Remember when we said Sea of Thieves was getting some big changes for 2021? Well, we now know those changes include a new seasonal update system and battle pass that will replace the monthly updates Rare has been delivering for a year-and-a-half.
In a news video, Sea of Thieves executive producer Joe Neate also revealed that Rare will no longer be adding anything new to PvP Arena mode, noting that it'll still be supported and available to players. "We're really proud of what we've delivered with Arena. We love that we've brought this competitive lense to Sea of Thieves, and we know that there are some committed and engaged players that are playing that, but the right thing for us is to continue to invest in the growth of Adventure, which is where Sea of Thieves is at its most unique and special."
Rare creative director Mike Chapman explained that starting in January, Sea of Thieves is moving from the usual monthly update structure to three-month seasons, which will feature "a new experience or way of play," as well as regular and featured live events, "hundreds" of new rewards, ongoing quality-of-life patches, Emporium updates, and Twitch drops. For season one, a new voyage type at the Merchant Alliance will task players with tracking down a lost shipwreck and treasure.
Rare is also introducing a revamped progression system where you earn new rewards and rank through 100 levels of Pirate Renown by "engaging in all aspects of the pirate's life on the Sea of Thieves." It sounds like the goal is to make shorter play sessions where you're just sailing around battling enemy ships feel more productive, as in-game progress will no longer be limited to the trading companies.
Finally, Sea of Thieves is getting its first paid battle pass, which of course is called a "Plunder Pass." It isn't clear how much it costs just yet, but it'll grant access to a unique featured live event with its own goals and rewards, as well as exclusive Pirate Emporium goodies.
Rare says more info is coming soon and that "big things are coming next year," but Sea of Thieves' 2020 isn't over quite yet. The Festival of Giving event kicks off December 9 with a fresh batch of live events, including the 12 Deeds of Giving, Twitch Drops, login bonuses, and "much more." Gilded Voyages, which are great for scoring high-valued loot and boosting Reputation, are making their return with this year's Festival of Giving.
Here are 25 Sea of Thieves tips we recommend reading before your next voyage.