Sea of Thieves Guide: How to Earn Hoarder of Ancient Tributes Commendation

Here's how to earn the Hoarder of Ancient Tributes commendation in Sea of Thieves newest update.

The latest Sea of Thieves update has arrived at the shores of Xbox and PC players everywhere. In it, players can chase a lucrative new kind of treasure chest, the Chest of Ancient Tributes, on their way to unlocking new rewards like exclusive ship sails and those ever-elusive commendations.

In this Sea of Thieves guide, we'll focus specifically on the Hoarder of Ancient Tributes commendation, which players unlock for selling a total of 50 Chests of Ancient Tributes.

To do that, you'll need to understand the new kind of voyage that rewards the chests, as well as the voyage's many steps. Here's how to find a Vault Key, solve the Vault puzzle, and get out alive with a Chest of Ancient Tributes.

How to Find a Chest of Ancient Tributes

Step 1: Purchase an Ancient Vault Key voyage from the Gold Hoarder or Larinna at any Outpost

If you've been playing Sea of Thieves a while, you already know who the Gold Hoarders are. They're the money-loving quest givers found inside the small green tents on any outpost.

Larinna, however, is new. Mysteriously replacing Duke as representative of the Bilge Rats, Larinna also doles out Vault missions right now. The missions are totally free, so we recommend you take up her Vault missions while they're available.

Step 2: Follow the Golden Wayfarer Compass to find Torn Map Parchment Pieces

Once you've got an Ancient Vault Key voyage, vote for it on your ship to initiate the voyage, and you'll find a new quest item in your radial menu: the Golden Wayfarer compass. 

This unmarked compass will point you toward an island housing at least one part of a map you'll need later. Set sail in the direction the compass is pointing. You won't know which island you need to land on until you get closer. 

Eventually, you'll come ashore on the correct island, and you'll notice the arrow on the Golden Wayfarer will begin to shake back and forth, leading you closer to the digging spot.

This shaking will intensify until it begins to spin wildly around and around. That means you're standing right where you should be, so dig!

What you'll find is two-fold: most important is the sliver of a map, so dig that up and grab it to automatically add it to your quest inventory.

But this will also spawn some skellies. You can run away if you prefer, but it may be good to defeat them, as one or two will drop trinkets you can sell later.

Step 3: Locate the island where the Vault Key hides

With the first of four map pieces in your virtual pockets, you'll want to inspect the map piece closely for two vital details:

  1. Does it have the X  as in "X marks the spot"?
    • If not, you'll need to keep searching for more map pieces using the Golden Wayfarer.
  2. The other detail you'll want to find out is whether you can make out which island is shown on the map based on the visual so far.
    • If you can identify the island, you'll know where to go, which means once you find the piece of map containing the red X on it, you can skip finding the rest of the map pieces.

This part of finding the Chest of Ancient Tributes is procedurally generated, so the X could appear on your first map piece or you may need to wait until you've found the complete map before you have all the information you need.

Once you have the entire map, though, head to the island shown and dig at the X like you would for any ordinary chest quest.

What you'll find there is a Vault Key. Its full name will reveal which island the Vault is hidden away on, while the inscription you can read on it is like a riddle suggesting where to look on that island.

If you've done the Tall Tales, you may recall some or all of these Vaults. The color of the key will also reveal how much loot to expect inside the Vault.

The tiers range from Stone to Silver to Gold, but guard each of them with your life as they'll be the go-to theft target for any unwelcome pirates nearby.

Step 4: Head to the island hiding the Vault of the Ancients

Head to the island named on your Vault Key. When you arrive, use that inscription to track down the Vault doors. Beside the vault doors, there will be a place to use the key, but don't insert the key right away!

Once those Vault doors open, you'll have precisely 3 minutes to explore inside the vault before it locks quickly and fills with water, killing you and leaving the rest of the treasures locked away unless you go and get another key.

Vaults are loaded with treasure, so it's important to use your time wisely.

Inside of a Vault, you'll find various riches such as:

  • Treasure chests of various rarities
  • Piles of gold on the ground (pick up by holding "X")
  • Three medallions
  • A secret Chest of Ancient Tributes locked away

These Vaults make it clear that Vault quests aren't best played by solo pirates. A crew of at least two but really three or four pirates is the best way to tackle them so you can maximize your earnings in the 3 minutes.

Step 5: Solve the Vault Puzzle

Assuming you have a crew, assign roles before you insert the Vault Key.

A good way to assign roles here is to: 

  • Have one person assigned to picking up chests
  • Another assigned to picking up gold piles
  • Another assigned to finding the medallions

It's these medallions that are most important if you're in it for the Chest of Ancient Tributes.

To find the medallions, look for especially bright glimmers around the Vault, keeping in mind that there will be some element of platforming too. Be sure to:

  • Look above
  • Climb ladders
  • Walk across wooden footbridges 

Once you've found the medallions, take them to the ornate center table and place them one by one where prompted. Each time you do so, the small pool in the middle of the table will reveal a symbol.

You'll want to match these symbols in the table on the pillars in the room, left to right.

The first three medallions will each reveal one symbol, while the final pillar should be turned to the image that includes all three other pillars' images combined. 

For example, if your first three pillars show a skull, a lock and key, and a vertical chain, the fourth pillar should feature all three of those images.

Pay close attention to the details, as things like chains and lock-and-key images can come in several orientations, and you'll want to replicate those details precisely.

As your crew is quickly moving other riches out of the room, assuming you've solved this Vault puzzle in time, you'll have unlocked the Vault's most wanted item: a Chest of Ancient Tributes

Step 6: Escape and Cash In

(photo credit: Gamepedia)

Grab the Chest of Ancient Tributes and get the heck out of there! Remember that with the other chests or this special one alike, you shouldn't try and get them on your ship just yet. That'll take too long.

While the doors remain open, just moving items to the other side of the Vault entrance will suffice. That way, once they lock you out for good, you should have a nice pile of loot just outside and still obtainable.

With the Vault closing after those 180 precious seconds, hopefully, you made the most of your time and, if nothing else, solved the puzzle and escaped with both your life and a Chest of Ancient Tributes. Head to any Gold Hoarder to sell all your riches, as always.

How to Earn the Hoarder of Ancient Tributes Commendation

The Chest of Ancient Tributes will net you around 3,600 gold, equating it to about three Captain's Chests. Now you see why they take so much work.

And now that you know how to perform the long process of getting into a Vault, you'll want to do it around 50 more times to unlock the Hoarder of Ancient Tributes commendation, which will net you new cosmetics (and plenty of gold).

Selling exactly 50 such chests is what the commendation calls for, but we say "around 50" because there's always the chance you fail to escape with the chest, you have it stolen from you later, or perhaps you speed up the process by stealing them from other players.

After your first successful sale of a Chest of Ancient Tributes, you'll also unlock a separate commendation, the Seeker of Ancient Vaults, unlocking the Ancient Vault sails. But it's the Ancient Tribute Sails you'll earn for unlocking the latter commendation.

It's elusive for sure, and it will take a determined crew, but if you follow our step-by-step guide and follow the Pirate's Code, you should be flying the illustrious sails soon enough. 

That's all you need to know about maps, vault keys, Chests of Ancient Tribute, and getting the Hoarder of Ancient Tributes Commendation in Sea of Thieves.

Check out some of our other Sea of Thieves guides here on GameSkinny:


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 Oct. 7th 2021

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