Sea of Thieves Beginners Guide (Top 20 Things To Do First)

A brand new pirate, fresh off the selecting wheel

Sea of Thieves is a game with a lot of mechanics to learn and will take lots of time to get them all down. However, if you want to master the game, you will have to learn the basics. This guide will explain exactly what you will need to be successful on the high seas, and will focus mainly on reaching Pirate Legend status rather than mastering pvp.


1. Complete The Maiden Voyage Tutorial

Welcome to the Sea of Thieves, brave pirate. I know you are ready to get started and choose your character, but completing the tutorial is definitely worth your time. This will show you the basics of the game and introduce you to the legendary pirate lord. This will also give some insight into the story of the Sea of Thieves, the Shroudbreaker, and the Devil’s Shroud, but I won’t spoil it for you.

Why it’s important:

  • Gives good insight into game mechanics
  • Serves as an introduction to the massive in-game story


2. Choose The Best Pirate For You

Now that you have completed the tutorial, you can finally get to choosing your character. Usually this is most people’s favorite part of a game, at least near the start. Unfortunately, the character customizer in Sea of Thieves is not necessarily a customizer, rather it is more of a “pick the character model you prefer”.

Choose wisely, though, as this will be your pirate for the entirety of your time on this game. Of course, clothes, hair, facial hair, and other cosmetics can be changed later, but the model will stay the same unless you reset all of your progress or, more practically yet still not worth it, spend real money/Ancient Coins to change it.

Why it’s important:

  • You have to do this before starting the real game
  • You will want to choose a pirate that suits your likings so you do not have to pay to change it later on


3. Make Sure You Select A Properly Sized Ship

When loading into a server you will have to choose a ship to sail on. This is a simple process, but keep in mind, on solo or 2 players, choose the Sloop, 3 players the Brigantine, and 4 players the Galleon. Any ship bigger than you can handle will make mastering sailing much more tedious. I would not recommend trying to sail a Galleon with 1, 2 or 3 players, or a Brigantine with 1 or 2.

Why it’s important:

  • You do not want to get stuck on a ship that is too big for you to handle
  • Picking the right ship size will help you practice sailing much more fluently


4. Explore The Outpost

Once you choose your ship, you will spawn into a server and be docked at an outpost. There are 7 outposts around the map. The outposts are Port Merrick, Sanctuary, Ancient Spire, Plunder, Daggertooth, Galleon’s Grave, and Morrow’s Peak. Although they are spread apart across the map, they all have the same mechanics.

One of the most important things you can get done early on in the game is learning what you can find at an outpost, and where it is located on said outpost. These include Trading Companies, Taverns, Sovereigns, shops, and other features for you to get acquainted with.

Why it’s important:

  • You will spawn at an outpost every single time you load into a server
  • Learning how to navigate the outposts will help get each game session started
  • Almost everything you will need to be successful in this game is found at one


5. Meet The Trading Company Representatives

The bulk of Sea of Thieves’ gameplay is representing a trading company and flying their emissary flag while you collect loot to level up that specific faction. Talking to each of the companies will give some insight into what they are all about and what you will need to do for them.

You will not be able to represent them right away, but as you get through the early game you will level them up and eventually unlock the ability to purchase their emissary flag and do their specific voyages.

Why it’s important:

  • The trading companies make up for most of Sea of Thieves’ gameplay and you will want to know how they work
  • You will want to save up for an emissary flag of your choice


6. Get Oriented With Your Ship

Before you set sail to find loot across the sea, you will need to learn how to sail your ship. This process will change based on player count and ship size, but there are many guides out there that will point you in the right direction, and teach you what you need to get started sailing.

Why it’s important:

  • You will be on your ship for a majority of your time on the game
  • You should at least know how to get from one island to the next


7. Begin Collecting Loot

Because you do not own an emissary flag yet, you will just want to collect whatever loot you can find. I would recommend completing Sea Forts, as they are very easy to beat, and can help you practice your PVE combat. Another quick way to get loot early on is by sailing around the Shores of Plenty, as the islands there usually have a decent amount of loot lying around.

