The next chapter of The Arena is here! Originally introduced with the great Anniversary Update of 2019, The Arena is Sea of Thieves’ purest PvP experience, pitting pirates against one another in – you guessed it – an arena for fast-paced, action-focused play. Spearheaded by Lesedi and DeMarco Singh, the Sea Dogs are the ones to impress with your silver-winning ways – and as you win matches and rise through the ranks, you’ll be rewarded with Sea Dogs Commendations and striking cosmetics.

With April’s Ships of Fortune update came a whole host of changes to format of The Arena, and while the basic principles have remained intact (the crew that finishes with the most silver wins), some of the tools and tactics for increasing your silver score have evolved. Matches are now only 15 minutes long, the arenas themselves are smaller, the silver gains for ship battling have been upped, and there’s now only one Sea Dog Chest available to nab at all times, indicated by an ever-present bright purple beacon.

While we want pirates to ultimately discover their own recipes for success, with these changes in mind, we thought it’d be a good idea to offer some up some top tips for tackling the revitalised format!

First tip: every moment counts, so use your time wisely. As soon as you progress from the Glorious Sea Dog Tavern into The Arena, get your anchor up and set sail. A popular tactic is to start the contest by racing towards the beacon, even if you’re not sure you’ll be there first; that doesn’t necessarily matter, as stealing the chest back is perfectly possible should another crew swoop in before you. If other crews are racing you to the chest, that also gives you opportunities to score silver by landing shots on their ships. With a reduced contest time, you need to be scoring silver in any way you can – and each successfully landed cannonball awards 40 silver to your team.

While bagging the chest first puts you on the front foot, remember that it also paints a target on your back. There’s no more X Marks the Spot mechanism for finding the chest, so following the bright beacon to the booty is the easy bit – it’s getting your hands on it and selling it before it’s snatched that’s the challenge! Cash it in successfully and you’ll score 1000 silver. There’s only one delivery point in The Arena now, so once you’ve got the chest, everyone else will know where you’re heading.

While scoring silver is important in The Arena, holding on to it is key to your success. Your second tip is, simply, try to avoid sinking. If you’ve cashed in a Sea Dog Chest (1000 silver), all your hard work will be undone if you let your ship go under later in the contest. Sinking will deduct 1000 silver from your overall score, so make sure someone on your team is managing the patching and bailing. If you’re going down, there’s a lot more to lose than time – which is precious enough in these new 15-minute contests!

Of course, combat’s another way to score, and with a shortened contest time comes the potential for very tight margins between winning and losing. Downing a player will score you five silver – and if that player isn’t revived, you’ll add another five silver to your tally when they head to the Ferry of the Damned. Knowing this means you can use it as a tactic for offence and defence: when attacking a rival player you need to secure the kill for that extra silver, while reviving a downed crew member will reduce the silver scored by your rivals.

Unlike Adventure, The Arena is a game mode only playable in a crew – so your next tip is that teamwork makes the dream work. This next chapter of The Arena brings a new set of ways to better communicate with your shipmates. Toggling ‘Crew Status Tags’ on means you’ll be able to see the gamertags of your crew over a much greater distance, and you’ll also see a icon next to their name when they’re in the midst of key actions (like carrying treasure). This means that from even from a distance, you’ll be able to see exactly where your teammates are and what they’re up to. Our advice? Turn everything on and use the new tools to your advantage. If you know your teammate’s picked up the chest, that’s your cue to protect them or get ready to play getaway driver.

And our final tip? We highly recommend dipping your toe into the waters of The Arena and trying out all the new tools, as once you’ve got a handle on them, tactics will follow. For example: now that every ship in The Arena spawns with a Rowboat, how do you best use this to your advantage? Do you capture the Sea Dog Chest and attempt to row it to the delivery point, defending it with your ship – or do you use it as a distraction to divert rival crews? Or even leave it docked and use its harpoon as a sneaky way to pinch the Sea Dog Chest from unsuspecting players? There’s no set formula to a successful outing in The Arena, and that’s what makes it so exciting. Whether you’re a sneaky swashbuckler or a head-on attacker, there’s a way to succeed for all.

Ships of Fortune: Official Sea of Thieves Content Update

Duration 2:11

As an added bonus right now, if you think you’ve got what it takes to conquer The Arena, the Competition of Courage awaits you! Between May 7th and May 28th, earning silver and winning contests will help you unlock unique and prestigious cosmetics unlike anything seen before on the Sea of Thieves. Ambitious Arena players can earn themselves the Boots of Courage, the Cutlass of Courage and the Figurehead of Courage throughout the course of the campaign – so sign in and head to the event page now to see how your progress stacks up!