Rare has already talked about several emergent events that will hit Sea of Thieves at launch with storms being violent and ship-wrecking (or ship-saving) events and the Kraken being a constant threat beneath the waves. The latest Innside story presided over by Pirate Lords, Senior Designer Andrew Preston and Senior Software Engineer Tom Berry spoke about the open challenge that is Skeleton Forts.
In the closed beta and the stress test, you may have come across one of these Skeleton Forts quite devoid of the veritable army of undead that was promised. This is because while there are numerous forts only one is active in the world at a time. This is kind of a roaming raid where you have to either seek it out and get very lucky doing so or just stumble upon the giant skull cloud.
The Skull Cloud is both a beacon for every pirate in the area and a symbol of the active status of the stronghold itself. When the Fort Captain is taken down, the Skull Cloud will disappear and sunlight will once again return to the world.
Before you can face the Skeleton Captain, however, you must survive the challenges that the fort itself will throw at you. When you first anchor alongside the island and take your first confident steps towards the stronghold, you will be faced with many roaming skeletons that will attempt to prematurely stop your incursion.
Deal with them quickly because they are the mere dregs of the pirate undead, with the real challenge awaiting inside the stronghold itself, where you will face wave after wave of relentless skellies wanting to send you to the Ghost Ship while surrounded by amazingly badass music. Use your ingenuity, whatever tools you have at your disposal, or maybe multiple crews will also come to assist you in the fight.
Clearing wave after wave will eventually prompt the Skeleton Captain to appear, outraged that you and your crew have killed so many of his army. The Skeleton Captain is a real challenge, equipped with a higher health pool and is quite the powerful entity. Play smart and you will eventually bring it down. Once the Captain is once again at rest, however unwillingly, the Skull Cloud above the Fortress will wink out, a sign that the fort has been conquered.
Doesn’t mean you can rest yet as the Captain will drop a special key that can be stolen from you if you aren’t careful. This key must be taken to the Vault underneath the Fort where it is used to unlock the treasure room, intentionally filled with more treasure than any single crew can take out at once.
It is delightfully devilish but it can promote a sense of urgency as to whether you try to hustle it all out in a couple trips before anyone else gets there, split it with another crew that helped you defeat the stronghold, or kill everyone else and steal it all for yourself. Either way, it is going to give me anxiety. Thanks Rare.
The Skeleton Forts will be occurring all over the Sea of Thieves and will undoubtedly provide many opportunities for heroism, ingenuity and badassery. What a perfect way to carve out your pirate legend.