Water Sinks Ships

by: SurveyorPete – Sunday, 30 December 2018

    Originally posted in https://www.seaofthieves.com/forum/topic/78013/water-sinks-ships

This post is an expansion upon an argument I posted in response to another thread.

From time to time, there are posts that suggest bounties be offered to pursue and sink crews that are being pirates and thieves on the Sea of Thieves. Or they suggest commendations and rewards for sinking ships in PvP encounters.

The difficulty with determining which crew should attract a bounty, and which crew should win the reward for sinking them is twofold:

  1. If one ship sinks another, the game has no way of knowing which crew was the aggressor, and which was just defending themselves.
  2. Players do not sink ships. Water sinks ships.

Who is the Aggressor?

if two ships battle, and one is sunk during the encounter, how is the game to know whether the surviving ship was the aggressor? It cannot simply be the ship that fired the first shot.

Consider for example, a crew with peaceful intent sees someone swimming towards them, from another ship, with a powderkeg. They shoot the keg, killing the swimmer, and then start firing their cannons at the other ship. If the ship that launced the keg swimmer sinks first, should the defending crew get a bounty on their head?

Players do not sink ships. Water Sinks Ships

A ship sinks when enough water gets inside. Water may enter a ship in various ways:

  • Holes in the hull.
  • Bucketing Water into the ship
  • Rain
  • The Chest of Sorrows

A ship may be holed by:

  • Cannon fire from: other player ships, skeleton ships, skull fort and island cannons (fired by skeletons or humans)
  • Exploding Gunpowder kegs (lit by skeletons or humans, struck by lightning, or bumped into like mines)
  • Ramming another ship, or being rammed
  • Running aground
  • Kraken or Meg
  • Storms
  • Rocks from volcanoes
  • Scuttling the Ship

It will be obvious that players often help this process along in various ways, including cannon fire, and delivering gunpowder kegs. Less obviously, a crew may help a ship take on water by delivering the chest of sorrows, or bucketing water in, or causing it to run aground by taking over the sails or wheel, or hitting it with a cursed cannonball.

But when the water finally rises to a point where the ship is sunk, how does the game determine whether it was due to the action of another crew? So often, there are various factors at play. Not least the defending crews inability to save the ship, because they are inattentive, busy or dead; or have run out of planks.

Let's consider some examples:

  1. You fire on a ship and hole it, and it starts to fill with water. The solo sailor on board starts to repair the holes, but does not bail water. Just as he repairs the last hole, rain fills his ship and it sinks. Should you get credit for that?

  2. You board an empty ship, and raise its anchor, sending it sailing into a rock. Then you return to your own ship. Should you be credited with a sinking, when the empty ship finally succumbs to the water?

  3. You turn up at a skull fort to find another ship has just beaten you there and is still being battered by the skeleton cannons on shore. You try to help the process along by firing a few more cannonballs at the ship. Unbeknownst to you, all your shots go through existing holes. Do you deserve credit if it sinks?

  4. You turn up at a skull fort to find another ship has just beaten you there and is still being battered by the skeleton cannons on shore. You fire a barrage of cursed cannonballs at the ship, preventing the crew from bailing and repairing. Do you deserve credit if it sinks?

  5. A person from Crew A puts a gunpowder keg on your deck. Someone from Crew B uses an Eye-of-Reach to explode the keg. Crew C boards and prevents your crew from repairing the damage, while a megalodon takes a chomp out of the stern. Which crew sunk your ship?

  6. Using gunpowder kegs and cannon fire, you put many holes in a ship over a prolonged battle. Finally, before their ship sinks, the other crew scuttles. Do you get credited with the sinking?

  7. If you answered Yes to the last scenario: What about this one? You spawn camp a perfectly good, completely dry ship, killing the crew over and over until they scuttle. Do you get credited with the sinking?

  8. You battle a ship at sea. One of your crew tries to board the enemy with a mega-keg but is eaten by a shark. Some time later, you circle and run over that same keg, blowing many holes in your hull and killing your whole crew. Does the other ship get credited with sinking you?


Players don’t sink ships.

Water sinks ships.

Please stop suggesting bounties, rewards, or commendations based on sinking ships. It is impossible for the game to determine who sinks who.


If the games were to offer a bounty for pirates that menace other pirates (and the merit of that idea is open to debate), one way in which it could be done is to put a bounty on crews that cash-in stolen loot; i.e. chests, skulls, and other loots that was originally dug up, won, or found by another crew. Recently, my crew stole a row-boat laden with captain's chest from what seemed to be a Gilded GH mission. No ships were sunk; but we certainly ruined that crew's day!


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