while I apologize for letting myself constantly type for a long period with completely warped and mixed up thoughts. I thought I'd share this perspective to demonstrate what my mindset in this game is, it's why I wrote this topic this week to see what others' thoughts were, because surely, the way i think isn't normal, and can be mentally unhealthy in some ways. That's why as an extension to the topic, I'll post this question here and in the OP:

    So, let's say you got sunk and defeated by a player of any kind of skill level: What do you think they're thinking, and how do you feel about it?

  • @nex-stargaze Perspective is definitely a factor, not just upon the Sea, but in all things. That's why it's so important to try and keep an open mind! For example, in your last post you mentioned the situation being IMPOSSIBLE. That's not being open-minded; that's letting your negative emotions control you. After all, once you believe it's not possible, then all possible positive outcomes come to an abrupt end and you have self-fullfilled your own prophecy and strengthened your own fear of the worst possible scenario. But what if instead you at least considered that it was possible? All of a sudden, opportunities open up everywhere!

    Remember: Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering... Jedi Master Yoda

    My advice? Channel your inner Vulcan, and use logic over emotion to better yourself. Don't let how others feel control you either - in the end, it's ultimately going to be YOU that makes the difference.

    🖖

  • @nex-stargaze said in The unusual thoughts of a Pirate.:

    So, let's say you got sunk and defeated by a player of any kind of skill level: What do you think they're thinking, and how do you feel about it?

    There isn't anything to take personal. I've held off full galleons of competent players as a solo sloop for literally 2 hours before and when they finally get me they all celebrate with their emotes and do the rolls on deck laughing and get good stuff.

    It's not based on anything, it's not personal no matter what they say or how hard they try to make it personal or how you take it.

    What you can do is take the information you learn about yourself and apply it into strategy to play the game in a way that makes sense for how you are. Maybe you're not compatible with events or high danger situations or large loot hauls. Maybe you'll find more solace just sailing around checking shipwrecks or trying to interact with people when you don't have loot so there is no risk.

    Your value as a person and as a pirate is something you get to decide, no one else decides that. Every day and every session you captain your day and your session. Nothing goes exactly as one plans but adventure isn't about a plan and worth isn't determined by outcome. Nothing is for nothing. Every good experience you've had was preceded with something that was frustrating or negative or sad. You will have positive sessions and experiences and they will be brighter because you know how the alternative feels.

    You never need to compare yourself to someone today you can just compare yourself to who you were yesterday. That's how you grow. That's the water and the food and the sunshine of personal/piratical growth today.

  • @nex-stargaze said:

    Does your playstyle make you happy all the time? What does your experience as a player say about you? Does your experience as a player mean anything to your usefulness and worth as a pirate? Could I be overthinking on simply having fun in a video game, and if so, what do you consider fun in this game and do you get it consistently enough to make you happy?

    A pirate's usefulness can be measured in a lot of ways, and experience is really just one unit. How well do you adapt to your environment? How calm do you keep under pressure? If you are on a team, how well do you communicate?

    I know players who have less than a year in, who have been able to out-naval brave vanguards in Arena. What little they have in experience, they make up for in other ways that add to their usefulness in a crew.

    I don't know about overthinking but I do think you're giving too much importance to "experience" as a factor in measuring overall worth.

    To try to answer your first few questions, I'm not sure what my experience as a player says about me. But my playstyle does make me happy. If it didn't make me happy, I probably wouldn't play as frequently as I do, for as long as I have.

    That playstle has shifted over time. I'm more opportunistic now & I don't chase as much as I did when I first started. I leave solos and noobs alone. But I usually just PvP, and if there is no one to PvP, I throw up Reaper's and do world events until I'm G5 & then portal hop.

    And what if you got sunk and defeated by a player of any kind of skill level: What do you think they're thinking, and how do you feel about it?

    What do I think they're thinking? I don't care lol. I don't waste time worrying about that.

    How do I feel about it? Depends on the situation. Sometimes I'm disappointed in myself, sometimes I'm disappointed in the game (bugs, hitreg, etc), sometimes I'm disappointed in the other crew if their behavior was unsportsmanlike (slurs, salt, etc).

