Sea of Thieves' treasure-hungry Gold Hoarders faction is getting some much needed love next Wednesday, 9th September, in the form of a new tomb-raiding puzzle quest type which arrives as part of the multiplayer pirate adventure's newly revealed Vaults of the Ancients update.
The Gold Hoarders are the only one of Sea of Thieves' original three Trading Company factions yet to receive a new quest type, with the Merchant Alliance introducing Cargo Runs back in 2018, and the Order of Souls expanding to offer their wonderfully entertaining ghost ship battles earlier this year. From next week, though, Gold Hoarder representatives at outposts will give players the option to hunt down keys required to open ancient vaults - used to store the faction's unimaginable wealth - that are scattered across the Sea of Thieves.
As detailed in Rare's latest Sea of Thieves developer video, these new quests will consist of two parts. The first sees players on the hunt for the key itself, using the fragments of a treasure map to piece together its location and retrieve the chest it hides inside. From there, pirates have a choice: either turn the key in or (and I'm not sure what the incentive is to not do the following) use it to open the corresponding island vault and claim its treasure for themselves.
Those that decide to raid a vault will face what Rare calls a "high intensity in-and-out loot grab". It's not entirely clear how the sequence will play out, but pirates will be able to search for ancient medallions hidden amongst a vault's mountain of treasure if they so choose, placing them in the altar at the centre of the room to reveal the clues required to solve a puzzle and unlock a hidden chamber containing an especially valuable chest.
Mechanically, these appear to be built on the column-spinning puzzles seen quite often in Sea of Thieves' Tall Tales, but there's a race-against-the-clock element that will hopefully shake things up and provide additional risk-reward thrills. It looks as if a vault's door will start to close as soon as players enter the room, forcing them to choose between the easy option of grabbing the low value chests strewn about the place and making a run for it, or attempting to solve the more involved puzzle before the door slams shut in order to secure greater rewards.
Elsewhere in next week's update, Sea of Thieves' premium pet roster will expand to include the previously announced (and adorable) dogs, and Rare has now given us a look at the third and final dog breed it held back from its Gamescom showing last week:
Additionally, Vaults of the Ancients introduces new accessibility options, alongside the ability to select less obtrusive island reveal banners (or to turn them off altogether) to keep ammo and health visible at all times. It also sees the arrival of an "immersive in-world way" for Rare to recommend new content and experiences, in the form of Mysterious Notes. These will appear in players' quest radials and give them a welcome nudge toward any new activities they've yet to experience as they're introduced through monthly updates.
That, then, is pretty much it for Sea of Thieves' Vaults of the Ancients update, although Rare notes it will be holding a variety of (currently undisclosed) activities to celebrate this year's Talk Like a Pirate Day on 19th September.