Sea of Thieves Anniversary Update Preview
I’ve just returned home from my voyage to Rare in jolly Twycross, England where I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the Sea of Thieves Anniversary update. Though my journey across the pond was short lived, I came back with a boatload of treasures in the form of positive impressions, excitement for the future of the game, and an overall reminder that the pirate life is indeed for me.
Full disclosure, Sea of Thieves didn’t entirely shiver me timbers upon release. I found it lacking engaging characters, dynamic gameplay, and things to do in general. However, the game’s strengths far outweighed its initial weaknesses as it remained on my mind long after I’d jumped ship. While I’ve been adrift in the ether of games outside the Sea of Thieves, the team at Rare has been steadfast in bringing a myriad of swashbuckling updates to the game that have kept the core fanbase engaged. Fortunately, the stars aligned and led me back to my abandoned ship where I was able to sail through a mere channel of what Rare’s hard work has led to.
Packed With Content
Perhaps you, too, felt as though Sea of Thieves felt void of life aside from the presence of a few animals and rival players hellbent on sending you to the Ferry of the Damned. (That’d make a killer band name, by the way). Mate, I have stellar news. The Anniversary update features all-new story content experienced through a series of stories called Tall Tales; nine extensive narrative-driven quests that culminate in discovering the Shores of Gold. Legend has it that untold riches and adventure await the scalawags bold enough to seek it.
I experienced the first tale in its entirety, and it commenced with a spectacular monologue by the Mysterious Stranger rife with exposition and intrigue. Upon reaching a suggested island, we acquired the Magpie Wing’s ship log which was riddled with cryptic hints leading us to and fro on our quest to find a totem called the Shroudbreaker. We explored a sunken ship, dug up treasure, battled skeletons, dodged megalodons, and solved a puzzle that unlocked what we were searching for.
All in all, it was a rather dynamic gameplay experience, and I had a lot of fun working alongside my shipmates as we figured it all out. Each of the nine tales ranges in gameplay experiences with high replay value as locations of items change, and different cosmetic rewards are granted. In addition to Tall Tales are new mechanics including fishing, cooking, and the harpoon gun. Fishing feels similar to that of Far Cry 5, which I consider to be high praise as reeling in your catch is a blast. There’s a ton of species to discover, catch, and cook and the new Hunter’s Call Alliance rewards you for doing so.
Better yet, you can cook the meat of your kills including chickens, pigs, megalodons, and even the Kraken; all of which grant you various health buffs. Definitely the most beneficial new mechanic, the harpoon gun wields its fair share of perks. You can latch onto enemy ships to keep them within reach, snag floating barrels from the sea, snatch treasure chests from the hands of players, and even use it to drift around islands. It’s easily my favorite addition to ships, and especially fun to employ in the heat of Arena battles.
Rewarded For Sticking Around
Sea of Thieves competitive multiplayer mode, The Arena, pits a series of crews against one another as they collect chests, cash them in, fight each other and NPC’s, and sink ships for points across a chunk of the world map. During my hands-on experience, my shipmates and I were led by Rare’s intrepid Design Director, Mike Chapman, as we competed against fellow Rare devs and media personnel. Our team chemistry was lacking severely and resulted in consistent brutal losses. However, I had a ton of fun in trying. Each match is packed with action, adrenaline, and do or die moments that keep you fully engaged from beginning to end. On top of that, participating in The Arena contributes to your rank with the new Sea Dogs faction. The Arena highlights the best aspects of Sea of Thieves with the necessity of teamwork, the beautiful open world, and thrilling ship combat.
The Anniversary update is more than a series of narrative-driven quests, new mechanics, and a fun competitive mode. It’s a celebration of the past year Rare has invested their hearts and passions into with the help of community feedback. While Sea of Thieves once sailed shallow seas, it continues to blaze further into the deep, open ocean of phenomenal content. Also, forgive me for my incessant pirate puns. The Anniversary update launches on April 30th. For more on the Sea of Thieves Anniversary update, stay tuned to COGconnected.
***Travel, accommodations, and access to preview event provided by Microsoft***