Saying Goodbye to The Arena

  • Hi everyone,

    As we announced today during our Sea of Thieves 2022 Preview Event, we’ve made the difficult decision to close down The Arena mode within Sea of Thieves. We wanted to take some time here to talk everyone through this and how we will be going about it. We understand that some people will feel frustrated, so we wanted to give you some more of the reasoning behind it and explain what it means going forward.

    Making This Decision

    Firstly, this was an extremely tough decision, but we firmly believe it’s the right one to allow us to focus on our plans for the central free-roaming Adventure mode. Despite the efforts of a hugely talented team, The Arena unfortunately never met the goals we originally had for it – either in creating a genuine alternative way to play Sea of Thieves with a competitive spin, or a short session experience if you didn’t have the time to commit to an open-ended Adventure session.

    As we’ve shared before, only 2% of our players’ time is spent in The Arena on a consistent basis, and this has never really changed. We recognise that some criticism we might receive here is that we didn’t invest enough in The Arena to give it the best chance of success alongside the continued growth of Adventure. The reality is that as a new platform, The Arena regretfully never became popular enough to justify focusing our creative efforts there, beyond our initial efforts to refine the experience to appeal to a broader audience.

    While we’re incredibly proud of where the game is now and the decisions we’ve made since launch back in 2018, we look back at The Arena with pride mixed with regret that we didn’t manage to reach the wider audience that would have allowed us to keep building upon its foundations.

    We learned a lot from the launch and development of The Arena, but one thing that really stands out is that launching a competitive mode is a far bigger investment and requires a far bigger creative focus than we realised going in. Despite sharing a lot of the same mechanics as Adventure, it is an entirely different experience, and one that would have required a huge amount of mindshare and development effort to stand alongside it – and given the disparity in audience sizes, it just became impossible to justify.

    One other factor is particularly important. In December 2020, we announced that we had stopped active development on The Arena. Despite this, over the last couple of years, the work we’ve been doing to expand the overall Sea of Thieves experience with new mechanics, areas, quests and more has had an ongoing knock-on effect on The Arena, due to just how much is shared between the two modes. As a result, The Arena has required considerable development work just to keep it functioning in its base state, and would continue to represent a significant ongoing workload for us – which is ultimately what leads us to the decision we’ve shared with you today.

    The Arena Community

    We understand that this will be a huge disappointment to our small but dedicated community of Arena-focused players. We want to say thank you to everyone who has played and supported The Arena, from those who have just dabbled to those who have run competitive events and built up communities, such as the Notorious Arena League and Sea of Champions. It has been genuinely incredible to see the skill level of some of the players who sprang up around The Arena, and how this played out in the spirit we love to see: with fairness and respect for each other always at the forefront. You are wonderful and creative communities, and we’d love to work with you on moving forward in a world without The Arena.

    We are committed to making sure that the efforts of our Arena-playing community are recognised and rewarded even after The Arena has gone, as detailed below.

    Closing The Arena

    What follows is an overview of how we plan to close The Arena, with details of rewards for people who have previously played, and answers to key questions we expect to arise from this decision.

    The Arena will be closed at the start of Season Six, slated for March 10th, 2022.

    To celebrate The Arena’s run and reward those who played, we will be making the most of the as-yet unreleased ship cosmetics from this game mode.

    Everyone who has already reached or passed Sea Dogs rank 5 will be rewarded with the following Arena ship cosmetics to use in Adventure mode:

    • The Azure Scout

    • The Flaming Jackal

    • The Golden Chaser

    • The Lucky Rover

    • The Regal Hound

    Those super-dedicated Arena players who have already reached Sea Dogs rank 50 will receive The Good Boy ship cosmetics as a rare bonus in addition to the sets listed above.

    All six of these cosmetic sets consist of four items: hull, figurehead, sails and flag.

    The cutoff point for being eligible for these rewards was today, January 27th at 6pm UK time. Rewards will be distributed after the closure of The Arena on March 10th.

    Key Questions

    Can I still play The Arena and earn Sea Dog cosmetics/Titles/Commendations before March 10th?

    • Yes, you can still play The Arena, move up through the ranks, earn Commendations and unlock the ability to purchase cosmetics and Titles until we close this game mode on March 10th.

    Can I retroactively earn any of the ship cosmetics listed above as part of The Arena’s closure?

