Why you should play Sea of Thieves in 2023

Image of Sea of Thieves Season 10 content
Season 10 promises the most options to play how you want in Sea of Thieves (Image credit: Rare)

If you’re one of the few people who haven’t had the pleasure to set sail in Sea of Thieves yet, or you tried the game out before but haven’t been back to it in a while now is the time to embrace the pirate life, and explore the vast world of Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves was one of the first games that showed the importance of a gaming publisher sticking behind a game they believe in, even if it launches to mixed or bad reception from critics and fans. When Fallout 76 launched in a poor state, Todd Howard said in the Bethesda round-table that he called Phil Spencer, who put him in touch with people at Xbox who showed him what was important in their games that made it for the long haul. 

Likely games like Halo: Master Chief Collection and at that time they were hard at work turning Sea of Thieves into a success as it had launched months before Fallout 76. Eventually, Xbox helped Bethesda make Fallout 76 into a thriving game today. These live-service wins continue with Xbox as Halo Infinite has just turned the corner as well, now showing a resurgence in player numbers as Season 5 recently launched. 

Sea of Thieves is one of Xbox’s most successful games ever, with the last reported number of players being over 30 million, announced at the Xbox 2022 Showcase. Since 2021, Rare has become the king of the live-service ocean and has one of the best content release schedules of any ongoing game. They just released Season 10 and the new features and gameplay changes make it the perfect time to climb aboard your own pirate ship.  

Why Sea of Thieves Season 10 is the best time to start

The Sea of Thieves Tutorial offers a great introduction to the mechanics of the game.

Sea Of Thieves Tutorial  (Image credit: Rare)

Season 10 of Sea of Thieves brings some long-requested features to Rare’s epic and enormous world. Sea of Thieves now has guilds and in the coming months, the Skull of Siren Song Voyages and Safer Seas will be coming to give players new play options and adventures to experience. And of course, the Sea of Thieves Tutorial is still available for new players.

The best overview of Season 10 comes from the Sea of Thieves YouTube video and is their preview coverage going over the features coming throughout Season 10. 

The all-new Guild system is now live with the launch of Season 10, letting players join together with up to 24 players in a guild and join 3 different guilds at once so no matter when you want to have your pirate adventures one of your guilds will be ready to sail the high seas with you. 

Being part of a guild helps you earn rewards as well. It can help you gain more personal Reputation as a Guild Emissary or get special clothing and even level up the Guild Reputation as well as earning rewards for the overall guild.

Guilds can share ships with their guildmates allowing for your guild ships to progress along its ship milestones as the guild members take it out to sea. 

Image of combat in Sea of Thieves

Season 10 of Sea of Thieves brings several combat improvements. (Image credit: Rare)

Rare has focused on a big suite of changes to make some combat improvements. While some players are worried about this messing with their muscle memory, especially in regard to the quick switching mechanic being removed, Rare is certain it will make PVP more fair for all players. Here is a list of the combat changes.

  • Hit Detection Improvements
  • Sword Combat Flow
  • Sword Block
  • Sword Hit Detection and Feedback
  • Quick Switching Removal
  • Controller Aim Assist

It is impressive to see that after 5 years and 10 seasons, Rare is still dedicated to improving the feel and playability of Sea of Thieves. The game feels better than ever and there are so many ways to play and earn rewards, it really is the best the game has ever been.

New players have no fear, Rare has a guide for you

Rare really loves their PDF guides. They have a new player guide that has 24 amazingly detailed pages for some light reading. The guide contains information on consumable items, equipment, weapons, and how to work on your ship and manage voyages in your quest tab.

If you want to really get prepared to start your journey into Sea of Thieves, Rare now offers a Rough Guide PDF with 47 pages full to the brim of everything you could possibly need to know about the game. It really is beautifully created. 