    Generally, I try to say "ggs" and move on. I don't bother lecturing or questioning anyone's actions. But if they say something salty first, I might match their energy, or roast them. Just for memes. Of course, there are lines that I won't cross. I don't give them anything to clip. But I don't shy away from competitive banter when it calls for it.

    @nex-stargaze said:

    I typed into chat "you just sank an open crew galleon in an alliance, you proud?" They responded... "yea" and "LETS FREAKING GOOO"

    Honestly... I approve of the dude's response. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    How did you want them to respond to "you proud?" Did you want them to apologize? Why did you bother to ask them a rhetorical question like that in the first place? Who would feel "proud" after sinking an open crew in a 2v1. They probably didn't feel any better knowing it was open, but they had their reasons for being in an alliance, and had their reasons for being at the FoF, and probably felt reasons to eliminate your gally as a potential threat.

    I probably wouldn't have gone with "let's freaking go" in all-caps; but maybe something to the effect of, "no, I'm going to uninstall now :(". Or polar opposite but equally ridiculous, "omg first time sinking open crew galleon, thank you so much! :D"

    My 17 months, they mean absolutely nothing to the enemy player, they weren't left in fear or felt impressed about any efforts I could have made, they felt confident, proud, and celebratory, even though I couldn't give them an honest and fair fight.

    Yeah and my 3+ years don't mean anything to the person still in their glorious outfit, as they walk through my clean two-tap and noodle-arm me to death. And that's because experience means next to nothing in that moment.

    You were in an open crew and got 2v'ed by two brigs. Your 17 months was just one factor among many other factors that shifted the odds heavily against you, and you lost. It's okay. It happens.

  • @nex-stargaze said in The unusual thoughts of a Pirate.:

    What do you think they're thinking, and how do you feel about it?

    I know it's an "easier said than done" thing, but I really DON'T think too much about what they may think. If I know someone is about to kill me I may try and do something strange or silly, just to give them something to process/laugh about. But as soon as my feet hit the Ferry, I pay them no more thought.

    The thing is, if someone attacks you then it is EXTREMELY unlikely that anything you say will make them second guess their actions. And if it's a truly nasty player, then saying something is playing right into their hands. Players like that thrive on your angry or sarcastic messages. The best revenge is to ignore them.

    Most players aren't trying to bring you down, they're just playing the game how they understand it. Getting mad at these people is useless since there's no malice behind their actions. Likewise, getting mad at actually toxic pirates is equally useless since getting you angry and upset is precisely what they want.

    If you feel someone has violated the ToS, then report them. Otherwise you really have to learn to shrug it off and move on. You're only hurting yourself. And it sounds like you already know this. My only advice would be to "practice" losing. Sail out, get treasure, and seek out other pirates with the sole aim to have them kill you. Make a game out of it. As cliche as it is; count to ten. If you feel like shooting off a message, stop and play through a shanty first.

    Some people enjoy getting riled up, but it doesn't sound like you really do. I would just work on keeping the game in perspective. It's just a game and for every one loss, you probably have about five victories.

  • I like sailing and finding stuff and piecing together the lore. I too get the collywobbles when someone does finally get the drop on me. Usually I switch to something else after I get sunk/chased (.... approached lol) because I need to calm my nerves.

    I'm usually not thinking about my loss. Just trying to settle my jitters 😅

    I do sometimes wonder when I'm Red Sea bound if I'm annoying them back tho 🤔

  • @nex-stargaze I think playing some games of Arena would really help you out a lot. The pressures of being sunk and losing a fight are diminished as they're guaranteed to happen most of the time that players come to expect it. You'll also be able to witness first-hand how some players are able to just shake it off as if it were nothing, while others may feel bad about a loss but are still enthusiastic about playing some more.

    If you go in with the mindset of not expecting anything to happen, and just observe others as you play along with them, then it should remove a lot of the anxiety you feel while playing. Also, try not playing to your full potential, but hold something back a little, that sense of urgency.

    Look at it as an experiment if you will.

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