That game about pirates that's kind of cool but also a disappointment has been around for a year. Over a year, technically, but that won't stop Rare from celebrating Sea of Thieves' birthday with an Anniversary Update. Like any big update, it promises new story content, an exclusive mode for PvP enthusiasts, and the introduction of exciting mundane activities like fishing. Forget all of that, though. The real winner here is the enhanced ship combat, including harpoons!
The Anniversary Update brings Sea of Thieves to version 2.0. The full patch notes show just how big the update is, enough to earn it that "2.0." While we've already covered what the new PvP Arena mode and story-driven Tall Tales will bring to the table, we have yet to talk about the truly amazing feature of the update: better sea battles!
The buccaneers already familiar with Sea of Thieves' sailing mechanics know that the game's ships have a lot going on. Unlike other sailing games, you don't just press a button to lowers the sails like you're stepping on a gas pedal. The crew has to actually raise anchor, unfurl the sails to the right length, and patch holes in the ship's hull during combat. The Anniversary Update aims to make ship battles more involved by allowing sailors to target these individual parts of the ship.
It used to be that cannon fire would just put a hole in the ship, forcing crew to patch it up as water poured in. That still happens, only now you can actually target the same hole to make it bigger. It'll cause an even greater panic as the crew scrambles to fix it before they meet their watery grave. If you prefer to draw out the battle, you can target the enemy ship's mast, wheel, or capstan (the anchor control). Damaging these specific parts will affect your opponent's ability to maneuver or even escape at all. Then the harpoon fun can begin.
Every ship gets two harpoons, doubling the fun. The obvious function is shooting them at enemy ships to stop them from getting away or to draw close and board them. However, Rare also added some more creative uses. You can use harpoons to pluck enemy pirates off their ship or rescue your crew mates. You can even yoink treasure right from under an enemy's weirdly huge nose.
Sea of Thieves might have failed to live up to its launch hype, but the Anniversary Update seeks to bring the game back from Davy Jones' locker. Harpoons definitely make a compelling argument in favor of the game. So does the fact that you can get three months of Xbox Game Pass for $1 right now in the Spring Sale. One dollar to shoot some harpoons is a steal Jack Sparrow can only dream of.