Sea of Thieves releases their second big update of the summer. Dubbed Cursed Sails, the update brings villainous skeleton ships to scuttle as well as some requested social features.

The skeleton ships are the most obvious new thing in the game. Each region of the ocean has it’s own skeletal fleet menacing it. Each fleet has it’s own cursed cannon shots that can apply effects like making your crew drunk or locking your ship’s steering wheel. Taking down these ship will net you a ton of loot as well as event cosmetics.

Actually fighting the ships is tough. Taking down one skeleton ship requires a ton of cannon shots to sink, and you need to fight waves of ships to clear the event. And depending on the fleet’s skeleton types and curses, the fight can almost seem unfair. For instance, the crew of the Dancing Devil are all shadowy skeletons with cursed cannonballs that will force you to dance for what feels like half a minute. I lost a good number of ships to the Dancing Devil by getting stun-chained while I helplessly watched my boat get blasted apart and sink beneath the waves. Having your own small armada is pretty much necessary to successfully fight the skeleton fleets.

Even with four ships, it took over an hour to take down a fairly tame skeleton fleet. We were forced to scavenge for more supplies from sunken ships just to keep the fight going!

That’s where the new alliance feature come in. You can now officially team up with other players to share loot. You get the full reward for any loot you turn in and everyone in the alliance gets 50% of that reward, so there’s still some room for backstabbing and pirate shenanigans. But for the most part players have chilled out considerably since The Hungering Deep.

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When you’re not fighting skeletons (or more likely waiting for a new crew to spawn), there’s a “story” questline at Golden Sands Outpost. It’s basically another scavenger hunt like the journal quest for The Hungering Deep but it’s not required to actually fight the skeleton ships. Completing it will just earn you a few sail cosmetics representing each region of the sea and a few doubloons to purchase Bilge Rat items.

There’s also the brigantine, a new three-man ship that’s still pretty manageable for one or two-man crews. I love it! It’s got more speed, storage space, and firepower than a sloop and is far less fussy than a large galleon. It’s got a bit of a weird layout -the anchor, map, and banana storage are all on the far side of the ship- but overall it’s a great ship!

It’s also got a shelf and I love putting a chicken friend on it.

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The Cursed Sails event is going on for three weeks, but all the added Content™ is in the game to stay. You’ll still be able to sail in a brigantine, team up with other players, and be accosted by skeleton ships. Sea of Thieves has been pretty good at adding additional stuff lately, and the community that’s sprouted up around the game is far different from the violent mob that plagued the game in it’s early months. But the game is particularly bopping right now, making it a good time to jump in and see what the hubbub is all about.

Zachary D Long is available on the high seas of Xbox and Twitter as invadingduck. He’s still working his way to Pirate Legend, but has met over 10 in the last few days. It’s nuts.