New free update adds more player-on-player piracy
Sea Of Thieves: The Arena
PublisheR Microsoft studios Developer rare ETA early 2019
Whether on land or at sea, there’s no honour among thieves. Put two pirate crews on the same island, and they’ll find something to scrap over – that’s just basic buccaneer psychology. Rare’s naval sandbox proves this rule every day, packed with player-onplayer conflict over treasure, cargo and, occasionally, chickens. But apparently it’s not enough for the developer’s taste, and the game’s next update is set to encourage more PvP than ever.
The (free) Arena expansion, due early next year, will get bloodthirsty players right into the action, rather than leaving them to hope for random encounters. While in Adventure mode – the name the developers are now using to refer to the existing game – you’ll be able to travel to a new tavern to queue for Arena mode. Each match will see your team and the enemy being given maps leading to the same treasure. From there, it’s a race to see who can claim the spoils first. The result is a kind of condensed
Sea Of Thieves experience – more action in a shorter space of time. From the start of the match, you’ll be able to see where the enemy is, so there’s no room for hiding or dawdling. If you don’t make a beeline for them, they’ll make a beeline for you.
As you battle, you’ll earn clout with a whole new trading company, the Sea Dogs, led by DeMarco Singh, son of the Pirate Lord. As you advance, you’ll gain cool new items, including a flash cutlass, and you’re free to bring these back into Adventure mode. While progression is staying largely the same, the addition of a fourth faction does shake things up slightly – in order to become a Pirate Legend, you’ll still need to reach level 50 with three companies, but it can be any three out of the four.
You may need a full crew in order to take part in Arena though – while solo play is being tested, Rare hasn’t decided yet whether it’ll be included. Comments from the devs so far suggest matches will be four crews max; whether it’ll be a free-for-all or two-on-two remains to be seen.
For those keen to get involved early, Rare will be running tests of the new mode as part of its Pioneers programme, allowing players to try it out and offer feedback – so make sure to join up now if you’re chomping at the bit to buckle some swashes. But if all this scrapping isn’t your cup of tea, never fear – support’s not drying up for Adventure mode any time soon. Via Twitter, the game’s design director Mike Chapman explains: “So exciting to announce The Arena and all the fun it will bring, but there are also new features, tools and opportunities for Adventure coming.”
“The result is a kind of condensed Sea Of Thieves experience”
Below Arena is a response to some players asking for more action and shorter sessions.