    • We have made the decision to give out these ship cosmetics as a reward for participation in The Arena up to now, so you will no longer be able to head into The Arena and earn them. They are to show our gratitude to everyone who has supported and enjoyed The Arena up to this point.

    What will happen to any Sea Dogs cosmetics I’ve already purchased when The Arena closes?

    • Any items already purchased from the Sea Dogs will remain in your inventory and still be equipable.

    What happens if I have unlocked Sea Dogs cosmetics or Titles in the shop but haven't purchased them before The Arena closes?

    • You can still purchase the Titles and cosmetics you have unlocked from the appropriate Outpost shop.

    This also includes the Pirate Legend weapon set and Victorious Sea Dog Blunderbuss in the Pirate Legend Hideout.

    • Any Sea Dogs items that you have not yet unlocked will no longer be visible to you in the shops.

    What does this mean for the Pirate Legend weapons and Victorious Sea Dog Blunderbuss when The Arena closes?

    If you have unlocked these weapons for purchase, they will remain purchasable. If you have not unlocked these items, they will no longer be visible to you in the shops.

    To allow players to complete the Pirate Legend set, a new Pirate Legend weapon set is in production and will be made available for players to earn during Season Six. More information on how to earn the Legendary Fortune Flintlock, Eye of Reach, Blunderbuss and Cutlass will come later, so stay tuned for an update. These weapons will be available for all players to earn, so those who’ve already unlocked the original weapons will be able to earn the new variants too.

    If I reach or have reached rank 50 with the Sea Dogs, will this still count towards Pirate Legend?

    • Yes, reaching rank 50 with the Sea Dogs will still count on your journey towards Pirate Legend.

    What happens to any Xbox achievements that could only be earned in The Arena?

    After thorough investigation, we were unable to find a fair and elegant way to repurpose the Arena-centric achievements for use in Sea of Thieves’ sandbox Adventure mode. We were unwilling to compromise in a way that would disrespect the efforts of players who fully met the original criteria, so alongside retiring The Arena as a game mode, we will also be retiring the accompanying achievements. These will be marked as Legacy Achievements on Xbox, and will no longer be visible or earnable on the Steam platform after March 10th.

    The following two achievements will remain technically unlockable for Xbox players beyond The Arena’s retirement:

    Master of the Arena
    Awarded to pirates who purchase the Arena Master Sea Dogs Promotion, available only to those who have hit level 50 in the Sea Dogs Trading Company.

    Glorious Sea Dog
    Awarded to pirates who purchase the Glorious Sea Dogs Hat, Jacket, Hook and Gloves – items only available to those who’ve unlocked the Professional Sea Dog Grade V Commendation.

    Both of these achievements are awarded based on the purchasing of Sea Dogs items, so those who qualify to purchase them can still do so after The Arena has been removed from the game. To be eligible, you must meet the stated criteria before March 10th to guarantee the availability of the items and associated achievements. However, please note that as mentioned above, this will not be the case for Steam players due to The Arena’s achievements being removed from that platform on March 10th.

    What about The Midnight Prowl?

    • The Midnight Prowl isn't part of the celebration plan, but we've not forgotten about it and this won't be the last that you hear of it.

    I’d like to close by saying thank you for reading this far, and for your understanding as you take this news on board. We know that not everyone is going to agree with this decision, but we truly believe it’s the best one for the overall future of Sea of Thieves. We are genuinely excited about the plans for Adventure mode that we’ve talked about today, as well as some of the other amazing things we’re yet to reveal. We look forward to 2022 being another huge year for the game and we’re filled with excitement for the adventures we’re yet to have with you all!

    We will be leaving this thread unlocked for the time being but we ask that you please keep it respectful and on-topic. Ask questions, share your Arena memories but please be aware that this decision has been made and will not be reversed and that we will not tolerate any attacks or aggression towards the hugely passionate Sea of Thieves team who continue to give it everything they’ve got.

    Thank you for your ongoing support and we'll see you on the seas!


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  • Wish you developed it more. But as it is now without development, I understand the decision.

    Hope Pirates got their commendations.

  • Such a shame that we won't be able to earn the og sets. Im sad that I will miss out one some of these sets that I have yet to complete. I hope you guys still make them somehow obtainable, they are beautiful, and I hate that I will now miss out because I didn't want to grind that much! Farewell, O Glorious Arena!

  • Use me as a dislike

  • Please at least consider holding off until the release of custom servers. (although I'm sure this has already been decided).

