How to Play Guide for Sea of Thieves
This guide covers survival in the first hour of Sea of Thieves. This guide would not be possible without Stowaway Pup!
- Sea of Thieves is very much a team-based effort, so communication with the rest of your crew is key. A good microphone will go a long way towards effective communication with others. If you don't have one, use the context-sensitive non-verbal communications system: A fancy name for a simple system where you press G or Up on the D-Pad and pick a command for your character to shout out.
- Problematic players can be sent to the brig by a vote among the rest of the crew. They can be released through a second vote or just left to rot until they quit the game.
- On foot
- Falling behind the ship when overboard isn't a tragedy, unlike in real life. Swim away from the ship or let it sail away and eventually a mermaid will teleport you back.
- With the Cutlass in hand, perform a lunge attack (hold the attack button for 2 seconds) to perform a dive into the water, which propels you forward in the water instead of dropping you into the water as dead weight.
- Sailing is an art. In Sea of Thieves, this means that to maximize your speed you need to angle your sails to catch the wind lines - think of the sails as a "bucket" for wind.
- Speaking of art, it's also a syllable in articulation. So be articulate and talk to the rest of the crew where they'd like to be heading as well, so that you can all work towards sailing in the same direction, regardless of who takes the helm.
- One cool trick that can come in handy when maneuvering is a "hand-brake": Turn the steering wheel full left or right, then drop the anchor and watch the ship swerve. Obviously, to start moving again, you need to pull the anchor up.
- Combat maneuvers
- Sometimes sailing at top speed isn't the answer. You can frequently get better effects by reducing the number of sails, which can increase maneuverability, allow you to make tighter turns, and give gunners more time to line up their shots, particularly in poor sea conditions.
- Reducing speed to nil can also work effectively; that way you can still pivot the ship in place using the steering wheel and give excellent accuracy.
- Getting stuck
- Sometimes you get stuck. Don't panic: Raise all sails and turn the spinning wheel. If it doesn't work, well, panic, then use the Scuttle Ship option from the menu (every crew member needs to agree).
- Each ship has different properties.
- The sloop is a small ship for one or two crew members. However, it's quite effective when it comes to removing water, as you can just throw it out the windows. The same property also makes it vulnerable to holes in the middle deck, so make sure to fix those ASAP, unless you like waves putting water in your hold.
- The galleon is large and resilient, but requires a large crew and effective communication. If it's lacking, the middle sail can be pulled up to give the helmsman a clear line of sight until you figure out a common tongue. The same rule as for the sloop applies: Always fix the middle deck.
- In general, ships are pretty resilient. However, you can take minor damage when sailing through storms. Fix it ASAP.
- Equipment and purchases
- Money is received by turning treasure chests in to the Gold Hoarders. Voyages that give you Treasure Chests can be received from merchants found alongside the Gold Hoarders.
- Lanterns provide illumination, so shut them off whenever you want to remain stealthy at night. It's not a guarantee of invisibility, but it can allow you to slip by unnoticed at range.
- Know the special cutlass maneuvers
- The Compass can be raised by holding the right trigger or mouse button. Doing so will slow down your character: Perfect for counting the paces you make to locate treasure.
- Know the purpose of seemingly random items:
- Bananas restore your health. Yum! Each restores 25% of your HP and stocking up on them - in your inventory and on the ship - is a generally good idea (unless you're fond of dying).
- Planks remove holes in the ship. Use them when the enemy crew decides to poke them in yours.
- Buckets are used to remove water or catch vomit. Remember to throw the water overboard. If you just go up one deck and splash it on the ground, it will just flow back to the bottom of the ship and annoy your crew when the ship sinks.
- On catching vomit: Drink enough grog and you'll puke. You can collect it in a bucket and then throw it at other people.
- All of these supplies can be collected from barrels on islands or floating in the water. You can store these in marked containers on the ship (up to 100 per). Make sure to empty your inventory that way before stepping out onto an island (save for a couple of bananas in case things go sideways).
- There's a hard limit on exploration: The edges of the map. Sailing off the edge will cause the ship to take continuous damage. So don't leave the edge of the world.
- Finding treasure
- Treasure Chests give money. To find treasure chests you can:
- Obtain voyages from Goldhoarders.
- Find them on sunken ships (random spawns).
- Find them on islands (random spawns).
- Treasure maps cannot be shared between crews. However, you can spawn chests when another crew is present, then see whether greed takes them over.
- Alternatively, you can prey on other players. After sinking, any treasure chests carried by the ship will float to the surface and stay there for a brief while... surrounded by sharks. Grab them before they sink.
- Protecting treasure
- Apart from not getting sunk: Try hiding your precious loot or dividing it up. Plant regular chests in the captain's quarters, on the top or middle deck, or other obvious areas to act as bait. Most players are risk-averse and will assume this is as good as it gets.
- Place precious chests in areas that are less obvious or well hidden. Get creative: You can plant them on the captain's balcony on the galleon, in the crow's nest, on the crossbeams... Be sure to shut off lanterns to give them that extra bit of concealment.
- Fighting other ships isn't as simple as pointing and shooting. To sink the enemy, you need to cause the ship to take on water. To do that, aim your shots at or below the waterline of the ship, to cause it to take on water and eventually ships. Shots above will poke holes in the hull and deck, annoying the enemy crew, but won't be an immediate threat.
- Shooting the same spot won't make the hole any bigger, it will just stun anyone working on the hole and interrupt the patching. Spread the shots out to give the enemy crew more work, with the occasional shot at existing holes to dissuade any would-be fixers.
- In general, when sinking ships:
- The galleon is susceptible to flooding. One player can patch up to three holes on their own. Anything more than that and they'll need help (as they need to go all the way to the top to get water out of the hold). So ask for help or focus fire.
- The sloop is more forgiving, as one player can reasonably take care of up to six holes at a time. However, it's extremely vulnerable to attacks from the rear.
- Be creative whether attacking or defending. That means:
- The Hand-Brake technique can be used defensively by invading another ship and dropping its anchor, then boarding mermaids and skipping back to your own ship. If you are fighting another ship, have a member of your crew stand watch for boarders.
- If you're poking holes in the enemy ship, a boarder can help keep them off their balance and away from patching the holes until the ship sinks.
- Fighting dirty (and counter-acting)
- Discretion is the better part of valor most of the time. You are all pirates and any pirate code people abide by is part guidelines, part cook book... So don't expect any adherence. That means:
- If you arrive at an outpost loaded with loot and another ship is casting off, they will likely try their chances and raid you.
- You can try to lure enemy ships away while the rest of the crew jumps overboard with chests to cash in at an outpost; this is more effective at range, where the player names won't be visible.
- If they are closer, you can do the same trick except have a decoy jump overboard with no chests; the pursuing ship may decide to go after him, rather than continue fighting.