Sea of Thieves update and news: what’s new on the Sea of Thieves

Swashbuckling has come back in a big way with Rare’s sandbox multiplayer pirate adventure, Sea of Thieves. Since first hitting Xbox One and PC in March 2018, the developer has been working on a host of post-launch patches and free DLC – with more staff working on the title now than in the run-up to its original release – and keeps attracting millions more players by offering continual improvements and additional content to the game’s community.

And as an open-ended online service game, there’s plenty more to come. To help you keep on top of what’s new and what’s coming up, we’ve put together this handy page which will be updated with all the latest announcements.

Don’t forget to take a look at our full Sea of Thieves review as well as our guide to survival on the high seas. 

What’s new in Sea of Thieves?

The second free expansion came in July, in the form of Cursed Sails, which introduced cursed pirate ships crewed by skeletons into the game world. 

A natural extension of the pirate forts, these ships also introduced special cursed cannonballs for a whole new layer of tactical warfare. Fancy getting hit by a cannon ball that could make you drunk? We’re torn too.

A patch in early August brought a number of small but appreciated tweaks, including longer time windows for collecting floating treasure items, and a change to let players hear battle music from further away.

The end of The Hungering Deep – the game’s first expansion – also brought a lot of changes for the online seafaring adventure. The Bilge Rats are now a fully-fledged faction in the game alongside the other existing trading companies. Rather than regular quests, they offer fixed-time activities every week or two.

Missions are increasingly geared towards the kind of cooperative gameplay Rare envisaged for the game upon release – before finding players were wont to just attack any other ships that came their way.

Completing in-game tasks or battling the bigger sea monsters out there now require more collaboration – while the new Alliances feature lets you team up officially with other players for taking on those dangerous skeleton crews.

Don’t worry though: there’s still plenty of room for some underhand piracy for those who don’t play nice.

What’s coming up in Sea of Thieves

The next big content update planned for Sea of Thieves will be Forsaken Shores, scheduled for this September.

When Forsaken Shores comes in September it will bring an entirely new section to the map, introducing it with a brand new story line. Players will be able to find their way into this portion of the game world and when talking to the Sea of Thieves team during E3 2018 we discovered it’ll be an inhospitable volcanic area, made up of islands which could erupt and send stones raining down on ships. 

There will also be a brand new ship designed just for crews of three and the introduction of a handy rowboat for getting to shore and avoiding sharks.

As far as other long-term plans are concerned, Rare apparently intends to add new guilds for a wider-variety of missions at some point and also extend the end-game for those who eventually achieve Legendary Pirate status.

How can I play it?

Sea of Thieves is now available on PC and Xbox One. It’s possible to purchase the game outright, but you can also pick up an Xbox Game Pass subscription where the entire game is included. 

If you’re not sure whether Sea of Thieves is for you, picking up a Game Pass trial for free and playing the game for a short time through it is a good way to find out.

The game is not a port for PC or Xbox, it works equally on both and supports cross-play. While the console version has locked frame rates of 30fps, the PC version’s are unlocked. Mouse, keyboard and controllers are all supported across console and PC. 

  • Don’t miss our full Sea of Thieves review

Three has teamed up with EasyJet to give you cut price holidays with your next phone deal

Three and EasyJet have teamed up to make your next mobile phone deal one to write home about…from wherever it is you choose to fly! Yup, you could grab yourself a great deal on a smartphone and get holiday vouchers and privileges thrown in to sweeten the exchange.

Get a new phone deal or contract from Three (with 12GB or more data) and the network will send you a voucher to get  £150 off your next EasyJet holiday. On top of that, you also get special treatment at the airport with EasyJet Plus Bag Drop also included. This lets you leave your carry-on bag at check-in with it coming off the plane first at the other end. You even get a free tote bag so you can carry essentials on the flight.

And by pure chance (probably), Three has also just revealed a new set of tariffs that give you a whopping 30GB of data, for the usual price of 12GB. That’s an enormous amount of data, which works in over 71 countries thanks to Three’s Go Roam coverage. And that’s not including the unlimited Snapchat and video streaming from the likes of Netflix, which are included for free on Three.

The deal runs for the next four weeks only, so be quick if you want to get involved. You can head straight to the Three website to take your pick of phones including Apple’s iPhone 8, the gamer-friendly Razer phone or the brand new Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Or simply cast your eyes to the bottom of this page to choose your perfect deal with our Three comparison chart.

Fly with Three…

If it all sounds a bit too good to be true, then it’s definitely worth checking out the Ts&Cs for this offer here. For example, the vouchers are only available to use on EasyJet holiday packages – they can’t be used on flights alone.

What’s more, you have to book for a minimum of three nights with two people or cost at least £800 (including flights, hotel, baggage and transfers).

So there are restrictions, but if you were just planning your next getaway and need a new mobile phone deal, then get yourself over to Three to see if you can take advantage.

  • Discover all of today’s best mobile phone deals

Everything we learned at QuakeCon 2018

QuakeCon is an annual convention held by ZeniMax Media to promote its major franchises, including Bethesda and id Software. This year’s event was held August 9-12 in Dallas, Texas, with the keynote focusing on free-to-play Quake Champions, a closer look at Rage 2 and Elder Scrolls Online: Wolfhunter, and the world premiere gameplay reveal of Doom Eternal.

Missed out on the live action? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything we learned at QuakeCon 2018…

Doom Eternal gameplay reveal

Probably the most anticipated part of the QuakeCon keynote was the gameplay reveal of Doom Eternal. At E3 2018 we heard very little about the enigmatic Doom sequel and only saw a brief teaser trailer, with the developer explaining that more would be revealed at QuakeCon – and it most certainly was.

