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Sea of Thieves' second ARG-like Mystery is a hunt for a valuable real-world prize

And it starts next week.

Sea of Thieves is preparing to send bamboozle-proof buccaneers off on another ARG-like adventure, with the multiplayer pirate game's second Mystery, The Hoarder's Hunt, now confirmed to launch next Thursday, 11th May.

Sea of Thieves' first Mystery, which ran from May to September last year, was a lovely idea in principle, weaving a web of devious clues - both in and out of the game - that would eventually reveal the culprit behind the murder of prominent character DeMarco Singh.

It certainly had its moments - the magical in-game lantern given to players at the start of the Mystery, revealing clues wherever its light shone in the world, was a lovely bit of clue-hunting paraphernalia - but, unfortunately, the whole thing just ended up lurching awkwardly to its less-than-stellar conclusion, hindered by a clumsy, immersion-shattering insistence on gating progress behind social media engagement targets.

Sea of Thieves - The Hoarder's Hunt explained.Watch on YouTube

The first bit of encouraging news, then, is that developer Rare has radically rethought the structure for this second Mystery, although the studio's newly released explanation trailer suggests a much-expanded out-of-game component for The Hoarder's Hunt, which is perhaps not the direction players had been clamouring for.

This time, around, you see, the focus is on an "old-school, good old-fashioned treasure hunt", with players battling to be the first to find a real-world prize: a Gold Hoarder skull fashioned from real gold, described as "one of the most valuable prizes" in Seas of Thieves' history.

Those wanting to take part in The Hoarder's Hunt - which will be much shorter than Rare's previous Mystery at just four weeks - will first need to opt-in by signing up on the Sea of Thieves website. After that, participants will get a letter from a mysterious "H" every week of the Mystery, each one pointing to a series of puzzles outside Sea of Thieves that, if solved correctly, will allow them to unlock a Hunt Voyage in-game. And then, come the final week, "all bets are off" as the real race to find the treasure begins.

Rare says it's worked with one of the UK's "top puzzle masters" to come up with some "fiendish" clues this time around - clues that could be hidden "almost anywhere" on the internet. And once players think they've found the answer to the week's out-of-game puzzle, it can be entered into the Mystery website, whereupon all correct solutions will be rewarded with access to the week's Hunt Voyage. This, in turn, will require players to see familiar in-game locations "through fresh eyes" to figure out where H is leading them.

Rare says all this should make for a "more focused approach" compared to its initial, sprawling Mystery, and if that's got you suitably intrigued, The Hoarder's Hunt begins on 11th May.