What to expect from future Sea of Thieves updates

Sea of Thieves
Sea of Thieves (Image credit: Microsoft)

Sea of Thieves delivers the foundation for a strong pirate game on Xbox One and PC, but not without shortcomings. While you won't find its unique mechanics elsewhere, questions over the game's longevity have been raised. As highlighted in our review, Sea of Thieves houses promising concepts but doesn't currently fulfill its potential.

The ever-changing nature of Sea of Thieves means a variety of new content is on the way – at least according to its developer, Rare. Although a firm roadmap is yet to be outlined, we've rounded up what we know so far.

Sea of Thieves Xbox One review: Fun is in the journey, not the destination

How much will Sea of Thieves DLC cost?

Sea of Thieves is pitched as a "games as a service" title – an approach to content distribution increasingly adopted among major video games. Buyers are investing in its long-term ecosystem, with the promise of further content updates in the coming months.

Adopting this model, Sea of Thieves won't have post-launch DLC packs or season passes, preventing player separation in the long term. All major content updates will be provided for free, building upon the foundation currently available at launch. That's not to say paid content will be absent – Rare has expressed interest in exploring monetization through cosmetic microtransactions.

When can we expect Sea of Thieves updates?

Based on our previous interviews with the Sea of Thieves team, new content is expected to vary in scale throughout its lifetime. While small updates and changes can be regularly expected, larger content drops will likely stretch out over multiple months.

Smaller updates, such as new items and tweaks may be deployed once they're ready. Daily and weekly events are on the roadmap too, including limited-time missions or variations on existing content.

The game's first major update is currently slated for "a few months after launch" and expected to bring new features, along with changes based on feedback. Among the confirmed additions is the debut of pets, tied to in-game purchases.

What will future Sea of Thieves updates add?

One of the first major features on its way to Sea of Thieves is a pet system, which has been openly addressed by Rare leading up to launch. On track for the game's first major update, this will give pirates the opportunity to have a furry companion on the seas. Pets are being pitched as an interactive element of the game, expanding on the game's social element. These will be interactable and visible to fellow crew members, but won't influence core gameplay.

Pets will be the first instance of in-game monetization, as an optional cosmetic upgrade to pirates wanting to stand out. Although pricing hasn't been discussed, expect these to cost a few dollars each.

Limited-time events have also been considered after launch, providing timely incentives for players to return between major content updates. Among the possibilities are illusive non-player characters (NPCs) appearing across the world, with special missions for exclusive rewards. Dynamic world traits have also been discussed, changing up the existing Sea of Thieves experience.

New merchants and trading companies are expected to hit Sea of Thieves too, beyond the trio currently found in-game. With each trading company offering its own unique quest types, new companies will likely bring new activities to partake in.

Relying so heavily on cosmetic progression, new content is required to provide continued rewards for players. New skins are on the way for existing item types, with the potential for new items such as tattoos and scars.

Your hopes for Sea of Thieves

With details currently scarce on future content, we'll have to wait for further updates on upcoming Sea of Thieves content. What content would you like to see in Sea of Thieves? Drop into the comments section below with your thoughts so far.

Matt Brown is Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.

