Sea of Thieves has a progression grind that would make an MMO veteran wince. Each of its three factions has a max reputation level of 50, and if you manage to max out the level of each faction you become a Pirate Legend. Getting there, however, means a repetitive grind of accepting missions, finding the loot, and returning it safely. Again and again and again. Still, players were curious about what being a Pirate Legend would unlock, so one streamer took it upon himself to game the system to cheat his way to the top. But in the process of becoming a Pirate Legend, Prod1gyx has also become a pariah.
Since Sea of Thieves launched last week, Prod1gyx has been pirating almost nonstop—at one point he streamed for 18 hours straight. Reaching rank 50 with each of the three factions required more grinding than Prod1gyx could achieve on his own in just a week, so he turned to his fans for help. While Prod1gyx was streaming, viewers would occasionally create parties, take missions, find the loot, and then Prod1gyx would join their crew just before they handed it in, receiving the reward without doing any of the work.
What isn't clear, however, is how often Prod1gyx was using this method. A quick scan of this 18-hour stream shows that, at least for a good portion of the time, he was playing with a single group of friends and completing missions from start to finish.
Warning: Spoilers for Sea of Thieves' endgame below.
Yesterday, Prod1gyx finally achieved rank 50 with each faction, but he wasn't a Pirate Legend just yet. After talking to the Mysterious Stranger located in Sea of Thieves' tavern, he was given a new legendary outfit, the official title, and a special sea shanty. The stranger offered Prod1gyx a clue that if he played that shanty as a specific spot, another mystery would be revealed.
They didn't have to look far—Prod1gyx and his crew discovered the spot was in the corner of the tavern. When he played the legendary shanty there, a staircase opened up that revealed a new hideout for Prod1gyx to use. In it were ghost merchants that sold unique apparel, but first Prod1gyx would have to grind up reputation with another faction. He also unlocked special legendary missions that, at first glance, appear to be eight-part missions that aren't all that different from the hundreds upon hundreds that Prod1gyx completed to become a Pirate Legend.
For the 13,000-odd viewers watching, seeing Sea of Thieves' final progression hump revealed was a contentious experience. Throughout his stream, viewers constantly criticized Prod1gyx's methods while others defended him. As he neared his goal, a tide of resentment began rising in the Sea of Thieves subreddit among players who felt like Prod1gyx was cheating his way to 50. Once he finally became a Pirate Legend, posts quickly skyrocketed to the top of the subreddit as players derided Prod1gyx's methods and called for Rare, Sea of Thieves' developer, to not honor him in anyway. "If Rare makes a legit shrine to him in the game, I will go out of my way to deface it in every lobby," wrote UnfailingBeef in one thread.
"The guy is a utter joke," another redditor commented. "He does almost nothing while playing. He stops every five seconds to look at his chat while his crew is running around doing everything for him. He can't aim, he is a noob with the sword, he has no idea where to go and what to do and just seems confused half of the time. You can totally tell that he got boosted most of the way."
In response, moderators of the subreddit are manually removing any mention of Prod1gyx and the surrounding drama (at this time, several posts referencing the controversy are still up). As one of the moderators for the Sea of Thieves' subreddit says, the criticism of Prod1gyx's methods quickly devolved into outright harassment. "The Pirate Legend story is over," moderator NegativeSpeedForce wrote. "Let’s forget about it. No more mention of him, it has gone from friendly jokes to a full on toxic feeling in the community."
Players even took to Twitter, starting the #notmypiratelegend hashtag to continue to debate and fume over Prod1gyx. In response to a tweet calling him out for being the first Pirate Legend, the streamer said "[I] Didn't proclaim worlds first. Don't care for it. I wanted to see the legends cave, did it with my communities help. Someone else can have worlds first."
Since launch, Sea of Thieves has been under some fairly heavy criticism, with many labeling it an "early access game" to describe the lack of meaningful things to do beyond running the same missions over and over. As one popular post on the subreddit currently says, now that the community has seen how shallow Sea of Thieves' endgame really is, it's time for Rare to open up about what plans it has for the future.
I've reached out to both Prod1gyx and Rare for comment and will update this story if I hear back.