Updated, 23 August 2018:
We now know the next Bilge Rat Adventure is called Cursed Crews. There is indeed a PVP focus as commendations will centre around ship combat with cursed cannonballs. The Reaper’s Mark is a special flag; by raising it you’ll broadcast your location on the map of every other ship on the server.
Updated, 16 August 2018:
As per this Developer Update video, the next Bilge Rats Adventure will bring Cursed Cannonballs into the world. Commendations will be earned based on how you use them, and who you use them on. This addition will add a “lot of value around exploring and finding these, and deciding how to use them”…
We’re deep into Cursed Sails at the moment, and while some chatter has been given to the topic of how Skelly Ship Battles will live on after the event, we’d not yet heard any murmurings of what’s in store for the next Bilge Rat Adventure, until now.
In an comment thread on Reddit, Rare’s Drew Stevens answered a question about possibly introducing a “down-side” to alliances, due to the mutually profitable nature of the current arrangement (allied crews get 50% of the loot value when turned in by another crew, while the crew turning in the loot still get the full value).
I really hope this means you’re planning on looking into adding a downside to being in an alliance. Myself and my friends are getting tired of Sea of Hugs. Nobody attacks anymore, they just want to form alliances and mooch off of each other’s quests.
Sure, I can just choose not to, and attack them instead, but that’s counter productive […] There’s no downside and the benefits are essentially free.
Stay tuned for our next Bilge Rat Adventure – Interested to see how the addition of the Reaper’s Mark plays alongside alliances.
The Reaper’s Mark! Wait, what… is… that?
With this in mind, and with Stevens mentioning the Reaper’s Mark in the context of a counter-incentive in alliances, It’s very possible the next Bilge Rat Adventure introduces a PVP focussed challenge.
The full idea from The Crow’s Nest may be too deep for a 2 week adventure. But could something along the lines of a “tag” system, where marked players must kill or be killed – with rewards involved, of course – be on the way? And how might a PVP focussed incentive then potentially “live on” in the world of of the game, as the skelly thrones, gunpowder-skellies and mermaid statues have?
I’ll be on the grog while we wait to find out.