March 11th marks a brand-new addition to naval battles, the Chain Shot. The Sea of Thieves Chain Shot is two cannonball halves linked together by a chain, and when contact is made, it will do full damage to top deck ship parts.
It is my personal opinion that the addition of the Chain Shot will be the death of all solo Slooping. I go into further detail below, but first, we are going to talk about:
- Chain Shot History
- Community Request for the item
- Current State of Ship Damage vs the Expected Impact
- The Impact on Solo Sloops
- Pros and Cons
History of the Chain Shot (Real Pirating)
The chain shot came to fruition in the early 1600s, used to cripple enemy ships in naval warfare. The OG chain shot was created out of two half cannonballs joined together by a chain somewhere between four and six feet long. Another device similar to this weapon was the bar shot. Same idea, two small cannonballs linked together by a solid metal bar.
The chain shot (and the bar shot) proved to be very effective at destroying masts, and other rigging on the top deck of the ship. When shot out of a cannon, the chain shot would whirl out and begin to flip through the air, anything in its path would shred due to the force of motion.
The distance plays a huge factor here, the tumbling motion that caused great destruction also was nearly impossible to calculate at far distances. Making this weapon a choice only for close-range combat.
For those who want to see the chain shot used in action, surprisingly (or unsurprisingly) the Disney classic, Pirates of the Caribbean utilize this weapon in various naval battles thought the entire movie series.
The Chain Shot has Become a Reality
Over the past two years, the chain shot has been a hot topic for debate. One Reddit post by KermitThatFrog proposed the idea with concept art and their idea of how it should be used. His concept had quite a bit of engagement, as well as some skepticism. Overall the consensus was that it would be a fun addition to the game, minus the impact it would have for sloops.
Another request for the chain shot was brought up by LukeChickenwalker, mentioning that adding this item to the game would make it easier to catch up with an escaping ship to make naval battles more exciting.
This post also mentions the desire for grappling hooks. Surprise, Chain Shots are in the game now. Needless to say, Rare 100% takes the communities’ input to heart and does their best to take all opinions into consideration.
Current State of Ship Damage vs the Expected Impact of the Chain Shot
Sea of Thieves has been slowly adding more points of damage to the ship. At launch, only the hull was damageable via holes made by cannonballs and gun powder keg barrels. Over the past year, Rare has added more points of damage including; the wheel, the masts, and the capstan.
When it comes to damaging top deck items, it requires quite a bit of effort. Masts need to receive a couple of shots with a cannonball to completely break and fall over. When the wheel gets a direct hit, it only blows off one, maybe two pegs. Cannonballs being partial damage, chipping away rather than completely obliterating.
Fire added in the SeaBound Soul update is also another way to damage these ship parts. Similarly, the fire takes quite a bit of time to do real damage. It will eventually knock over a mast, but nothing immediate, you have time to react.
This new weapon will be a game-changer because it does “full damage”. I can’t speak to the capstan or the wheel, but the teaser video hints that this will knock over a mast if it hits. Meaning, one hit, your mast is done and you are at an immediate disadvantage. Gone are the days of slow and steady damage over time.
The plus side (or downside, depending on your point of view), this weapon is only effective at a shorter distance. Making players think twice before pulling up on a parked boat. Essentially, this will change how players choose to fight out on the seas. Players with the chain shot will be making efforts to get close, and players without it will continuously be trying to stay out of range.
How the Chain Shot will Severely Impact Sloops
Two out of the three boat options have more than one mast. Making it less of a detriment if you lose a mast. This is not the case for Sloops. Losing a mast means your stuck. You have no choice but to repair, and in that repair window, the other team has the opportunity to infiltrate your ship and kill you where you stand.
I do think it can help sloops, if you’re being chased down and you have a Chain Shot on hand, it takes one good shot to give you the advantage. However, I still feel like as a whole, this will ruin solo slooping because it completely unbalances the advantage for 2 or more players.
Have you ever played alone on a Sloop? Well if you haven’t, let me attempt to paint a picture. Your boat is parked, and you are questing, minding your own business when you hear cannon fire in the distance.
You run back to your boat praying it’s only some skeletons on a cannon somewhere… But it’s not. A galleon has pulled up beside your boat laying massive cannon fire. There are two ways this can go. One, you get the **** out of there or you attempt to fight back.
For the sake of the story, let’s say you’re just trying to escape.
To get out means getting back on your boat, this is only possible if the enemy ship isn’t already camping your entry points. So, hurtle 1, you’re all alone vs four people. Hurtle 2, cannon fire currently sinking your boat. Hurtle 3, fight past the pirate bastards camping your ladder.
If you manage to get onto your boat, you have to immediately drop the sails and begin bucketing before you even consider repairing. If all goes according to plan, you MIGHT (the smallest possible chance) be able to survive the assault.
**In scenario one, the Chain Shot would be a good utility item, knock out one of their masts as you sail away, giving you the upper hand to potentially turn the tables**
The cannon fire has broken your mast. I have found this nearly IMPOSSIBLE to recover from (unless your Pace22). Meaning, unless you have incredible aim, and excellent strategy, you are most likely going to sink simply because your outnumbered and unable to recover. The only possible way to survive is to sail their boat away from yours and or kill all enemy pirates.
So, you have to board their ship and fight them off first before trying to repair your own ship. The first course of action would be to drop their sails, just to keep them from laying any more cannon fire on your boat. The second effort; set them on fire and prey they panic. Then thirdly, get back to your boat and hope you can salvage it. Again, this only works out if all is in your favor, and is completed before your boat has sunk.
With the addition of the Chain Shot, it is almost a guarantee that your mast is going to be broken. I predict that now, players will hit you with that chain shot first, before the cannon fire. Making sure you can’t escape. Someone will always have to be on the boat keeping a lookout while parked. Hence why I think solo players will die off, you can’t dig up treasure AND watch your boat.
Pros and Cons of the Chain Shot
I do think that this will make for interesting battles. It will heavily impact duo slooping. It is very hard to get an upper hand on a well-coordinated galleon. This new item will help in that aspect, making it possible for smaller boats to overcome bigger ships.
Or for those who want to get away and not fight, knocking down a mast, gives you speed to escape. I think it has a great number of benefits for ship battles and I am excited to play when the patch goes live.
Pre-Chain Shot, losing your mast was only a small percentage. Multiple cannon fire would have to land perfectly. Making your chance of survival greater. But this Chain Shot completely incapacitates a sloop. Especially single players. Its already nearly impossible to survive if a bigger boat (more people) has the jump on you. But now, you can almost guarantee ships coming in hot to ambush are probably going to have a Chain Shot preloaded and ready.
This is why I think solo Sloopers will have zero chance survivability. I’ve already been in countless situations where I was ambushed, and about 50% of the time I could getaway. And I only got away because my mast was intact.