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Nintendo eShop update brings Yo-Kai Watch 3, cyberpunk thriller Observer

This week’s Nintendo eShop has a lot that’s new for Switch owners, and a little something for 3DS owners — namely, Yo-Kai Watch 3.

Yo-Kai Watch 3 from developer Level-5 sends players to the country of BBQ (aka these United States of America), where they’ll encounter new ’Merican Yo-Kai, including spirits that take the form of anthropomorphized ears of corn, baseballs, hamburgers, slices of bacon, chicken nuggets, and more. Players can experience parallel storylines set in the city of St. Peanutsburg and Springdale, where they’ll meet more than 600 Yo-Kai.

On Nintendo Switch, players will get access to side-scrolling fairy tale adventure The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince, cyberpunk detective thriller Observer, and feel-good first-person shooter Away: Journey to the Unexpected.

Here’s everything else that’s new on the Nintendo eShop this week for Switch and 3DS:


The first trailer for Shaft adds a new generation of Shaft to the mix

No matter what kind of mileage you do or don’t get out of double entendres (et tu, “more Shaft than you can handle”), there’s no denying that the first trailer for Shaft is a heck of a lot of fun.

Starring Jessie T. Usher as John Shaft Jr., Samuel L. Jackson as his father John Shaft II, and Richard Roundtree as the O.G. John Shaft, Shaft comes after four movies and one TV series chronicling the exploits of the detective and the rest of his family tree.

This time around, it looks like the youngest Shaft is facing a steep learning curve when it comes to being “hotter than Bond [and] cooler than Bullitt,” as per the tagline to the original Shaft. A cybersecurity analyst with an aversion to violence, he’s a far cry from his father, but he seeks him out when his best friend dies under unusual circumstances. As the mystery unfolds, Shaft II’s uncle (Roundtree) is also drawn into the fray.

Directed by Tim Story (Ride Along), the film also stars Regina Hall, Alexandra Shipp, and Cliff “Method Man” Smith, and is set to hit theaters on June 14. Can you dig it?


Some broken souls are holed up in a subreddit, trying to replicate the internet as it was in 2009

Rickrolls were funny then!
Photo: ARNAL (Getty Images)

The internet can seem like a lost cause in 2019. The state of things online being what they are, it’s easy to long for a digital refuge, a safe space evoking the internet of yesteryear. Enter: r/Stuck10YearsBehind, the subreddit where no one can tell you it isn’t still 2009.

The subreddit is precisely what it sounds like: a place where people can go to to post what they would have been posting 10 years ago to the day. In an interview with Mashable, creator Dylan Perkins said he came up with the concept “after going down a rabbit hole of old YouTube videos, memes, and forum posts from around 10 years ago and coming out of it feeling like I was in a different world.”

This isn’t the first time people online have yearned for the simpler pleasures of 2009, and with good reason. In 2009, sketch videos were rarer and, by virtue, funnier. In 2009, you could watch a video of a kid, drugged-up following a trip to the dentist, with very little concern of whether or not he was a virulent racist. And hey, remember Three Wolf Moon?

For some, r/Stuck10YearsBehind is a place where it feels to kick up your feet and ride out the storm, numb on the thrill of old memes and The Office. Others, however, will realize that just about every third post there is a Rick Roll. Forward progress has its charms, too.

Send Great Job, Internet tips to [email protected]


Dragon Marked for Death Review – Dates With Death

A war rages on for centuries between the powers of light and dark. After strife and sorrow, the light prevails in a veritable burst of glory that changes the course of the world forever. However, life goes on, and adventurers rise from the rubble of the old world to claim their fortune. This is where you come in. Considered the lowest of the low on the mercenary food chain, you harbor a dark secret and a tragic past: You’ve made a pact with an evil draconic legacy that seeks to disrupt the world anew. Unfortunately, you have to be a somebody to set things right, and so begins the true saga of many a video game protagonist–murder, mayhem, and fetch quests. Dragon Marked for Death delivers on all three fronts with colorful aplomb, but if you’re looking for a solid single-player experience, then your prize is likely in another castle.

