Sea of Thieves The Arena: A Tips and Tricks Beginner's Guide

Sea of Thieves' new PVP mode, The Arena, is 24 minutes of sheer pirate chaos. Use our guide to get the pegleg up on your rivals.

Along with The Hunter's Call and the Shores of Gold story campaign, Sea of Thieves' third pillar of the new Anniversary Update is The Arena.

The Arena is a brand new PvP mode separate from the main game, which is now referred to as Adventure mode. In the arena, six galleons square off in a hectic battle for sea supremacy. Players have 24 minutes to dig for gold, steal from other pirates, sink their ships, and cash out as the best crew. 

Only one foursome can prevail, so if you're looking to get your feet wet, use our guide for some beginner's tips.

Assemble a Faithful Crew

The very first step seems obvious, but if you overlook it, you may be dooming yourself from the start. As The Arena only allows for galleons, the game's sturdiest but highest maintenance ships, you'll want to load out with a full crew of four.

Playing The Arena with fewer pirates by your side gives you a massive disadvantage, as it's the most team-oriented activity in all of Sea of Thieves. It would be like fielding a baseball team with only six players. 

Ships facing off in Sea of Thieves' Arena mode

If you don't have three players in your regular crew, take advantage of the Xbox and Windows Looking for Group (LFG) feature, which will allow you to search for co-op parties featuring like-minded Arena-bound players who will usually be less likely to ditch you should things start slow. In my experience, if you do have an undersized team, it may be best to reset in a new lobby.

How Scoring Works in The Arena

The Arena introduces an exclusive new currency to the game: silver. Though silver won't buy you anything anywhere else in the game, it's used as the scorekeeping metric in this new mode.

There are several ways to score in The Arena:

  • Kill a rival pirate: 5 silver
  • Attacking an enemy ship: 25 silver per on-target cannonball
  • Dig up a chest: 100 silver
  • Turn in a chest to a sellpost (marked by their colorful flares at sea): 1,000 silver
  • Have your ship sink: -1,000 silver

Though the scoring system doesn't allow for you to drop below 0, the massive detriment of having your ship sunk means it's crucial to minimize (or better yet, eliminate) the number of times this happens. Much of this guide will thus be dedicated to staying afloat.

Remember that it's also called The Arena because you're playing on a smaller area of the map, and going out of bounds in The Arena has the same disastrous effects as going off the full game map in Adventure mode.

Earn Commendations with The Sea Dogs

The second of two new ranked trading companies in Sea of Thieves is The Sea Dogs, those responsible for putting on The Arena competitions.

Lore hounds may already be very familiar with DeMarco Singh, the showrunner and star of the tie-in comic book series, but if you're just concerned with impressing him in the game, you'll have another 50 ranks to level up, as well as a bevy of new commendations, centered on The Arena:

  • Sharpshooting Sea Dog: Kill players with a pistol in The Arena
  • Swashbuckling Sea Dog: Kill players with a cutlass in The Arena
  • Deadeye Sea Dog: Kill players with the Eye of Reach in The Arena
  • High Calibre Sea Dog: Kill players with a blunderbuss in The Arena
  • Iron Sea Dog: Kill players with cannons in The Arena
  • Master of Arms: Kill players in The Arena
  • Seeker of Silvered Loot: Dig up chests in The Arena
  • Treacherous Sea Dog: Deliver stolen chests in The Arena
  • Keeper of Silvered Loot: Earn Silver in The Arena
  • Sailor of Silvered Waters: Complete contests in The Arena
  • Captain of Silvered Waters: Place in the top three in contests in The Arena
  • Master of Silvered Waters: Place first in contests in The Arena

As with The Hunter's Call, these new commendations offer tiers and achieving the highest tier for three of them (Sharphooting Sea Dog, Deadeye Sea Dog, Captain of Silvered Waters) unlocks new Sea Dogs cosmetics, the likes of which NPCs around The Arena tavern may be seen wearing.

Determine Roles and Start Fast

As soon as your crew is loaded onto your ship, there's no time to waste. With five other teams all in possession of the same treasure map as you, things don't take long to get wild.

