I don’t really follow Sea of Thieves that much. It seems like it’s gotten really cool since its anniversary update and the Shores of Plenty, but the emptiness of it at launch still puts me off to this day. That said, big changes like the Dark Relics update entice me to give the cartoon piracy sim another shot. Among other things, the patch brings rowboats with harpoon guns. Harpoon guns! The trailer for the Dark Relics update in Sea of Thieves even features these showboats skitching off of other, bigger ships. Clearly the developers are onto something.
The more portable harpoons are just one of several permanent additions to the game, too. Rare is also adding sinister supply drops called Reaper’s Chests. Like everything else in Sea of Thieves, these only seem to net you in-game currency for cosmetics. But Reaper’s Chests are visible to everyone in the game world. That’s sure to entice players to get into scuffles for treasure — something I genuinely loved even at launch. The tension of PVP isn’t something I want to experience every single night, but it is undeniably exciting.
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The real star of the Dark Relics update (for those who somehow don’t care about baby boats with harpoon guns) are the titular relics themselves. They’re part of a new limited time event in Sea of Thieves. You basically undertake side quests to gather the Dark Relics, smashing piratical bonies on the way, and bring the loot back to port. You’ll get Commendations, gold, and reputation with the Order of Souls faction for your trouble. This sounds like a decent way to boost your rep and achieve the Pirate Legend status. Apparently. Again, I don’t play this game. I just work here.
Fighting skeletons and bringing back their doodads seems an awful lot like 99 percent of everything else I did in Sea of Thieves. Hence my lack of excitement about this particular addition. But hey! At least you can earn some new cosmetics. They seem appropriately snazzy (i.e. eerie) for the dimly lit event, too. You can get an exclusive ship’s wheel, cannons, and a capstan. These will only be available during the Dark Relics event, too! And there’s no telling if they’ll ever rotate back into Sea of Thieves. If you want them, you better get them soon. The event only lasts a few weeks.
Even after that, though, there are still more permanent improvements in this Sea of Thieves update. Hit detection — for melee and ranged attacks — has been improved. That’s good! Combat has never been the game’s strong suit, so making it feel a little firmer is a welcome change. Speaking of which, there’s a new type of barrel that can house all kinds of goodies. Not the least of which is gunpowder kegs. The Dark Relics patch notes suggest using these as “inconspicuous floating ‘mines.'” And that just sounds dastardly.
There are also more options for controller customization. So you can tune the game to your liking better than ever. And harpoons harpoon better in general — not just on rowboats. They can snag meat from killed sea creatures and gunpowder kegs, so you don’t have to leave either behind. I don’t know if that’s enough to get me back into Sea of Thieves just yet, but it does sound like a real treat for the people who already love the game.