Rare have announced a major change in how they’re creating and releasing content for Sea of Thieves. Instead of monthly updates, they’ll be shifting to seasons of content and adding a battle pass to the piratical adventures, with Season One set to start in January.
As with every other game that uses this model, seasons will be roughly three months long, starting off with a major content drop and then adding to that with with time limited events and new rewards to unlock. Season One will feature Merchant Detectives, where you seek out a lost shipment in a spot of pirate sleuthing on behalf of the Merchant Alliance.
As you’d expect, there’s rewards to be earnt from playing the game, with 100 levels of pirate renown to earn that unlock cosmetics like clothes and new ship sails. Specific challenges will tap into older content or get you to play in specific ways.
And then there’s the battle pass, called a Plunder Pass in this game, which is a paid reward track that runs through the season and adds additional cosmetics and things to unlock.
2021 will see Rare refocus their efforts on the Adventure mode of the game, sidelining the PvP Arena mode.
Sea of Thieves launched back in March 2018 to slightly bemused fanfare. After years of build up, critics and players alike were a touch confused over what you could do in the game outside of attacking other players and taking on treasure hunting fetch quests. Still, there was an undoubted allure to it, despite the lack of content.
I wrote in our Sea of Thieves review:
“Sea of Thieves defies modern gaming conventions in brilliant and refreshing fashion, creating a fairly unique sandbox where you and your crew need to find your own fun. It might be in real need of more variety to the quests and activities, but Sea of Thieves’ curious charms are like a siren’s song that keep drawing me back for more piratical adventures on the high seas.”
Thankfully, Rare were quick to realise their failings and started to develop new content for the game. This came in the form of in-game events, new sea monsters, the PvP Arena mode, and some narrative adventures to follow, you’ve also been able to become an Emissary and get a pet cat. They built up a steady following, boosted further by the game’s release on Steam, and it feels logical that they turn their focus to ways to monetise and sustain the game in the long run, especially as other parts of the company get to grips with developing Everwild. Reportedly, they’re still in the experimental stage of trying to figure out what that game will actually be…