Sea of Thieves is a unique game for a whole host of reasons. The Rare-made pirate adventure ditched industry trends by building something that removed player power-progression from the equation entirely and instead focused on tools-first gameplay. The emphasis was on giving players the kit to make their own stories in a vibrant and magical pirate world.
While some reviewers found it didn't hit the mark at launch, Sea of Thieves proved an immediate hit with streamers who found the game's canvas an ideal platform for building engaging shows and communities. Since then, Sea of Thieves has only gone from strength to strength, serving millions of budding pirates with mountains of free content updates that have added shiploads of additional features, stories, and mechanics into the mix — all part of Xbox Game Pass.
As you might expect, the game's player-driven nature has led to a similarly unique community of Rare fans, who recently traveled from all over the world to the game's first "official unofficial" fan convention: SoTFest.
SoTFest took place this past Saturday at Hinckley in the UK. The crew put on a variety of panels, games, and other events showcasing the best the Sea of Thieves community has to offer. There was even an appearance from the shanty band The Longest Johns. Developers from the Sea of Thieves team attended as well, and all the money raised at the show went to U.K. gaming accessibility charity SpecialEffect. As of writing, the JustGiving page hit £6,357 pounds, and you can still donate here.
Speaking about the show earlier to Sea of Thieves executive producer, Joe Neate, he was gushing with praise for the professionalism of the event, with optimism for the convention's future potential.
"For the folks that were there they will never forget [the first SoTFest], and I know the team are already working on the next one. They put so much effort into it, but it was such a pure, wholesome day full of the best energy. Just magic," he said.
Indeed, browsing the SoTFest hashtag on Twitter or the team's Facebook Group showed only positive vibes from attendees about the show itself, with next year's event already confirmed. It reminds me of the early days of Blizzcon or Quakecon, which eventually grew into massive events in their own right. Perhaps what we're seeing here with SoTFest is the start of another major community event for the growing Xbox calendar.
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!