Rare gives detailed breakdown of Sea of Thieves’ new Seasons updates and battle pass

Sea of Thieves is launching its new seasonal content schedule and battle-pass-style progression system this Thursday, 28th January, and, in preparation, Rare has served up a handily informative breakdown of everything in store, hopefully answering any lingering questions pirates may have before raising anchor and setting sail later this week.

Each season will last approximately three months, and each will begin by introducing a fresh dollop of content (in Thursday’s case, a new voyage-type for the much-maligned Merchant Alliance), ongoing live events, and most notably, a new 100-level progression system.

Rare says Sea of Thieves’ new three-month content release schedule will allow it to “craft more meaningful experiences…and return to a more predictable rhythm of release.” However, it also notes the game will continue to receive smaller monthly updates, delivering bug fixes, quality of life improvements, and new stock for the Pirate Emporium.

Central to each season is the newly implemented progression system, which will exist alongside Sea of Thieves’ current Trading-Company-based progression pathways and is split into ten tiers, each consisting of ten levels. Players climb the ranks by earning Renown – awarded for completing a wide variety of common activities during play – unlocking the likes of in-game currency, cosmetics, emotes, and Ancient Coins to spend in the Pirate Emporium.

Seasons also introduce a more structured type of challenge known as Trials. These are divided into themed categories – each consisting of activities “designed to suit all sorts of gameplay session lengths” – and will test players’ exploration, adventuring, and combat prowess. Notably, Trials feature their own associated rewards, but will also award players a decent chunk of Renown, making them ideal for players looking to boost their progression.

All the above will be free to all players, but there’s also a new premium progression component known as the Plunder Pass. Much like similar offerings in other games, this sits atop the free progression system and unlocks a separate set of rewards at certain levels.

Crucially, however, all seasonal rewards will remain in the free tier, while the Plunder Pass is exclusively dedicated to unlocking premium items (11 per season, including weapons, equipment, emotes, and ship cosmetics) otherwise only available by purchasing them in the real-money Pirate Emporium. Some items will already be available in the store, while others will debut in the Plunder Pass before being added at a later date.

Rare says the Plunder Pass, which can be purchased for 999 Ancient Coins, will cost the equivalent of $10 USD but will enable players to earn approximately $40 of Pirate Emporium goods if they reach level 100 before the season ends. “Even if you already own some items within the Plunder Pass,” it notes, “it’s very likely that there’ll still be enough new items in there to justify the purchase price.”

Ultimately, Rare hopes Sea of Thieves’ new seasonal structure will provide an “improved sense of achievement” during a play session, regardless of length. “We know how frustrated some of you have felt when something’s gone awry and you’ve lost loot,” it continues, “so Seasonal play is there to let you make progress and leave satisfied every time you set sail.”