Sea of Thieves crews say season 9 is "severely lacking," but it's a game changer for solo players

Sea of Thieves season 9 has drawn some criticism for being relatively light on new content, but it sounds like a massive upgrade for solo players.

In a deep dive video shared to Rare's YouTube channel, Sea of Thieves lead designer Andrew Preston breaks down the forthcoming season 9 into two categories: "changes to the sandbox" and "quality of life" updates. If that sounds a little dull for one of the game's four yearly updates, lead designer Shelley Preston jazzes up the new season succinctly:

"In season 9, players will experience a refreshed, revitalized sandbox experience of that quintessential Sea of Thieves gameplay, with a ton of opportunities on the horizon and a bunch of quality of life changes."

OK, so it's a filler season, right? Well, looking at the season's highlights – the new Chests of Fortune and accompanying cosmetics, Skulls of Destiny, and balance changes to world events – season 9 looks fairly light compared to, say, season 7, which gave us the option to buy our own ships. And yet, despite many in the community calling the new season "underwhelming," "severely lacking," and "on par with some of the monthly updates," as a mostly solo player I couldn't be more excited.

Those aforementioned balancing updates will make some of Sea of Thieves' best content solo-able at long last - specifically, world events will now "scale for the amount of players who are nearby and taking part." Moreover, the Ashen Lord and Fort of Fortune world events have been rebalanced to make them easier for smaller crews. 

For me, and for the underserved community of Sea of Thieves solo-sloopers, season 9 means these world events will be feasible for the first time as a single player, just like the Reaper's Chests and Reaper's Bounties. Ghost ship fleets are returning in season 9, and now I won't have to turn and run from them as they won't take an hour to complete, time in which a brigantine or galleon might've otherwise swooped in, sunken my ship, and stolen everything I'd fought for.

Sea of Thieves' ninth season includes other welcome quality of life changes, a few of my personal favorites being seagulls that'll fly around a sunken ship's loot to make it more discoverable and a harpoon that automatically places loot in your ship instead of making you grab it from the hook and put it down yourself. But it's the scaling world events that'll open up so much more of the game when I don't feel like squading up.

While the relative lack of actual new content is sure to turn off bigger crews, I'm hopeful the changes in season 9 will prove invaluable to solo players and smaller crews who've previously felt left out of Sea of Thieves' biggest events.

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Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.