  • Fantastic game. I don't think it's lacking content at all. I do wish they would have more leniency for solo play tho
  • Merchant Vessels that can be attacked and plundered, could be accompanied by royal security that increases in difficulty as the value of its cargo increases. Roaming royal military vessels that are out hunting pirates. Fishing/hunting for merchant rewards. Simple trading economy throughout the various outposts Gambling mini games in a non PVP area WAY MORE customization options
  • Would be cool if you could have your own fortress setup on an island somewhere and be able defend it. Ship customization would also be cool. I think you can customize the ship but it's only cosmetic at the moment. The progression system needs work. Here's hoping Sea of Thieves 2 will be much better!
  • Sea of Thieves 2? I dont think you understand how this game is set up... Thats like waiting for Minecraft 2
  • Yeah, if they release a Sea of Thieves 2 there will be murders. That is not how games like this should be handled (I'm looking at you Destiny).
  • Ghost ships in a haze of fog with undead pirates to battle and decent rewards or upgrades would be cool
  • Sea of Thieves is literally Microsoft's No Man Sky. The only difference is all of NMS's content updates were free whereas Microsoft and Rare are going to charge for theirs. I would feel incredibly ripped off if I had paid full price instead of getting the game with a console. That being said, to be fair, is rare for an MMO to start out well, they always need a few months to gestate and develop. It will all depend on how many free updates are provided that enrich the game as to whether or not it maintains a healthy player base.
  • Haven't you read the article at all?
  • @fdruid
    I don't know about that guy but I read the part where they where they talked of microtransactions.
    I saw the part where they basically sold an "incomplete" game at full price, and have later updates that will basically make them use the free2play model.
    They could have had it on early access, they could have made it a F2P but NO they had to ask full price for it...
    Personally I find it pathetic...
  • They put the game out the way it is and then opened a forum to find out what players want. I think this is the best approach because they could put a lot of work into content people hate and then it's stuck in the game. Right now it is a sandbox waiting for suggestions so rather than acting pathetic why don't you tell them what you want? Many games charge $20 per "episode" and by the time you're done you are $80 into it. For $60 you get a game that will be updated with content the players want with the option to donate by buying items. Seems fair to me....
  • What you're describing is a game in early access.
    Please look it up. This is not a game in early access. It's a game released and marketed as a full price finished product. Microtransactions in a full price game is unacceptable.
    There is no option real option. Gamers are still going to be tempted to spend money on microtransactions.
    Look up free2play economics to understand how games are designed so as to tempt gamers into spending cash...
  • Nothing in his description explicitly relegates the game to Early Access status. Nor is it accurate to describe the game as "Free2Play" since, well, it isn't free. I payed $60. Yes they say there will be microtransactions, but only for cosmetic items that won't affect gameplay mechanics. Also, they said that major content updates will be free to everyone who owns the game. I can think of several major AAA games that use microtransactions, Overwatch for instance. This is done to to fund future development for the game beyond the player's initial $60 investment. Again, like Overwatch, these IAPs are for cosmetics only. This model is necessary at this point as gamers expect years of content updates but don't want to pay subscriptions for games. Do you expect devs to update games for years without additional funding?
  • Releasing an unfinished game and asking for feedback, listening it and implementing suggestion in the game. That's the Early access part. It's NOT a free2play game. I never it was. It uses free2play economics when they add microtransactions. I've already talked about cosmetic microtransactions.
    In a game like SoT where cosmetic items is what you do quests for. The games revolve around these cosmetic stuff. It actually is really important. Grind for hours with repetitive quests or just pay some cash to get that cool looking Banjo and Kazooie figurehead. Overwatch? You want to take that game as a model? That game is as bad as this. I mean it's not because some games introduce anti-consumer strategies that it's great to do the same stuff. I could go on and on but I'll just post few videos of this. It'll just saves time for everyone.
    It explains things.
    About microtransactions Fee2Play
    https://youtu.be/fHszeYz5Mi0?t=93 About cosmetic
    https://youtu.be/LWTsJZD3YFQ?t=311 And YES I expect a full price game to be complete. If it's not complete.
    NMS kept giving updates for free for years. Splatoon has whole lot of content for FREE.
    How do free2play manage to have just microtransactions without asking 60 bucks at the start?
