Fast-paced naval battles in a grim fantasy world of leviathans, warships and treasure! Featuring tactical, ship-vs-ship-vs-monster multiplayer, customization & progression!
All Reviews:
Very Positive (636) - 84% of the 636 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date:
Apr 11, 2018

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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“Maelstrom is focused, well-built, and in an early beta state. We now crave feedback and perspective from players on all aspects of the game especially balance, gameplay, and pacing so we can tighten and polish it. We'll be communicating a lot with our community, especially at this stage of development where game elements are still malleable.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“Maelstrom will officially launch when it is well-balanced and the systems and content are highly polished. We are aiming for a late 2018 release, but no specific date yet.
It will be patched frequently, and players will see constant improvements as additional content is added consistently over the course of Early Access. You can see our plans in more detail on our roadmap.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“Players can expect a host of new in-game systems and content to come online while the game is in Early Access:
  • Visual upgrades to all playable ships
  • Duo team play
  • Leaderboards
  • Daily bounties and quests
  • Additional maps (and monsters!)
  • Professional voice acting for all captains, mates, and narration.
  • Additional languages supported
    {*] …and there may be more as we unlock stretch goals based on player numbers! Check out our Steam hub for more information.

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“We are still in an early beta state, iterating on balance, gameplay, and progression. The game is fully playable with three initial races (Orcs, Humans, Dwarves), multiple ships for each race with loads of upgrades, mates and captains. Multiplayer with end match rewards and progression is all fully functional. We will patch frequently and players can expect the game to continue evolving and updating throughout Early Access!”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“The price will reflect the development progress of the game, and so may increase as new features and content are added. Check out our roadmap to see those plans.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“Our main outlets of communication will be via Steam hub, Discord and Twitter. We'll be communicating a lot with our community, especially at this stage of development where game elements are still malleable.”
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Recent updates View all (19)

May 13

Development Update: Quests and Medals

This week we’ll talk about Quests and Medals.

But first, some answers to questions we had on last week's update!

Will mates still have random names?
Mates will now have specific names and mates with the same name will always feature the same stat progression. You can expect to see 2 to 4 different mates of each type.

Will mates of the same type have the same stats if they are the same level?
Mates with the same name and type will always have the same stats if they are the same level. However, they may have a different set of trait and set bonuses as those are assigned randomly. Two Gunners with different names will have different stat progression at each level, but are intended to be comparable in power.

Are mercenaries just better mates?
No, they are intended to offer additional choices by offering unusual stat combinations, but in terms of net benefit they are not intended to replace regular mates.

The goal of our Quest system is to both reward players for playing the game while also encouraging exploration.

Each player will have 3 Standard Quest slots.

Standard Quests come in 2 types: Competitive and Participation.

Competitive quests are just as they sound - they require to be competitive in order to compete. If you do well, they’ll be faster to complete than Participation quests, but progress is not a sure thing.

Participation quests, on the other hand, largely reward you for simply playing the game - and progress is generally easier to achieve though will still require you to complete specific tasks.

In addition to the 3 slots, there will also be a bonus Daily Quest which simply requires the completion of 3 quests. This Daily Quest will refresh daily, providing a baseline of daily rewards that all players can reasonably achieve. Note that this refresh only occurs if the Daily Quest has been completed - thus if you only complete 2 quests one day, your progression is not erased.

Standard Quests can also be dismissed to obtain a new one if you do not wish to complete it. There will be a cooldown timer to limit how often you can dismiss quests.

We also have the concept of Epic Quests. All players will have the same Epic Quest during a specific duration.

Epic Quests are intended to be completed over the course of multiple weeks, rather than over a few games. Each will consist of multiple objectives with their own rewards, along with a final reward for completing all objectives.

Epic Quests will contain a variety of reward types, but specifically will be one of the primary ways of earning Mercenaries.

Medals, unlike Quests, are always able to be earned assuming you meet the objective.

Medals are intended to reward epic gameplay moments and is not something you should expect to earn on a regular basis. Here are some examples:
  • Bounty Hunter III: Collect at least 9 bounties
  • Turn the Tide: Sink the boarding ship while being boarded with 0 crew
  • No Quarter: Sink the last 5 enemy ships and win
  • Brave: Ram an enemy ship and sink it to win the match
  • Swirly: Sink an enemy ship by causing them to sink in a Maelstrom

Medals will provide some Experience when earned (we will explain the use of Experience in a later update), but primarily they are about commemorating a special moment or a special game.

A tally of all Medals earned for each ship will be kept and showcased in a Player Profile along with other fun stats.