Creative director Hugo Martin and game director Marty Stratton took to the stage to make the announcement, calling Doom Eternal a “pure, unfiltered action FPS experience”. To achieve this, the team has created the most powerful Doom slayer we’ve seen yet, with enhanced armor and an arsenal of badass new equipment, including a shoulder-mounted cannon with flamethrower, an extendable blade, and a new dash ability. 

Add to this an upgraded selection of guns and mods, and the new and improved Doom slayer is deadlier than ever before. But you need some enemies to use these weapons on, right? Well Bethesda has you covered there, too.

Doom Eternal will see the return of fan-favorites such as Pain Elemental and Arachnotron, alongside an array of brand-new demons like the Doom Hunter and the hellish Marauders. But sometimes you can’t prepare for everything.

An all-new Invasion mode allows other players to invade your campaign as a demon, creating extra obstacles and making your journey through the infernal worlds a lot more difficult.

Doom Eternal will launch for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC and Nintendo Switch with a release date TBA.

Check out the gameplay trailer below:

Free-to-play Quake Champions

A free-to-play version of fast-paced Arena shooter Quake Champions has been launched. Despite being in early access, the developer assures new players that they will be treated to a “constantly updated game experience” with new champions, modes, cosmetics, improvements and events planned for the future.

The free-to-play version comes with two Champions, Ranger and Scalebearer; however additional Champions must be bought with real-life currency or in-game rewards. 

Quake Champions is free to download from the Bethesda Launcher or on Steam. You can have a look at the launch trailer below:

Rage 2 extended gameplay

We’ve already seen quite a bit of Rage 2, but the extended gameplay trailer shown during the QuakeCon keynote gave us a closer look at the seamless open world.

Set 30 years after the original Rage, Rage 2 takes place after a global catastrophe which essentially wiped out life on Earth. The world is beginning to recover, but the Authority (a militarised force) is using extreme measures to shape the wasteland in the way it sees fit – whether everyone likes it or not.

Alongside the Authority, the wasteland is home to an array of bandits and rebels, such as the lawless Goon Squad and the technologically-advanced Immortal Shrouded. Each faction has its own weapons, combat styles and vehicles, with the trailer giving us our first look at the enemy convoys. 

Take a look for yourself:

The Elder Scrolls Online: Wolfhunter DLC launch trailer

We already knew The Elder Scrolls Online: Wolfhunter DLC was on the cards, introducing two new four-player dungeons and pitting you against the Daedric Prince Hircine and his hounds (werewolves). The latest DLC for The Elder Scrolls Online is out now.  

Here’s the official launch trailer:

Bethesda Game Studios expands

Escalation Studios has become the latest addition to Bethesda Game Studios. The studio, based in Dallas, Texas, has previously worked on Fallout Shelter on Nintendo Switch and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR, and has started making contributions to the upcoming Starfield and Fallout 76. 

  • Here’s everything we know about Doom Eternal so far

The best Samsung Galaxy Note 9 pre-order prices in Australia compared

Samsung’s latest monolith of a phablet has officially been unveiled, and we’ve now got the lowdown on what makes the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 special.

The Note 9 has been announced in two different colours – Ocean Blue and Midnight Black – as well as two configurations, one with 128GB of onboard storage for $1,499, and the other with an unprecedented 512GB of storage for $1,799.

With prices like this, it seems that Samsung is going for the throat of the iPhone X, but is this work-meets-play powerhouse enough to sway Apple die-hards? And does this generation of the Note offer enough promise for those upgrading from the Galaxy Note 8?

For more in-depth thoughts, check out our Samsung Galaxy Note 9 hands-on review.

See also: Galaxy S9 deals | Galaxy S9 Plus deals | iPhone X deals | Galaxy Note 8 deals

The best Samsung Galaxy Note 9 plans

Given the $1,499 starting price of this monolithic handset, there’s a good chance you’ll want to soften that blow with a 24-month contract. Although the plans are still fairly steep, some come with some excellent bonus offers and other neat ways to reduce the wallet-damage.

It’s worth noting that, for pre-orders, every carrier is offering the 512GB model at the same price as the 128GB model, so there’s literally no advantage in getting the lower capacity configuration.

  • Read more about the Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Spotify is testing unlimited ad skipping for Australian users on the free tier

One of the restrictions you have to put up with if you don’t give Spotify a monthly subscription fee is having to sit through a certain number of ads while your music plays. Now the music streaming service is toying with the idea of letting users on the free tier skip these ads if they want.

The idea, Spotify tells Adage, is that users only hear the advertising they’re actually interested in and advertisers get an audience that’s more engaged with what they’re trying to sell (and wouldn’t pay for skipped ads). It’s potentially a win-win for all involved.

“Our hypothesis is if we can use this to fuel our streaming intelligence, and deliver a more personalized experience and a more engaging audience to our advertisers, it will improve the outcomes that we can deliver for brands,” says Spotify’s Danielle Lee.

Listen up

At the moment the feature is only being tested in Australia, and there’s no indication if or when this is going to roll out to the global Spotify community at large. If it does, it’s one less reason to sign up for Spotify Premium – remember that the free tier is one key difference between Spotify and Apple Music.

Back in April Spotify gave non-paying users more control over their playlists, up to a point, letting them play a selection of recommended tunes in any order they like – normally, being stuck with shuffle is one of the restrictions of free Spotify on mobile.

We’ll have to wait and see whether the ad-skipping idea makes it out to the rest of Spotify, but this looks promising for users who don’t want to cough up a subscription fee. At the last count, the streaming service had 170 million monthly active users, with 75 million of those paying customers on a Premium plan.

  • Soon you’ll finally be to able to edit your Spotify playlists on Android

Via The Verge