The Skull and Bones Closed Beta is upon us, letting players freely sail across and explore a large portion of open seas around the Red Isle and Coast of Africa, either alone or with friends. Available from August 25-28, the Closed Beta has a lot to offer. To help you make the most of your time at sea, here are eight tips to help you reach the Beta's maximum rank of Buccaneer:
Get To Know Sainte-Anne
The Closed Beta features the pirate den of Sainte-Anne, a safe zone for you to craft, trade, customize, and much more. It's also where you'll meet local kingpin John Scurlock, who - alongside other merchant NPCs - will offer you contracts, bounties, and other objectives. Completing these will reward you with all sorts of valuable goods, including new weapons, attachments, outfits, pets, and precious Infamy - Skull and Bones' version of XP. Learning all that Sainte-Anne has to offer will help you navigate just about everything in the Closed Beta, and you might even overhear a rumor or two that will help you uncover some particularly mysterious lore.
Play With a Friend
Anyone invited into the Closed Beta will be able to invite up to two other friends to join them. Co-op in Skull and Bones is seamless, with the entire game playable in co-op, allowing friends to sail the seas and hunt down treasure, and complete contracts together. Enemies will be tougher when playing with friends, but the loot you'll both earn will also be more valuable. Additionally, playing in co-op will allow you to trade goods with your friends while at sea (so you can make sure everyone has a suitable supply of repair kits and cannonballs before engaging in a fight). There are even specific support "weapons" that you can equip on your ship that, when fired at an ally, will repair their ship.
Track Your Activities
Your in-game journal gives you easy access to the map and your activity log, which is grouped into a few categories: main contracts, side quests, events, and treasure maps. Scroll side-to-side to switch between them and scroll up-and-down to peruse your tasks within each category. This can help you seek out targets of opportunity as you circumnavigate the Red Isle, plus it's an easy way to peek at your treasure maps.
Listen to Your Crew
Is there a ship approaching from just out of view? Your crew is likely to call it out. Some supplies floating in the water or crafting material to harvest nearby? Your crew has a keen eye for such opportunities. Did you land at an outpost that just so happens to be on one of your treasure maps? Your crew will clue you in. Their callouts are valuable, and don't forget: You can call up your quick access menu and ask them to sing a shanty for you whenever you like. It's good to be the captain!
An Organized Hold is a Profitable Hold
Managing the loot you plunder on the high seas is key to completing quests, building your fleet, and getting rich - especially since space in your cargo hold is limited and dependent on your ship. It doesn't pay to keep shipbuilding supplies like lumber and metal ingots in your hold when hopping from port to port, but having a good inventory of commodities, like gems and fine linen, will help you cash in when a vendor is offering a high price. Always visit outposts when you first discover them; this will not only unlock them as a fast-travel destination, but also give you access to a cache so you can send bulky items back to your warehouse. Get in the habit of checking your cargo every time you set sail to be sure that your hold is ready to accommodate an influx of new goods (this will help in combat too, as you'll see in our next tip).
The Right Gear For The Right Job
There are many different types of contracts in Skull and Bones, and they'll often require different ship loadouts. Before setting sail, you can customize your ship's weapons, attachments, and furniture (items that will give you a unique boost like increased damage or rate of fire) for the task at hand. Standard cannons may get the job done in most situations, but they're not always the best option. Need to chase down a ship? Equip long cannons. Plundering a settlement with land defenses? Equip the devastating bombard. Trouble with Sea Fire? Outfit your ship with leather armor. Each customization option has its own strengths and weaknesses and mastering them will make sure you come out victorious (and not at the bottom of the ocean).
You're Always Sailing
There's no pausing on the open ocean of Skull and Bones, and it's never more important to remember this than when plundering a settlement. Once you start plundering a target, you'll need to maneuver your ship within a set radius to continue the plunder as you fend off enemy ships and dodge any volleys from defensive towers. Damaging a ship to the point where you can execute a crew boarding and finish them off makes for a satisfying end, but as you search their holds and decide what loot to take, remember that you're still sailing! During the extra seconds you spend deciding what loot to grab, you will be exposed to an enemy's broadside. It's best to quickly take all the loot from the ship (providing you have room in your hold!) and sort through it once you're out of danger.
Your spyglass is a valuable tool for both exploration and combat, so make sure you're putting it to good use. Scouting enemy ships ahead of combat can give you crucial intel on what kind of arsenal you'll be facing, and what damage types will most strongly affect your target. Taking a gander at the merchants you pass will show you what kind of goods they're carrying, which can help you find quest items or valuable commodities. Plus, scouting a merchant reveals the trade route they are running; discovering new trade routes not only gives you a little boost of Infamy, but also yields clues about new locations to explore (and plunder) as you're exploring the seas.
Pre-order Skull and Bones today at the Ubisoft Store and play it day one through Ubisoft+.