The Sea of Thieves tutorial does quite a good job of showing the player the ropes; however, it does not entail the full scope of possibilities present in Rare’s nautical sandbox. The game allows players, with up to 3 friends, to live out their pirate fantasies and plunder anything not nailed down upon its vast map. The game features countless perils to navigate but also supplies the players with a vast array of tools and mechanics to ensure smooth sailing. This list contains 8 pieces of useful tips for Sea of Thieves that budding pirates can use to further their understanding of simulated seafaring.
Let’s start things off with a bang – red barrels in video games. However, these barrels of destruction are more than simple set dressing: secure one, and you have a potent yet volatile weapon on your hands. But be warned, a stray shot could send you to Davy Jones’ locker.
The kegs can be detonated ‘remotely’; by this, I mean any damage to them will trigger an explosion. Cunning buccaneers can light the fuse with the action button and drop it somewhere tactical, decimating a horde of skeletons or crippling the hull of an enemy ship. Furthermore, if the explosive send-off is no longer required, then pressing the secondary action button will put out the lit fuse. If leaping onto a ship with unstable ordnance is not your forte, lighting the fuse and dropping the barrels out of the back may discourage any unwanted pursers.
The capstan allows for the deployment of the anchor – simple, right? Tip sorted.
Well, what if I let you in on a little secret? A variety of tricks can be performed by a cunning crew capitalising on the capabilities of the capstan. First is that the deployment of it can be stopped and held, allowing the ship to be brought to a halt much faster than waiting for the usual deployment time, facilitating ‘just in time’ landings.
Secondly, the helm can still be turned during the deployment. This enables prime positioning of the cannons and harpoons to greatly increase the speed of your loading/unloading of swashbuckling, treasure grabbing, island hopping escapades.
Lastly is the rapid turn achieved by deploying the anchor and turning the helm fully in a singular direction, causing your vessel to swing about with unfathomable agility. This could potentially allow for the enemy to face the full might of a broadside bombardment.
What list of Sea of Thieves tips would be complete without vomit? An interesting mechanic to include in a game for sure, but the tactical chunder is just that: tactical. Plastering unwitting assailants with the insides of your stomach may just seem a simple grieving tool, but I would argue it runs much deeper, obscuring vision allowing for the option to fight or flee.
Understandably causing your character to spew on command may not be practical in certain scenarios, but the fine folk at Rare have you covered. If the sea evokes the desire to jettison your recently consumed fruit (or you indulged in a little bit too much grog, don’t panic we have all been there), equipping a bucket will catch the sanctified bodily fluid for a quick chuck at a later time. Aside from disorienting opponents, it can also be used to quickly douse fire should the need arise.
Different ships have their storage in different places. While it is not hard to distinguish where the planks are stored when gallivanting around the Shores of Plenty, should you and your crew come under fire from a dastardly skeleton galleon, finding the planks may become a matter of life and death. So my advice would be to memorise the ship layout as it may prevent an untimely demise.
If scampering around the decks sounds like a bit of a faff to you, a storage crate (spawning as loot in a variety of locations) can be placed in a strategic location enabling quick access to supplies for your crew of cut-throats.
What game about pirates would not have cannons? Located on the top deck of all ships and sometimes scattered around on islands, cannons provide your best chance of sinking ships.
Typically loaded from behind (in the context of the game, in real life, these colossal pieces of artillery would be muzzle-loaded) with regular cannonballs, they can pack quite a punch. Yet, their appetite for destruction can be fed further with an extensive menu of specialist munitions. These can drastically shift the odds, such as chain shots to cripple the masts of fleeing nautical adventurers.
Even mystical cursed rounds can be found, deploying the anchor or even preventing the use of cannons upon contact with other boats. As mentioned previously, these behemoths are usually loaded from behind, but the ammunition fired can be selected by opening the equipment menu when in control of the cannons. Such opens up a plethora of possibilities when in a high-stakes situation.
3. Gameplay Loop
While quests bought at outposts may seem the most lucrative opportunity to raise your economic standing, it is not the only option present in Sea of Thieves.
While traversing the ocean, systems within the game will attempt to provide the player with interesting possibilities of plunder. For example, floating barrels may contain quests differing from what can be obtained at outposts, such as a panic-stricken run to deliver a crate of fruit by a certain time. (Thankfully a watch, displaying the date and time is available on the second page of the radial equipment menu.)
Micro bosses in the guise of skeleton captains may also spawn on islands, and defeating them will net the player not only a skull of the fallen but a quest related to the captain’s lost treasure. Potentially even on the same island as the undead assailant was found! Random enemy encounters are not just limited to land, though, as a variety of cursed creatures will attempt to liberate your ill-gotten gains simply if you enter their waters. Keep your eyes peeled and your bananas on standby just in case the leviathan comes calling…
2. More Players, More Work
Teamwork makes the dream work; this is never more apparent than in the Sea of Thieves. With more players in your crew, you get access to a bigger, faster ship complete with more cannons. Sounds epic if you ask me.
However, there is one caveat: individual actions take longer to complete, such as raising/ lowering sails, digging up treasure, and perhaps, more importantly, raising the capstan. Of course, this is just balancing work – you can’t be the best by virtue of having a bigger crew. You need to utilise each other effectively to ensure you maintain top (sea) dog status. Crisp communication and lending a helping hand is key, unlocking many opportunities for your crew to devour any threat which comes upon your voyage. If those threats are spawned by the game, i.e., skeletons, prepare for an onslaught unseen in smaller raids of skulduggery.
A small confession: I believe the movement in Sea of Thieves is slick; by this, I mean how the player can shift and shimmy around the environment. On the other hand, sometimes you need to bridge a gap that is a little bit further than the game allows you to jump regularly. This is where the sword lunge or dash comes in.
To achieve this fantastic display of finesse, simply hold the attack button down and watch as your character draws back their sword and bolts forward. With the elegance of a gazelle, coupled with the bonus of the impact of a freight train abolishing weaker enemies in a single slash and stunning more meaty foes, it gives a small amount of breathing room to plan your next attack. The lunge can also be utilised to board passing ships or even to provide a daring escape, a real surprise Swiss army knife of a mechanic. It can be enhanced by a variety of actions beforehand should the player desire, such as blocking before the charge or jumping midway through the lunge.
(Video by Just Ieu)