Inti Creates’ latest offers a classic side-scrolling multiplayer action experience that will be instantly familiar–the studio is intimately acquainted with some of the most famous titles of the genre, such as Mega Man and Azure Striker Gunvolt, and Dragon Marked for Death appears to contain the necessary components for success. The big point of difference is the elegant anime visuals sprinkled on top of retro fantasy, which make it feel like a more original conception. It’s a nice, modern facelift on the bare bones of Azure Striker Gunvolt, albeit with a less-stylised UI and a statistic display familiar to any RPG fan.

There are four distinct classes, all with their own quirks and charms, and each of the game’s levels can be traversed in different ways that let you make the most of your character’s capabilities. The Shinobi and the Empress classes, in particular, have gap-closing abilities that allow them to flit across stages with deadly efficiency, while the Warrior and Witch have far more situational movement inputs that open up the map in more indirect ways. Dragon Marked for Death differentiates these classes by difficulty, and this is evident in the way that the title has been released on the Nintendo eShop. There are two versions: Frontline Fighters (containing the Warrior and the Empress) and Advanced Attackers (containing the Shinobi and the Witch). In order to acquire the classes that your chosen version is missing, you’ll need to buy them as additional DLC.

As indicated by the names of each release, some of the classes are better suited to getting hot and heavy up close. The Warrior is the most robust and is well-suited to living through absolutely everything that could be thrown at you. The Empress strikes a balance between mobility, damage options, and defensive capability–the perfect class for beginners. On the other hand, the Shinobi is more of a glass cannon, blessed with speed and damage in spades. And the Witch, potentially the most rewarding class to use if you can handle it, has powerful spell combinations entered with button sequences that you have to memorize, all locked inside someone with the physical constitution of wet tissue.

In solo play, it’s easy to identify where things could get a little hairy for each class. Enemies are relentless in their pursuit of your character once they spot you, and each level sees you facing off against a variety of minions and sub-bosses that all have one single-minded focus: your destruction. You face down ogres who spew fire, cut a swathe through the bellies of seafaring monsters large enough to drown entire ships, and dodge bullets that take away your ability to control your movement. If you’re advancing through the maps as they become available, each one will feel like a challenge and an exercise in how you manage both your class and your time. No matter which class you pick up, going toe to toe with the baddies is rewarding once you figure out the intricacies of damage dealing. Whether it’s suped-up spells that wipe out everything in a five-mile radius, knowing when to deploy a shield in that split-second between life and death, or running up walls and gleefully skewering your foes, there’s an interesting game plan for every character in Dragon Marked For Death.

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Do you kill as many mobs as possible for experience and money? Do you skip all of the minor enemies in order to head straight for the sub-bosses at the cost of missing out on healing opportunities? If you run out of time on a level it’s Game Over, and if you run out of your vitality, it’s also a rude kick back to the starting line. Dragon Marked for Death forces you to find a strategy that works for you, and the timers are just tight enough that you’re incentivized to learn the layout of maps and the quirks of the enemies inhabiting them if you want a chance at success. You repeat levels at different difficulties as you get stronger, farming missions for experience and for the gold to equip yourself with better weapons, all so you can chip away at the seemingly immovable wall of at-level quests to progress the story. This is essentially the gameplay loop that is fundamental to the title–grinding.

A frustrating difficulty curve emerges when venturing solo, and even if you’re accustomed to this kind of loop, it’s a bitter pill to swallow compared to the experience provided by the multiplayer mode. Each classes’ distinct identity makes it feel like they’ve been designed for the sole purpose of filling a party role in an MMORPG, since their strengths and weaknesses are complementary. Playing as just one without any backup feels incredibly limiting–you aren’t capable of much in the face of high stakes.

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Luckily, linking up in multiplayer with your friends is as seamless as jumping into single-player. You need a Nintendo Online subscription if you’re worlds apart, or simply flip to the local multiplayer menu if you’re sitting next to each other. It’s as easy as dropping in and out of a party, with the leader selecting what maps to tackle. After you finish a stage, you’re returned to the map selection screen so you can jump right back into the action, and it’s that kind of action that will keep you coming back for more.

