Sea of Thieves Beginner's Guide: Tips for Getting Your Sea Legs

Gather the best tips and tricks collected by an Alpha and Beta tester of Sea of Thieves. Get the advantage on those scalawags before this upcoming blockbuster is released!

Is there anything better than smelling the fresh saltwater with cool wind blowing in your hair and seagulls chirping up above? Well, how about a jam-packed article on how to dominate Sea of Thieves with your fine mateys? Aye! Grab your booty and parrot and get readin'! 

Getting Your Pegs Wet

As of now, there's no telling how the game will start out when you first log on with your friends; there's expected to be a lot of changes between the ending of the beta and the launch day. But what is certain when you and your mates board your very own ship is how to sail like a boss! *cough* I mean, uh, pirate lord? So how do you and your crew take on the daunting task of commanding a ship? It's gonna take a lot of teamwork, quick thinking, and resource management to keep yourselves afloat. 

Pick a trustworthy crew or it could mean the end of a pirate's life.

Now, to traverse the seas at a high level of efficiency, there's certain roles the crew must first assume the responsibility of. Preferably, you'll want a maximum crew count of four players, but these roles can be shared amongst smaller crews as well.

Captain Cool

Starting off with a no-brainer, you need a captain to steer your ship and issue out the commands. This is your undisputed leader of the vessel, and as such, this position needs a microphone to discuss strategies, request sail adjustments, or even assign jobs.

As the captain during the beta, I typically decided whether or not we would attack a ship we spotted, when to cash in our chests, or when we'd go restock our supplies. You always want to be a leader and make the important decisions. 

Eagle Eye

Next is a spotter. Spotters need to be very flexible depending on what needs to be done and are just as vital as any other position. Whether locating yourself at the top of the crow's nest, behind the captain, or at the tip of the ship, you must constantly communicate with crew members on important points of interest. Such points include resource barrels floating alongside your ship, sharks lurking near swimmers, loot-able shipwrecks, hazardous rocks and cliffs, and especially enemy ships! If you fail to mention any of these details to your crew, you may find yourselves at the bottom of the ocean in no time.

During beta gameplay as a spotter, I would typically be the one to check the map to make sure we were headed the right way. It's hard to see past your ship's big sails as a captain, and they'll definitely need the directional help. 

The Brawn

Now, we're on to the side-help. This aren't sexy roles like captain or spotter, but they're just as important. These guys are the cogs of the whole ship and determine how fast and how safe your ship will be. This position usually lowers and raises sails, as well as angles them according to the wind direction. Also on the sides are cannons. Use cannons to clear out skeletons before approaching an island, slay sharks before diving in water, or (obviously) sink opposing ships. 

This is a very busy position in my opinion. I'd recommend this spot to the players who don't mind PvP, resource management, and taking commands.  

Ahead of the Pack

With the basics out of the way, we can dive into my more advanced tips that will give you the advantage over other starting pirates.

Anchor and Attack

This process is actually pretty difficult to pull off, but if you can perfect it before other crews do, you'll have the upper hand in every ship-to-ship battle moving forward.

If you find yourself in a situation where you see a ship coming after you from the opposite direction, you'll typically reach a stand-off. Both ships will pass by each other, and the crew will fire cannons off the sides, trying to sink the other first. Once your cannon is out of line with the enemy, you're going to have to take a big, long turn to be within range again. 

Stand-offs are a very common occurrence sailing the seas.

The most efficient way that I found to turn a ship in the heat of battle actually involves stopping the ship. How do you do this? Well, the second your cannons are out of line with the target, have your crew drop the anchor while the captain turns the wheel all the way to the left or the right. This will stop your ship, yank its direction in whatever way the wheel is facing, and essentially perform a drastic pivot. Immediately send three crew members to raise the anchor while the captain straightens the ship. Now you're tailing the enemy ship and have the upper hand in firing first.

This trick is also useful when an enemy is trying to escape from you or when you've passed a point of interest and want to quickly turn around. 

Sword Diving

There's a mechanic in Sea of Thieves where your character can hold RT and charge up a powerful sword lunge. Its purpose is probably for breaking someone's defensive stance or swiping at a target slightly far away. But there's another trick that you can perform by using this move.

If you stand on an elevated platform, such as a dock, boulder, side of a ship, or even crow's nest, face the direction of water and charge up your sword lunge. You'll suddenly fly through the air, dive through the water, and swim between 20-30 feet in a matter of seconds. It's a great way to get from point A to point B fast. I've personally used it to dive to my friend's defense with a shark nearby in the water, but it's great for getting back to the boat quickly, too. 

Human Cannonball

Shoot yourself out of cannons for quick travel.

This game mechanic is probably my favorite in Sea of Thieves, and it's what makes playing it so fun. You can shoot yourself out of cannons! I often used the cannons to shoot myself either onto enemy ships or onto parts of the island I thought had treasure. It saves you a lot of time hiking!

The Master Baiters

If you're lazy like me and want all the other pirates in the sea to do the looting for you, then listen closely. In order to gain currency, you have to turn in the chests you find on quests at nearby outposts. One of my favorite ways to pass time was to camp at one of these outposts, drink a couple beers at the local tavern, and wait on enemy ships to come by looking to cash in on their hard day of work. 

Once the enemy docked and exited their boat with precious treasure, my crew ambushed them and stole all the booty! After they were all dead, we took the chests to the quest master, and he rewarded us for a job well done! Is this super cheap and infuriating to other players? Yes! But that's what being a pirate is all about. 

God Save the Bananas

When diving under water, especially while searching sunken ships for abandoned treasure chests, you'll have a limited amount of time before your character can't breathe anymore. The screen will get darker, and you'll hear yourself suffocating. It's actually quite a terrifying experience!

Bit by bit, you'll lose health as you're drowning, and eventually death greets you. But if you're smart, your pockets will be filled with bananas! Yes ... bananas. These bad boys can be eaten underwater and keep your health from hitting rock bottom. 

Suddenly run out of bananas while deep sea diving? The sunken ship you're scavenging should have barrels inside them full of bananas that you can use to restock.

Call the Repairman

When your well-respected captain makes some questionable steering mistakes, your ship is gonna get walloped. If the ship hits the beach or a rock, and especially if it gets shot, your hull is gonna burst open with holes. This allows a huge amount of water to build up in the bottom deck of the boat and will soon sink it if no one repairs it. Gather up some wooden planks stored in your boat to board up the holes quickly. I always kept myself fully stocked on wooden planks so I didn't waste precious time going to get some. Make sure to pail out the water on the deck fast!

Wind Fighting

When our crew found themselves going against the wind, it was hard to determine a correct sailing angle. If you put your sails towards the wind, your boat will be going extremely slow. If you push them all the way left or all the way right, your whole boat will lean towards one side.

A way to find a happy medium is to aim the front and back sails one direction, and then aim the middle sail the opposite direction. This way your sails aren't fighting the wind, but your boat also isn't tipping towards a particular side. You still won't be going that fast; however, it's the better alternative to fighting the wind. 

Aye, You're an Expert!

Now that you've got all my tips down, you'll surely have a huge advantage on release day of Sea of Thieves. If I missed any tips or if there are ways to improve upon my own, feel free to comment and share your advice!

Contributor

Published Feb. 9th 2018

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