When people discuss Sea of Thieves, they usually describe it as a game of epic ship battles and swashbuckling sword fights. A place where mass player battles are the norm and the larger the crew, the bigger the advantage. But I’ve chosen a different approach to playing, which evens the playing field slightly for solo players. I’ve traded in my sloop for a rowboat in my quest to be the stealthiest pirate ever to sneak the high seas.
This lets me roam the seas undetected: pilfering loot, digging up chests, and confusing those those who stumble across my vacant ship elsewhere in the world. Travelling this way is a bit of a trade off, however. While I may be harder to spot, my spawn point remains tied to my ship, meaning if I die I get sent back to whatever shores it has washed up on in my absence. Additionally, the rowboat has no map table to go off while navigating between islands, which means I have to depend on my knowledge of the seas and the silhouette of islands to decipher which way to go. That said, these issues can all be easily overcome with a well-stocked food inventory and the use of some key items like the compass and the telescope.
Emotes are another valuable weapon in my sneaky-pirate toolkit. These let me hide my gamertag if I want to keep a low profile and escape detection. For instance, if I spot a crew coming to an island I’m at, I can simply duck into a cave and hide out with my loot until they leave or bide some time before making a quiet break for it. Sea of Thieves even lets me limit the sound of my footsteps. Simply by removing my shoes and my pegleg, I’m able to pace around like I’m walking on air.
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Don’t Fear the Reaper
Mostly, I use this stealthy approach to fish in peace, level up my reputation in the Hunter’s Call faction and to steal chests from under the nose of other players. But on occasion I’ve taken advantage of it elsewhere too — such as when completing Reaper’s Runs, time-limited voyages that rely on players traveling to the same group of islands to dig up treasure. These voyages are magnets for PvP-minded players, providing a fun additional challenge when you try to play them stealthily.
On one mission, for instance, I had to travel to Plunder Valley to solve a riddle map while a galleon crew were already docked at the northernmost beach. I approached from the west of the island and parked my little rowboat, crammed full of chests, among a set of rocks, then swam to the southernmost beach. I solved the first riddle in no time at all, but as I headed towards the second clue I heard a faint mic-crackle through the foliage and saw the green glow of a nameplate. Panicking, I jumped into a set of the bushes and used the sleep emote to conceal my portly frame.
My heart was beating out of my chest, but fortunately for me the pirates didn’t spot me in my little makeshift hideaway and walked straight past. I was able to solve the final clues of the riddle and then make a victorious trip to Golden Sands Outpost with my stack of loot.
I’m not the only player to take this approach in Sea of Thieves, and it’s easy to see why. The rowboat is the perfect way to evade threats in the world, turning Sea of Thieves into one big game of hide-and-seek. Now that I’m more confident in my abilities, I’m starting to attempt some more ambitious hauls. So if your booty happens to disappear from right under your pirate nose, well, maybe next time you’ll be more careful.