Rare managed to strike gold with Sea of Thieves earlier in the year. The game ended up becoming one of the more notable releases on the Xbox One this generation thanks to its unorthodox approach to multiplayer and seafaring adventure. Well, the game will be expanding even further next year with a brand new update that adds a competitive arena mode to the play options.
The trailer for the new content was rolled out during this year's X018 event that took place in Mexico. The event played host to a number of big announcements from Microsoft, including the release date for Crackdown 3, and, of course, the reveal for the competitive arena mode for Sea of Thieves. The trailer features a pirate talking to the viewer and explaining that he's introducing the audience to The Arena.
The trailer features a look at the competitive mode and its content. It's not actually the kind of PvP arena you may have been expecting. Most people assume that a pack with "Arena" in it means something like the battlegrounds in World of Warcraft or other MMOs where players are tossed into a pit or a coliseum and must battle for survival. In this case the arena in The Arena pack is more of an area out in the open sea where a number of players will compete against each other in a number of challenges.
As showcased in the trailer, there will be naval combat, treasure hunting, melee combat, and a race to capture as many chests as possible and score as many points to overcome the competition.
There's a lot of layers to The Arena mode and it seems to extend the intensity of the PvP to a whole new level. A lot of gamers are actually quite excited about the new content pack following up on the series of expansion packs that Rare and Microsoft released for Sea of Thieves throughout the year, including the addition of the megalodon, which required a series of steps to be completed in order to summon the megalodon, along with teaming up with another crew on a separate set of ships in order to defeat the beast. That kind of asymmetric cooperative play really helped lure in a lot of gamers and add some additional replayability to Sea of Thieves.
In a way, the biggest criticism of the game was just a lack of endgame loops to keep people playing in the open-world watery sandbox. Rare has been attempting to address fan criticism and add and improve the game to keep people searching for more treasure, finding new items, and questing for additional customization items. The lack of pay-to-win features also ensures that no one is paying into the game for better gear. It still requires actual skill in order to get good and become a competent pirate.
According to the comments, some gamers have claimed that they picked up an Xbox One just to play the game. Rare and Microsoft have been promoting the Sea of Thieves Xbox One S bundle over on the game's official website, so it's not surprising that some people eventually bit the bullet and bought both together.
You can look for Sea of Thieves: The Arena to go live in early 2019 for Xbox One or on Windows 10 for PC.