Skull & Bones Combat Fundamentals Are A Disaster
In September 2021, I reported on Twitter several key details on Skull & Bones from several sources. Nearly eight months on, new details have been provided and leaked online that have shown these details to be accurate.
One of the biggest controversies that I reported on the game originally was the fact that Skull & Bones will not feature any form of player-to-player combat on land, with the game only featuring naval combat. Back then, it was believed that Ubisoft had simply not added playing to player combat yet because the game was still in rough development; however, the latest playtest has shown that this is not the case. In Skull & Bones, land-based and even ship-based player-to-player combat are off the cards.
In fact, even though you can harvest materials in the game, including ores, wood, and food, you still can’t leave your ship. Instead, you need to look at the resources on land from your ship and harvest the materials by clicking a button. Looting settlements and forts are also restricted to you staying on your ship, where you’ll need to weaken your desired target first with cannon fire, with your crew then “raiding” your target for you. Although you will be able to leave your ship, you’re restricted to speaking to NPC’s to upgrade your ship, sell your loot, and more.
It’s been known since the game was first announced at E3 in 2017, that Skull & Bones drew inspiration from the naval battles of Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, which still rings true today. Players will start off in a small ship and will need to gather resources and loot in order to upgrade. Ships are categorized in five different tiers of small, medium, large etc., and can be built on your own unique playstyles such as Combat, Cargo, and Exploration. As the types of ships indicate, each different type of ship has different abilities. Cargo ships will be able to hold more Cargo, Combat ships can withstand more and deal more damage and Exploration ships can navigate faster.
Crew morale is one of the most important features in Skull & Bones, with your NPC crew turning against you if their morale runs low. Food and drinks are the number one factor in keeping crew morale high, so players will need resources in order to sell such items. Your crew will take over and even destroy your ship if their morale runs too low.
The bread and butter of the game is obviously ship combat, where players can fight against other players’ ships as well as NPC ships. World events will allow you to take down large merchant ships for high rewards, but sources have also indicated that world events will also include some mythical creatures once the game releases. The Kraken seems to be a safe bet, as we already did see a small teaser of it in Skull & Bones’ first-ever trailer.
It’s hard to see where Ubisoft‘s target audience lies with Skull & Bones, as the game seems to only be centered around blowing up other ships and looting. The lack of on-foot exploration and combat has definitely left a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths and with the likes of Sea of Thieves already in the market, it seems that Ubisoft will be playing catch up to offer something players will be on board with.
Skull & Bones is still scheduled to release by April 2023 on current-gen consoles and PC.