It was a normal day in Sea of Thieves. I was solo slooping around the tranquil Shores of Plenty, enjoying the beautiful weather and rocking a cargo hold chock full of valuable treasure. I had a few thousand gold’s worth of stuff to sell, and I knew exactly what I would do with the fruit of my haul: buy pretty dresses.
And then I saw the other sloop. When I see a ship in Sea of Thieves, I can choose to try and ally, turn and fight, or escape through superior sailing. However, I chose to default to my instinctual behavior: I turned, grabbed the speaking horn that would broadcast my voice, and shouted: “HEWWO? HEWWO!!”
If me and that other sloop weren’t locked into combat before, we were then. And then, I heard it. This sloop wasn’t laden with terrible teenagers, or silent hunters looking to brawl. There was a father and son aboard, and the son was excitedly chattering to his dad about how he hoped I had lots of treasure.
I was pretty confident I could have outsailed them; I’m a veteran pirate, after all, and I had a significant head start. But that would be the course of action of a coward. Instead, I chose to become immortal. I would give them my loot ... as long as they could best me in combat. After all, if the boss fights in the Tall Tales quests are fun, surely it’d also be a blast to encounter a random boss in the world.
Boss guide: how to defeat Cass
I cut my sail up to about three-quarters, so they could eventually catch up to me. I filled my pockets with delicious bananas, so I could restore my health. Then, I decided on the rules of engagement. The best kind of boss fight is one where the player can make steady progress, exploit weaknesses, and eventually triumph. Here are the rules that would define my boss fight:
1) I would not repair. The sloop’s a little work horse, and as long as I actively bailed, I knew I could stay above water.
2) I would not engage in offensive action unless there was a clear opening that came about from a mistake on their part. I potentially could have done something like find and use an explosive barrel, or started a boarding party, but that seemed unsporting.
3) I would only refer to them as rascals and rapscallions. No shit talk, no insults. For some reason, I ended up resorting to like... a Victorian orphan voice? In retrospect, probably a bad call.
Defeating a Pirate Legend
Because I was only able to bail, I ended up looping around islands several times, creating as much space between me and the other ship as possible. I also used stretches of open water to make sharp turns, blocking their line of sight. Things were going extremely well until they started hitting the wheel with cannon fire. I don’t know if it was an accident or an intentional strategy, but my ability to steer was hampered.
Throughout the battle, I heard the two of them excitedly chattering to each other. That just fueled my resolve to make this the perfect level of difficulty. I wouldn’t hand them the loot — that would be a coward’s move — but I sure as hell would make them work for it.
The end result was a half-hour chase around the Shores of Plenty. I theatrically begged for mercy; they denied me. I told them it was my favorite ship, and they did not care. Eventually, my wheel was so splintered and broken that my sloop smashed into the shores of Wanderer’s Refuge. “How do you like them apples?” the dad crowed.
The truth is, the apples were delicious. The experience was wonderful. Gold is great, but it only buys cosmetics. I know first-hand the frustration of chasing down a player who does not want to fight, or being outsailed by a crafty opponent. Instead, I chose to become a legend: a boss encounter that would challenge the sloop crew to their limits. Sure, I lost out on a few thousand gold. But I earned an excellent story, and isn’t that the point?
Now that Sea of Thieves is moving to a monthly update system, and including tools like the valuable, map-wide visible Reaper’s Chest, I’m looking forward to crafting more boss encounters. I’ve already proved myself a stalwart ally to my friends. Now, I think I’m going to find my fun in becoming a dangerous — yet ultimately downable, once you hit my weak point three times — foe.
If you see the ship with the scorpion sail and the captain who shouts “HEWWO!” at you, you know what you must do. Hunt me down. Defeat me, if you can. I promise I’m working on the Victorian orphan voice thing.