9 comments Read more

May 1

Development Progress Update: Release Window and Mates

Hello everyone,

First and foremost, thanks for the patience. It’s been a very long time since we’ve made any announcements and we’re sorry we've been so quiet. Many conversations, a lot of work and changes have been taking place. We’re finally ready to make some important announcements about the future direction of Maelstrom.

The first thing is that we have a release window of Summer 2019. We don’t have a precise date but will update as we get closer.

Since we have a lot to talk about we will do it in different updates over the coming weeks. Each week, we will provide details on a particular feature or system.

We will also be providing an updated roadmap soon.

This week’s topic is MATES!

Mates are currently heavily RNG based, and while the system works quite well for the first couple weeks of play, there are a few problems with it:
  • The RNG nature means that players do not feel a good sense of progression. After a player obtains a few good mates, it becomes much harder to make any real progress and interest can wane.
  • Some players get 5 Star mates early, others play for a hundred hours and do not get any at all.
  • Players are incentivized to use their best mates, rather than being able to experiment with different builds.
  • Players end up with dozens of useless mates.

Upon release, the mates themselves will be functionally similar, however, how you earn them, and what you do after you have them will be different.

The earning rates for mates will be reduced. Players will no longer get mates constantly - instead, earning mates will be more rare. However, players will be able to level up mates by using GOLD. Leveling mates will increase their stats - similar to if you had obtained them at a higher level in the first place.

This will directly reduce the number of mates you get, but make the mates you own much more meaningful. When you find a mate with a combination of stats you want to try out, you can level them up to do so instead of hoping for a higher level version of them to drop.

You will still have the opportunity to find mates that are higher level right off the bat, though they will be rarer. Mates are still found in Chests which determine the level of the mate choices inside.

Chest will also have an automatic chance to upgrade to the next level.

For example, if you earn a Level 1 Mate Chest, all mates inside will be Level 1, but if you are lucky, it can get upgraded to a Level 2 Mate Chest, which means all the mates inside will be Level 2. Or you might get really lucky and it upgrades again to a Level 3 Mate Chest, and so on. The likelihood of it leveling up to Level 5 will be low, but it can technically happen.

We are also expanding on Mates with some new features. We wanted to give mates more personality and interest beyond just providing static stats, and, so mates themselves are also getting an upgrade at Level 4 and 5.

When a mate reaches Level 4, they will unlock a new ability called a Trait.

Traits are situational abilities that apply or trigger only during certain situations.

When a mate reaches Level 5, they will unlock another new ability called a Set Bonus (we will probably give it a cooler name before launch).

Set Bonuses will be similar to existing passive and Tier X ship abilities, and are active if all 3 mates you have equipped have the same Set Bonus.

You will also be able to reroll these traits and set bonuses if you do not like the ones the Mate came with.

The combination of these two additional characteristics will both enhance the strategic and gameplay implications of mates as well as make earning mates interesting for a longer period of time.

We will launch with a good number of Traits and Set Bonuses to start, and we plan to add more in the future, opening up new possibilities and giving you new content to chase.

We are also introducing the concept of Mercenaries.

Mercenaries will level up the same way as regular mates, and have access to Traits and Set Bonuses, and they won’t be stronger than regular mates. So what makes them different then?
  • Mercenaries will be usable for any race. They will still have a type such as Gunner, but you will be able to use them on a ship of any race.
  • Mercenaries will have stat amounts and combinations not normally available to normal Mates - for example, you might see a Gunner that reduces Reload Time.
  • Mercenaries will have access to stats currently not available to Mates.
  • Mercenaries may also come with some negative stats in order to balance out their unique array of stats - for example, a Mercenary Shipwright that gives you more Hull than a Normal Shipwright may reduce your ship’s Top Speed as a result.
  • Unlike regular mates, the Traits and Set Bonuses on Mercenaries are available right from the start.

Typically, Mercenaries will only be available to be earned in limited windows. We plan to have a few Mercenaries you can earn at any point in time, and while it’s possible for them to re-appear at a later date, if you really want one of them it’s best to earn it while it’s there.


That’s it for this week’s update.

We’re very excited about these upcoming changes and we hope you are as well. We welcome any and all feedback and constructive criticism.

Next time, we’ll go in depth regarding Quests. Look forward to it!

