This week marks the very long-awaited arrival of Sea of Thieves' captaincy update, and developer Rare has shared a detailed video breakdown of its new features - including ship owning, naming, and extended customisation - as part of its new Season 7 trailer.
Those who've been with Sea of Thieves for the long haul might recall that captaincy features were originally planned for the game's very first post-release update, back in 2018. A development rethink after a wobbly launch saw those plans put on the back burner, so it was a bit of a surprise when they finally resurfaced some four years later during this year's not-E3.
And now, with this Thursday's slightly delayed launch almost upon us, we have a much clearer idea of how the update will work, with Rare's new video suggesting at least one of the aims of captaincy is to answer player calls for more to spend their amassed in-game wealth on.
You will, for instance, need to spend gold to initially purchase your own ship, with sloops costing 250,000 gold, brigantines priced at 375,000 gold, and galleons at 500,000 gold. Players are able to have one of each ship at a time, and will be able to name them - up to a maximum of 20 characters - immediately upon purchase. With slightly depressing inevitably, though, ships can only be renamed by spending real money to do so.
Once a ship has been acquired, players can officially call themselves captains, unlocking a bunch of new captain-exclusive features. The most immediately obvious of these is that a ship's state will persist between sessions, including all its cosmetics (although some first require a gold payment to save) and its end-of-session damage. If a ship is looking a little worse for wear, players can have it rejuvenated by forking over yet more gold to the shipwright at any time.
Oh and players can now restock wood, cannonballs, bombs, fruit, meat, and bait at the shipwright for various sums of gold.
Ship customisation options have also been expanded for captains, and they'll be able to decorate the captain's cabin with new designs for tables, drapes, beds, chairs, and rugs. Additionally, cabins can be adorned with unlockable trinkets- ranging from wall hangings to trophies - commemorating their various adventures. And in a pleasingly silly touch, heated battle can knock trinkets askew, so you'll be able to nudge them back into a more orderly configration if you prefer.
Additional ship customisations can be earned through Milestones, a new captaincy progression system that serves as a permanent record of a pirate's time on the Sea of Thieves. This keeps track of everything from the number of times damage has been taken to the number of fish caught, with players able to focus on specific paths inspired by the five trading companies.
Other captain-exclusive features include special voyages that give players more control over the type and length of the activity they want to engage in compared to normal trading company voyages, plus access to the new Sovereign faction. This serves as a one-stop-shop at outposts, giving captains a single place to more easily turn in their treasure for the usual rewards.
And finally, there's the Captain's Logbook which keeps a record of everything a crew has achieved in a current session, including gold earned, miles sailed, days at sea, and more. If a crew manages to sink a ship, they'll be able grab their opponent's logbook and sell it at the Reaper's Hideout for gold and reputation.
All in all it sounds like a fairly major reframing for Sea of Thieves' nautical action, even if the sandbox itself seems largely untouched beyond some reshuffling and repackaging of familiar pieces. As such, it'll be interesting to see just how much of a meaningful impact these new captaincy features have long-term once the initial novelty has worn off.
All will be revealed this Thursday, 4th August, when Sea of Thieves' Season 7 gets underway. Alongside the above, it'll bring 100 new levels of seasonal progression and related rewards, various quality of life improvements including magnifiable maps, portable stools (!), and a fresh selection of limited-time narrative adventures. The next of these will be A Hunter's Cry, taking players beyond the veil when it launches on 18th August.