Sea of Thieves Beginners Guide – 7 Tips for Beginner Pirates (2020)

Sea of Thieves is a joyful pirate game all about clashing swords with skeletons, battling fearsome monsters, and claiming that sweet, sweet loot. Despite suffering a rocky launch, developer Rare has done a superb job updating and introducing new content to this game. Now available on Steam, there is no better time to hop into Sea of Thieves to begin writing your own pirate legend. However, this game can be overwhelming at first, as the idea of commanding your own ship can be quite tricky. Here are some beginner tips to keep your hull full of treasure and your body parts out of a Megalodon’s stomach.

Sea of Thieves Beginner Tips

Just to reiterate, these are tips for people who are new to Sea of Thieves. There are certainly a lot of veterans sailing the high seas, so if you’re one of them reading this consider being nice to all the new pirates! For those that are new, make sure to pick the Maiden Voyage icon in the bottom right corner of the Main Menu to start the game’s basic tutorial.

Know Your Ship

There are three different types of ships in Sea of Thieves, each of which is designed for a specific number of players. While you can captain any of these vessels with any number of crew members, I strongly recommend sticking to the advised number. Ships also have an anchor which must be manually raised and lowered, along with sails that you can turn, open, or close. Finally, each ship has at least one set of cannons if you need to fight and a wheel near the back.

Here’s a quick breakdown of each ship in Sea of Thieves:

  • Sloop: Fast and agile. The Sloop is designed for 1-2 players and is the fastest ship in the game against the wind. It’s small hull and single sail make it incredibly easier to control, even by yourself. However, this comes at the cost of storage capacity for treasure and supplies, along with firepower. This ship is not great in straight-up fights and lacks the offensive capabilities of the other two vessels. Yet, it can easily outrun any non-Sloop that’s looking for a chase.
  • Brigantine: The latest ship introduced in Sea of Thieves, the Brigantine is designed specifically for three players. Acting as a nice middle ground between a Sloop and Galleon, the Brigantine has solid firepower and speed, making it a very potent threat. This is the preferred ship by a lot of players, but it can be tricky to use since you are relying on everyone knowing their roles.
  • Galleon: The big and sturdy vessel, this ship is made for four players and is probably the best place for new players to start. Galleons are slow (unless they have the wind) but can absolutely devastate anything in their path if they can let loose a full broadside volley. A Galleon’s hull is also two floors, meaning it can take way more punishment before sinking. If you’re new, I recommend joining a Galleon crew since it’s much more forgiving and it’s easier to learn the different ship mechanics.

Sea of Thieves

Never Leave Without Supplies

When you spawn in Sea of Thieves you will be randomly dropped at an Outpost somewhere in the world with your ship. Once you gain control of your character, your first priority should be to gather wood, food, and cannonballs. These items can be found in the barrels scattered throughout the outpost, so make sure to collect as much as you can. Remember, you can only hold so much at one time, so keep making trips back to your ship to empty your pirate’s inventory. Personally, I like to prioritize wood and cannonballs, since there’s no major punishment for respawning unless you’re under attack by other pirates.

Pick Your Voyage and Start Your Pirating

Now that you’ve picked your ship and gathered supplies it’s time to select what type of quest you want to embark on. There are three core factions you will typically deal with as a new player, each of which will offer you unique quests to embark on. The Gold Hoarders have you scouring islands for chests through “X marks the spot” maps or riddles. As for the Order of Souls, they’re all about killing spooky skeleton captains and selling their glowing skulls. Finally, the Merchant Alliance has timed missions where you either run cargo or deliver specific animals.

For beginners, we suggest either doing a Gold Hoarder or Order of Souls mission since they are relatively straightforward. These will help you get used to the general mechanics of Sea of Thieves, along with the basics of hunting treasure. While there are other trading companies, these two will give you a relatively simple quest that eases you into the game.

It’s Okay to Be Passive But Don’t Expect Others to Be

Something I see a lot in Sea of Thieves is players trying their best to avoid getting into any type of conflict. While this is unsurprising for those who have a ton of loot, you should always be prepared for a fight. A lot of users just like to embrace the pirate aspect of Sea of Thieves. This means users will hunt down vessels they suspect are carrying treasure in an attempt to sink and steal these items. It’s more common than you think, especially with the influx of new users via Steam.

