The developer announced the shift from monthly updates to three-month-long seasons (as is the norm for many other live service games) in a recently released news update video. Each season will be headlined by a major update with “a new experience or way of play”, with “regular and featured live events” for the rest of said season.
In addition to the seasonal model, Rare will also be introducing a battle pass into Sea Of Thieves for the first time, in what it called “the biggest change to our progression system since launch”.
The new system will include a free 100-level tier, alongside an optional premium Plunder Pass with unique unlockables. The reworked progression system is set to go live in January, but the cost of the Plunder Pass has yet to be revealed.
Watch the news update video below.
However, the competitive Arena mode will no longer receive any new content updates moving forward. The developer noted that roughly 97 per cent of its users play in Adventure mode instead, and will therefore recalibrate its focus there. Arena mode, on the other hand, will remain playable moving forward.
“It’ll continue to be something that people can go play and we’ll continue to maintain it and keep it working and stuff for people that want to play it,” said executive producer Joe Neate. “But we won’t be investing future development time in terms of new features or changes to the mode itself.”
Last month, Neate said that 2021 would be Sea Of Thieves’ “biggest year yet”, in conjunction with the game’s November update. He noted that his team was “hard at work behind the scenes on some significant changes that will lead us into 2021, with plans in motion for how we continue supporting the game”.