The Arena

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The Arena is a separate Player versus Player (PvP) game mode hosted by the Sea Dogs within the world of Sea of Thieves.

Overview[edit | edit source]

Every Arena game begins and ends at The Glorious Sea Dog lobby, where players can interact with various vendors and objects, communicate with each other and access the Sea Dog Representatives. Once in game, up to five galleon crews of four compete for Sea Dog Chests of silver that are hidden on Treasure Maps within one of the regions of the Sea of Thieves (with the exception of Devil's Roar). Two stationary Sea Dog seaposts are placed on the maps which house liaisons who accept these chests for silver points. Once all the provided maps have been expended, all crews are given another set of maps. The crew that earns the most silver in the 24 minutes wins The Arena match. Pirates score silver for various actions, such as digging and cashing in Sea Dog Chests or battling other players and ships. Silver is a currency only applicable in Arena matches. The reward for placements is awarded in set amounts of gold.

Elements[edit | edit source]

  • Each arena game lasts for 24 minutes.
  • The arena map is a small circular cut-out of one of the three main regions.
  • Every ship is marked on the map with their designated team colours at all times as if they were in an alliance.
  • Every ship spawns with their capstan down and sails up.
  • Each ship has a set amount of planks, cannonballs and fruits on board. Unlike Adventure mode, Arena ships spawn with Coconuts instead of Bananas, however other fruit are obtainable from Barrels on islands.
  • Every crew gets the same Treasure Maps with up to 25 X-marks-the-spots on a single map.
  • Sea Dog Chests take only 3 shovel hits to dig up.
  • Every Arena map has two turn-in points marked by red smoke pillars.
  • Instead of being sent to the Ferry of the Damned, dead pirates will float above their corpse until they re-spawn, giving them a chance to keep an eye on their surroundings even after death.
  • Sharks spawn more frequently and attack players more often.
  • Not all elements from adventure mode are enabled in The Arena, e.g. Skeletons, Gunpowder Barrels, Cursed Cannonballs or Rowboats, however players can still fish, kill island animals and sharks for their meat and cook them for regenerative effects.
  • Curiously, it is possible to scuttle one's ship in Arena, making it possible to easily get out of sticky situations in exchange for 1000 silver.

Point System[edit | edit source]

Point System
Action Gold
Digging up Sea Dog Chest
Cashing in Sea Dog Chest
Kill Player
Cannonball Hit

Rewards[edit | edit source]

Placement Amount of Points

Teams[edit | edit source]

The Azure Scout.png - The Azure Scout

The Flaming Jackal.png - The Flaming Jackal

The Golden Chaser.png - The Golden Chaser

The Lucky Rover.png - The Lucky Rover

The Regal Hound.png - The Regal Hound

Tactics[edit | edit source]

Due to the open nature of the Arena battles, there are various ways to secure your victory over other teams. Here are some common and less common tactics:

Basic Tactics[edit | edit source]

Roles and Communication[edit | edit source]

Apart from getting chests and securing as much silver as possible, the most important thing in Arena matches is Communication! If every teammate is able to communicate everything they do and see, then your team will already have a great advantage over other ships that don't. This is more difficult to achieve in Open Crews, often making a Closed Crew much more effective. Before the match starts, it is commonplace to agree upon set Roles for each crewmate. The most common role division is to have two people on deck and two people ready off-deck. Note that the best teams are capable of filling up any of these roles and switching on the fly, depending on the circumstances. The main roles are as follows:

Captain/Helmsman:[edit | edit source]

The Helmsman will take control of the ship and give out sailing, maintenance and battle commands to the rest of the crew. The helmsman should stay on the ship at all times if possible and make sure the ship and sails are positioned correctly. The helmsman should have a good understanding on how to maneuver a Galleon, how to read the world map, the wind and enemy players. At the start of the fight, it is best for the Helmsman to run to the Map Table, check the current maps and prepare a strategy for the current match. The helmsman should take note of enemy ship placements, movements and presumed intentions and be ready to act accordingly. A good Helmsman will always call out the required sail positioning and angle, harpoon, boarding and island duty, when to leave and when to return to the ship, etc. This makes it the most difficult role by far, but if done right, will secure the team a great advantage over other, more unorganised crews.

