Sea of Thieves is a game that will continue to live (or eventually die) based on its content plan throughout the next year. Developer Rare recently debuted the limited-time The Hungering Deep expansion, with the next two expansions set to hit during July and September.
If you tried the game at launch and are looking to give it another shot, here’s what exists in the game currently that has changed the landscape:
- Megalodons have infested the ocean. They can attack at any time, including during a kraken fight. The megalodons of Sea of Thieves have different personalities — some are shy and will flee after a shot, and others will chase you relentlessly.
- Players have access to a yelling trumpet that lets them communicate with other players from a long distance. The yelling trumpet, along with the Hungering Deep campaign, have led to an overall far friendlier ocean.
- Flags allow pirates to declare their intent, which deepen the pool of social interactions. A friendly rainbow flag shows that you’re willing to party, while a Jolly Roger is nearly always a sure sign of upcoming murder.
- Weekly events have kicked off, which allow players to collect doubloons for limited-time unlockables. Sea of Thieves’ first event was all about finding skeleton thrones and cooperating with other crews to claim them, and the next event will be about gunpowder barrel-toting skeletons and offer new, spooky, skeletal weapon skins.
Skeleton ships are coming with Cursed Sails. We can expect a campaign, similar to The Hungering Deep, that takes players through the new content and has them face off against skeleton ships. AI ships should make the seas more deadly, especially since they have cursed ammo that can drop anchors or make crews drunk. Players will be able to access their own cursed ammo to unleash on other players, although that loot won’t carry over between sessions; everyone will still enter a game at the same power level.
Joe Neate, executive producer on Sea of Thieves, told Polygon that the team was uninterested in creating an “end game,” so Cursed Sails’ additions won’t increase a ship’s base power. Instead, they’ll be something that spices up an individual voyage. Players will have to deal with the kraken, megaladon, skeleton ships and other players with cursed ammo.
Finally, a three-man ship is coming. The brigantine will have two masts, two sails and two decks, and will be a slightly more maneuverable galleon that lacks the sloop’s unique’s strengths. A three-man crew on a galleon up against a four-man galleon will be at a disadvantage, so the brigantine will allow dedicated three-person crews to remain competitive without needing to recruit randoms through open crews.
With the mix of threats described above, the starting map will be getting a little chaotic. Here’s where Forsaken Shores comes in: The map will expand to include Devil’s Roar, a volcanic region. Entering Devil’s Roar will always be a choice; players cannot spawn there. This is convenient, as Devil’s Roar volcanoes will erupt and cause massive damage to ships.
In order to navigate these strange waters, a rowboat will be added to the game. The rowboat will be a massive game changer; it can be used to facilitate boarding, quickly loot forts before opponents can return, and players can even stack it with gunpowder barrels to create a deadly surprise for enemies.
We can also expect a Forsaken Shores campaign as well, presumably with limited-time cosmetics, titles and rewards.
The developers have no shortage of ideas, and four developer teams means that there’ll be a constantly rotating set of expansions. There’s no shortage of enemy types, especially because Sea of Thieves primarily deals with the mythical. Giant crabs, ghosts, sirens... there’s plenty of material to mine from the greater pirate mythos. The next unannounced expansion is said to be in the works by The Hungering Deep team, although we have no details as of yet.
Microtransactions will also come to the game after enough free content has arrived. The idea is to flesh out cosmetics, such as ship mastheads, through a microtransaction shop, Rare said.
Sea of Thieves has a surprising amount of lore, mostly hidden outside of the game via avenues like comic books. Campaigns will be more lore-heavy, focused on stories like that of “Merry” Merrick and his missing legs, but scaled up with the amount of development time going into each expansion.
While Sea of Thieves is always going to be a game that primarily relies on player interactions, new content will provide more variables that mix up those experiences. The base game of Sea of Thieves was all about skeleton forts, questing, and constant PVP with other pirates. The Hungering Deep pushed player cooperation to the forefront, changing the game’s experience dramatically with very little concrete content. We can expect the future expansions to further develop the game, leaving players to forge their own tales with an assortment of fun new toys and weapons.