Skull & Bones Combat Fundamentals is a disaster

In September 2021, I reported on Twitter more key details about Skull & Bones from several sources. Nearly eight months later, new details have been delivered and leaked online, which has shown that these details are accurate.

One of the biggest controversies that I originally reported on the game was the fact that Skull & Bones will not offer any kind of player-to-player match on land where the game only offers sea combat. At the time, it was thought that Ubisoft had simply not added games to player combat yet because the game was still under rapid 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 matches are off the cards.

In fact, even though you can harvest materials in the game, including ore, wood, and food, you still can not leave your ship. Instead, look at the resources on land from your ship and harvest the materials at the click of a button. Looting of settlements and forts is also limited to you being able to stay on your ship, where you first have to weaken your desired target with cannon fire, where your crew then “raids” your target for you. Although you will be able to leave your ship, you are limited to talking to NPCs to upgrade your ship, sell your prey and more.

It has been known since the game was first announced at E3 in 2017 that Skull & Bones drew inspiration from the sea battles in Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, which still apply today. Players start in a small ship and must gather resources and swap to upgrade. Ships are categorized into five different levels of small, medium, large, etc., and can be built on your own unique playing styles such as Combat, Cargo, and Exploration. As the ship types indicate, each ship type has different capabilities. Cargo ships will be able to carry more cargo, battleships can withstand more and do more damage and exploration ships can navigate faster.

Crew morale is one of the most important features of Skull & Bones, where your NPC team turns against you if their morale runs out. Food and beverages are the most important factor in keeping crew morale high, so players need resources to sell such items. Your crew will take over and even destroy your ship if their morale is too low.

The game’s bread and butter is of course ship battle, where players can fight against other players’ ships as well as NPC ships. World events will allow you to shut down large merchant ships for high rewards, but sources have also indicated that world events will also include some mythical creatures when the game is released. The Kraken seems to be a sure bet, as we already saw a small teaser of it in Skull & Bones’ first trailer ever.

It’s hard to see where Ubisoft’s target audience lies with Skull & Bones, as the game only seems to be centered around blowing up other ships and looting. The lack of exploration and struggle on foot has certainly left a sour taste in the mouths of many people, and with e.g. Sea of ‚Äč‚ÄčThieves already on the market, it looks like Ubisoft will play catch-up to offer something players will be on board with.

Skull & Bones is still scheduled to be released in April 2023 on current generation consoles and PCs.