Sea Of Thieves have dropped anchor on another monthly update but this one's a bit unlike the rest as it includes the news that updates won't exactly be monthly in the future. Beginning in January 2021, Sea Of Thieves will switch to quarterly seasonal updates and it's also getting its very own battle pass and new seasonal progression systems.
The headline change is of course the seasonal structure and battle pass because every game and its mother has one now. Season one of Sea Of Thieves will begin in January and will have 100 levels of Pirate Renown to earn by "adventuring, exploration, combat with the world and with other players, and all aspects of life at sea". In the video below, creative director Mike Chapman says "Outside of the trading company progression system that's already there, you can feel that sense of progress each time you play. So even if you don't finish the adventure you're on or finish your voyages, you still feel that tangible sense of progress when you play Sea Of Thieves."
Admittedly, feeling like I've got nothing to show for myself if a voyage goes belly up is something I and my own pirating partner often struggle with. Recognition for smaller feats seems like an alright change to me, a simple primate whose brain is happy when a game shows me a bar filling up.
Rare say that each new three-month season will kick off with some new kind of addition to the game. For January that'll be a new type of Merchant Alliance voyage where you hunt down a missing shipment of goods. Sounds a bit similar to those newish Gold Hoarder vault voyages that were added a few months back. Throughout the season, Rare say there will be live events, new rewards, and the usual quality of life updates and Pirate Emporium updates.
As for the battle-like pass, Chapman explains that all main seasonal rewards can be unlocked for free by playing, while the premium version "allows you to play and unlock existing items from Emporium for a discount, alongside a few exclusives". Oh but what to call it? How do you take the thing everyone's doing and make it feel unique? Rare have gone with Plunder Pass it seems, which I'll give them rolls off the tongue nicely and isn't as low-hanging fruit as "pirate pass" would have been.
Alas, it's not all additions. Rare say that the Arena mode in Sea Of Thieves won't be getting new updates in favor of focusing on Adventure mode. They say that 97% of play time is spent in Adventure mode, which is what most players give feedback and request new features for. Arena mode isn't leaving, but it won't be getting new features.
In the meantime, the Festival Of Giving seasonal event is returning on December 9th with live events, log-in bonuses, and Gilded Voyages.
Rare haven't given a specific launch date for Sea Of Thieves season one, but we can expect it sometime in January.