Raise anchor, drop the sails, and head off for your island. Communication is key. Decide which pirates best suit each role. In my experience, keeping three players on the ship with one digging on the island is the best approach, but others may prefer a two-and-two setup. 

On the way, make sure you've loaded all of your cannons, too, and carry all the bananas and coconuts you can. The Arena is an especially aggressive mode because of the small map and the often singular destination in the minds of every pirate at the sea. 

A galleon cannon aims at another galleon

Have your best captain steer, another pirate calling out nearby dangers or loot, and another operating the sails and cannons. When entered into battle, you'll likely want three players on the ship versus two because the ships can sink very fast. Your best melee combatant should head onto the island, and ideally, they'll be the best at locating chests, too.

Sometimes multiple maps will be available, but in a full lobby, this still rarely results in you getting some shores to yourself. Be on your guard at all times as at sea, other ships will love to cannon you, and on island, rival pirates are often glad to let you dig up the treasure before they kill you for it.

Hide Your Valuables

There will always be several chests to dig up at the start of a game, and it's often going to be more efficient to head to shore, dig up multiple chests in one trip, and then transport them back to your ship. In the meantime, it's unwise to leave your chests sitting out in the open, so take advantage of an island's geography to hide your chests. Stashing them in thick greenery or in a dark corner of an elaborate cave system means you'll know where to look while others do not.

The chests disappear from everyone's maps once they're dug up, just like in Adventure mode, so being the only person in a lobby to know where a particular chest is can create a much-needed advantage.

Take Advantage of Expanded Ship Damage

Though the three pillars of the Anniversary Update have been getting all the headlines, some quality of life updates elsewhere deserve special attention too, especially in The Arena.

Expanded ship damage comes in the form of bigger hull leaks when the same areas are hit multiple times. Bigger holes means faster sinking. You can also cannonball an enemy ship's capstan, wheel, or mast, crippling other pirates in never before seen ways.

As sinking ships in The Arena delivers a massive blow to your rivals' score, it's one of the best ways to gain ground or maintain a lead, and by diversifying your targeted areas, you'll have other players running in circles trying to stay afloat.

Never, Ever Anchor

Simply put, there's never going to be a good time to anchor in The Arena. In every case where you may think to do so, like when an on-island crewmate is returning with loot or you're about to cash them in at a sellpost, it's always better to adjust your speed as needed using the sails. Circle your targeted island and use the harpoon gun when it's advantageous, like pulling loot or crewmates aboard from shore very fast.

Anchoring is always slower, especially if you don't have your full crew ready to assist. Dropping your anchor turns you into a sitting duck for the volleys of cannonballs that make up the cacophony of combat in The Arena. Don't get caught sitting like that!

Spring a Trap at the Sellposts

In addition to sneaking up on digging pirates, stealthier players can also wait at sellposts to attack other pirates as they come to cash in. This isn't the fastest way to score, and it may be best to use this method only after you've built up a lead for yourself, thus hurting other crews' chances to cash in for the huge 1,000 silver payouts.

There are cannons available on the sellposts to attack oncoming pirates and ships, and of course, it's wise to have your own weapons ready to go too, should they climb aboard the post.

Because a dead pirate will respawn on their ship, a well-executed sneak attack can net you 1,000 silver for cashing in a chest you didn't dig up or transfer. It's not the noblest strategy, but it can be the difference between victory and defeat.


This concludes our guide on The Arena in Sea of Thieves. If you need to catch your breath following the chaos this new game mode provides, why not check out our guide for The Hunter's Call where you can improve your fishing and cooking skills? Or our guide on where to find Merrick? Or better yet, our Sea of Thieves guides page


Mark is a dad, husband, bicyclist, animal rights activist, and a gamer, of course. You can find him on all platforms covering co-op, indies, horror, battle royale, or whatever else he's obsessing over right now. In addition to GameSkinny, he's been published on GameSpot, IGN, GamesRadar, EGM, Escapist, Official Xbox Magazine, and a bunch of other great outlets.

Published May. 3rd 2019

New Cache - article_comments_article_62766