Deckhand:[edit | edit source]

The deckhand is often disregarded, as the role requires less technical skill, however a good Deckhand is the key to having your ship surviving the toughest odds. A deckhand's job is to help the Helmsman maintain the ship. Their main job is to help angle and maintain the sails, handle the cannons, work on repairs, check ladders for boarders and utilize the Harpoon for better maneuverability of the ship, to tack on to other ships for better positioning or to pick up Sea Dog Chests or other crewmates. Like the Helmsman, a deckhand is generally needed on the ship, unless it is safe enough to send them to help the other crewmates with other duties off-board. A Deckhand who is willing to take over repair duty at a moment's notice will keep the crew's ship afloat and going. The main skills a deckhand should focus on mastering are effective handling of the Harpoon and Sails, Cannon fire and in toughest cases basic close combat skills to ward off any boarders.

Boarder:[edit | edit source]

The Boarder's objective is to master both ship and close combat as they will spend most of their time off the ship, battling and hindering the other crews. A good boarder understands how cannon and ship positioning works as they will need to judge the distances and speeds of other ships to be able to board them safely. If a ship is in firing distance, a boarder should attempt to either aim themselves on a ship or in front of one with the cannon. If a ship is behind or ahead, the boarder will need to either jump or sword lunge themselves onto the other ship. Once on board of the enemy ship, a boarder should focus on lowering their anchor immediately and killing anyone who is trying to either catch or raise the capstan as a lowered anchor effectively makes a ship a sitting duck. Boarders can also focus on guarding the cannonball holes on lower decks to prevent the other crew from repairing their ship. With the exception of Food, boarders should also empty their inventory to steal supplies from other ships. Boarders should also generally focus on stealing the chests of other crews. If a boarder notices chests on board of other ships, it's generally a good idea to try and throw them overboard or hide them in different spots to keep the enemy crew from turning them in. Boarders can also stay low on Sea Dog turn-in points in wait of any crews trying to turn in their chest and attempt to kill them and cash the chest in instead. As seen from above, the main skill a boarder should master is killing other players and stopping them from progressing in the game-mode.

Treasure Hunter/Secondary Boarder/Secondary Deckhand:[edit | edit source]

The fourth main role is a more open one and can generally help out with filling any other role, but their main focus should be to find the Sea Dog Chests hidden on the Islands. The Treasure Hunter should acquaint themselves with compass directions, Island map awareness and combat prowess for defending the chests. A Treasure Hunter should focus on either cannoning or dropping themselves off on marked islands and finding all the Sea Dog Chests buried underground. A good Treasure Hunter should also be capable of defending their chests or keeping other crews from digging up any more chests on islands. They should have a knack for hiding chests and remembering their locations as well as calling out these hiding locations or directions of where chests are placed on the island for the Helmsman and Deckhands to pick up. A valid tactic would be to also steal any of the enemy chests and hiding these stolen chests to keep the other crews from turning in the chests. When there is no treasure to dig up, the Treasure Hunter should focus on helping out their crew with either battling or boarding other ships, maintaining their own ship or helping to turn in chests.

The Start of the Battle[edit | edit source]

It is of utmost importance to get your anchor up and your sails down as soon as the match starts. The ships that get on the move the earliest also have the best advantage on the seas. There is not much of a difference between three and four people on the Capstan, so one of the crew members (preferably the captain/helmsman) should focus on checking the current maps and plotting out a strategy for the match. Make sure everyone has the correct weapons and full supplies before heading out into any combat scenarios. If another crew that spawns close takes their time to get moving, it is possible to have one of your boarders cannon over to stop the adjacent ships from getting far.

