How progression works in Sea of Thieves is still a little unclear.
We do know a bit about it, though, thanks to the closed beta and some information direct from developer Rare itself.
Below, we'll go into everything we know about it, including boosting your reputation, how to level up Trading Companies, and anything else we've discovered about Sea of Thieves progression and how it works.
For other Sea of Thieves treasure troves of info, tips and tricks, set sail for our guides to the Sea of Thieves beta and how to access it, plus how to download and install Sea of Thieves seeing as it can be a little tricky, and finally our advice for those encountering Sea of Thieves error messages, too.
Sea of Thieves progression explained - how does reputation, Commendations and progression work in Sea of Thieves?
Progression in Sea of Thieves is a little nebulous at the moment, but there are some bits and bobs we can pull together to get an idea of how it all works.
In simple terms, you progress in Sea of Thieves by levelling up Trading Companies - which are basically quest and reward vendors - through a system of reputation.
Here's Rare themselves having a stab at explaining how progression works in Sea of Thieves:
The specifics, then - like the level cap (if there is one), and the exact rewards you get and how you get them, are still all a bit vague. From our experience in the beta those rewards included things like a new shovel that could... shovel faster, and cosmetic items for personalising your pirate's appearance.
Otherwise, the basic loop is that you pick up a quest from one of these vendors, go and do the quest, and return to the vendor for a reward (in our case Gold, from the Gold Hoarders, which could then be spent on buying another quest from the Gold Hoarders).
Whether or not the game will be as cyclical at launch as it has been for us in beta so far isn't really clear. For a start, at least, more than one Trading Company will be available, meaning a greater variety of quest types and rewards, and likewise there's a notable amount of time spent talking about "becoming Pirate Legend" from Rare which suggests that'll be more meaningful than just a slogan.
Once you're "Pirate Legend" you'll be able to take part in the "Golden Age of Piracy", which sounds like a kind of endgame that will come to Sea of Thieves some time after launch. Perhaps Pirate Legend is the title you'll earn when you reach a maximum rank with one or all of the in-game Trading Companies?
One other form of progression we should note, which seems to overlap with the above, is Commendations. These appear to act sort of like achievements, with the above video showing the player receiving the "Hoarder of Barnacled Gold" Commendation for handing in 50 Barnacled Chests to the Gold Hoarders. From the video itself it's not clear if Commendations will have another purpose or if they act more as a kind of badge of honour that are worthy in their own right.
How to level up Trading Companies and other things to know about Sea of Thieves' progression system
Trading Companies, quite simply, are levelled up by you handing in quests to them. The more quests you do, the higher level you go. Here's what we've learned about levelling up from the beta so far:
- In terms of speed of progression, we very quickly levelled up the Gold Hoarders company up to level 5 after about two quests. That said it'll likely slow down as we progress higher through the ranks and, of course, this is just based on beta experience which is often heavily tweaked before launch.
- Your progress can be heavily slowed by other players, thanks to Sea of Thieves' most pirate-y function: anyone can steal anyone else's loot if they haven't handed it in yet at port.
- That means you should be extra careful around ships leaving port if you're showing up with half a dozen chests on board, for instance. They've likely just handed theirs in and, seeing you, they're probably thinking of all that free treasure on board that's just turned up.
- Hide your chests in clever places (lanterns can be turned off, and chests carried up to the crow's nest, which helps!) and always be on the lookout for thieves nearby. It hasn't happened to us yet, but we really don't fancy doing an hour's worth of questing just to have it all nicked at the last minute, so be alert!
- Otherwise, the most effective way to level right now is to simply do more quests! The more challenging the quests are the more levels you'll climb as you go, just like most games, but for now that's all we have!