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Sea of Thieves' first season goes live this week, Plunder Pass details revealed

Rare announced in early December 2020 that its multiplayer pirate sim Sea of Thieves would be moving from monthly content updates to seasons, and of course the obligatory seasonal battle pass. With the first season about to get underway, the studio has now shared an in-depth look at how it will all work.

Each Sea of Thieves season will run for roughly three months, during which players will earn up to 100 levels of "Renown" by completing adventures and challenges. Each level will deliver rewards including gold, doubloons, and cosmetics. Dedicated players can earn more, including exclusive seasonal rewards, by way of the optional Plunder Pass, a premium reward track available for 999 Ancient Coins, which translates into $10 in real-world money.

It's a fairly conventional battle pass system, in other words, but Rare said that it will give players more to do by offering rewards "for engaging with all aspects of the pirate life," rather than putting the focus almost entirely on turning in chests.

"This move to a Seasonal structure is designed to enrich the game and provide players with the freedom to enjoy Sea of Thieves their way, while making sure that a feeling of progression is present throughout a whole gameplay session," executive producer Joe Neate explained. "We know how frustrated some of you have felt when something’s gone awry and you’ve lost loot, so Seasonal play is there to let you make progress and leave satisfied every time you set sail."

Sea of Thieves will continue to get monthly updates following the launch of the seasonal system, but they'll be more focused on fixes, quality of life updates, and new Pirate Emporium content, rather than significant gameplay changes. Monthly Letters of Commendation will remain available from Trading Companies, and live events, with unique rewards and seasonal progression boosts, will also continue.

The first season of Sea of Thieves will get underway on January 28. Details on the Plunder Pass can be had in this handy FAQ.

Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.