Sea of Thieves is an upcoming open world pirate adventure game from Rare, known for classic titles like Banjo Kazooie and GoldenEye. It’s been a few years since we’ve seen a big title from them, but they’ve brought their triple-A game to Sea of Thieves, which is incredibly promising even in its current early state.

Whether you’re in the open beta or waiting on the full game, here are some essential tips and tricks for newbie pirates striking out on the seven seas for the first time, as well as some general information on how the gameplay loop works. And you can always hit the view key to check the controls in-game. Yarrghhh.

How to download and access the beta

1. Choosing a ship and communication

While this might not be the case in the full game, in the closed beta, you’re offered the chance to instantly jump into a game on a larger, four-player ship, or a smaller, two-player ship. You can even choose to captain the two-player ship by yourself, and it’s totally doable, but only recommended for more experienced players.

Once you have selected a ship type, you have the opportunity to invite friends using the X button. Don’t worry if you don’t have a full crew, though, because Sea of Thieves will queue you up with a random stranger to fill up any empty slots in your entourage.

Sea of Thieves uses proximity voice chat as the primary method of communication, but you can also use text-based communication tools by pressing up on the D-pad, while using the right joystick to select a text response.

2. Before you set sail, grab some quests

Sea of Thieves revolves around questing, much like any other connected RPG, but here they work a little bit different. Sea of Thieves quests are called voyages, and must be purchased from the game’s various trade factions, who each have their own goals and interests. In the closed beta there’s presently only one trade company available, but Rare is going to add many more in future updates and when the game launches proper in March 2018.

The Gold Hoarders are all about treasure. They will pay handsomely for pirates willing to undertake dangerous missions to find buried chests. Quests are purchased using gold coins, but the first one is free.

Once you have the voyage information, you travel to your ship and vote for the voyage on the captain’s table. Each player can submit a voyage for review and voting. Once the voyage has been chosen, you will receive maps, riddles, and other clues pointing you to where the treasure is. There are no arrows or waypoints in Sea of Thieves; you have to navigate the seas old-school style. Once you have found the treasure, use your map table again to find an outpost, where you can exchange the goods for gold coins.

As you complete more quests for the Gold Hoarders, they will offer more dangerous and complex quests, involving unique game mechanics. For example, we heard reports of a cursed treasure chest, haunted by a crying ghost, whose tears constantly flooded the ship.

2. How to sail

Sailing in Sea of Thieves appears complex at first, but is actually quite intuitive once you get going. Ships are divided into multiple components, depending on size, and players can need to work together to pilot their ship across the ocean.

When you’ve reached your destination, your maps and riddles will offer clues as to where exactly you must dig.

3. Progression

There are a number of ways to progress in Sea of Thieves, but in the beta, they all revolve around gold accrual. Rare has already stated that progress in Sea of Thieves will be cosmetic, focusing on upgrading your character’s style, weapon skins, ship customization options, and more unannounced options coming in the full game.

There are a few shops around the “outposts” found in the game, which can be discovered on the map table. You can use these to purchase new equipment styles, which can then be equipped either back on your ship or using lockers, usually outside the shops.

Every time you hand in a treasure chest for the Gold Hoarders, you gain reputation ranks with their company, revealing new, increasingly perilous quests as you grow your personal pirate legend.

4. General tips

Here are a few other tips you should know before setting sail on the seven seas.

  • If your ship sinks, or you’re lost overboard and can’t get back to your ship for whatever reason, a mermaid will show up and offer quick passage back so you can get going again.
  • If you die, you end up on the ferry of the damned with other dead players. You can chat for a bit, but soon you’ll be allowed passage back into the realm of the living.
  • In combat, you can block with the left trigger on Xbox, and do a charge attack with the right trigger. Enemies are typically easy to dispatch when alone, but in groups, they can be pretty deadly.

  • The water is full of sharks, but also, sometimes, treasure.
  • Play with your equipment! From the radial menus, you can try out musical instruments, drink grog, and even use a spyglass for viewing the horizon at range.
  • Sea of Thieves is full of easter eggs inspired by stories and occurrences from within the game world. Keep an eye out!
  • Press down on the d-pad to access emotes.

And that’s all for now, matey, yarghhh!

These are the basics you’ll need to get started in Sea of Thieves’ open beta. While there are still various other mechanics and systems under wraps, the beta is designed to give you a taste of what’s on the horizon, Rare says. Who knows what else is lurking in the ocean depths?

If you’re in the beta, let us know your thoughts in the comments, and if not, keep an eye on our social feed on Twitter or on our Mixer channel for code drops, we have many to give away!

The Sea of Thieves beta runs until January 29th, 2018, and the full game launches on March 20th, 2018, for Xbox One, Windows 10, and Xbox Game Pass.

How to download and access the beta

See at Microsoft Store See at Amazon


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