Beginner’s Guide to Sea of Thieves - Prima Games

Beginner’s Guide to Sea of Thieves

by Juno Stump

Sea of Thieves was neat and different when it first released in 2018 but it kept getting better. It quickly became a must-play game with the constant updates from Rare. It’s the kind of exciting risk that first-party development allows, which each major platform has showcased in different areas over the years.

At this point you’re either already playing Sea of Thieves or thinking about dipping your toes into Rare’s ocean of fun. The freedom of Sea of Thieves can almost be overwhelming but that’s part of the thrill. It’s exciting living the life of a pirate.

This guide can help you find your way while you sail for honor, treasure and glory in Rare’s Sea of Thieves. 

Beginner’s Guide to Sea of Thieves 

Everyone Can Be a Pirate

You can totally sail by yourself in Sea of Thieves. Rare designed Sea of Thieves to work for crews of any size, and that includes a crew of just you! 

It’s super fun playing with friends and even random people. The community is pretty wholesome and Rare’s done a lot to encourage that. But Sea of Thieves also works just fine as a single-player game. You can set your party to Closed and your Xbox Status to Appear Offline.

And then you can sail a small ship, dig up treasure, and collect bounties — without any additional crew. I do it all the time to relax and unwind and you can too! You’re almost always going to encounter other pirates in the Sea of Thieves Adventure Mode but they’re not always hostile.

Your results may vary but you can totally sail the seas all on your own. 

Choose the Sloop

There are three ships to choose from. The smallest ship is the Sloop. The Brigantine and Galleon are both bigger and have more space and features. You can choose any ship but there’s no reason to go with anything but the Sloop.

The bigger ships are just more work to operate and treasure chests stack just fine on the lower decks of the Sloop. It’s also much easier to operate efficiently with 1-2 people because of its small size.

Any benefits the bigger ships bring aren’t worth it unless you have at least two skilled players. It’s just fast and easier to build good sailing habits without rushing and panicking. 

If you ever get to a point where you’re hurting for space and your crew isn’t struggling with any aspects of sailing then it might be time to grab a bigger ship. Groups usually won’t bother Sloops either because the assumption is that it’s one player.

It’s worth remembering if you think you’re ready to sail solo in a Brigantine. A violent robbery in the open sea is much more likely to happen if you’re sailing solo in a Brigantine, especially if it’s packed with gold. 

Play The Tall Tales Now

There are a few of these and they’re not only more story-driven but they also teach you how the game works. Combat is more focused and it’s easier to naturally obtain the necessary skills to truly live the life of a pirate. You can just jump into these and there’s no reason not to. Think of it like playing Halo’s story mode before jumping into the multiplayer. 

The Tall Tales pull the curtain back on the world and transform you into a truly legendary pirate. This includes A Pirate’s Life, which is the free story campaign update that includes content and characters from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean.

As of writing, A Pirate’s Life includes 5 Tall Tales. You can do these Solo or with friends and they can be replayed. Not only are the different stories fun but Rare also uses the time to show you how to survive in the game’s PvE Adventure Mode. 

There’s a Tutorial and You Can Always Sail Through It Again

Maiden Voyage is a standalone Tall Tale that was released in December 2019. I’m really glad Rare added it to the game because Maiden Voyage is as cool as it is helpful. You get to hang out with the legendary Pirate Lord, who will show you various important actions.

You’re also able to explore the island’s surroundings and learn more about him. It’s super cool and you can always replay it if you feel shaky on controls or basics. I always play it again for a few minutes if I haven’t played for a week or more.

It always brings my muscle memory back quickly and reminds me how to play in a spot where I won’t have my precious treasure chests taken from me. 

Save Empty Treasure Chests

Time is your biggest resource in Sea of Thieves. Treasure chests save you time. Save them when you find them. They will sometimes be in the middle of islands or washed up on the shore of a beach.

Take the items and then put the chest on your ship. A few of these can turn ten chaotic trips into three organized sprints when you’re unloading spoils at Outposts. 

Sail Smart Sail S Mart (I’m Excited for Evil Dead!)

Sailing isn’t just something that happens in Sea of Thieves. It’s something new players either learn quickly or eventually because successful pirates are smart sailors. Movement is a gradual thing and so you should constantly be evaluating your ship’s speed and direction.

Giant rocks, storms, other ships, and plenty of other hazards will appear and you’ll need to move your ship around them. It’s also important to keep your sail at the right length for the best speed. 

It’s good to move as fast as possible during fair weather when you’re halfway to your destination but you’ll wanna raise the sails as you get closer. Ships aren’t designed to start or stop quickly. Focused pirates can keep ships safe, on course, and in one piece. 

If you fall off your ship (it happens!) immediately start swimming in the opposite direction of your ship. The Mermaids spawn faster if your ship is further away. Talking with the magical creatures will almost instantly transport you back to your ship.

Keep your ship’s lanterns off too. They look cool but their glow is visible from very far away. Some cosmetics can give your position away from a great distance too. Be aware of your ship and its lighting, especially at night.

You can keep your ship lit up if you don’t mind a potential attack from another player. I usually try to keep a low profile because it’s easier to win battles if they don’t happen. 

Try to park parallel to islands and outposts — and without dropping your anchor. It’s tricky and you can’t do it during storms but it lets you leave at a moment’s notice if you’re overrun by enemies or other players.

Raising your anchor takes several seconds, certainly enough time for another player to sink your ship with canonfire. It takes practice but it’s worth it. 

Dig For Bait

If you need fishing bait then start digging. If you dig up grass, you’ll get Earthworms. If you dig up on the shoreline, you’ll find leeches. And if you dig up sand, you’ll discover some Grub.

You can almost always find the bait you need if you’re on or near land. 

Save Ammo Crates You Find on Islands

Sometimes you’ll find crates on islands with ammo inside. Take the ammo and then take the crates back to your ship. You can refill them on your ship and take it onto islands with you.

Extra ammo can change the outcome of a battle in a giant skeleton fight. There’s no reason not to hoard it when you can. 

Stock Up on Food Before Leaving Your Ship

Food heals you and you will most likely need healing while exploring islands. There are snakes, skeletons, and there could even be other players. Slamming down some bananas and coconuts can refill your health when you’re bitten by a snake or slashed by a cute little skeleton guy. (I love them).

Cooked food heals you the most. Fruit heals you plenty. Don’t eat raw meat because you’ll throw up and it’s gross. If you DO throw up though then do it in a bucket so you can throw it on another player. That’s still gross but it’s also kind of funny too. It’s mostly gross though.

Simple Missions Are Fun And Yield Big Rewards

You can interact with various different Trading Companies and it’s worth working with all of them. Collect treasures on faraway islands with Gold Hoarders. Destroy legions of enemies with the Order of Souls. Transport cargo to faraway places with the Merchant Alliance.

There’s more too. Find which ones you like the most and do those voyages. They are really fun and also add a lot to the pirate roleplaying experience. Being loyal to companies and completing a lot for them can unlock more valuable missions too.

You Can Probably Play Sea of Thieves Right Now!

Sea of Thieves isn’t just an Xbox game. It isn’t even just a PC game. You can play it on computers and mobile devices through the power of XCloud. Your phone, iPad, and old computer can play games like Sea of Thieves.

All you need is a controller (even a PlayStation controller), a fast and stable Internet connection, and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Be aware of your data caps and junk though since we live in the world we do. 

Related: Sea of Thieves Receives 120Hz Performance Mode On Xbox Series X