Why it’s important:

  • You will want some gold early on
  • Selling loot will get you closer to an emissary flag


8. Sell Your Loot To The Right Company

Once you are ready to sell whatever loot you have collected, head back to an outpost and sell it all to the proper trading companies. Chests and small pieces of loot usually go to the Gold Hoarders, skulls to the Order of Souls, and shipment or resource crates to the Merchant Alliance.

If you collected mermaid gems or siren gems along the way, you can actually sell those to any trading company aside from Athena’s Fortune (which is not important to you yet), and the gem will contribute to your level in that specific trading company.

Why it’s important:

  • You will want to level up your companies in order to purchase their flag
  • Selling the loot will get you gold and you will want that for the flag as well


9. Purchase Your First Emissary Flag

Once you have gotten one of the companies to level 15, you will be able to purchase their emissary flag. Once that is purchased, you can vote to represent that company on the seas and will unlock the ability to purchase their unique voyages, which will lead to far more gold.

There is a very good chance you will get Gold Hoarders first, as they have much more common loot to be lying around. If you happen to get Merchants, then you can start piling up the gold very, very quickly. You most likely will not get Order of Souls first, so I would recommend selling your gems to that company to pull it along with the other two, as it tends to be the hardest to level up.

Why it’s important:

  • You will need a flag to start doing voyages
  • Many more opportunities for gold will arise once you have one of these on your ship


10. Level Up A Trading Company

Now that you own your first emissary flag, it is time to start leveling it up. As I mentioned previously, you will most likely have Gold Hoarders first, which is great, as you can start collecting tons of gold. In order to level up the emissary quicker, select voyages from the voyage table on your ship and you can then set sail and begin searching for loot.

Luckily, the base voyages are pretty straightforward and you will not really have to worry about getting lost or missing your loot. If you get stuck on a voyage, especially the Gold Hoarders’ riddle voyage, do not be afraid to search for answers, as sometimes the landmark you have to look for is nowhere near where the riddler implies that it is.

Why it’s important:

  • As you level up your emissary, treasures that you trade in will give you a lot more gold
  • Once you start leveling up a company, the game will start moving faster


11. Do Not Be Afraid To Spend Your Gold

As you are piling up your gold, you may feel the need to save it for something, or just to say you have a lot, and while you will need to be saving at least some, do not be afraid to spend a little gold on cosmetics to make your pirate and ship unique to you. You can visit the shops at the outposts to deck yourself out, and can apply cosmetics to your ship at the shipwright on the docks.

Why it’s important:

  • It is always important to be the coolest looking pirate on the seas
  • If you don’t spend a little gold are you even really a pirate?


12. Keep An Eye On The Other Companies

This is just a reminder to keep checking your levels in all of the emissaries. As you sail the seas looking for gold and completing voyages for your first company, you will definitely come across loot for the other traders as well.

Do not forget to sell this stuff as you will notice your level slowly creeping towards 15 in the other companies. Now is a good time to really get on top of selling your gems to lower level companies or the ones you seem to be leveling up the slowest right now.

Why it’s important:

  • You are going to start to notice your levels rising in the other companies
  • You do not want to wait to buy the other emissary flags
  • Having more flags means more variety in gameplay


13. Purchase Your Second Emissary

Once a second trading company has reached level 15, go ahead and purchase the flag. Just like how your first one will most likely be Gold Hoarders, chances are your second will be the Merchant Alliance. Most loot you find floating randomly in the ocean will go to the Merchants, and crates can also be found on islands.

Lucky for you, Merchants are going to be the most profitable company in both the early game and, most likely, the late game. As long as you are doing commodity runs (maps and trade routes can be found online) and lost shipment voyages, you will see your gold skyrocket.

Why it’s important:

  • Starting a second company will push you closer Pirate Legend status
  • More variety in gold finding opportunities
  • Merchants provide the most gold, and completing lost shipment voyages will fill up your bank


14. Repeat The Process

Surprise, surprise, you have to do it all again with your final trading company. This will probably end up being the Order of Souls, as I have personally found it to be the hardest to level up out of the main trading companies (that is, until the Hunter’s Call, but don’t worry about that now), and a lot of the levels in this company will come from mermaid and siren gems.

