Sea of Thieves is shutting down the Arena, and it's a good thing

It's a pirate's life for them (Image via Rare Limited)
It's a pirate's life for them (Image via Rare Limited)

Sea of Thieves has had a pretty smooth sailing for the last year or two. The team at Rare Limited has worked its way to garner the trust of almost 25 million players in 2021. Thus, it's a bit difficult to come to accept that Sea of Thieves is shutting its door on Arena.

Home to some of the most competitive pirates out there, the Arena was a place to test the mettle of the sea's finest. But a lack of interest has forced the developers to pull the plug, and honestly, it might be for the better.


2022 is shaping up to be the biggest year for Sea of Thieves

And that is precisely the reason why closing the doors on a less favorable game mode is a good idea. Senior community manager j0toro explained in an official forum post why the team took such a drastic step.

The forum post pointed out that since the launch of The Arena, it had only managed to pull in 2% of the player base of Sea of Thieves consistently. In addition to the small player numbers, The Arena never met the original goal as to provide an alternate way to play Sea of Thieves.

I've heard stories of these (Image via Rare Limited)
I've heard stories of these (Image via Rare Limited)

Keeping in mind that the Arena was a feature released back in 2018 and stopped getting any developmental support in 2020, one can see how this is not at all feasible for any developer. Based on that decision, from a financial and workload standpoint, The Arena became a hassle to maintain even in its base state.

The action of shutting down an entire mode, while difficult to come to terms with, makes sense when taking into account how much newer content is already in the works. Keeping something alive that only 2% of the player base engages with is not a financially sound decision.

Standing by such a decision is a bold but necessary move

Something, something...jar of dirt (Image via Rare Limited)
Something, something...jar of dirt (Image via Rare Limited)

We have to give some kudos to Rare Limited for that. The Arena, no matter how difficult to manage or balance, is a part of the game. It's a design decision that the team decided to put their faith into and unfortunately, it failed.

However, unlike other games, Rare Limited is deciding to cut its losses and move on to greener pastures. Most developers don't take such steps to avoid facing massive community backlash. The only other famous developer to do such a thing is Bungie with their Destiny Content Vault, which gets flak regularly.

Sea of Thieves is receiving its largest content update in 2022. From Adventures to Sea Forts, Mysteries, Shrouded Islands, Pirate Legend Voyages, and much more, Sea of Thieves has enough wind on the sail to see this year through. Rare Limited will need all hands on deck to make sure everything is running smoothly. Thus, The Arena has to give up space for others to thrive.

🗺 The Sea of Thieves 2022 roadmap 🗺Raise the anchor, drop sails and chart a course for a year of Adventures, Mysteries and stories to remember! Learn more about our plans in the Sea of Thieves 2022 Preview Event: #SoT22

The dev team isn't leaving people empty-handed though. For all the players who have played in The Arena with dedication, the team is giving them a bunch of skins and ship decorations for their trouble. It's important to note that these aren't retroactive so only players who've played the Arena up until now will be eligible.

It'll take them some time to flesh out all the small details on how the mode will be removed and how all the rewards will be sorted out. Until then, players will be able to progress however much they like and they will be able to get the standard rewards.

Sea of Thieves players are free to progress in the Arena until March 10, which is when the devs will pull the plug.

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Edited by R. Elahi
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