It explains the game's goals and objectives. Furthermore, it explains the importance of outposts and voyages and is worth taking a quick look at. From working with The Bilge Rats to tackling world events or partaking in some Tall Tales, the game is full of excellent content that rewards the player no matter how you play it. 

From the very beginning, we’ve been determined to make Sea of Thieves a truly welcoming world in which players of any creed, culture, age, skill level, and circumstance can voyage without fear of friction or frustration


I do recommend looking at the image in the gallery above about finding a crew to play with. The game will auto-match you with some players if you don't have your own friends to invite, but in my experience, you're just as likely to get paired with players who don't have a microphone or are new to the game as not. I recommend using Rare's guide to find some players who are skilled pirates who can show you the ropes.

Like most MMOs, Sea of Thieves has a substantial learning curve, but it is one of the most streamed games on Twitch and other game streaming platforms, so if you want to learn more about the game, you can always tune into a stream to see what kind of adventures players go on in the game.

Upcoming in the newest season, there are 2 new game modes that will be released over the next few weeks. The first is the Skull of Siren Songs, and then Safer Seas.

The Skull of Siren Songs: Battle Royal meets Oddball

Image of Skull of siren song from Sea of Thieves

The Skull of Siren Song game mode offers a new PVP experience for players.  (Image credit: Rare)

The Skull of Siren Song is the first competitive voyage that pits crews against each other in a race for a legendary artifact. It gives fans of PVP a more exciting game mode to pit their pirating skills against others, and could be somewhat similar to Diablo IV’s fields of hatred. Like other world events, it will appear randomly on your map and a note will appear on the player's mast. Each group that opts into the event will receive two maps. One leads to a chest and one to a key. They have to be combined to open the final chest to receive the Skull of Siren Song. 

The PVP aspect comes into play because two different crews out of the several crews playing will have the key or the chest, and they will show on the map to all of the other crews playing, so they will be hunted. Even once you get the Skull, it is cursed and slows down your ship, so the other ships will catch you, and you will need to defend the Skull. It’s almost similar to a battle royale meets Halo’s Oddball and sounds like a lot of fun. 

Worried about losing your loot? Safer Seas is the perfect game mode for you

Image of fishing in Sea of Thieves

Relax and enjoy some stress-free fishing in Safer Seas.  (Image credit: Rare)

A long-time feature request for Sea of Thieves has been to play alone or just in co-op and not need to worry about losing all of their loot to other players. This has led Rare to develop a new way to play Sea of Thieves. Safer Seas is a new game mode enabling players to explore the Sea of Thieves without disruption from other crews. 

You can play with 3 of your chosen friends in a private world, and you can still experience the entire game of Sea of Thieves, though earning gold at a 30% lower rate than the regular High Seas mode that includes PVP. Rare is excited for new players to start in Safer Seas and learn the mechanics before jumping into High Seas. For those looking for more information, check out the FAQ about Safer Seas

This feature has been met with some skepticism from some long-time fans of Sea of Thieves worried that it will water down the experience for players, but since it's completely optional, it seems like a great decision by Rare to offer a less stressful gameplay experience.

Sea of Thieves keeps prioritizing accessibility

Sea of Thieves Sunrise

All players can enjoy the fun of Sea of Thieves thanks to Rare's commitment to accessibility.  (Image credit: Windows Central)

The Sea of Thieves X (Twitter) account posted an accessibility highlight back in August which uses Aim Assist Audio. This feature assists with aiming down sights via a clicking sound that changes as the player's aim moves towards or away from a visible enemy threat. You can see a video of this feature in action in their post

"Most gameplay cues are delivered through multiple sensory modalities, such as on-screen VFX, audio, and haptic feedback. Player communication is central to Sea of Thieves. Players can make use of both voice and text chat (with text-to-speech and speech-to-text support)"

Sea of Thieves works hard to innovate accessibility and accommodate those who need unique play styles to enjoy the game. Xbox is combating exclusion with its accessibility drive and Rare is in full support of that mission with Sea of Thieves. For more of their updates on accessibility take a look at their release notes for each update.  

