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Sea of Thieves’ monthly updates will leave their marks on the world

Year two brings monthly events and changes

Rare / Microsoft Studios

Rare has released four major content expansions for Sea of Thieves, a handful of weekly events, and a massive anniversary patch. But Sea of Thieves is now gearing up for year two, with a new update landing on the second Wednesday of each month.

The first update, Black Powder Stashes, offered a new voyage type that didn’t do much to change the game. Today’s update, Dark Relics, adds another voyage type, as well as a few permanent changes. In the future, players can expect these updates to continually shift the world of Sea of Thieves, containing everything from new Tall Tales to smaller, more experimental fixes.

Tomorrow’s event, Dark Relics, centers around a quest to retrieve Order of Souls relics from skeleton lords. The lords drop one relic from the prize pool, and players will be tempted to cheat, rob, and betray each other to complete their particular collection of relics. This event, which will be a good source of Order of Souls reputation, will also contain hints for future quest content, says executive producer Joe Neate in an interview with Polygon.

There will also be permanent additions to the game, including:

Reaper’s Chest: This chest spawns a highly visible pillar of light and marks its presence on a map when a player interacts with it. The chest itself can be sold to Duke for doubloons. Expect a batter for each chest once they appear on the map.

Harpoon Rowboats: Rowboats will occasionally spawn with harpoons on the front, which players can use to attach the rowboats to larger ships to be towered.

Seaborne Barrel Changes: Clusters of equipment barrels in the world, marked by a flock of seagulls, can now contain explosive barrels. Ships will have to watch to ensure they don’t trigger a random explosive barrel when navigating around these spawns. Equipment barrels will now have a chance to contain artifacts and treasure to help balance this change.

Skeleton Nerfs: Skeletons are getting nerfed; the time to kill one skeleton is deemed too high in the late game. The difficulty will remain the same for Pirate Legends, but skeletons will act more like a swarming mob and less like a small wave of soldiers.

Oh God Please No: Non-voyage skeletons that spawn during Athena’s Voyages now have a chance to hold Stronghold Kegs, which have a much larger explosion radius. The kegs can be sold for thousands of gold, and the skeletons will move slower to allow kiting.

Rare / Microsoft Studios

Both of last month’s event, Black Powder, and this month’s event are considered on “the smaller side” of what events might look like in the future, according to the development team.

“We have three core teams on the game, one of which is working on these monthly activities and thinking of new, interesting ways to play,” says Neate. “Then you’ve got people focused on adventure features, and things that will enrich the sandbox. Narrative, features, meeting characters, and so on. And then Arena has a team focused on that, adding new features or addressing issues on live, or adding a competitive structure around it.”

Each monthly update will bring commendations that can be achieved retroactively, but the event active throughout the month will be designed to provide enough of a unique twist that some challenges won’t carry forward.

“It’s a schedule that makes sense from a player’s perspective,” says design director Mike Chapman. “You’ve got that regularity, you know when to get excited, you know when you can schedule your time. And from our perspective as developers of the game, it gives us a monthly opportunity to speak to our players.”

Sea of Thieves is also set to receive the Pirate Emporium in September, which is an in-client store that will sell pets, ship cosmetics, and other items in exchange for real money.

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