Sea of Thieves is getting ghost ships, gold-plated pets, and a free emote for everyone

Sea of Thieves has had an undead problem for a long time now, and it just got worse. June's Haunted Shores update brings ghost ships to the game, sucked through the rift between the worlds of the living and the dead by the growing power of Captain Flameheart.

The good news is that ghost ships are "fragile," and so should go down without too much hassle. The bad news is that they hit hard: They drop mines in the water that sound like a real headache, and their Wraith Cannonballs "deal major damage and hit your ship like a shockwave." 

Ghost ships will apparently spawn randomly, like skeleton ships, but you can also seek them out through voyages available from the Order of Souls, which is offering new commendations and rewards for sinking them. Duke is offering an exclusive new ghost ship voyage of his own during the Haunted Shores event as well. Sunken ghost ships will drop the treasure and skulls, as skeleton ships do, but they'll also sometimes drop crates of Phantom and Wraith cannonballs that you can use for yourself. There are also new Xbox and Steam achievements to collect by unlocking in-game commendations.

Aside from all that, there are new live events running in the update, including new Ashen Expeditions that will deliver double rewards for all Ashen items that are cashed in on Tuesdays, and a Shark Hunt, with increased gold and reputation rewards for selling cooked shark and Megalodon meat. A new Shanty Selection wheel will enable players to easily perform the sea song of their choice (believe me, this is important), new emotes are available for purchase (and there's a new free emote for everyone), and because everyone likes monkeys, parrots, and cats so much, new Treasure Curse Collectors pets have also been placed on store shelves.

Sea of Thieves has been around for a couple of years now, but its recent launch on Steam has opened it up to an entirely new (and potentially much bigger) community of players. To help newcomers get their sea legs quickly, Rare has also released a new players guide, available in PDF format, "covering everything from the bare-bones basics to great ways of finding new crewmates." It's not a strategy guide or manual (although there's a lot of very manual-like content), but more of a crash-course in why you're there and what you can expect, covering everything from the in-game "Pirate Code" to "creating a safe space for play" in the real world, for players who don't know the difference between and capstan and a crow's nest. (Which is covered in the guide too, by the way.)

The Sea of Thieves: Haunted Shores update is live now. Full patch notes are available at

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.