Sea of Thieves greets 2023 with a new, limited-time adventure and shorter PvP queues

Rare’s pirate sim continues to be an enticing hangout destination.

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Rare released the first Sea of Thieves news bulletin (opens in new tab) of 2023 on January 18, showing off the first bit of new content added to the game this year. There’s a new PvE adventure, The Secret Wilds, which will run until February 2, as well as a host of cosmetics and some welcome PvP changes.

The Secret Wilds continues where Sea of Thieves’ previous live event, The Rogue’s Legacy, left off, and further elaborates on the backstory of the undead Captain Briggsy. The trailer only showed a few fleeting glimpses of the adventure itself, but it looks like players can visit some manner of otherworldly red dreamscape until the event runs its course two weeks from now.

The news update also showcased a smattering of new cosmetics, with the centerpiece being a “Labyrinth Looter” set of minotaur-themed outfits, guns, and ship accessories. I was also quite tickled by Sea of Thieves’ addition of a “play with your beloved pet rock” emote. Sorry, it’s not a pet rock, but a pocket pebble.

Some substantial changes have come to Sea of Thieves’ on-demand PvP as well, with a particular focus on making queue times shorter and losing less of a hassle. Rare introduced a contingency where, if it’s taking too long to find a match, a crew will be paired against an opponent of the same faction, in the hopes that “there is always a battle available.” 

Players who lose a battle and have their ship sunk will also receive more compensation now, and Rare has drastically increased the number of PvP arenas from six to 50, injecting greater variety into the competitive mode. It’s an incremental, but welcome update to Sea of Thieves, and Rare continues to do a great job supporting its now almost five year-old pirate sandbox.

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