As we close off 2018 and edge closer to Sea of Thieves’ 1 year anniversary, we’ve compiled a list of confirmed additions, previously delayed updates, and rumoured features to take a look at what may be coming in 2019.
When it comes to separating the following:
- Confirmed updates
- Delayed features
We’ll point out which areas are speculation and which are confirmed additions to help avoid any confusion.
From what we’ve been able to scrape together, we should see the following updates for Sea of Thieves in 2019 (plus more):
- The Arena
- Captaincy Update
- New Story-Driven Voyages
- Friendship Event
- Secondary Activities
Note: Click here to read about everything added to Sea of Thieves since launch
Release Date: Early 2019
Due to arrive in early 2019, The Arena will introduce a dedicated competitive mode to Sea of Thieves.
Initially, The Arena will be a condensed version of the map where all players receive the same treasure map, and must compete to find and cash in the most amount of treasure.
Following the initial game type, Rare expects to experiment with more down the track.
While the possibilities for dedicated PvP are exciting, Rare has also stated that its development will not hinder the traditional ‘Adventure’ mode, with the team split into two in order to maximise development resources.
Status: Delayed from 2018
Release Date: Unknown
Discussed prior to launch and since delayed indefinitely, the Captaincy Update was rumoured to be a legendary status to grind towards after becoming Pirate Legend.
When speaking of this status before launch, Design Director Mike Chapman is quoted as saying “One of the first major updates we want to add is the idea of Pirate Legends becoming Legendary Captains.”
What Will be in the Captaincy Update?
“We’re adding ship captaincy as a goal for Pirate Legends… which means the ability to own and captain legendary ships,” said Executive Producer Joe Neate to The Guardian before launch. “When you’re sailing out into the world, people will see that ship and know you’re a legend. It’s part of how we want to celebrate players in the world.“
This is where rumours and guesswork start to take over fact, but the Captaincy Update is alleged to introduce:
- Ship ownership
- Ship naming
- Exclusive customisation (for both Pirate and Ship)
- Pets (read more below)
While ship naming and customisation are self-explanatory, the ‘ownership’ idea is interesting. As the game currently stands, ships are entirely disposable, so it’s unclear how a ship that you own would work.
“You become this fictional Jack Sparrow or Blackbeard of the pirate world in Sea of Thieves, and will build your own Black Pearl,” said Chapman. “People will know you’re a Pirate Legend when they see your ship in the world”
There was also talk of Pirate Captains (or an idea scrapped for Pirate Legends) being able to enter into the world in a unique way for others to witness (bursting out of the Pirate Legend Hideout, akin to the Batmobile flying out of the Batcave).
Speaking on the topic before launch, Joe Neate mentioned that owning a ship was due to be one of the first major updates:
“We’re adding ship captaincy as a goal for Pirate Legends in our first major update, which means the ability to own and captain legendary ships,” says Neate. “When you’re sailing out into the world, people will see that ship and know you’re a legend. It’s part of how we want to celebrate players in the world.”
Why Was the Captaincy Update Delayed?
If you remember back to launch, Sea of Thieves was met with some mixed reception – while a lot loved the game, many were disappointed in the lack of content in the base game, and everyone wanted to know what would come next.
In order to appease fans and critics alike after launch, Rare sat down and plotted out a roadmap of content to come in 2018, focusing on more meaningful updates to the core experience. This also pushed back the Captaincy Update indefinitely.
Status: Confirmed (though not officially announced)
Release Date: First Half of 2019
This update we don’t have too much information on, other than the title will rhyme with ‘Fall Snails’ (thanks, Joe). Speculation suggests ‘Tall Tales’ could be the final title, given the update’s focus on story and lore.
‘Fall Snails’ will revamp the way that Voyages are delivered in the game – namely putting more emphasis on a ‘meaningful’ and ‘story-driven’ approach to the quests, as well as implementing some of the lore into the game itself.
“Some people, we know, really want more guided goals,” Said Neate to Eurogamer.
“Stuff with a bit more lore, a bit more story, a bit more direction that you can come in and play, but that still retains the magic of this shared world and all those great emergent encounters.“
This kind of update is something that fans have been asking for since the game’s launch, given that lore certainly exists outside the game (in the form of the art books, the comics, and the lore novel), but it will be interesting to see how it’s implemented.
This update will allegedly release early in the year, potentially within the first 3-6 months.
Release Date: 2019
During a recent live stream, Joe Neate teased a community-focused update that would ‘celebrate friendship’ in Sea of Thieves.
“We’ve got some different stuff planned,” Neate said on the topic of the next Bilge Rat Adventure. “Something that celebrates and values friendship coming up in the new year. Not a Bilge Rat Adventure, but something different.”
Friendship, cooperative play, and emergent player adventures is something that Rare has always encouraged with Sea of Thieves, so it’s no surprise that one of the updates will be focused on these in-game relationships.
