The long-awaited Sea of Thieves is here, and if you need help understanding what this totally-weird sand-box game actually is, we don’t blame you. The marketing and the actual game differ wildly — this isn’t exactly Skyrim on the seven seas. Instead, it’s all about hunting loot and ranking up with your crew, adventuring with a team of pirates and fighting it out with everyone else on a server.
There is no story or tutorial to speak of. When you’re dropped into Sea of Thieves, you’re dropped right into the thick of a chaotic world where you can die at any moment. Not that Sea of Thieves isn’t a little forgiving, but there’s really nothing here for a solo-player looking for a sea-faring singleplayer adventure. This is all about cooperative multiplayer. With the introductions out of the way, let’s discuss what makes Sea of Thieves kind of special, and what you really should know.
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#1: Don’t Go Alone! Join A Crew
You absolutely must join a crew in Sea of Thieves. Going alone is almost a certified death sentence, and we’ll go into that later. Really, it’s just a heck of a lot more fun playing with a full crew. Currently, Sea of Thieves supports up to six ships on a server — that’s a grand total of 24 crewmates on a map.
Pirates are in it for themselves, so it helps to have a few friendly faces watching your back. Sea of Thieves is a sand-box, and you’re free to conduct yourself however you see fit on the ocean. You can accept quests from the local companies (checkout large islands) or go exploring in search of gold in uncharted waters. Grab a few maps from the merchants to hunt for the big red ‘X’ and work with your crew to fight opponents on the high seas.
#2: … Because You Can’t Steer And Shoot At The Same Time.
You’ll really need your crew if you encounter a hostile ship. Naval combat exists in Sea of Thieves, and a single player can’t shoot cannons and steer the ship at the same time. Everyone has to work together — steering, shooting, and repairing have to be done independently. Interact with damage to start sealing holes generated by cannon shells to avoid sinking.
Not only can ships be sunk, but enemy pirates can actually board your boat. If you’re all alone, things get pretty bad — yes, pirates can spawn camp you.
#3: Hell Is Other Pirates. You Can Be Killed Anywhere, Anytime.
This is what will make or break a Sea of Thieves session for you. Other pirates can kill you whenever they want. That includes your crew. They can kill you whenever you want, and as often as they want. There is no invincibility window, and after respawning, you can be sent right back into the jaws of an attacking crew.
Exploring a new town? Yeah, you can be shot dead in the streets. Looking at stuff to buy at the merchant? Not even remotely safe. Want to turn in your completed quest? Beware that pirate ship and the angry crew waiting for you on the shore. Nothing is safe, and your loot can be stolen at any time. The only thing you can’t lose are promotions.
#4: Select Your Company For Different Types Of Quests
You might be a pirate, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do some work on the side. There are three companies, essentially in-game factions, you can join and level-up for promotions, better items, and new customization for your personal pirate.
- Merchant Alliance: Hunt animals and returns with pelts to get promoted.
- Order of Souls: Hunt Skeleton Captains and return skulls to get promoted.
- Gold Hoarders: Hunt for Treasure Chests and Trinkets to get promoted.
Each of the pirate companies has a different type of quest for you to complete. Take note of the companies, the quest items, the time limit, and the outpost to reach for deliveries. They’re all a little bit different, but essentially boil down to fetch quests.
#5: Rank Up Your Chosen Faction For Unique Rewards
Earning promotions will get your pirate some fancy bonuses — new weapons, new maps, and unique company-specific rewards. Here’s a quick rundown of the rewards you can get for earning top-ranks in each of the three trading companies.
- Merchant Alliance: Admiral clothing and items.
- Order of Souls: Rogue Sea Dog clothing and items.
- Gold Hoarders: Gold Compass, Gold Shovel, Royal Sovereign clothing and items.
Speaking of cosmetics, there’s a few things you should know about pirate creation.
#6: On Cosmetics — What You Can (And Can’t) Change.
Pirate creation, currently, is completely random. You’ll have to select to re-roll over and over until you get a pirate you like. After selecting a pirate, there are some cosmetic features you can change, so don’t fret too much if your randomized pirate includes these features — you’ll be able to change them later.
- What You CAN NOT Change On Your Pirate Avatar:
- Gender, Weight, Age, Hair Color, Tattoos, and Face
- What You CAN Change On Your Pirate Avatar:
- Hair Style (But Not Hair Color), Beard, Add / Remove Eye Patch, Peg Leg, & Hook Hand
After settling on your pirate, you can remove beards, change hair styles, and put on (or remove) hook hands or peg legs. Your foot / hand will regrow instantly, so don’t worry about running around with a stump.
#7: Looking For Ocean Loot? Search For Seagulls.
The sea is a bountiful mistress, and while searching for buried gold, you can also hunt for random shipwrecks or floating flotsam. It might seem impossible to find from far away, but there’s a big flying clue in the sky right above any lost treasure location.
Seagulls! Watch out for seagulls flocking in the sky, and you’ll be able to track down nearby shipwrecks (or discarded treasure) easily. Just scoot over and start collecting.
#8: Skeletons, And How To Defeat Them.
Skeletons are one of the main enemies you’ll encounter while exploring the lost islands of Sea of Thieves. Not all skeletons are created equal, so it’s wise to be prepared when facing off against two particularly tough variants.
- Shadow Skeletons: These spooky specters are extremely powerful in the dark. Take away their advantage! Shine a bright lantern in their face.
- Gold Skeletons: The shiny undead are practically unstoppable, but they have one weakness — water! Bring a bucket full of water and splash these suckers to make them rust instantly.
There are more skeletons in the world, including the elite Skeleton Captains. You’ll have to hunt these powerful opponents for the Order of Souls company. They’d appreciate it if you collected and delivered those captain skulls.
#9: Stuck In The Sink? Swim Towards a Mermaid (Or Merman).
If you’re ever lost in the sea, you won’t have to wait around for too long. A mermaid (or merman) will deliver you back to your ship — or, if your ship is lost, the mermaid will take you to a new ship.
Unfortunately, enemy pirates can carve you up the second you’re deposited back onto a ship. It’s best to hang out with friends. There’s no reason to kill players when they don’t even have any treasure, but people will amuse themselves any way they can. Best to just log out and log back in to a different server if you’re running solo.
#10: Aim Your Cannons Up To Avoid Unnecessary Confrontation.
This is a pretty useful bit of advice — naturally, all pirates want to fight and raid each other, but every so often you’ll encounter friendly ships that don’t really want to fight. They might even work together! You can help bring about that kind of miraculous friendship by showing your ship’s desire for peace.
Instead of leaving your cannons pointed forward, man the guns and point the cannons straight up. That shows you’re not ready to open fire, and that you’re extending a hand in friendship to total strangers. It’s a nice gesture, but you’ll have to be prepared for an obvious eventuality — those pirates might just act like pirates, and fire on your peaceful ship anyway!
#11: Beware The Kraken!
The final tip concerns a creature that didn’t appear in either of the Betas. The Kraken is a massive monster that will attempt to sink your fancy ship with its brimey tentacles. To free yourself of its grip, attack the tentacles that stretch across the hull and attempt to pull it down. When the Kraken gets a hold of you, you’ll have no choice but to fight it off!
While we don’t know exactly when the Kraken will appear, it’s a big, bad opponent. It’s cool enough that this monster actually appears in-game, after some players worried it wouldn’t be added until a later date. Just be aware, the Kraken is waiting under the sea.
Got your own tips for the early hours of Sea of Thieves? Let us know in the comments section!