Sea of Thieves is one year old today. The freeform pirate adventure game launched into choppy waters, with early server problems causing some anxiety on the high seas. Since then, the game has expanded with new ships and encounters, transforming the world and satisfying diehard buccaneers. Here’s what’s happened in Sea of Thieves over the past year.
Sea of Thieves launches on 20th March 2018. In the initial days, players enjoy sailing but worry about running out of adventures. The issue becomes pronounced when a Twitch streamer grinds out faction reputation to maximum with the help of viewers, controversially becoming the first Pirate Legend. Many players wanted to know what, if anything else would come, or if they would be stuck treading the same waters forever. Turns out, there was a lot in store.
- On 15th May, Sea of Thieves finally adds private crews to the game. This makes it much easier to play only with friends and avoid nefarious situations like insta-brigging. It’s a small step but marks the start of numerous quality of life features.
- A small patch in the lead up to the game’s first expansion, The Hungering Deep, allows players to discard voyages they don’t want to take. Colourblind accessibility options are added to treasure maps as well. Treasure hunting and reputation farming become a little easier as a result, even if there’s still plenty of grinding.
- Sea of Thieves’ first free content expansion, The Hungering Deep, releases at the end of May. It adds a giant megalodon to the world and a quest that requires crews to cooperate in order to summon it. The battle is received well, although the event only lasts for a limited time.
- Bilge Rat Adventures start in June. They introduce the Bilge Rat faction for reputation grinding, and the first event adds “Skeleton Thrones” to the world. These hidden locations require more exploration and some cooperation between players, adding another event where you don’t have to be an arsehole to succeed.
- A second Bilge Rat Adventure follows on 28th June, adding skeletons who hold explosive barrels of gunpowder. This adventure is a bit less interesting than the first and fails to address player complaints that all you really fight in Sea of Thieves are skeletons. It does add some new cosmetic items, though.
- Cursed Sails, the next expansion, drops on 31st July. Suddenly, rogue skeleton ships armed with special cannonballs roam the high seas. Players are able to challenge these crews for tons of loot and rewards, and the game world becomes a little more dangerous and exciting.
- At the same time, the eagerly awaited brigantine is finally added to the game. This three-person ship has a clumsy interior layout, but it boasts extra cannons and sails that help smaller crews stand up to galleons.
- The world keeps getting more dangerous as Forsaken Shores launches on 27th September. The world map is expanded to add the Devil’s Roar, an island of volcanoes with new enemies and bigger rewards. Rowboats are also added to the game, making it easier to shuttle large caches of loot around.
- “Cargo Runs” come to Sea of Thieves, addressing player complaints that it’s just too damn hard to grind faction reputation for the Merchant’s Guild. They’re basically glorified delivery missions, but it’s still way better than collecting chickens to trade in. A later update will increase their payouts and make it even easier to earn rewards.
- On 10th November, Rare announces a PVP mode called Arena. The competitive mode will pit crews against each other in deathmatch-style battles on smaller maps. It’s slated to come some time in the first half of this year.Shrouded Spoils is released on 28th November. Tonnes of new monster variants are added to the world, from free roaming megalodon sub-species to tougher krakens with new abilities. Special outfits are added, expanding the amount of cosmetics and finally giving Pirate Legends more unique items to purchase and display for bragging rights.
- On 16th January, Rare announces an update that dramatically decreases the game’s total file size, cutting them in half on Xbox and PC. Rare says the tweak is to make the game easier to update in the future, a good example of optimisation as Sea of Thieves matures.
- Throughout all of this, Sea of Thieves enjoys popularity on Twitch. This is particularly owed to big name streamers like Summit1g and Ninja checking out the game as updates and improvements mount. Apex Legends seems to have stolen much of this staying power away from Sea of Thieves, but it remains a game that people enjoy watching.
- The Gold and Glory weekend event starts on 15th March, granting players absurd boosts to loot and reputation, easing some of the grind for a fun weekend of treasure hunting.
And that’s where things are at. Sea of Thieves is always going to be known for its rocky launch, but it’s also an example of a game that’s aged well over time. Much of this is owed to Rare’s commitment to new events and expansions that evolve the high seas. The game has captured the attention of some of the most popular streamers and kept plenty of fans eager to see what’s next. With PVP on the horizon, as well as other updates, Sea of Thieves is only going to grow larger and morph further into the game everyone hoped it would become.