  • I'll just add this message by CD Projekt Red for the people who bought the witcher 3. This is the sort of support and commitment that I expect. And this is a direct reply to your question about continuous support to a game:
  • I know its trendy to call things the "no mans sky" of something... but no, not even close. Dont use trendy phrases if you dont even know what they mean
  • @SteveJDubya
    Don't you think it's a trend because there are similarities?
    ofc there are differences like NMS has a progression system and is a single player game but there are a lot of things in common.
  • No, what made NMS so bad is that they promised a million things and delivered 10. Sea of Thieves is exactly what Rare told us the game would be from the beginning. NMS got its reputation by being shady and lying, that isnt the case with SoT
  • What do you mean by no?
    There ARE things in common.
    - Huge empty or lifeless open world.
    - Very little content.
    - Both are full price game.
    - Both spent around the same time of dev.
    - Sony and Sean Murray both overhyped NMS. MS and Rare both overhyped SoT. This was one of the 2-3 major games for MS for quite some time now.
    - Incredible amount of grinding.
    - Rare also lied. The Kraken is a lie.
    - The "make your own story" storyline.
    - Both didn't have a story
    - Both didn't have voice acting
    ... Now which is better is just subjective.
    But we really need to put things into context here.
    Hello games is a tiny studio, Rare is a major studio and owned by a HUGE company like MS.
    At least NMS has a progression system. They made a lot of free improvement and updates.
    With SoT, they'll add microtransactions. Yes, microtransactions in a FULL PRICE INCOMPLETE GAME. Unacceptable...
  • In Rare's defense they did give us exactly what they offered, whereas the NMS developer's promised more than they delivered. For me personally I guess I was just expecting them to bring more with the full release than what was on offer in the Beta (I will gladly admit fault on that). But that wasn't the case, if you'd put significant time into the Beta there is no reason to play the full game, at least not yet anyway. Anyone that didn't play the beta could be justifiably annoyed at the lack of content.
  • I played the open beta for about two hours, logged out to go to the store and the servers wouldn't let me back in. In those two hours I can say I played and finished the whole game :) I didn't kill the kraken, I see that as a side-quest lol
  • This is unacceptable. They released what looks like an unfinished and empty game.
    They selling it at full price. And will add microtransactions... This should have either been free2play or MUCH cheaper or in early access. There will probably be some updates, but will the continue supporting it if there are very few players playing it?
    We know what happened to project spark, xbox fitness and AOE online.
  • I've read a few of your comments and I don't think you understand what F2P means. There is a difference between F2P and free to own. F2P means, there is no subscription service required to play the game, not that the game software itself is free and that you don't have to pay for it. There are typically only two reasons why the base game would be free to own, games that have been out for a few years and have paid expansions or games that have a required subscription service just to play. In one case, they give it to you for free in hopes you'll pay for those expansions and in the other, they know they're more likely than not going to get at least a month's subscription out of you. That's not what this is. You pay to get the game and you'll get all the DLC's free as they're released. The microtransactions are supposedly going to only be cosmetic and are not intended to give anyone an advantage (often referred to as pay-to-win). The funds from microtransactions replace the subscription model, but are not required for you to play the game in any way. Their purpose is to continue to support the game developers while they provide you with more free content. So, you can have F2P or you can have subscriptions. Neither necessarily mean that the game itself is free to own. Someone is likely to bring up that there are other games out there that are F2P which also have subscription services, but again, those are typically not required subscriptions and do not give your character any boosts in abilities. They are usually just inventory enhancements, some cosmetic upgrades, and possibly improvments to player housing models. They are just quality of life things and have no impact to your character's abilities.
  • Oh but I know what free2play economic is.
    A full price game should not have microtransactions ANY microtransactions. There are SO MANY games that are free2play with loads of content at launch and with content that keeps getting added in. A game like Warframe for example. They are already selling an "half complete game" at full price. The common excuse is "wait for updates". But players already paid for a full game that's not really here. And in a game like SoT where cosmetic items is what you do quests for. The games revolve around these cosmetic stuff. It actually is really important. Grind for hours with repetitive quests or just pay some cash to get that cool looking Banjo and Kazooie figurehead. I could go on and on but I'll just post few videos of this. It'll just saves time for everyone.
