Sea of Thieves competitive Arena Mode arrives soon in Anniversary Update

We covered Sea of Thieves anniversary update late last month, noting that players will get new quests, fishing, and a whole PvP arena. However, it wasn’t until recently that anybody got to try it out. At least until now. During a recent press event, Eurogamer reporter Matt Wales went hands-on with the Sea of Thieves competitive Arena mode and returned from the experience still reeling from his “24-minutes of swashbuckling carnage.”

To start, Wales claims that Arena mode takes place in a closed off version of the traditional map, which is now “Adventure mode.” Rounds last 24 minutes, and five crews of up to four players fight to gather the most gold coins. It’s all “one big treasure hunt,” he says, where every team starts with a bundle of maps. From here, players race to find all the treasure before their rivals.

Basically, this is a competitive take on the gameplay mechanics from the traditional game. However, there are a few additional changes. For example, players earn coins from doing pretty much anything to hinder the other teams. One team member can race around, simply tapping on chests instead of collecting them, while another can sneak onto the enemy ship and steal their hard-earned treasure. Then, groups can focus on sinking enemy ships to gain even more points.

On that note, ship damage has changed a lot too. Ships now takes variable damage, with cannonballs taking out pillars, wheels, and other parts of the vessel. Different hits affect your steering and sailing, which makes things more difficult for a captain. Another new addition is the dual-harpoons weapon, which can lock onto enemy ships while pulling in friendly players from the sea. These add-ons address some of the biggest complaints with Sea of Thieves, in that the combat was limited, with most scenarios feeling exactly the same. Now there are a ton of different fighting methods that result in each experience feeling unique.

Finally, there’s a new fishing mechanic as well. Wales’ description makes it seem like a simple but necessary add-on. Players can chill out, throw out their line, and hope for rare fish, which can be eaten for extra health or sold for some gold. Still, the Sea of Thieves Arena mode seems to be the biggest pull here. This free update is available on April 30th for Xbox One and PC players.