Sea of Thieves (opens in new tab) is no longer moored to the Windows Store and is now available on Steam (opens in new tab). The launch doesn't coincide with any changes, though there was an update only last week that added checkpoints to the Tall Tales adventures—much needed—and daily bounties.
Despite being a bit lukewarm on it at launch, it's grown on me a lot over the course of its many updates, which have added plenty of additional diversions and systems and, yes, pets, without bogging it down. It's still got this leisurely, nautical holiday vibe, at least until everything goes up in flames, leaving you stuck out at sea in your pitiful rowing boat, if you're lucky.
We called it the best ongoing game of 2019 (opens in new tab), and it's continued to draw us back in through 2020, but I have unfortunately ruined it for myself by purchasing a pet that I hate. Cap'n Crappo is a moody cat that just kind of hangs around meowing at everyone when we're trying to put out fires or fight skeletons or just find somewhere to hide from him. He brings everyone down and, while I could just select one of my other pets, I feel compelled to only select Cap'n Crappo. I bought him a little outfit. I'm pretty sure he's controlling me.
Anyway, aside from the cat, it's pretty great. If you'd rather take it for a trial run before splashing out, you can always try Xbox Game Pass for PC (opens in new tab) for £1/$1 and spend a month seeing if it's a good fit.