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Welcome (Back) Aboard – 5 Ways Sea of Thieves has Evolved Since Launch

When’s the last time you’ve teamed up with a few privateering pals and set sail in Sea of Thieves? If you’ve taken a break from the breakers, you may be surprised at how much more you’ll find floating around the game these days. Rare has continually updated Sea of Thieves (over 30 times in less than a year!), including 4 major, game-altering expansions, delivered for free and seamlessly integrated into the game. We’re talking new questlines, enemies, and all-important plunder. Here’s a quick guide on what’s waiting for you in the game:

Table for 3

Not traveling in a foursome? No problem – no matter your party size, there’s now a vessel for you. Not too big, not too small, the Brigantine ship arrived in the summer, ideal for 3 sailors. You won’t want to take on a Galleon head to head, but you’ll be able to own Sloops and manage this vessel much more easily with a medium-sized crew. And while it’s not a ship, per se, the Rowboat appeared this fall, and has become the tool of choice for stowaways and stealthy treasure heists.

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More Dangers in the Deep

While sharks have always been a bobbing buccaneer’s greatest fear, last Spring’s Hungering Deep update proved that there’s much more lurking below the waves. The megalodon – a giant beast of a shark – now appears throughout the sea in a number of varieties. Note: not even Jason Statham can take down this Meg single-handedly. Fortunately there’s now an alliance system in play to encourage pirate crews to unite against tougher foes, because for those crafty enough to down the Megalodon, treasure awaits.

Skeleton ships?

Early on in Sea of Thieves, the sight of a mast on the horizon automatically meant fellow players were sailing by, either to compete or cooperate. The Cursed Sails update changed that forever; that approaching ship could be friendly, *or* it could be a guided by an undead crew of AI-controlled skeletons in no mood to parley. Don’t expect them to fight fair either – their cursed cannonballs add unwelcome effects such as locking your cannons, dropping your anchor, or even giving your crew a case of dancing fever. Fortunately, human players can get ahold of this tide-turning ordnance as well.

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Expect to run into hordes of undead on land too, and – in a frightening development – some may run right at you with a literal powder keg in hand, like a skeletal Creeper. Aim true (or run)!

Welcome to the Danger Zone

Last Fall, Rare introduced a new region to Sea of Thieves as part of the Forsaken Shores expansion: The Devil’s Roar. As its name indicates, these aren’t placid waters for smooth sailing. Volcanoes rise from the sea in this region, spewing debris at your vessel with uncanny accuracy. The area’s land masses are no haven either, as geothermal instability means the ground trembles, geysers spout from the sand, and super hot water makes the shallows an unwelcome swim. Why would any sane adventurer wander this way? Why, for the best treasure, of course.

New tools, new rules

Sea of Thieves has played host to three trading companies since launch, doling out quests and paying out rewards to those who complete them. But if you’ve been adrift for awhile, keep an eye out for Bilge Rat Adventures, which offer new goals in exchange for Doubloons, which can be redeemed for exclusive Bilge Rat rewards. Check in with Duke in the tavern from time to time.

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While Rare has added a number of new challenges to tackle in Sea of Thieves, they’ve also provided a number of additions and revisions to your arsenal to help you surmount them – or to show off your success to others.. Recruit allies from afar with the new Speaking Trumpet, which allows you to be heard from much further away. There’s a new drum for budding musical mercenaries to add a beat to your shanties.

On the cosmetics side, there are scores of new options for every garment, weapon, and tool, and you can now select tattoos and scars to make your pirate truly yours. But the first thing another player will see is your ship, so it’s a good thing you’ve got options to customize your wheel, cannons, capstans, sails, flags, figurehead and more.

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This is just a taste of all that’s been added to Sea of Thieves – even the familiar has taken on a new feel since November, when the Shrouded Spoils update added pea-soup fog, and ramped up both encounter frequency and rewards. If you’ve missed the last few months – you’ve been missing out, but there’s much more to come. For more details on everything Sea of Thieves, check out the official site, or better yet, jump back in: Sea of Thieves is included with Xbox Game Pass.