Order of Souls also seems to grant the least amount of gold compared to Gold Hoarders and Merchant Alliance, so you will have to try your hardest to really stay on top of this one in order to level it up. There are quite a few voyages, world events, and skeleton captains that offer skulls, so make sure to look out for those.

Why it's important:

  • Purchasing this flag as early as possible is pretty much the only way to keep it up with Gold Hoarders and Merchant Alliance
  • Dump your gems into this company
  • Do not forget about the Order of Souls just because of the lack of gold


15. Purchase Your First Ship

As you level up your companies and collect more gold, it would be wise to invest in a personal ship. These can be purchased from the menu when going to ‘My Ships’. You will be able to name the ship (almost) whatever you want, and you can select it when launching into a server.

You will be able to level up your ship naturally over time, and save your cosmetics to your ship so you do not have to set them every time you play. Ships do cost a pretty big sum of gold, but it is a worthy investment in the long run.

Why it’s important:

  • This will become your own personal vessel to sail the Sea of Thieves in
  • It will give some extra distinction and add more variety to your gameplay


16. Grind Out Your Three Emissaries

Now that you own the three emissaries, you can begin pushing them through the levels. You need to get to level 50 in them in order to unlock the last one. This can take quite a bit of time, so I advise that you just focus on having fun rather than worrying too much about whether you are making the most gold or not.

I would also like to point out that you can get the Reaper’s Bones or the Hunter’s Call to level 50 as well, but they are much harder to level up, as Hunter’s Call takes far too long, and the Reaper’s Bones is more PVP based, which will be tough for a new player. That being said, any 3 trading companies will do, though the three shown above are going to make your life much easier.

Why it’s important:

  • You have to get three companies to level 50 in order to unlock the reward
  • Gold Hoarders, Merchants, and Order of Souls will be the easiest to get to 50


17. Remember To Have Fun And Explore

As a small reminder, I would like to make it a point that if you are just playing Sea of Thieves for the rewards, then you are playing it for the wrong reasons entirely. This game is about having fun, so do not forget to do that as you work through your emissaries. Complete world events, explore islands, do tall tales, etc. Just make sure to have a good time.

Why it’s important:

  • The gameplay can get stale if you do not enjoy the other mechanics and events that Sea of Thieves has to offer
  • Getting the most gold possible is not going to provide as exciting of an experience


18. Visit The Mysterious Stranger

Fast forward through your leveling up of the companies, and now you get to unlock your reward. I do not want to spoil what happens, but in order to get it you must navigate to the tavern on any outpost and you will find the Mysterious Stranger. Talk to him, and let the events unfold…

Why it’s important:

  • In order to progress to the essentially next level of progress, you must complete the 3 emissaries, and then talk to the Mysterious Stranger


19. Acquire Your Final Emissary Flag

Assuming you finished the last step, you can now purchase the Athena’s Fortune emissary flag from the Mysterious Stranger. Once that is done, you can vote on the table next to him to represent Athena’s Fortune, and finally call yourself a true Pirate Legend.

Why it’s important:

  • Getting this flag as early as possible is beneficial as it takes the longest to level up
  • You will earn very high valued loot, and get much longer voyages
  • This will unlock a new tall tale to complete


20. Enjoy Being A Pirate Legend

If you followed all of the previous tips, had fun, and leveled up all of your emissaries, then congratulations, you are now a pirate legend. Don’t get ahead of yourself though, as this is only the beginning of your pirate journey. You still have to finish Athena’s Fortune, push the rest of your emissaries to 100 (where you can essentially prestige and do it again), and even get started on the Reaper’s Bones or Hunter’s Call emissaries if you have not already.

You can also join a guild and level that up with friends as well. ou can also begin practicing PVP and leveling up your hourglass emissaries. There is so much that goes into Sea of Thieves to make it a full, enjoyable experience, and now you get to take your newly acquired Legend status and explore to your heart’s content.

Why it’s important:

  • Now that you have the final emissary, you can really get started in your adventures
  • Having fun should always come first in an often rage-inducing game


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Anytime I get knocked down, I get back up (I have the raygun).
Gamer Since: 2009
Favorite Genre: FPS
Currently Playing: Dead Island 2
Top 3 Favorite Games:Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Sea of Thieves, Batman: Arkham City

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