Capstan Tactics[edit | edit source]

As mentioned in the previous section, you want to raise your anchor as quick as possible to get ahead on other players. Generally, you never want your anchor to be dropped in Arena as it will make you an easy target for other ships. Conversely, this means that when engaging other ships, you will want to target their anchor first, either by cannonball fire or by sending a boarder over to drop it for them and keep their crew from raising it. There are some situations where you can let your anchor drop, but you must make sure there are no ships even remotely close enough to take advantage of it. One is when you need to turn your ship around in open sea and want to pull an anchor turn. For this you need the helmsman to turn the wheel completely to the desired direction and have the teammates drop the anchor. You must communicate this, as an anchor turn is only as effective as the number of people willing to pull it up again. Anchoring is also an option if you need to make a quick stop at a Sea Dog Chest turn-in point and cannot raise the sails in time or if you have little time left in the match, but again, you need to be wary of other ships. If you are alone on an island you can also anchor and pull it up if you need to stop your ship from moving, but make sure you are in safe waters and that your sails are fully up. At all other times, it is not advisable to drop the anchor and you need to defend it from enemy boarders. You should have your sails up instead, ready to be dropped at a moments notice.

Sail Tactics[edit | edit source]

After raising the anchor, getting your sails down and angled correctly is your second priority at the start of a match. You should ideally have at least two people on board to manage sails as it can be very slow to do alone. Two people raising or angling the same sail will effectively triple or quadruple the speed of the action. If you are sailing into the direction of the wind, it is advisable to go for "dummy sails" or have your sails straight into the wind as it will cut directly through the waves, improving your speed by a little bit. If you can spare some speed, it is also advisable to not lower the middle sail all the way, so that the Helmsman can see ahead of the ship. If nearing a destination, you will want to raise the middle sail first (advisably with two people) as it adds the most speed due to its size. Generally the front or back sail will be raised right after and one or the other will be left down to be able to maneuver around the destination if needed. In most cases, the Helmsman will order the raising of the front sail and will deal with the back sail themselves, however the front sail can be left last instead if you need to move the ship for Harpoon play as it is closer to the harpoons. Be mindful that 3 cannonball hits on a sail will break it, so you can effectively inhibit a ship's movements even further by aiming at its sails after getting its capstan dropped, effectively making it impossible for the enemy ship to move anywhere without clearing their ship of boarders and managing to repair the damage.

Helm Tactics[edit | edit source]

The Helm is both the most necessary and often the most difficult part of the ship to take control of in an Arena game, especially when the crew doesn't have an active and designated Deckhand to help the Helmsman, leaving the helm only half attended as the helmsman deals with the Sails, Cannons and Capstan. Ideally it is best to have the Helmsman on the Wheel at most times, so that they can position the ship while the rest of the crew is dealing with the Sails and the rest of the ship. Also, be mindful that when going through a storm, having one player holding the Wheel steady is an absolute necessity unless you are willing to risk lowering your anchor. Taking on any ships in a storm that are not prepared to steady their ship will give you a massive advantage. Be mindful that like the Capstan and Sails, the Wheel can also sustain cannonball damage, making it very hard to turn the ship. Aiming for the enemy ship's Wheel should not be the primary objective, but can help to hinder their movements.

Supply Management[edit | edit source]

You have plenty of supply on board of your ship. Each Arena Galleon is packed with 180 Cannonballs (60 in each Barrel), 60 Planks and 120 Coconuts (60 in each Barrel) so make sure you have your pockets full before getting into a fight. It is good to call out a reminder to get supplies right after you get your anchor up and sails down. If boarders are confident enough, they can try to board other ships for their supplies. A good time to do this would be right at the beginning of a game if adjacent ships are slow enough to get their anchor up. The Barrels that spawn on islands have the same contents as Adventure mode Barrels (with the exception of Cursed Cannonballs), so you can stock up on better Fruits and even Bait when looking for chests. Be mindful that Sea Dog Chest turn-in points have no supply barrels of any kind, but they do have Cannons on each side so it is advisable to take Cannonballs with you if you can line up a shot from them.