The Sea of Thieves journey so far

Sea Of Thieves Jack Sparrow Disney

Even in 2023, Sea of Thieves: A Pirates life is still fun and engaging content. (Image credit: Rare)

 Sea of Thieves is on Season 10, it might be a surprise to some readers who aren’t keeping up to date, but the “Sea of Thieves: A Pirates Life” expansion was all the way back in Season 3 in June 2021. Since then Rare and the Sea of Thieves team has been pushing out constant content and new seasons nearly every quarter, making it one of the most updated and adapting live-service games on the market. 

The last major cross-over expansion, The Legend of Monkey Island, took place mid-way through Season 9, releasing in July 2023. Before its release, we shared our thoughts on how excited we were for the Monkey Island update, and it hasn’t disappointed. 

Rare has focused on a big suite of changes to make some combat improvements. While some players are worried about this messing with their muscle memory, especially in regard to the quick switching mechanic being removed, Rare is certain it will make PVP more fair for all players. Here is a list of the combat changes.  

Tall Tales give players a great story-driven experience

Sea of Thieves: The Legend of Monkey Island

Sea of Thieves: The Legend of Monkey Island offers story-driven content with the beloved Guybrush Threepwood. (Image credit: Windows Central)

If you're like me and roaming the open seas endlessly looking for more loot can become a bit too much of a good thing, then jump into the Tall Tales of Sea of Thieves. The most recent is the Legend of Monkey Island crossover which starts with the Journey of Mêlée Island Tall Tale. You will need to work with pirates from Monkey Island to rescue the hero of Monkey Island, Guybrush Threepwood. It continues with The Quest for Guybrush Tall Tale, and the third is The Lair of LeChuck Tall Tale. These stories give a great introduction to the game mechanics all while telling an engaging story from a beloved classic IP.

Is Monkey Island not your thing? Well, there are other Tall Tales for your enjoyment. I never finished the Sea of Thieves: A Pirates Life quest line before, so I'm going back to play through that now, and it has been a great time. 

Sea of Thieves is an Xbox live-service success story

Image of 30 million players in Sea of Thieves

Join over 30 million players in Sea of Thieves (Image credit: Rare)

With so many companies chasing the games as a service dream, Xbox is quietly sitting on a 30 million + MMO live-service monster in Sea of Thieves. Where other studios fail to meet content delivery schedules, Rare is showing the industry how it's done (Even though Season 10 was a bit delayed.) If you're looking forward to the future of Xbox as they work to integrate Activision Blizzard, and King into their plans going forward, it's worth taking a few hours to realize what it is about Sea of Thieves that has captivated so many players. 

Sea of Thieves is becoming the shining example of how to successfully manage a live-service game within the ability of the studio, all while listening to fan feedback, offering players new experiences, and maintaining their insistence on accessibility for all of their players. As Xbox looks to bring in other live-service games, such as the struggling Overwatch 2, and maybe even something like Heroes of the Storm, they can use what Sea of Thieves has created as a guidepost to help these other games provide better, and more consumer-friendly content to their user bases. 

With all of that said, from the perspective of the game itself, now is the best time to return to Sea of Thieves, or get your feet wet in the game's amazing water physics for the first time. Of course, we all know that 2023 is the year in gaming that doesn't stop giving. But between Alan Wake 2 which is an amazing game, Xbox's upcoming first-party release in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, and the rest of the big games to close out the year, don't be afraid to load up Sea of Thieves and sink some time into the greatest MMO live-service game Xbox has ever made. 

Colton Stradling

Colton is a seasoned cybersecurity professional that wants to share his love of technology with the Windows Central audience. When he isn’t assisting in defending companies from the newest zero-days or sharing his thoughts through his articles, he loves to spend time with his family and play video games on PC and Xbox. Colton focuses on buying guides, PCs, and devices and is always happy to have a conversation about emerging tech and gaming news.