    It explains things.
    About microtransactions Fee2Play
    https://youtu.be/fHszeYz5Mi0?t=93 About cosmetic
    https://youtu.be/LWTsJZD3YFQ?t=311 If you have more time here:
  • Dude... how do you expect them to run this game as a service for years to come without microtransactions, this is why you dont pay a subscription.. they are just going to develop stuff for free? Come on dude... servers are expensive.. devs and QA are expensive... think about things before you come up with silly ideas.
  • It's not about not having microtransactions it's about making it a full price game AND having microtransactions.
    Let's not forget they released an unfinished game and asked full price for it. It's really simple. If they wanted it t be a service this should have been free to play.
    There are thousands of free2play games out there. Games like warframe...
    How are they doing it? There are cases like NMS when an incomplete game was released and sold for full price. What did they do? They have been working for years on free updates to improve the game and add missing features. Look at Splatoon. 60 bucks.
    Loads of added maps and content.
    No Microtransactions And PLEASE don't talk about "servers being expensive". Aren't XB gamers paying MS money TO PLAY ONLINE. There is a limit to greed and excuses. You seriously need to look at what other studios are doing before calling real successful business practices "silly". Please do your research before coming here and accusing me of having "silly ideas".
  • First off, you said, "It's really simple. If they wanted it t be a service this should have been free to play." It is free to play, it's not free to own. Again, there's a difference and the two are not the same thing. Second, Warframe does have microtransactions. Just because you don't use them doesn't mean they don't exist. You can pay real money for Platinum or for Prime Access. Can you earn everything in game for free? Absolutely, but there are microtransactions in the game. This is how the developers are supported. Third, Warframe came out five years ago. With new games coming out all the time, not too many new players are going to purchase a five year old game. So, they give it away free in hopes that you might use their microtransactions or Prime Access. Warframe is no different than games like World of Tanks. These games are called 'freemium'. They are free to own and play, but also have premium elements that give temporary character boosts. The difference between freemium and what Sea of Thieves is doing is there are no character boosts or enhanced weapons in Sea of Thieves, it's all cosmetic. Not a lot of people are going to bother paying for cosmetic items, but there are a ton of people who are willing to pay for character boosts. In one case, it makes sense to charge for the game and in the other, it's not absolutely necessary. As for the server expenses, Microsoft does host the servers for Xbox, but I'm sure that Rare is paying them for that. Also, the PC servers are probably hosted by Rare or some other hosting company that also incurs costs. A large portion of the proceeds from game purchase go towards recouping the development costs and salaries, some back to investors, some go toward employee bonuses, some toward sustainment and some toward furture projects. However, the entire future (sustainment) of your service is not covered by those purchase proceeds. You still need to have a source of income if you want to sustain that service in the long run.
  • "First off, you said, "It's really simple. If they wanted it t be a service this should have been free to play." It is free to play, it's not free to own. Again, there's a difference and the two are not the same thing."
    What do you mean? This is a service and a online only game. You can't own it.What's your point? "Second, Warframe does have microtransactions."
    YES and it is also FREE TO PLAY!! It doesn't cost 60 bucks to play. "Third, Warframe came out five years ago."
    Warframe as ALWAYS been free to play. From launch. It never charged 60 bucks to play the game. "there are no character boosts or enhanced weapons in Sea of Thieves, it's all cosmetic."
    That is what this game is ALL about. The grinding is real. I played some hours to get about 1.5K gold and could I buy for it? One coat or something.
    There are stuff that cost 140K gold!! I can only imagine the hours of grinding to get ONE item. And there are LOADS of other type of items...
    And that's where the temptation of microtransactions comes in. Whether its cosmetic or not doesn't really matter. The fact is that it has microtransactions. "As for the server expenses, Microsoft does host the servers for Xbox, but I'm sure that Rare is paying them for that. Also, the PC servers are probably hosted by Rare or some other hosting company that also incurs costs."
    LOL You do know MS own Rare, don't you? You do know that MS gets loads of money from gamers so they can play games...
