Sea of Thieves is continuing to grow its world in 2022 with a plethora of big changes coming to its already-plentiful amount of content to dive into with your pirate mates.
On January 27th, the game’s developer, Rare, released an overview video to go over the plans for the game in 2022 and detailing what is next to come in the open-sea adventure. What stood as a through-line for the game is that the company is dedicated to bringing bigger stories to the game and making the game come to life even more.
At the start of 2021, Rare added the seasonal structure to Sea of Thieves, implementing three-month long seasons that see new mechanics and ideas added to the game. The change has been met with a positive reception and it looks like this system is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.
The game’s next season – Season 6 – is set to arrive in March and will bring with it quite a few changes to the game, some small, some big.
One of the smaller changes to the game is the appearance of some new Stone Sea Forts that players can tackle as they sail on the high seas. These forts have risen out of the Sea of the Damned and are here to terrorize the world of the living.
These forts can be tackled solo or with friends, and they will even scale to match the amount of players you are ransacking it with. You will have to fight your way through waves of undead and ghostly enemies, and should you be victorious, you will have some great loot to reward yourself with.
One of the biggest changes that are coming with the release of Season 6 are Adventures. These are story-driven events that will be released monthly, running for around two weeks. The goal of Adventures is to consistently bring something fresh to the game experience, giving content for both new and veteran players to dive into and find novelty in.
In an interview with Polygon, creative director at Rare, Mike Chapman, explains that the “…idea is that each adventure is a chapter in an episodic, epic story that is always unfolding.”
When the game released in 2018, content was the biggest issue that players had with the game, and while Rare has done incredible work to get the game to where it is now, they aren’t stopping now and Adventures looks to be a way to keep cycling in new, fresh content to sink your teeth into.
What’s even more, is that the players themselves will have some control over how the story unfolds. As these pieces of narrative roll out, depending on who players side themselves with and decisions made at key moments, Rare will implement these into the overall story. This will help add an entirely new level of immersion for players and help them feel like they really are creating their own story, together.
The first Adventure begins as the Golden Sands Outpost is besieged by a sinister fog, resulting in the vanishing of everyone there. It’s up to players to get to the bottom of this disappearance and origins of the fog. Adventures will range in content, style, and there will be plenty of room for experimentation as the larger narrative continues to unfold.
Running alongside these Adventures will be the second biggest part of the content update: Mysteries. These are parallel narratives that players can tackle when they need a break from teh Adventure. These, too, are long-running stories, with mysteries unraveling over the course of a few months, both in-game and out of the game through augmented-reality style events. The first Mystery will be a murder mystery, where a popular in-game character will be the victim. There is no word on who this character will be, much with Rare’s admittance that they are beloved, it is sure to hit players hard.
According to Rare, the point of Mysteries is to be much more malleable and fluid than Adventures. They are going to be keeping a keen eye on when players are solving puzzles, when they are getting stuck, and so on. Their goal is to make sure that everything works together, though, and that any activity that must be done outside of the game fits with the tone of the game and the Mystery itself.
“The advantage of using out-of-game elements is that it makes the world feel like it doesn’t have the boundaries of just the game,” explains Chapman,” It feels like the world exists off the screen. So tonally, what you’re doing outside of game, how that feeds back to the theme of the mystery needs to be complementary.”
Now, this doesn’t mean that everything that is already in the game is going to stay alongside this new batch of content. Rare also announced that they will be closing down the game’s Arena. This mode was another PvP option for players to try out along with the game’s Adventure mode, and while it had its dedicated following, there just wasn’t enough interest to keep the mode alive as more content is created. As they explain in their blog post:
“With the scope of Sea of Thieves growing larger and larger, the huge task of maintaining QA and bug fixes for both Adventure and Arena modes has become something we can no longer justify.”
They continue to explain that as they transition into bringing their vision for the game to life, this mode just isn’t a part of that. It is certainly a disappointment for the loyal few who have put hours into this mode, but it sounds like this is what Rare believes is best for the game.
Sea of Thieves isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and Rare is committed to bringing the game to its best level, even if they don’t know what that quite is yet.
“There’s a future ahead that’s unknown. But you are part of that timeline moving forward.”
Rare is committed to not only innovating, building, and creating entirely new experiences, but also to make sure that the players are a part of that process. The game has always been about community – whether its a friendly or hostile one – and that foundation looks to still be at the forefront as Rare sails into what’s next.
Sea of Thieves is available now on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.
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