Rare has unveiled Sea of Thieves' final launch trailer in anticipation of the game's release next week, and it offers a first glimpse of its long-teased kraken in action.

The kraken is one of several launch features that have yet to be shown in Sea of Thieves' numerous pre-launch stress tests and betas. And in its livestream last night, Rare took the opportunity to detail a few additional features coming to the swashbuckling multiplayer pirate adventure at launch and beyond.

Sea of Thieves' third quest-giving guild, The Order of Souls, is already known quantity. It's the PvE-focussed portion of the game, and revolves around collecting skull from unfortunate undead bounties. However, these missions will introduce a couple of previously unseen opponents at launch, adding a bit more strategic variety to proceedings.

Gold skeletons, for instance, are adorned with heavy armour and can take a lot of damage in their default state. Get them wet, however - either by luring them into water or by emptying a bucket over their head - and they'll momentarily rust up, weakened to your attacks.

Shadow skeletons, meanwhile, gain increased power from the darkness - but are notably weakened by sunlight or, in moments of desperation, the glow of a crew mate's lantern.

Elsewhere, Rare revealed that Sea of Thieves' launch build will include hidden lore books, helping to enrich the game world and offering further incentive to go out and explore its distant landmasses. Lore books apparently detail the mysteries and long-lost pirate legends of the world, some even revealing special quests or rewarding explorers with new shanties.

As previously revealed, the overarching goal for pirates at launch will be the attainment of legendary status. This gives access to your own secret hideout and a fourth quest-giver that specialises in a new type of voyage - leading to unique chests and new kinds of rewards. However, this initial end-game will expand with the game's first major update, which should also include pets and ship captaincy, bringing personal, permanent vessels.

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Ah, blue skies.

Promisingly too, Rare says that post-launch will see a regular schedule of updates and live campaigns, introducing the likes of time-based goals and new characters that will help pirates uncover more of the world's lore. One such campaign event is apparently planned for soon after launch, introducing a new way to play, progress, and earn.

Additionally, the developer says that it's eager for feedback, and will continue to make adjustments to the core experience post-launch. In fact, the launch build itself will incorporate a number of community suggestions following the recent betas. The divisive pick-a-pirate feature, for instance, will now allow you to save favourites before every refresh so that you no longer need abandon a potential pick.

Elsewhere, the combat auto-lock-on is no more (which should make skeleton forts a whole lot less infuriating), and changes have been made to spawning. No longer will players get stuck in a looping battle - once a ship has gone down, all defeated crew members will now be returned to a new island, rather than back in the sea for endless retribution.

It sounds like launch day on March 20th is just the start for Rare's grand multiplayer escapade, and, as an eager pirate wannabe myself, I'm genuinely excited to see what swashbuckling adventures await on Sea of Thieves' horizon.

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Matt Wales

Matt Wales

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Matt Wales is a freelance writer and gambolling summer child who won't even pretend to live a busily impressive life of dynamic go-getting for the purposes of this bio. He is the sole and founding member of the Birdo for President of Everything Society.

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