12 tips and tricks for becoming the ocean’s most notorious pirate

Skull and Bones has made its appearance after three days of so-called Early Access for anyone who grabbed one of the game’s more expensive, premium editions. Whether you’ve just started Ubisoft’s multiplayer pirate adventure or started a few days ago, we’ve gathered our lessons from the recent open beta and the past few days and compiled a few tips and tricks to help you become the most fearsome and infamous pirate in the Indian Ocean.

Outrage is more important than loot

When you start Skull and Bones, you might be tempted to believe that earning silver and amassing resources is as important as completing contracts and tasks and sinking ships to raise your Infamy level. That’s not the case. You earn more silver than you can ever legitimately spend and accumulate so many resources just by doing every other activity Skull and Bones offers. Infamy on the other hand is the core leveling mechanism, meaning you can only unlock certain blueprints, access certain new mission lines and opportunities, and generally progress until you get more infamous. Complete contracts, sink ships, make a name for yourself, and everything else will fall into place.

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Be guided by the wind

Skull and Bones does a miserable job at explaining many of the more complicated and important elements, which is undoubtedly why you probably don’t know how to properly utilize the wind. Yes, the wind affects how your ship moves, and no, I’m talking only in regards to when you’re being tossed around by stormy seas. On your HUD, bottom right, you will see an arrow on your ship’s speedometer, this is the wind direction. When the wind is coming at you head-on, you move slower, so adjust your sail angle and keep rolling at full speed instead of trudging along at half your usual speed.

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Don’t chase blueprints

If you want to equip and upgrade your ship, you will find that many weapons and upgrades (even ships themselves) are grayed out until you find the right blueprint. Skull and Bones will encourage you to go to a specific dock in the world to find that same blueprint. Don’t bother. It’s a time-consuming task for minor improvements. You’re better off going through contracts, exploring the map while doing so, and finding various docks full of NPC vendors during that experience.

Moor at every dock you come across

Following on from the last point, when you find a new dock, actually dock there. Don’t cruise by until you feel the crunch of sand under your boots, or you won’t unlock this dock as a quick travel point. It may seem like a basic thing to do, but you will notice this much more when you start exploring the wide world and the distances between parts of the landmass are sometimes over 10,000 units!

Use your ship as it should be used

If you build a new ship, use it as it is intended. Again, it may seem silly to point out, but if you build a tank-like ship with lots of armor, you won’t be able to hunt down enemy ships and blow them to pieces. Similarly, if you build a ship that excels at crew attacks, it won’t be particularly good at ramming other ships. Play to your strengths and protect your weaknesses by refusing to expose them.

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Don’t overdo it

You will encounter patches where you find that the game is just too easy. No ship threatens you, you can effectively travel around and blow anything and everything to smithereens. This will no doubt instill an unfound confidence in you, and you might be tempted to think that you can just take on any ship that has a higher level than you. You will be sorely mistaken. Ships have a level for a reason, so if you plan to take on someone who has a higher mast than you (if you know what I mean), treat it with care and back off if you find you’re in the ropes. A fight that surrenders is better than a sunken ship.

The size of the ship is not everything….

Speaking of mast size, a bigger ship does not mean a better ship. Some ships are meant to be smaller so they can zipper in and out of battles, using their maneuverability to outpace opponents. If you don’t believe me, try your hand against that small pirate ship you’ve seen knocked around and watch them put you on your ass with a quick one-two.

… But be sure to upgrade to a new ship when you can

That said, if you have the resources and blueprints to unlock a larger ship class, it’s definitely worth doing so. You can equip a larger ship with more weapon options, you travel faster, you can store more loot, and you can generally achieve a higher ship level. There are advantages to being a bigger fish in the sea, but don’t expect every minnow you encounter to be food that’s easy to gobble up. But hey, enough with the fish puns….

Focus on the rudder as early as possible

Once you unlock the Helm after ranking your Infamy a few times, use this smuggling system as one of the primary sources for future contracts. Why? Because when you become a Kingpin and the endgame activities really occur, you’ll need many of the Helm-specific currencies to further your efforts. If you’ve already spent hours completing these contracts, you’ll have a big head start to not only make future Helm -related tasks easier, but also to acquire blueprints for really high-end ship parts and weapons.

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Plunder, plunder, plunder

In addition to participating in world events and incredibly demanding late-game activities to acquire the best resources and items, one of the easiest ways to get better loot is to simply loot settlements. Yes, the huge forts will reward a lot of loot, but they will also punch you right in the mouth and make you run home crying. Some of the smaller and lesser settlements and forts also reward quality equipment, and you can do most of these on your own, making them ideal for farming for resources.

Upgrade your tools

You’ll probably get tired of harvesting ore, fruit, wood, fiber and looting shipwrecks pretty quickly, but this system is an easy and quick way to earn resources. It gets even easier and faster if you upgrade your tools, as this means that every action you complete in the harvest minigame rewards more resources, so spend a little of your hard-earned loot and invest in the future.

Show no mercy for easy infamy

Finally, if you want to quickly increase your Infamy rank, aside from following the main mission lines that reward huge amounts of Infamy, one of the best ways to earn Infamy is to simply go to open water and sink every ship you’ve dropped your Spyglass on. Not only do you get lots of loot that you can sell for silver and resources to upgrade your ship, but you can also get hundreds of Infamy by sending just a few different ships to Davy Jones’ vault. It’s easy, quick, rewarding and probably the most fun activity you can indulge in on Skull and Bones.

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