Following a rather low-key end of 2021 - in which Sea of Thieves players got buriable treasure, some fancy fireworks, and the ability to sit on things - Rare is ready to step things up again for the piratical multiplayer adventure's first big update of 2022, bringing Spanish-style sea fort raids and more when Season 6 arrives this Thursday, 10th March.
We do, of course, already know much of what Season 6 has to offer thanks to Rare's early 2022 blow-out, in which it detailed its ambitious plans for the year. If you missed that, though, the first big addition comes in the form of six Spanish-style sea forts dotted around the map. These imposing edifices, sucked into the Sea of Thieves as part of the game's new ongoing storyline, essentially function as solo-friendly, on-demand World Events, serving up a swifter, more streamlined experience compared to the likes of Skeleton Forts.
Unlike those events, which appear on rotation, sea forts can be activated at any time, whereupon crews must scour their elaborately decorated innards room-by-room, bringing down enemy Phantoms along the way. By successfully storming a sea fort, players can acquire a treasury key, used to gain access to the spoils within.
And, rather niftily, crews can use any sea fort they clear as a temporary base of operations, with each one including the likes of an interactive map to plot out their voyages, cooking apparatus to prepare food for the trials ahead, and cosy fireside seating for pre-quest relaxation.
In something of a departure from previous seasons, Season 6's other big addition won't be arriving on launch day. Instead, the previously announced new replayable Pirate Legend voyage - a sort of multi-part story campaign that's remixed with new challenges in different locations on each subsequent playthrough - will arrive in the second half of Season 6. It's unclear if this is down to unforeseen development issues or otherwise, but it's certainly nice to have a big new feature to look forward to around the time things usually start to quieten down mid-season, so perhaps we might see more of this sort of thing in the future!
Elsewhere, Season 6 will introduce the usual 100 new levels of progression, complete with unlockable rewards across its free and paid tiers, plus new cosmetics in its premium store.
And of course, in amongst all this (although oddly not mentioned in the Season 6 trailer above), will be the next three chapters in Sea of Thieves' ambitious new ongoing story - which so far has seen mysterious forces moving in, shrouding islands in a sinister green fog - with a new chapter set to arrive at the start of each month. It's a great idea, although the execution proved a little lacking in its opening chapter - so here's hoping for some improvements along the way.
We'll find out how everything comes together when Sea of Thieves' Season 6 launches for Xbox and PC this Thursday, 10th March.