Because of this, always keep your head on a swivel when you’re out and about. Typically, my crew likes to leave one person in the crow’s nest to keep a lookout for other ships. It can be a little boring, but this is a solid way of ensuring someone doesn’t sneak up on you. Alternatively, a lot of islands are quite large and it can be easy to hide a ship on one side. Just keep an eye out for any ship that’s marked on your map with a red skull. These players are hunting Reaper chests and are usually quite aggressive. Never get complacent in Sea of Thieves, as it’s really easy to lose everything if you’re not careful!

Tall Tales are Sea of Thieves Story Missions

For those who don’t want to just mindlessly sail around the ocean, you can always partake in Sea of Thieves’ Tall Tales. This is the game’s story-driven missions that will have to following haunted compasses, battling Skeleton Lords, and solving clever puzzles. It’s a remarkably fun activity that can be started by visiting the Tavern and selecting the book next to the Mysterious Stranger guarding the door.

After you complete the first Tall Tale, you will unlock the ability to visit other Outposts to start subsequent chapters. Check your map for symbols hovering over Outposts. These indicate where you can start a Tall Tale, such as Plunder Outpost’s The Cursed Rogue Tall Tale. Even though these are much easier with four players, they are a fun side option for those who want to break up the grind.

Clouds and Bosses

So now that you’re out on the high seas hunting for treasure it’s time to learn about the in-game world events. There are two types in Sea of Thieves, ones that trigger randomly and others you have to manually sail towards to participate in. The former involves a variety of enemy encounters including the Kraken, Skeleton Ships, and Megalodon. You’ll know when one of these encounters is beginning due to the music shifting to a more dramatic score. Additionally, if the water turns black under your ship then you are, unfortunately, about to be attacked by the Kraken.

There are also a number of cloud formations that will appear and over a specific event location. Typically these will offer a lot of treasure, but the catch is everyone in the server can see it. If you’re going to head towards one of these events then be prepared for a fight.

  • Cloud Skull – Skeleton Fort
  • Cloud Ship – Skeleton Fleet
  • Cloud Skull with a Hat – Ghost Fleet (Limited time event)

Sea of Thieves Crossplay

Learn the Basics of Combat

We’re ending our guide with a look at how to deal with the various non-boss NPC enemies you’ll frequently come across. There are a number of different types of skeletons, each of which requires a different tactic to defeat. When combating against skeletons I request using a cutlass and either a Blunderbuss or Flintlock Pistol. Both are great for dealing with large groups of enemies, regardless of which type of skeleton you face.

  • Shadow Skeletons – These skeletons can be weakened by fighting them in the light. So if you encounter these shadowy figures at night make sure to battle near light or hold up your lantern to stun them.
  • Plant Skeletons – Covered in different types of fauna and seaweed, Plant Skeletons will regenerate health while standing in water. Always try to pull them away from the shore or any lagoons.
  • Gold Skeletons – Gold Skeletons are quite tanky and can only be weakened by throwing buckets of water on them. This will cause the skeletons to rust, slowing them down and making them easy to vanquish.
  • Gunpowder Skeletons – The bane of any pirates existence, Gunpowder Skeletons rush at players with a lit explosive barrel. Either try to outrun them or use your ranged weapon to ignite the barrel before they reach you!
  • Ashen Skeletons – Found in the eastern part of the map, Ashen Skeletons are similar to regular skeletons but have a small resistance to fire.

As for fighting on the seas, remember that you always want to lead your shots when it comes to cannon fire. Unless you’re point-blank range, you’ll need to fire ahead of the enemy boat ton ensure a hit. Additionally, against bigger ships such as the galleon, aim for below the waterline so you can strike the lower decks and start the flooding. Hitting the second floor won’t do much unless the bottom has been flooded. Keep in mind the masts, anchor, and wheel can also be destroyed, so if you’re confident in your aim a few well-aimed mast shots can turn the tide of battle!

Sea of Thieves is a very playful game, so always feel free to experiment and try not to take things too seriously!

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Collin MacGregor

Collin MacGregor is the Guide Staff Writer at Fanbyte. He's also the person who willingly plays the support class (you're welcome) and continues to hold out for an Ape Escape remake.

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