    You know who doesn't ask money from users to play online? Digital Extremes. The team that made warframe. So you know I won't cry for Rare/MS not having the cash to host the servers. Just thinking about this makes me think how bad your point about "expensive servers" is. It just speaks of more greed by MS if anything... The fact that there are companies who can have free2play games running successfullyfor 5 years or that a game like NMS can provide free updates for years after the initial 60$ price shows that it is possible and that's the reply to your last paragraph. Did you watch the videos I posted earlier?
  • I guess it depends on your definition of free to play. Apparently your definition is different than mine and what I believe to be more widely accepted as a F2P title. Here's how I see it, online multiplayer games typically follow two models, F2P or pay to play. The purchase of the software is a completely separate and has no bearing on whether a game is F2P or P2P. I define P2P as a game that requires a subscription to play, again regardless of whether there is an initial purchase of software. Your definition marries the purchase of the game into a P2P model. As I explained, I believe Warframe falls into a subset of the F2P model, freemium. They did not charge you for the software, which per my definition has no bearing on the F2P or P2P model, but would still be considered F2P by your definition. On that we agree. I would still consider Sea of Thieves F2P as you pay nothing to continue to play it online after the initial purchase price. It is not a P2P game as there is no required subscription. You're claiming it is a P2P game as you have to purchase the software. On this we disagree. I'm well aware that Microsoft is the parent company of Rare. Just because they are a parent company doesn't mean that Microsoft is going to give them the server capacity for free. Yes, we pay for a Live subscription in order to play those games on our Xbox, but that money that we pay goes for so much other stuff than just server maintenance, capacity, etc., etc. You're fooling yourself if you think there aren't financial deals between Microsoft and all the multiplayer game developers, Rare included, to put their games on Xbox and use their servers. We are not the only ones paying for those servers. And the PC side is most likely either hosted by themselves or someone else, possibly Microsoft, but it still incurs a cost. Which since the game is F2P is covered by the initial purchase and microtransactions. I'm not saying that providing free software and having a free to play model with transactions isn't a valid model. It works for some as it has for Warframe. For me, I guess this whole discussion just boils down to the fact that your definition of F2P and mine just aren't the same. I couldn't watch the videos until now. His is just one opinion and honestly, I've never heard of Fee 2 Play before, but what he described to me is what's most commonly known as Pay 2 Win which is when either a P2P, or F2P, model with microtransactions goes bad. You're paying for resources and boosts in order to advance your characters progression and possibly have an advantage. As for the cosmetic stuff, if it costs me real money, I'm not paying for it. Contrary to his opinion it adds nothing to the game for me. I couldn't care less what my character looks like because I rarely ever see myself. I'll happily plug away until I earn enough in game currency to buy something. Because as you said, they've already gotten $60 out of me and I don't feel the need to give them more in order to buy something that I can earn on my own in the game. There are others who are more than willing to pay for it though. And those are the people who are allowing you and I to continue to play for free without having to pay for a subscription (not counting Xbox Live) and get future DLC, also for free.
  • Yes, we have different definitions.
    You not considering the initial paiement. You're just saying as long as you don't have to continously pay for a subscription the game is free2play. My question is why ignore the initial purchase? Let's take the literal meaning of words here. Can I play SoT for free? No. You need to pay some money to play the game. (Pay to play) But we can even argue your argument because if it's through game pass we need to continuously pay a fee to play the game. And even if you pay the initial fee, you still need to pay 5 bucks per month to play the game (through gold). About the server situation. I don't think I'll ever get your point. MS literally owns Rare. Rare's money is MS's money. It's a first party studio.
    This is not like Digital Extremes. If they pay for servers they have to deal with that. They don't have a parent company that charge gamers to pay for servers. The whole point of the video is to show what these economy is all about. They are mostly designing gameplay in order to frustrate players. Whether it's through mindless grinding (like SoT) or just waiting hours (like farmville) . Frustratation to get items that you want.
    In SoT cosmetic items is vital to what the game is. That's the thing you get after you do all those quest. The game revolve around that.
