With the season of spooky fruit mutilation behind us, Sea of Thieves is readying to trade one lot of festivities for another, and will be getting into the spirit of celebration when its jam-packed fifth season sets sail this Thursday, 2nd December.
Unlike Sea of Thieves's third and fourth seasons, which went all-in with their big headline features - the Pirates of the Caribbean Tall Tales and Sunken Kingdom map expansion respectively - Season Five is focussed on delivering a pleasingly diverse grab bag of slightly less flashy but no-less-welcome additions and quality of life improvements.
One such long-requested new feature will finally enable pirates to bury their own treasure, leaving their mark on the Sea of Thieves for other pirates to discover. Treasure maps are generated on-the-fly as players start to hide their valuables on an island, and these can then be posted on quest boards newly added to outposts and sea posts.
Once a map has been submitted, other crews can accept it and go on a mini-adventure of your own making - and any treasure successfully found will be award gold and renown to both the questing crew and the pirates that buried it. Let the tidal wave of treasure maps featuring crudely draw male genitalia fashioned from bright red crosses commence!
That's far from everything in Season Five, however. It also introduces a selection of new and improved tools, including themed fireworks, purchasable from the Merchant Alliance, which essentially appear to function as giant (and extremely pretty) sky emojis. These are joined by handy new flares to fire out of cannons, including a red one - useful for alerting your crew mates to an incoming threat should they be elsewhere on a large island - and a white one bright enough to illuminate its surroundings, ideal for a bit of night time treasure hunting.
There's also an upgraded speaking trumpet, which can be used to whisper directly to another player without being heard by anyone else - perhaps handy for a spot of piratical plotting - and a bit of enhanced environmental interaction in the form of sitting (!) and sleeping. Finally you can perch your bum in the captain's seat or plop your bot on the ship's plank. Sleeping, meanwhile, can be done on any ship's bed and, while seemingly added primarily for its role-playing potential, will also restore some health.
And if snoozing isn't your bag, then how about a rowboat WITH A CANNON STUCK ON THE FRONT? Yes, now you can sneak around the back of an enemy ship while they're distracted and launch a surprise secondary attack from another angle - although the recoil on these things looks pretty immense in the Season Five trailer above, so you might need to choose your shots wisely less you inadvertently propel yourself over the horizon. Alternatively, you can dock the enhanced rowboat to the back of your ship for some added firepower on the starboard side.
And still it goes on; there are three new shanties to play, new ammo pouches that drop on defeating skeletons and phantoms for a convenient munitions top-up, a free dice-throwing emote (hopefully it'll display a random result each time, which could have both practical and entertainment uses), plus new live-in guests in the form of ship's rats. These bring a bit of added life to voyages, scurrying around below deck and fleeing en masse in times of dire straits.
If that's still not enough to be getting on with, Season Five also adds some welcome quality of life improvements, including new markers designed to make it easier to find floating meg and kraken loot, the frankly game-changing ability to transfer the entire contents of a barrel into a storage crate with one button press, AND animated mouths for pirates which will open and shut in time with your own voice.
Alongside all that, Season Five brings a refreshed progression track, featuring 100 tiers of both free and premium rewards. Freebies include the festive Bell Brigade clothing set, fishing rod, and snow-globe-style lantern, while the paid tier includes a rather fetching aurora-borealis-inspired ship set, and the chilly Creeping Cold costume, which comes in three ice-cool variants.
Cosmetics lovers can also climb the refreshed trading company leaderboards to earn new Emissary rewards, and there's a special celebratory ship set - bedecked with everything you need to ring in the New Year, from fireworks cannons to a grog fountain capstan - plus matching clothing and weapons, that can be unlocked by completing seasonal commendations.
And finally, expect new additions to the paid Pirate Emporium, including new Pirates of the Caribbean themed goodies, new Frozen Horizon equipment and instruments, plus a free festive emote for those that want to make like a tree.
All the above are showcased in Sea of Thieves' latest trailer, which you'll find further up this page, and you'll be able to get your salt-chapped fingers on the whole lot when Season Five launches for Xbox and PC this Thursday, 2nd December.