When it comes to food, it is also possible to catch Fish and kill Animals or Sharks for their meat and cook it on board of your ship. This will give Boarders the valuable boost of health regeneration, however there is rarely time in an Arena match to prepare these meals.

As a side-note, it is also possible to get different kind of Bait from Barrels on Islands. Bait is quite useless in Arena when it comes to catching fish, as none of the different fish types provide any additional health benefits. It is however possible to eat a grub to make your pirate sick. If you can manage to aim this at a bucket or an enemy pirate, you will have an additional diversionary tactic against foes at Close Combat.

Ship Combat & Cannon Tactics[edit | edit source]

Ship to Ship Combat is more streamlined in the Arena game mode, as you have neither Cursed Cannonballs nor Gunpowder Barrels, so you have to rely on careful maneuvering, boarding and Cannon fire. When approached by enemy ships, or when approaching one yourself, try to position your ship with your sides either in front or behind their ship. This is fairly easy to achieve if the enemy ship is anchored, so try to get your Boarder on their ship, ready to lower the anchor and guard the enemy team from picking it up, or raising it. Alternatively you can try and aim your cannons towards their Capstan and break it or lower it from splash damage. If you can get all four crew-mates on cannons, hitting a ship at close range, then you are more than likely to sink the enemy ship. This would be the ideal scenario, however games are hardly ever ideal and you will have to guard yourself from enemy cannon fire, have someone on repairs and lose deckhands to boarders or boarding. If you are close to an enemy ship, but do not have the necessary mobility to get to the right angle, have one of your crew-mates grab the ship with a Harpoon. The harpoon is ideal for pulling your ship out of the enemy ship's cannon range or into your own, to keep up in speed with their ship or to simply stop them from moving.

On open seas you have to take the wind position to account and manage your sails accordingly. Since all ships in Arena are Galleons, your maneuverability is equal, but correctly angled sails can make just the right difference to get away from, or catch up with a less-skilled enemy crew.

Also note that if you want to guard Sea Dog Chest turn-in points, it is more advantageous for you to wait for your target to approach you, than it is for you to sail toward them, as they can easily pass you by, losing you the game.

If you are being chased by an enemy ship and want to lose them, try to get your Boarders on their ship unnoticed and have them anchor that ship, or simply keep the crew busy and away from managing their ship.

A good crew will always keep an eye out for mermaids and swimming sounds to spot Boarders and guard their ladders. Make sure you do this as well! Keeping an eye out for Boarders and guarding your ladders should be a top priority as a successful Boarder can easily cost you the game.

The Helmsman and Boarder should communicate ship positioning as sometimes you might need an angle ahead of the enemy ship, so your Boarder can try to Cannon themselves off and catch the moving ship's ladder.

You can also use Cannons on Islands, Forts and the Sea Dog Sea Posts, so make sure you have Cannonballs with you, even when you're off your ship.

When it comes to Cannon fire, depending on the situation, there are three different spots you want to aim for and a good Helmsman will know how to call out the right spot:

  1. If you want to sink a ship, you will have to aim below deck. The more (and the larger) holes the enemy ship has at different spots below deck, the faster they will go down. For maximum damage, spread out your shots at different parts of the hull, so that the repair crew has more holes to fix. You can also periodically keep hitting the same spot to keep the enemy crew from patching up that one hole and potentially even try to kill them while doing so.
  2. If you want to hinder a ship's activities, you want to aim top deck. While aiming top-deck does not make a sink ship, you will want to keep their crew away from all the important areas. If you see an enemy pirate going for their cannons, aim at the cannons and see if you can shoot them off or kill them before they get any hits on you. If you want to stop a ship from moving, you will have to prioritise aiming towards their Capstan and staircase. You keep enemies from raising their anchor by aiming at this area, the Capstan loses up to three pins if you keep hitting it. This area is also good to aim at to cover your boarders with cannon fire and to keep the enemy team from moving up or down their top and mid deck. If you want to go the extra mile, you can also aim for the enemy ship's sails and wheel. Each sail takes three hits to be toppled. The wheel can also take up to three hits to keep the enemy ship from turning.
  3. Your last priority should be to fire the mid-deck of a ship, however there are some advantages to this. Of course, the more holes the enemy ships has on their mid-deck, the faster they will sink after filling up to second level. You can also aim at the ladder area to keep enemy pirates from climbing back on their ship or to cover your own Boarders. The last option is to simply farm points, by hitting a ship mid-deck.

