Sailing Era, released on Steam on January 11th, 2023, is a game that puts you in the shoes of one of four (for now) main protagonists each with their own story, characters, and beginning location from which you can sail and explore to discover ports, encounter AI fleets, trade routes, and other fun little surprises on the seas. In doing so you can build up your coffers, your roster of characters, and even your own fleet with up to five ships at any one time, but you can always dock excessive ships at the various ports. More on that later, but for now, there is a lot to cover for this seemingly simple game that is anything but.
Overview Of Sailing The Seas
After the initial tutorial story, which varies between main characters, you’re free to do whatever you want. You can explore the seas to discover ports, treasures, fishing spots, shipwrecks, and more, or you can hop from port to port to discover what goods they have for sale and what it is they seek of the goods you’ve discovered up to that point.
Each port also offers various commissions the player can accept with limited time to complete. The good news on that, though, is each port seeks the same items on rotation, seemingly, so you can stock up those warehouses until that request is put up for instant completion. On the other hand, certain ports have a special request for an item/s of premium quality (it is unknown if you can find these naturally or if they have to be upgraded while sailing with a character stationed in a ‘preparation room’ on board the ship) which reward the player with a blueprint for new ships or figureheads, as far as this gamer has discovered thus far at least.
Now, if trading isn’t your forte, even though you can get various trading goods from this, you can hunt down other ships on the seas which can be done in one of two ways:
Accepting a bounty from Admin at any port
Or clicking on ships out at sea and selecting battle
Along with the second option, however, if you have an appointed officer you can negotiate with the other vessels to sell or purchase whatever it is they offer or are willing to buy. So far, I’ve only noticed equipment as goods they offer or purchase.
The battles seem pretty straightforward on the seas. There are indicators around your flagship that show the direction and range of the cannons aboard as well as a circle around your ship where if an enemy ship enters that ring the crews on board fight it out, lowering the numbers. On occasion, there will be a special cutscene battle the player just has to watch unfold where your characters and a few of the enemy crew fight it out to lower the numbers significantly faster, usually.
To win a fight against an enemy fleet, you merely have to sink the flagship (indicated with a flag icon to the left of the ship’s health and crew count) or eliminate the crew on board to force a surrender. With the proper character on board with the right perk (Abdullah being the only character I know of at this time) you can claim a ship that surrendered for yourself to add to the fleet, dock for later, or even flat-out sell for a good profit.
Aside from what’s been mentioned already, which I’ll cover again for clarity’s sake, there are other various things you can do from port to port. Keep in mind not all ports have the same things which makes discovering them all that much more important and worth noting.
Some ports have a shipyard which is extremely important for repairing your ships after the battle as well as upgrading your vessels, so long as you have a character with level 3 Shipbuilding. But you can also buy ships, sells ships, or even build/order ships. The good news is you don’t have to have a blueprint to build ships, but the result is random and varies depending on the materials used. This is also where you can change any acquired badges on the sail.
Some ports have a region-based religious building where you can donate money. Donating a certain amount grants the player a random buff. Some are temporary while others are permanent such as increasing the maximum morale among the sailors.
Across the ports are a variety of stores or markets that offer, depending on the store type, shipbuilding materials, equipment for your characters that can boost attributes, book stores to learn new languages which are necessary for translating other books in the Library (more on that later) and raise attributes as well as offer nautical charts showing trade routes, item store for expedition gear (see Post: Expedition below for more), a black market where you can unlock discovered treasure chests or buy rarer items, and even a gift shop to buy, well, gifts to give to various waitresses across the ports. More on that in ‘Restaurant…’ below.
These locations require the player to have at least one character in your group to know and understand the language associated with the books held within to attempt to decipher the clue they hold. Once done, you then need the required character/s with the appropriate attribute levels to unlock the clue it holds. It seems a little daunting at first but can give big rewards later.
Every port has some kind of gathering place where the player can treat their sailors to raise morale or even recruit new sailors. This is also where you level up your characters through a shared experience pool. Every 15 levels you can increase one attribute for the character as well.
However, some locations have a waitress the player can slowly swoon for different clues or helpful hints. So far, though, I don’t know what happens when a waitress is fully acquainted with the player but hopefully is worthwhile.
As mentioned previously, every port has a commerce guild where you can accept various acquisition requests to deliver a set amount of goods for extra money and contribution points needed to unlock new goods to trade at that port, the ability to create a guild there, and, for some ports, to unlock land expeditions which I will go over shortly.
The admin location in every port is where you go to accept pirate bounties to hunt them down for gold and contribution points. This is also where you go to use said points to unlock trade goods and create a guild under ‘Permit’ as well as the location to create said guild.
Certain ports have an option called ‘Post’. This is where you go to partake in a land expedition once you have the permit unlocked for that particular location. Doing an expedition requires tools, supplies, and characters to explore the map for random encounters or discoveries. Keep in mind, some discoveries or missions within the locations expedition require the player to have discovered a clue by others means to complete.
Once you can establish a guild at any given port, you can invest money into one of three categories called, Tech, Population, and Tech. Over time, these numbers will increase but only when money is invested into them. Raising the numbers unlocks various perks for that particular port for increased output of trade goods for purchase, better items for sale if the port has the corresponding shop, trade fleets the player can pay for to send AI ships to any discovered port to pick up trade goods to be stored in that ports warehouse, and better upgrades for your ships should that port have a shipyard. It can be a little daunting but I’d say 100% worth it.
There was a lot to cover and probably more I honestly missed, but overall I honestly enjoy this game and recommend it to anyone that likes a sandbox game with sailing and building up a fleet or crew. There are so many things this game truly has to offer and makes for a good chill time with plotting and planning and, if you’re like me, writing things down to remember for later. Sure, the game has a few odd quirks and maybe bugs, but the developers are working to fix it and already have a few patches since launch. Regardless, it’s certainly worth the $25 price tag, at least in this gamer’s opinion.
That’s all from me though. If you enjoyed the article, found it helpful, or maybe even realized I missed something, feel free to reach out to me through one of my socials below and let me know. Even if you wanna just chat or pick my brain, that’s fine too. But for now, that’s all and I thank you for your time! Until next time, keep gaming, gamers!