Your Maelstrom team
19 comments Read more
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“Maelstrom is a unique and original twist on the classic Battle Royale formula with naval combat, out-of-match progression, and sea monsters!”
IGN - James Duggan

“Maelstrom’s a nautical battle royale, pitting fantastical ships against each other in damp arenas. The ships are fast, the cannons are powerful and there’s no risk of being sniped by some invisible bastard. It’s lovely”
Rock Paper Shotgun - Fraser Brown

“It's a fun and fast-paced game as you swivel around to unleash broadside attacks, try to stay out of the line of fire as your cannons are reloaded, grab currents to speed yourself up and dart between the islands, and race to collect the floating goodies dropped when another ship is taken out.”
PC Gamer - Christopher Livingston

About This Game

Grim fantasy combined with thunderous naval combat in a vibrant, monster-saturated world! Captain an Orc, Dwarf or Human warship and sail the turbulent Abyssal Ocean to play online multiplayer, in free-for-all or fleet based matches.

The goal is to: Plunder as much gold as possible while outwitting and outgunning all others and be the last ship sailing.
  • Be ruthless! Sink other players ships, take their loot and collect their bounty!
  • Be greedy! Maps are littered with floating treasure chests and ships loaded with gold.
  • Be cunning! As the match progresses hungry sea monsters become more aggressive and encroach the safe waters ships can sail in. Ships sailing in 'Dead Waters' for too long end up as monster chow!
  • Be unsinkable! At the end of a match ships can be upgraded and customized with captains, cannons, armor, mates and more!


Cannons are the heart of combat in Maelstrom. Cannonballs are physics controlled, with a significant firing arc and hang time, meaning prediction and good aim are necessary to deal damage effectively. On the receiving end, players with good reactions and anticipation coupled with a nimble ship can dodge incoming fire.


Enemy ships can be rammed, grappled and boarded! A clever captain at sea will become a wealthy captain on land.

Skillfully maneuver yourself through the swelling sea and prepare your ship for ramming. The faster the ship is moving the more devastating the collision will be on impact!

Looking for a friendlier approach? Hold both ships in place while crews fight it out. Grapples will be cut eventually, so boarding actions only last a short time. If one crew manages to kill all of the opposing crew, they will set fire to the enemy ship, sending it to the depths!


Each ship has armor on all four sides. The armor sections serve as additional defense toward damage to that side and must be destroyed before the ship's hull can be damaged. Maneuvering to keep your armor between you and your enemy is vital to staying afloat - and seeking the enemy's damaged sides will make you much more lethal in combat!
Every cannon has access to three kinds of ammunition and can swap during combat to suit the situation. Ammo is unlimited.
  • Iron shot blasts chunks out of ship armor and hull.
  • Chain shot is used to shred enemy sails and cripple a ship’s speed.
  • Grapeshot slaughters enemy crew and makes ships easier to board.


Like the ocean they reside in, sea monsters are titanic forces of nature. They stalk unwary captains and can devour a ship whole. Like this Murkwater Thrasher.

Each ship in Maelstrom is a character with a colorful history and unique weaponry as well as strengths and weaknesses such as speed, firepower, crew, and toughness. There are many unique ships available for players to unlock and explore.


Ashborne has incredibly punishing broadsides and wields spell-infused incendiary ammo, unique to her, which ignites enemy ships!


The well designed ships of mankind's Phoenix Empire are the fastest afloat. Each ship is armed with a large number of the most modern cannons available, giving them unmatched range and broadside firepower.
  • Great speed
  • Powerful broadsides
  • Great range


The shark-driven ships of the orcs are incredibly maneuverable, and have a large number of forward-facing cannons making them deadly on the pursuit. The orcs themselves are ferocious fighters, unmatched in combat during boarding actions.
  • Lethal boarding
  • Great ramming
  • Formidable agility


Dwarves disdain brittle wood and flimsy sail, instead forging steel armored steamships. Dwarven ships can withstand far more punishment than the ships of other races and are armed with massive giant cannons on all sides. Though not the most nimble, all Dwarf ships can switch gears and sail in reverse.
  • Tough armor
  • Omnidirectional cannons
  • Ships can reverse

No additional purchases are needed to enjoy the game to the fullest extent. In other words there are no loot boxes, microtransactions, or anything of the sort. Future content will be added in optional DLC packs or released to the community free of charge. Our goal is to keep the game healthy and the community satisfied.

We promise to get Maelstrom into your hands in a fully playable and fun state and to keep the game healthy; to provide transparency and insight into decisions made about Maelstrom at all levels both vast and granular. To listen and react to what the players want.. Most importantly, to honor the faith and trust you've placed in us by purchasing the game. Sink ya soon!

System Requirements

    • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
    • OS: Windows 7 64-bit or later
    • Processor: Quad-core Intel or AMD processor, 2.5 GHz or faster
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 470 GTX or AMD Radeon 6870 HD series card or higher
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 7 GB available space
    • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system

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