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Sea of Thieves' Season 8 brings new life to PvP with on-demand, faction action

Plenty of booty to be food too, unsurprisingly.

Sea of Thieves Season 8 is on the way, bringing with it a proper port town, proper PvP action, and will see you guiding your ship underwater on purpose.

Developer Rare has attempted to do PvP in the past with the Arena mode, but it was ultimately shut down because hardly anyone played. But now, as shown off in the recent trailer for Sea of Thieves Season 8, a new take on PvP is coming, where players can choose between two rival factions, the Servants of the Flame, or Guardians of the Fortune, but you can switch between the two. Part of Arena's problem was that it took place in a separate area, whereas now PvP will be in the overworld, as an opt-in experience.

If you decide you want to go on the hunt for an opponent, then you'll need to do the unthinkable: sink your ship. Alright, not quite, but you will find yourself diving between the ocean waves as you prepare yourself for the oncoming encounter. Then, once you've found someone to take on, you'll rise up from the depths and commence battle. Don't worry about your opponent sailing halfway across the ocean, as a ring will form around the two ships which prevents you from going outside it, visible on your ship's map.

Of course, winning a fight will net you some gold when you return to an outpost, and you'll get more based on how many ships you've taken down. You'll earn allegiance too, which works similarly to experience you've earned with the trading companies, and is based on what you do for either faction. Take down enough ships and you'll earn an allegiance streak, which can give you more allegiance, but hitting a streak of four will mark you on the map for all to see, so make sure you really art that good a player.

Bringing treasure with you on your ship while you're sailing as a member of either faction will also increase the amount of allegiance you earn, and you'll get even more if you take down ships while defending said treasure. Sailing as an emissary will increase that even further, though it does make you a more valuable target for other players.

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Increasing your allegiance level will also net you various cosmetic rewards too, but the most exciting thing comes at allegiance level 100. Once you hit that high level mark, you'll get access to special, faction-only areas of Athena's Tavern, or the Reaper's Lair, depending on the faction you've achieved the level in (and you do need to be a pirate legend or level 75 reaper to do this in the first place).

There are some exclusive rewards to be found in these secret areas too, with the Guardians of Fortune offering you Athena's Fortune, which allows you to look like some of the ghosts you might have met on your journey. Whereas the Reaper's Lair will let you take part in a ritual to just flat out turn yourself into a skeleton. Plus there's some new character's to be found in there, like the Bonesmith, who lets you customise your boney look.

Lastly, Season 8, which you can expect to play on Xbox and PC next week, November 22, will turn Golden Sands outpost into a fully-fledged port town, a first for the game, and something a bit different for players to galavant around.

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Sea of Thieves

Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC

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Oisin Kuhnke