    It's honestly just a shame, because the 2% value is of Rare's own making - when right from the start arena had so much potential if done right :/

  • @myreeftanks

    Ask questions, share your Arena memories but please be aware that this decision has been made and will not be reversed...

  • A worthy and sensible decision. Personally I never wanted it. Onwards.

  • oh no, anyway.

  • Arena will be missed to me. I’ve had so many good memories in arena. Will be a shame for when it disappears. Seems like it might get a little more toxic in adventure though. Hopefully not.

  • what about the cosmetics tho?

  • Please don't get rid of arena, it's so fun.

  • ​I've got the life changing Chest of Legends!

  • @puremoan squinty eyes emoji

  • Guess I finally have to stop putting arena off and get those weapons before they're gone haha

    but retroactive rewards... that always sucks.

  • It makes sense from a business standpoint to close it completely, especially if each update breaks it more or requires you to perform extra maintenance to keep a dead game mode running. I think the ship set cutoff date is a bit short, and I'd feel bad if I was close to 50 as of today.

    I have everything unlocked except Triumphant Sea Dog, so I guess I have until March 10th to get the last few pistol kills I need.

  • #savearena Why did you take our competetive heart of this game

  • TDM says Aye!

  • @seduck8336 Ahoy matey!

    They will be retired...

    Any Sea Dogs items that you have not yet unlocked will no longer be visible to you in the shops.

  • This one hurt me a little. I enjoyed playing it for a quick blitz of sea of thieves if I didn't have the time for adventure. I trust your decision but it would be nice if we had an arena goodbye event where only arena has double rep and gold for a day. Just a thought... But looks like I am gonna play some arena for the legendary weapons

  • @musicmee 😎😎😎😎😎😎😎

  • I'm a huge fan of 100% completing my steam game achievements, will the arena related achievements become unavailable or be removed?

  • Rip nal, spend some much time training for nothing, really disapointed

  • Making this decision must've been a very difficult subject in the dev team, but i believe it was the right one.
    The reason I fell in love with the game is due to the AMAZING storytelling and cinematic moment while playing. Hearing that the dev team is focusing on the aspect that I love the most is giving me the chills and making me super excited to play this awesome game in 2022.

    good job Rare!

  • Justice for the Midnight Prowl! Give us a way to obtain this beautiful shipset! It did not fit in the Arena but it definitely works in the Adventure mode!!

    As someone who have completed the Arena commendations and reached Sea Dogs lvl 50 I beg of you to give everyone a chance to obtain the Good Boy shipset until the Arena closes down on March 10th. I think it's unfair not giving everyone a notice.

  • damn thats crazy

  • Kinda lame that we weren't notified that Arena would be going, I really would have liked to have the Best Boy shipset oh well :(

  • I don't like this decision... Because the arena is the Best gameplay for the competion scene of Sea Of Thieves !

    The NAL is fisnish ? The Pvp is dead ?

    Sea Of Thieves is not a exclusive PVE game ! I love this mod arena and i love the PVP !

    PLZ DON'T close se arena =)

  • @voltagebound

    What will happen to any Achievements ties to The Arena and the Sea Dogs?

    Our Live Operations team are currently investigating our options regarding achievements linked to The Arena. As soon as we have a final plan, we'll update the Key Questions part of the Saying Goodbye to The Arena article

  • @elieeleye i agree

  • This is the first sot update that has made genuinely angry/sad I just hope that custom servers can give us close to the same experience. I'll miss all of the friends and good memories I've gotten from tdming.

  • To be honest I can see why it’s happening. I’m just worried about the god tier ultra wide tryhards that will be put back into adventure tho. It’d be nice to have a bounty system for PvP boys to go and kill server alliances using the portal. Also while we’re at it we should make portal hopping more intuitive and make it one hop from server to server instead of having to go to the tall tale location and then back.

  • @meroviel This is so SAD!

  • As someone with 60-80 wins I really want LSD but Im not sure i will have time :( My win rate is soo good too!

  • What about commendations and the Sea Dog Tavern in the middle of the map, I know neither of those have been touched in a year as well to say the least. Are the commendations just going to be locked for new players? And the Sea Dog Tavern Outpost is still uncharted and serves little to no purpose, will that be removed as well in the near future? Seems like instead of Golden Sands Outpost getting boarded up it should be The Sea Dog Tavern.

  • My only question is if we're going to be able to unlock cosmetics reserved to arena in another way :o

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