The Sea of Thieves content update for February won't arrive until next week, but developer Rare shared a look at what's coming today in the first of what is apparently going to be an ongoing Sea of Thieves news series called—wait for it—Sea of Thieves News.
The Crews of Rage update, as it's called, will continue to iterate on combat, with "a real focus on sword combat," which is good news—it's always felt a bit tacked-on to me. Mermaids, those magical sea creatures that transport overboard players back to their ships, are also being changed, and will now appear more frequently—unless you're close to an enemy ship, in which case they'll appear less frequently, so they're less likely to give away your attempt to sneak onto an enemy ship.
Lightning has also been adjusted, and will strike less frequently in a storm following the update, which is good news for crews that insist on storing gunpowder barrels in the crow's nest. (Not that I'm thinking of anyone in particular here.)
Players will be given the ability to change the appearance of their pirates by way of a new "Pirate Appearance Potion" that will be available from the Pirate Emporium for 149 Ancient Coins. And following the success of the Noble Pathfinder sails in December, which raised over $76,000 for the SpecialEffect charity, a new set of charity sails called Valiant Dawn are on the way, with funds raised going to support St. Jude's Children's Hospital.
The video also includes a first look at a new cursed chest called the Chest of Rage. Similar to the Chest of Sorrow, which will slowly fill your ship with water (and eventually sink it if you're not paying attention), the Chest of Rage slowly heats up after it's brought aboard, and will eventually set your ship on fire. Pouring water on it will keep it cool, but shooting it will heat it up more quickly, which could be handy in a fight. It will also boil water it's sitting in, so partially filling your hold and dropping the chest into it isn't going to work.
The video concludes with a Sea of Thieves lore update, which is actually kind of handy for lapsed players like me: That hole in the ground on the unmarked island is getting bigger and weirder, and the Masked Stranger is now talking and offering double gold for accomplishing quests.
Full details on the February update will be broken down in the patch notes, which will be released next week when the update goes live. A date wasn't specified, but we'll let you know when it happens.