While that’s all the info we have for now, it’ll be interesting to see what the update focuses on if it’s not a Bilge Rat Adventure, and how it will encourage players to interact (or how it will reward them)
Status: Delayed from 2018
Release Date: Unknown (to release with Captaincy Update)
Pets will be Sea of Thieves’ introduction to microtransactions (though Rare have previously stated they’re potentially looking into having them being earned through in-game achievements as well).
As with Sea of Thieves’ philosophy on adding flavour to the fun, pets won’t provide any inherent gameplay advantage, but will be another cosmetic that players can have with them to spice up their voyages.
“I can have a monkey in a hat on my shoulder. I can have a cat. But other people will be able to interact with my pet, too.” Joe Neate said to The Guardian back in February.
“If I have a monkey, you’ll be able to pick it up, run off with it, throw it overboard … but it’ll come back. I desperately want to be able to fire pets out of cannons.”
Confirmed pets so far include:
Rumour has it that dogs may also make an appearance, but I haven’t been able to find anything confirming that.
Status: In the Works
Aside from the main draw of completing Voyages and ascending to Pirate Legend, Rare are keen on adding side-activities and tools that players can use to enhance the experience and fill in the gaps of moment-to-moment gameplay.
Existing tools in this area include the instruments and grog (playing the right shanty at the right time is always fun, and getting drunk while trying to crew a ship is an experience in itself – trying to do all of the above at the same time is hilarious).
Tools to be added into the game will ideally fall within the same category – items that are an activity in themselves, but serve as enhancements to compliment the main journey
A fan favourite, fishing is a no-brainer when it comes to games set in the open ocean.
While we have confirmation that fishing is in the pipeline, what’s unclear is its implementation.
Theoretically, fishing could become part of the Merchant Alliance Trading Company, with players handing in certain types of fish for gold; or they could be caught and kept on board as pets. While they’re fine ideas, having fishing as an activity will only work if it’s a fun addition to the existing gameplay loop, not something crammed in that players have to grind.
More likely, they could be caught and cooked as another source of food for the players to regain health (in addition to bananas).
Another fan-requested feature, cooking has been brought up by Rare as something they’d like to try and implement, where players can prepare resources on their ship while they sail.
Again, there’s no clear indication on how this will play out in-game, but the possibilities include crafting cannonballs (particularly Cursed Cannonballs), wooden planks, other foods (see Fishing), and potentially other items that might alter the player in some way.
Another Rare ‘wish-list’ item, having player-altering Potions was discussed when the press embargo lifted before launch.
“We’ll look to add more things to that area of the game,” Neate said on the topic of secondary activities and Pets. “Like fun potions that you can drink, which might make you really old“
Similar to fishing, the idea behind Potions is that they don’t have a drastic affect on gameplay (particularly PvP), but they do alter the experience.
For example, a Potion might alter a character’s size or appearance, or prolong a character’s breath underwater, or counter the effects of a Cursed Cannonball, etc.
The world in Sea of Thieves is structured so that new locations can be added easily and seamlessly – see The Devil’s Roar for a good example.
It stands that we should also see further locations added in the future – and there are plenty to choose from.
The official artbook for Sea of Thieves includes a number of locations drafted as concept art, including the Sea of the Five Winds (inspired by an East Asia setting) and the Sea of Sorrow (a more gothic setting).
The Devil’s Roar was also mentioned in the artbook, so it’ll be interesting to see what new scenery makes its way into the game, and how it affects the flow of the game.
Rare have stated previously that they want to look at adding new ways to level up the existing Trading Companies by introducing new Voyages and new types of loot.
The first example we got of this was Cargo Runs with the Merchant Alliance, which was a huge hit after its introuction with Forsaken Shores – rather than the traditional ‘find and deliver animals’ Voyages, players were charged with delivering precious cargo to a destination in good condition (with the amount of payout depending on the condition upon delivery).
This is a great way to add variation to the normal gameplay loop, and there’s plenty of opportunity to make similar updates to both the Gold Hoarders and Order of Souls.
Presenting more interesting ways to play the game, Bilge Rat Adventures are Sea of Thieves’ version of live events.
With each new Bilge Rat Adventure, players must complete certain tasks to receive Doubloons, a currency only available to spend on Duke (in the Tavern) and his rotating stock of cosmetics (and other permanent goodies).
These Adventures provide more options in playing the game – while some encourage exploration and pathfinding, others focus on combat or taking on monsters of the deep.
Moving into 2019 I sincerely hope we see more Bilge Rat Adventures, as they provide Sea of Thieves with that extra layer of content outside the normal gameplay loop.
There’s bound to be more to add to the list – from new instruments and shanties to new types of enemies – but for now we’ll stay somewhat grounded, given we have a rough idea that the above will be added during 2019 or soon thereafter.
We should hear more official news as we move into the new year, but if 2018 is any indication then the content coming to Sea of Thieves in 2019 will make for an incredibly exciting Year 2.
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