Sea of Thieves is – can you believe it? – Turning five years old this month, and to celebrate its half-decade anniversary, developer Rare ushers in a new quality-of-life season focused on reinvigorating the core sandbox of the pirate multiplayer adventure.
Sea of Thieves Season 9 – which launches next Thursday, March 16, just before the game’s March 20th anniversary – is a bit unusual in that it’s not really built around a single new flagship. Instead, the game as a whole is being tweaked, refined, and refreshed to create a more coherent, enjoyable experience after five years of disparate updates.
For starters coming the new update, all world events – from ship battles to Ashen Lords – will be dynamically scaled to adapt to different crew sizes. In addition, upcoming events – the Kraken, Megadon, Nebula, and Shipwrecks – have been adjusted to make them a more common occurrence, after all becoming less and less seen as the update progresses.
Elsewhere, Forts of Fortune have been rebalanced to make them less of a chore, and new Chests of Fortune have been added as rewards for completing them. These can be traded in to earn Commendations and parts of the new Fates of Fortune ship set, with future seasons promising to unlock more cosmetics as the Chests of Fortune rotate to new locations. Similarly, Reaper’s Chests, which now have a permanent beacon to alert crews to their presence when in the hands of other players, can be traded in to unlock the new Fates of Fortune weapon set.
Season 9 also introduces new uses for Sea of Thieves’ increasingly redundant doubloon currency, earned through a variety of in-game activities. For example, it will be possible to spend them on three new Pirate Legend exclusive voyages, including one to find the Skull of Destiny – a new all-in-one item that allows you to explore the Fort of the Damned without the usual bells and whistles can be activated. Additionally, it will be possible to purchase formerly season-exclusive cosmetics with doubloons starting in Season 1, albeit at a “very high price.”
And the welcome tweaks continue; Loot thrown into Devil’s Veil will now spawn on the map again, while the Harpoon Gun has been adjusted to automatically drop loot onto your ship’s deck without having to manually undock it. There are also UI tweaks, including a new radial food menu, and – in an addition that nearly made me cry with relief when it was announced – you can finally FINALLY equip your ship’s flag at the Shipbuilder.
Other long-awaited gameplay tweaks finally arriving in Season 9 include a change that prevents skeletons from cannonfire blasting your ship while you’re busy in a skeleton fortress, and longer spawn times between Armada battle waves.
Fishing fans will also be happy to hear that long-neglected trading company Hunter’s Call is getting some love. First off, Stephen’s Spoils Seapost finally has a Hunter’s Call rep again after Merrick went into hiding and his young nephew Adelrick is now helping out. In addition, Sea Posts now grant a 50% bonus on all Hunter’s Call items, while the same items can now be redeemed on Sovereigns, but without the gold bonus.
There’s plenty more besides, some of which are detailed in the Sea of Thieves Season 9 trailer above, and players can expect the usual seasonal additions – a new 100-level progression path with rewards to match, a new Plunder Pass and New premium shop items – too.
And of course, Rare is organizing a range of activities to specifically celebrate Sea of Thieves’ fifth birthday, including a ten-day Marauder’s Medley event serving up cosmetics for those who complete challenges based on previous updates. There’s also another community weekend on March 25-27, a Pirate Emporium sale on March 17-28, a special anniversary in-game selfie spot at the New Golden Sands Outpost on March 20, more Twitch Drops from March 16th to March 20th, u free Lustrous Legend Figurehead for everyone who logs into the game between March 17th and 22nd, as well as the release of an official Sea of Thieves documentary on March 20th, which will cover the previous Journey of the game traced.
And to reiterate, Sea of Thieves Season 9 kicks off next Thursday, March 16th, which means you’ve got a little under two weeks to wrap up your Season 8 activities before it all unfolds changes.