Yar har and fiddle-di-dee, multiplayer ship combat game Blackwake [official site] has sailed into early access. It pits teams against each other with up to 16 players crewing a ship, running around controlling cannons, patching up holes, pumping water, and boarding other ships. That sounds great, that. I do always enjoy that sort of teamwork and inter-reliance, especially when playing with friends. Heck, even disasters are a lark with friends. Check out this trailer, which features broadsiding, boarding, cheeky piratical banter, and more than a few disasters:
I use that last quip all the time myself.
So! Up to 16 players can crew a ship in Blackwake, taking roles including firing cannons, reloading cannons, running supplies as a powder monkey, repairing the hull, repairing the sails, boarding, and, of course, captaining - a role decided by vote at the start of the round. It currently has two ship sizes, small hoys and big galleons, and modes pit varying numbers and types of ships against each other, up to 3v3 where each team has one galleon and two hoys.
It sounds like it fits into that great gaming space where teamwork is all, so much can go wrong, and victories feel like real accomplishments.
Blackwake is now on Steam Early Access for £13.49/17,99€/$17.99, which includes a small launch discount. Developers Mastfire Studios plan to launch the full version this autumn after adding more modes, ships, weapons, voice acting, and so on, along with improving performance and stability. Initial players reviews look jolly positive. I'll have to see if we can press gang Brendan into Prematurely Evaluating it.
If you fancy co-op crewing but less competitive killing, I believe that's more the focus of Rare's upcoming Sea of Thieves.
Also, apparently players can drink booze and tea in Blackwake?