Sea of Thieves' Seasons Explained
As we dive deeper into a new year, we're excited to share more details on Seasons, Sea of Thieves’ new way to play. We’ve been working hard on this feature over the past few months, and we believe it’ll truly transform how we release and operate Sea of Thieves. It’s the most ambitious change we’ve made to our progression system since launch – one that we think will give you a lot more satisfaction from session to session – so we’re very excited for you to get your hands on it.
With a new way to play comes a whole host of different questions – so with that in mind, we’ve taken some time to go over some of the key questions around Seasonal play, with a quick summary of answers below:
- A new way to play Sea of Thieves arrives on January 28th with the launch of Season One
- Each Season will last approximately three months, bringing in new gameplay features, rewards and live Events
- Players progress through Seasons by winning Renown – a new progression metric that isn’t wholly dependent on handing in loot
- Players are invited to play through 100 levels of Renown across 10 tiers of progression to unlock more rewards than we’ve ever made available at a single time
- An optional premium element, the Plunder Pass, will add even more rewards when progressing through levels of Renown
What is a Season in Sea of Thieves?
The plan is for a Sea of Thieves Season to last approximately three months. Each Season will add new content to the world – for example, in Season One a new Merchant Alliance Voyage becomes a permanent part of the game – and we’ll also introduce new Events and challenges throughout the Season to keep you entertained. This is all content you can enjoy alongside organic Seasonal progression, which we’ll get to shortly.
Seasonal content is free for all Sea of Thieves pirates to play, and its progression system offers a treasure trove of rewards to earn as you progress through levels of Renown – rewards ranging from in-game currency through to cosmetics, emotes and even Ancient Coins to spend in the Pirate Emporium! There will also be an optional premium element to Seasons via the Plunder Pass, which we’ve explained in its very own article. Access to Seasons will not be gated through this Pass, and as is the case with all our updates, the Seasons updates will be free for all players.
While this new approach shifts the pace of major content updates to every three months, it also allows us to craft more meaningful experiences for you all and return to a more predictable rhythm of release. As we said back in November, we’re incredibly proud of the amount of free content rolled out in 2020 despite all the changes and challenges of remote working. However, we had to be flexible with our plans for each month – so working to this new rhythm means we have more space to deliver new and engaging, world-enriching content.
How does Seasonal progression work?
At the heart of Seasons is a new progression system, providing an improved sense of achievement every time you play. Whether you drop in for a short session or get scuppered halfway through an epic sail by a sea monster or rival crew, you’ll still make progress towards your Seasonal goals.
In addition to the Trading Company progression system that's been in the game since day one, Seasons will allow us to reward players for engaging with all aspects of the pirate life on the Sea of Thieves. This means you’ll never finish a Sea of Thieves session empty-handed; Renown can be earned in hundreds of different ways, and isn’t wholly dependent on handing in loot.
Complementing the Seasonal progression system are new Trials. These are themed categories made up of individual Deeds that will test your adventuring, exploring and battling capabilities, and speed your progress towards ever more enviable rewards. These Deeds have been designed to suit all sorts of gameplay session lengths and will reward players with unique in-game items, running alongside recurring and one-off live Events to keep the world feeling fresh and ever-changing.
This move to a Seasonal structure is designed to enrich the game and provide players with the freedom to enjoy Sea of Thieves their way, while making sure that a feeling of progression is present throughout a whole gameplay session. We know how frustrated some of you have felt when something’s gone awry and you’ve lost loot, so Seasonal play is there to let you make progress and leave satisfied every time you set sail.
How often will Sea of Thieves be updated with the introduction of Seasons?
During each Season, Sea of Thieves will continue to receive monthly updates. The new pace of content delivery means that for these smaller game updates, we can dedicate more time to bug fixing and making quality of life improvements for our players.
Alongside live Events, world changes and key fixes and improvements, the monthly updates that arrive during a Season will also introduce new stock to the Pirate Emporium. With every update – large or small – players will still be able to purchase one Letter of Commendation per Trading Company per month.
Over the last few months we’ve been expanding our tools and capabilities to run larger and more ambitious live Events. What started with a few simple reward multipliers has now blossomed into a fully fledged Events schedule, with our latest Events changing the tone of the world and being meaningfully surfaced in-game, whether it be through the new Events menu, NPC dialogue or Mysterious Notes.
Our Fate of the Damned and Festival of Giving updates late last year showcased just how far we’ve come in our live Event capabilities. This will continue with the new and engaging Events brought in during Seasons, each with its own rewards to earn – as well as the opportunity for boosted Seasonal progression.
Why should players engage with Seasons?
Seasonal progression will provide pirates with the opportunity to earn a range of unique cosmetic rewards as they rack up Renown. Each Season will introduce new clothing sets, special items and Season-specific collectibles. With these rewards, our intention is to provide variety through the Season across different cosmetic styles and categories, giving all players an incentive to push on to the next tier and unlock new rewards.
We've also taken on board your feedback that the release of cosmetics across the game and Pirate Emporium has felt a little unbalanced in recent updates. We’re addressing this with the introduction of Seasons, where Seasonal progression provides players with awesome cosmetics to unlock through gameplay, alongside those available for purchase in the Emporium.
Sea of Thieves Season One – coming January 28th!
Before Season One launches, we must also say a huge thank you to our Insider Programme community for the valuable feedback and findings as we worked to make Seasons a reality. From bug-bashing to balancing, you’ve been brilliant – and we can’t thank you enough for your ongoing support.
We hope this gives you all an insight into how you’ll be able to play through Seasons and what it’ll mean for you when you set sail in Season One on January 28th. If you’d like to know more about Seasons, stay tuned to our social channels for the latest details!