Fri. Dec 2nd, 2022

Hello, pirates. Season 8 of Sea Of Thieves airs tomorrow, featuring on-demand ship combat and a faction system that pits good ghost pirates against evil skeleton pirates. It’s all woven into the existing open world, and your ship sinks under the waves when you tell it you want to go hunting.

If you’d like more information, you can watch how the developers went about their respective deep dive in their latest update video.

While they are discussing, in order to start the battle, you will need to approach the new hourglass on your captain’s desk and say which side you are on. This will send you underwater, racing towards a team from the opposing faction whose crew skills (based on previous wins and losses) match yours. Once this happens, there is nowhere to run: if any crew tries to swim away, their hourglass will explode and the ship will sink.

I like it. Sounds like an elegant way to give fast-paced PvP battles to those who need them without disturbing those who prefer to tinker with pirate business as usual. There’s also a neat layer of risk and reward to it, because pooling successful battles together earns you extra progress, but you only get it once you’re back in port. Four victories in a row allow members of the rival faction to see you on the map, and also make your ship look cool and shiny.

You can also dig up faction treasures while away from home, which can result in players from a rival faction knocking. As you defend your ship, you earn rewards for your faction based on how much treasure you’ve amassed, with new cosmetic items to purchase along the way to unlocking new areas in the Pirate Legend’s Tavern and the Reaper’s Lair. Higher level rewards turn you into a skeleton or ghost. Grandee.

You can buy Sea Of Thieves for £17.50 from the Microsoft Store. It’s also on Game Pass.