Remember that each Cannonball that hits an enemy ship is worth +25 Silver, so make your shots count. Every cannonball that misses the target is potential 25 points lost, so try to avoid taking pot-shots at ships if you are not sure that you can hit them. This fact is also lost to many players as sometimes, simply stopping your ship next to an idle or anchored ship and emptying all your cannonballs at their ship can get you enough points to win a game. You have 180 cannonballs on a freshly spawned ship. If you hit every single one of those cannonballs, you can get 4500 points. A clever Helmsman can position your ship either right next to an opponent's ship, or just out of range and have the crew offload their cannons on the top deck so that the opposing ship won't sink.

If you feel like your Cannon fire isn't as up to snuff as you'd like, you can practice the firing arc, angles and movement in Adventure mode by trying to hit adjacent islands or rocks when at sea.

Harpoon Tactics[edit | edit source]

The Harpoon is something you want to master as soon as possible for Arena, as it is a very powerful tool for mobility, chest and crew-mate retrieval. The Harpoon can be tricky to aim as it shoots high. You can predict the destination of the Harpoon by imagining a cross-hair at the exact middle of your screen. With enough practice, you will start to gauge the exact spot where the harpoon will hit. Luckily, Sea Dog Chests are large and easy to grab, but wave and ship movement can still make harpooning difficult, so be sure to get some practice in!

If your teammates dig up any chests on an island, it's good to have the ship docked nearby on the island, so that your Treasure Hunters can leave the chests nearby the harpoon to be picked up by Deckhands. You can also retrieve your teammates, enemy players and oddly, even dead bodies. If your teammate is bringing the last chest to your ship, you can tell them to turn their back to the Harpoon, instead of facing it, so you can pick up both them and the chest in their hand at once.

As stated in the previous sections, Harpoons are also very good at maneuvering your ship around. When you are close to islands or larger structures in the sea, you can essentially perform an anchor turn without dropping the anchor, by having the Helmsman turn the wheel to the desired side and having a Deckhand pull the ship around the corner of any harpoonable structure. You can also utilize the Harpoon to pull your ship closer to an island or away from it. The surrounding area of any Island has shallow water, so you can also use the harpoon to turn your ship quicker. Have one of your Deckhands shoot low with the harpoon, grabbing land and pulling you to the desired side.

The Harpoon is also valuable at keeping up with other ships or positioning your ship around them, but watch out, as anyone sitting on a Harpoon is an easy target for cannons or firearms.

Close Combat[edit | edit source]

Despite what some Arena players think, Close Combat is actually the secondary mode of PvP in the Arena. This means that Close Combat alone will not necessarily win you fights. If you have a godly Boarder who can keep a full enemy team busy, then this is absolutely going to give your team an advantage, but a single boarder will not win you the game. This is reflected by the measly +5 Silver that you get from killing an enemy player. Therefore, you should not focus your game plan on simple PvP on board of ships, killing the spawning infinitely (although is is a valid tactic for hindering any real competition). Close Combat should be approached more creatively in an Arena game, as should your weapon choice.

