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Sea of Thieves' long-awaited private servers arrive next week

As part of festive update.

A screenshot of Sea of Theives showing several pirates stood on a dock holding a picture frame aloft and posing inside it.
Image credit: Rare/Microsoft

It's taken five and a half years of asking from the community, but Sea of Thieves' oft-requested private servers are almost here, with Rare having now confirmed they'll arrive as part of the multiplayer pirate adventure's third major Season 10 update on Thursday, 7th December.

Private servers will be available under the new banner of Safer Seas mode, which'll co-exist alongside the current shared world experience - officially renamed High Seas. Safer Seas lets up to four friends crew a single ship across a private version of the world and access all PvE content - ranging from emergent events to Trading Company quests and narrative-driven Tall Tales - without needing to deal with other players.

It is, then, pretty much exactly what people have been asking for since Sea of Thieves' launch back in 2018, albeit with a number of restrictions. Features including Guilds, Hourglass Factions, and live-service events such as Gold & Glory are all unavailable, and Rare is capping Trading Company progression at 40 in Safer Seas, meaning it won't be possible to reach Pirate Legend status without returning to High Seas mode. Additionally, gold and reputation for Athena's Fortune or their Reaper's Bones counterpart won't be earnable.

Sea of Thieves News - November 29th 2023.

Most of that sounds sensible, but Rare is going a bit further; players who've become Captains in the core mode won't be able to use their customised ships in Safer Seas mode for some baffling reason, and, more significantly, the payout rate in Safer Seas has been massively reduced, capped at 30% of the amount you'd ordinarily earn in High Seas. It's a decision that smacks a little of Rare furiously capitulating to PvP players and does rather sour the long-awaited mode's arrival, but it is at least still possible to work through Commendations and Achievements - and, most importantly, seasonal renown is rewarded at the same rate as High Seas.

Alongside Safer Seas' arrival next week, Rare has announced a Gifts & Glory event, running from 8th to 24th December, which will reward players with gold, a flag, cursed chest voyages, and festive fireworks if they log in during that time. Players that log in between 30th December and 2nd January will unlock the Grogmanay tankard (or a second notch if they've received it previously), and Rare is also bringing back a number of festive cosmetics in the premium store.

And, as previously announced, there's a community weekend happening from 2nd to 4th December, with various boosts to rewards if that's your thing. The big event, though, is next week's launch of private servers which, as a reminder, will be available from 7th December.

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Sea of Thieves

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Matt Wales

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Matt Wales is a writer and gambolling summer child who won't even pretend to live a busily impressive life of dynamic go-getting for the purposes of this bio. He is the sole and founding member of the Birdo for President of Everything Society.