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Skull and Bones’ first season of live-service content, Raging Tides, is here

Skull and Bones, the oft-delayed pirate game from Ubisoft that finally arrived earlier this month following almost a decade of development, has released its first season of post-launch content on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC – introducing, among other things, new world events, new contracts and bounties, plus a battle-pass-style progression track.

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Raging Tides, as Skull and Bones’ first live-service season is officially titled, predominantly focuses on new antagonist Philippe La Peste (AKA the Plague King) and his Fleet of Pestilence. By defeating La Peste’s advance guard, the Plaguebringers, as they spawn throughout the world, players can raise the fleet’s hostility level. Once past a certain threshold, they’ll face a “mighty foe”, which rewards a “rare item” when sunk.

That’s the core of Raging Tides’ new content, then, but Season 1 also adds two elite boss Kingpin Bounties – Jaws of Retribution: Introducing Zamaharibu and Anguish from the Abyss: Rode Maangodin – which run from 5-26th March and 26th March to 16th April respectively.

Skull and Bones: Season 1 Gameplay Trailer


Skull and Bones: Season 1 gameplay trailer.

It also brings three unique contracts (The African Ailment, The Pursuing Plague, and The Encroaching Epidemic) which can be completed to earn seasonal cosmetics for your captain and ship, plus a repeatable contract, Peste Control, which gives players the opportunity to earn Silver and White Skull Gin by delivering two Plaguebringer Captain heads to Robin Blackwood.

And finally, Season 1 introduces Skull and Bones’ first Battle Pass-style Smugglers Pass, featuring a free and paid track. The paid track, according to Ubisoft’s post on the matter, exclusively features cosmetic rewards, while the free track gives players the opportunity to unlock new ship, weapon, armour, and furniture blueprints, alongside cosmetics and more, by earning Smugglers Points through different gameplay activities.

The free pass is actually split into three separate tracks, each catering to a different playstyle – offensive, defensive, or strategic – meaning players can either focus on the track that interests them most or complete all three. Any items that aren’t unlocked before the end of the season will become available for purchase in the Black Market using end-game Piece of Eight currency starting in Season 2. Details on the gameplay tweaks and bug fixes accompanying today’s update can be found in Ubisosft’s Season 1 patch notes.

Ubisoft has so far pledged one year of post-launch support for Skull and Bones, split across four seasonal updates. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a huge fan of the core game when I reviewed it last week, and I’m not sure Season 1 is going to do much to enliven a disappointingly dull pirate-themed live-service grind that – despite some entertaining combat and an often beautiful world – sinks amid boring busywork and tedious traversal. As I wrote in my two star review, “No game, let alone a swashbuckling pirate adventure, should be so consistently dull.”

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