As the nights grow colder and the days shorter, Rare's piratical MMO Sea Of Thieves is drawing me back with an enticingly warm-looking volcanic update, Forsaken Shores. This free new treasure-chest of content adds a new area to the map called The Devil's Roar filled with superheated environmental hazards - the floor is literally lava. It also introduces a new kind of store encountered out on the high seas, handy little rowboats for ferrying of goods around and the usual slab of cosmetic goodies. Forsaken Shores is out now - check out the trailer below and the release notes here.
As with the past few Sea Of Thieves updates, the central story mission in Forsaken Shores is a time-limited event. I don't know why they keep doing this, but that's just how it is on the high seas. The event quest sends you on a mission to discover the fate of the Devil's Roar's first explorers, but the area will persist in the game even as the next update comes ashore. As will most new features, such as Seaposts - a new kind of small store found in the ocean itself, each selling a small range of discounted items.
While a new, tougher environment to navigate sounds fun, I feel the more mundane stuff introduced in this update will keep players going long-term. Players can now make money through mostly-legal means through cargo run missions. After scoring yourself a rowboat or two (which spawn around the world, and can be attached to your ship), you'll be able to do deliveries, though different goods need different handling. Bottles need to not be jostled, textiles need to be kept dry and plants need to be watered. Not very piratical, but a new thing for a crew (or lone wolf) to do.
When Sea Of Thieves first launched in March, it was seaworthy but not really weathered enough to call itself properly piratical. These updates have done it more good than a barrel full of limes, with the previous one introducing cursed ships with (literal) skeleton crews, giving players a chance to tussle with other vessels without diving into the PvP side of the game. Between the new hazards and cargo runs here, there's more for a mild-mannered pirate to do now. Still, there's always the chance you'll bump into another captain that's more Blackbeard than Pugwash.
The Forsaken Shores update is out now, and detailed here. Sea Of Thieves remains Windows 10 exclusive. You can find it on the Windows Store (where it is currently 35% discounted), or as part of the Xbox Game Pass subscription, which is adding Forza Horizon 4 on October 2nd.