Why Sea of Thieves' Season 10 is both an incredible time to return and a reason to try it for the first time

An image of several pirates ona beach engaged in combat. One is holding a chest with a Siren Skull inside. Text at the top center of the image says "Sea of Thieves Season Ten"
(Image credit: Rare Ltd.)

Sea of Thieves Season 10 officially set sail on October 19, bringing a new Guilds feature to allow friends and like-minded players to earn and share progression. On November 16, the second update of the season will bring a new competitive voyage type called Skull of Siren Song, which will have multiple players on a server competing to find and turn in a single high-value treasure.

Season 10's final update, including the oft-requested PvE (player vs. environment) servers, will be released in December. This new mode will be called 'Safer Seas' and allow players to sail on the Sea of Thieves without the threat of encountering other players. Each new feature targets a different play style and complements existing features and events in the game.

New season, new ways to play

Captained ships that are part of a Guild will have the Guild name on a plaque on this ship's main mast (Image credit: Windows Central | Jephren Perez)

The Guilds feature focuses on and expands upon the cooperative social foundation of Sea of Thieves. Any player can create a Guild and be a member of up to three Guilds at a time. The creator of the Guild will select a crest, colors, motto, and name. Guild members can pledge ships, allowing members to help earn milestones even when the ship's owner is offline. Ultimately, members of each Guild will contribute to the progression of the Guild, whether they're sailing together or apart, with the goal of earning Distinctions, the game's take on a prestige mechanic (like Call of Duty). At each Distinction level, new Commendations become available for members to strive for.

I joined a Guild made up of several friends of mine shortly after the feature was released and have been having a great time with it. The sense of working toward a shared goal, even when not sailing together, has been a real highlight for me. It's fun to do my own thing and still contribute to the Guild and then talk about what we've all been up to when we do sail together. It builds a sense of community larger than the previous four-player maximum the game offered in its largest vessel crew size. 

Guilds act as a successful new social mechanic, elevating the fun of playing with friends.

Guilds also allow for Emissary play, a risk/reward gold and reputation multiplier system previously available through the game’s Trading Companies. The risk aspect of sailing as a Guild Emissary (or any Trading Company Emissary) means you become a target for players sailing under the Reapers Bones Emissary flag. The reward is increased payouts for selling loot, as well as earning Guild reputation at a faster rate.

It’s a great optional aspect to sailing in a Guild, allowing you to choose whether you want to increase your rewards at the expense of a higher likelihood of a PvP (player vs. player) encounter. The ability to raise an Emissary flag is locked until your Guild reaches level 15, giving Guild members an incentive to rank up and unlock the ability.

Overall, I would say that Guilds act as a successful new social mechanic, elevating the fun of playing with friends. The asynchronous progression helps alleviate prior issues of coordinating time to play with others, for example, folks in different time zones. The ability to customize and sail under a shared banner also expands upon elements introduced with the Season 7 Captaincy update, further enhancing the sense of personalization of the game.

More on the Horizon

Captain Briggsy, first introduced in 2019's Shores of Gold Tall Tales, returns for the Skull of Siren Song voyage (Image credit: Rare Ltd.)

While Guilds alone may be a great reason to return to the Sea of Thieves for players who had dropped off, the two remaining updates for Season 10 will appeal to two player types who may have found the game to have lost its appeal.

The November update’s Skull of Siren Song voyage brings a new competitive aspect to the game, reminiscent of the former PvP-specific mode, The Arena. This new voyage should appeal to players who enjoy battling others on land and sea and hopefully bring back players who left after The Arena shut its doors in early 2022. The voyage works more like a world event than other voyages in the game, starting when a mysterious ghostly note appears on a ship’s mast.

Crews must opt-in to participate, and once enough crews have opted in, the ghost of Captain Briggsy will appear and present each crew with two maps — one map points to a chest, the other to its key. Players must compete to acquire each or wait for other crews to do so and swoop in. Once the key is reunited with the chest, the ship in possession will be slowed significantly by the siren’s skull, and all crews will then find out what island Captain Briggsy is waiting on for the skull to be returned.

Additionally, no other crews can join in on the voyage once the chest is opened. They could still encounter the active crews by chance, but they wouldn’t know where Captain Briggsy is located.

This new voyage type promises to add yet another way for PvP enthusiasts to battle it out on the seas. The similarities to the former Arena’s formula serve as a great homage to the retired mode, sending all participating crews toward a single objective and encouraging strategy and combat skills. With any luck, players who have been missing The Arena will find similar enjoyment with the Skull of Siren Song voyage.

On the other side of the playstyle doubloon, players who avoid PvP encounters or those who have avoided playing the game for that reason will find the new Safer Seas an enticing way to enjoy the game at their own pace. Set to be released in December, this mode will allow a single crew to play on servers without rival crews. There are a few caveats as well, such as reducing the gold and reputation earn rate to 30%, removing certain world event types (such as the Fort of the Damned and Fort of Fortune), and limiting voyage types to the core Trading Companies – no Legendary Voyages on these seas!

There will also be a level cap implemented, meaning players can not progress past level 40 with any trading company while playing on Safer Seas. This mode will serve as a great way for new players to learn the ropes and offer a more chill experience to existing players wanting to take on voyages, Tall Tales, or other PvE world events without being griefed by other players.

With so many new ways to play, now is the perfect time for lapsed players to return to Sea of Thieves and for new players to give it one of the best Xbox games chance, especially if they subscribe to Game Pass. From new tools for social collaboration to a competitive voyage to a way to play at your own pace, there’s surely something for everyone in Season 10.

Jephren Perez

Jephren is a Contributor at Windows Central, focusing on Xbox news. He is a longtime fan of Rare and appeared in the E3 2016 gameplay reveal trailer for Sea of Thieves. He is also a Disney enthusiast and previously worked as a railroad engineer at Walt Disney World. When not playing games, Jephren enjoys learning how they are made and reading up on the games industry as a whole.