    So you are constantly going to be tempted into buying stuff. Its a should I spend 30-40 hours to get that amazing limited figurehead or should I just pay 10 bucks for it. That's not just opinion that's how most of these games are designed. The temptation is always there whether you paid 60 bucks or not. Maybe it could have just taken a couple of hours to buy that figurehead but the basic design is changed. The frustration is in the game. The problem is that these game design is there in a full price game even though it could exist as a free game like Warframe because others are doing it.
    Freemium isn't a bad word. I'm sure most gamers/critcis would be ok with this if it was free like Warframe. This is probably why they are getting poor/average reviews. And let's be honest wouldn't be great for the community? I think it would have been great for us gamers but eventually even for Rare/MS as 1) there would have been so many more people playing the game and eventually paying them for the content they sell.
  • This game was great. I had a group of four and we all started it at the same time. We had fun yelling pirate phrases at each other and stumbling through learning the basics. Crashing our ship, losing PvP encounters, getting lost, all hysterical. The 45 minute puking contest was especially rewarding. Once we got past the novelty and found a few treasure boxes we were kinda... done. We might go out on a couple more dates but I don't think we'll be going steady.
  • Can't say I'm really into waiting around for a content drop that should have been there from launch. My experience was "Wow, this is pretty cool, and I've just started the game!.... Wait, that's it?" Kinda like getting an appetizer of some great rolls, but then finding out they were actually the meal.
  • I think that if you have to essentially write "there will be enough content later," then I personally believe that there is a big reason to fret about the long-term health of this game and its community. This doesn't seem as bad as No Man's Sky, but it seems to be in a similar vein, where content breadth exceeds content depth (that is, you can go all over and do stuff, but the variety isn't really there). I personally don't like this as a core way to sell a game, that if you throw $60 and feed them microtransactions, they'll give you enough to do later. This game feels like it's the gutted shell of an MMORPG, in terms of how it presents itself and falls short. It's kind of the latest in a series of such games, like Destiny, in that regard. You have a game that produces a few weeks of content and lacks variety to keep the player base entertained much beyond that. Speaking as a former WoW player, this was a real issue for me--the new patches would take 6 months to release, but the new content was roughly 1-2 months' worth, if that. Many of these modern, social, open-world games suffer from that. WoW, probably thanks to its high service cost of $15/month (at least in part) gave the players a lot more to do to fill in the gaps between patches, so even if the main content (raids) ran out quickly, you still had loads of additional RPG elements in the game to explore. Sea of Thieves probably needs that as well. Basically, this "games as a service" model needs to droning grind of an RPG to have lasting value, at least to me. Instead of just hiding cosmetics behind microtransactions, WoW would put those mostly behind quests and challenges of skill, so you had a driving force (that "sense of pride and accomplishment" EA cites, but in a real way) to stick around and replay content. You'd have RNG disappoint you with loot drops, but you'd then have an excuse to go back, and if you weren't up for the RNG grind of loot drops, you could do loads of quests of varying kinds to work more assuredly towards mounts and titles and gear. Admittedly, I haven't followed the game closely because it struck me as No Man's Sky in its audience--the "create your own adventure" scene isn't my bag. Still, I would think things like guilds where you can have you own ship design for everyone to pitch in on, that would be the kind of thing to get people more invested in the game (if they don't have that already).
  • Love this game!
  • Great game a bit repetitive as a solo. That could just be because of my play style though. I have a few ideas of what I would like to see in the game.
    I think a DREAD PIRATE would be fantastic. An achievement from sinking 5 player ships. You get a flag that you host and a treasure location only for you and the crew. But after a minute everybody on the server is aware of that Island so they sale towards you and you have to fend them off to get your treasure if they sink you, you're title is stolen by them and the treasure locationis given to them and the title can keep changing hands until the chest is cashed
  • I think they should add a building section. Like a campfire, sleeping bags, walls, roof, foundation, storage crates, etc. I think this would add much more roleplaying, Or they can add a little camp section so you can set up like a couple tents and a fire if you want to set up camp on an island.
  • This is a very fun game as is! BUT.. more content is a must to keep players coming back. Leisure activities would be Great i.e fishing, or whaling, or more reason to explore underwater aside from shipwrecks. I believe there is a lot of room to add content and my hope is it's sooner than later. LET US FISH!!!! :]