The main situations where close combat is favoured is either when you board or get boarded, or when you need to defend a chest or kill someone digging one up or turning one in. You might also want to leave a Boarder on a turn-in Seapost to catch approaching ships with chests off-guard. This way, your team might be able to steal the chests from their hands and turn it in right there. Despite Boarders doing all the heavy lifting in Close Combat, it is advisable to get practice in this form of PvP regardless of your role, as you will have to defend your own ship or chests from enemy boarders no matter who you play as.

Many pirates swear on the Cutlass as a mainstay of their arsenal. This is due to the increased mobility it offers (Sword lunges can get you off ships, on ships, away from trouble and even kills) and the way how a sword combo stuns the enemy player from taking action if caught in it. If you are favouring a Cutlass, make sure to learn how to block and dodge as well. Generally, Pistols, Eye of Reach and the Blunderbuss are used as secondary weapons, but it is also possible to fight effectively with two guns. For example, you can kill an enemy pirate if you can land both an eye of reach and pistol shot in succession. These firearms are especially good underwater if the enemy is carrying a Cutlass as you can pin them down before they can ever reach you. However, be mindful of your ammo count and refill at the Ammo Chests on ships or islands. The Blunderbuss is a good option for boarding as a full blast from close range can either kill a pirate or knock them back (preferably off their own ship!).

Sea Dog Chests[edit | edit source]

Last, but not least, we get to the main objective of the Arena game-mode: The Sea Dog Chests! These chests will currently earn you a 1000 Silver, meaning that each chest that you turn in, is worth as much as 40 Cannonball hits or effectively a single sinking of your ship. Every crew should prioritise getting as many of these as possible and keeping the other crews from digging up or turning in any of their own. This means that you will have to pay careful attention to the title cards that tell you which team discovered a chest and where their ship or crew-mates are situated. Paying attention to this information, will determine the strategy of your match.

Remember that every competitor in an Arena match has the same Treasure Maps with the same chests. If you can keep an eye on which chests are dug up and where, you can also assume where enemy pirates are located, or where they might hide their chests.

If your ship is in proximity to other contestants or if the Island you are digging on is contested, or far away, then you will want your Treasure Hunters to try and hide the chests for safekeeping. Hiding chests is both a good tactic to keep your chests safe and a way to stop your enemies from cashing in any chests of their own. If you manage to kill an enemy player with a chest and hide the chest from them, then they will have to spend all that extra time to find it. Getting acquainted with any popular hiding spots is also a good skill to have for any Treasure Seeker so that you may be able to find any chests hidden by other players.

A good tactic for a match would be to leave a player on a less profitable island that you are passing by for a more profitable one. You can have your crew-mates cannon or swim off to the island, dig up the chests, hide them and save them for later as a safety net. When enemy teams are inattentive, they will forget about the islands as soon as new maps appear and you can safely return there later for extra points.

There are many places to hide Sea Dog Chests on your ship, so get creative. You do not want Boarders to have an easy time of finding a chest and jumping or dropping off with one. The most popular hiding spots are right behind the Harpoons, between Cannons, in the Captain's Quarters (expert players can even get the chests to stay on top of the door or on the cosmetic shelves!), below deck and on the balconies.

When turning in Sea Dog Chests, consider if there might be any castaway players on the Turn-in point. If the possibility is there, have a player check the seapost for any enemies before you start offloading your chests.

Time Management[edit | edit source]

Work in Progress

Scuttling the Ship[edit | edit source]

Work in Progress

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • While it is not possible to take damage or die in the Arena lobby, you will still get the fall damage splash screen when dropping down from heights.
  • Many of the features shown in the The Arena trailer did not make it into the game mode, such as Explosive Barrels, The Devil's Roar nor Captain's Chests.
  • The barrels on islands contain the same loot table as Adventure mode, making it possible to get Bait for catching different fish, despite different types of fish not providing any sort of advantage in the game mode. Bait does however make the player vomit.
  • It is possible to harpoon dead bodies in the Arena.
  • The Regal Hound.png The Regal Hound was first called The Midnight Prowl.png The Midnight Prowl.