Multiplayer is compelling because the classes work better in tandem–tank characters keeping the heat off damage dealers always results in a boss dying quicker–and levels feel less deadly when the Witch can focus on blasting through anything and everything with a Warrior to cover her from any fatal damage. In later stages, single-player requires an amount of dedication to the grind that can suck the fun out of the encounters, especially when you have had a taste of co-op and can spot moments where having a party would have helped save your bacon.

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Akin to the classes themselves, the levels were clearly designed with multiplayer in mind. Because of the varied ways in which maps can be explored, including hidden segments that can be tricky to navigate if you don’t have a particular movement skill or the sufficient patience to figure out an alternative route, having more than one class in play at a time helps make those closed-off areas feel more accessible. The relentlessness of your foes is another thing which makes the single-player experience feel a little less than well-balanced in difficulty if you’re tackling new content as soon as you unlock it; you won’t have sufficient items or perhaps the know-how to navigate certain levels. As the Witch in particular, you only learn certain elemental spells when hitting level thresholds, which can leave you at a type disadvantage for longer than is necessary. What smoothes out all those little bumps, however, is another player to take the heat off you, and the experience bonus granted from multiplayer also sweetens that deal.

Overall, Dragon Marked for Death is a polished experience that draws on a lot of existing genre sensibilities, but with a heavy focus on aspects that make for a good co-op experience. The classes are thematically coherent and entertainingly distinct, and the levels are just varied enough that gliding through one for the first time is always aurally and visually pleasing. The unbalanced single-player experience is a big sticking point, but if you have friends who are willing to take up the Dragonblood mantle with you, then there are few action platformers more entertaining.


Pet Sematary trailer is downright terrifying

The newest trailer for Paramount’s Pet Sematary remake promises chills and one curmudgeonly reanimated cat.

Based on the Stephen King horror novel of the same name, Pet Sematary tells the story of a doctor who moves to a small Maine town with his family and discovers an ancient burial ground that brings dead things back to life. Pet Sematary was originally made into a movie in 1989 and while it had a less-than-successful follow-up, it gained a cult following.

Thirty years later, the undead machinations are back. In this new trailer, the characters delve deeper into the mythos of the mysterious Pet Sematary and the history of the town, before dead things start rising again. And it’s all set to the eerie thumps of drums. Spooky.

There are also more glimpses of the absolutely angry-looking undead cat. Hiss.

The new Pet Sematary stars Jason Clarke (First Man), Amy Seimetz (Stranger Things), and John Lithgow (Footloose, Shrek). It will premiere on April 5, 2019.


Giveaway: The Division 2 Private Beta Access (Australia Only)

GameSpot and Ubisoft want Australian readers to join us during the private beta for Tom Clancy’s Division 2 this weekend! It begins this Friday on February 8 at 8pm AEST.

Two main missions are playable, along with five side missions and additional activities in the open world. One of three new Dark Zones will show off The Division 2’s brand of PvPvE action, while you can sample the more organized PvP gameplay in a Conflict game mode named Skirmish.

Additionally, one slice of endgame content is included in the beta: an Invaded mission will unlock on February 9 at 8pm AEST. The test period will cap players’ progress at level 30.

To get access to the code, all you need to do is fill out the form below and follow one of our social media accounts! Along with your access rights, you will be able to invite up to 3 Uplay friends to the Beta.

IMPORTANT: This code will only be valid for the first 1000 people who redeem it. Once its allocation is exhausted it will cease to work.

For more info on The Division 2, including how the new Dark Zones work and how Ubisoft is planning on providing a surprising endgame, you can check out our features and articles on here on GameSpot.


Violent Video Game Tax Proposed In Pennsylvania

Lawmakers from Pennsylvania have put forth a bill that proposes a 10% excise tax on violent video games. House Bill 109 seeks to impose the so-called “sin tax” on games sold at retail that are rated by the ESRB as M for Mature or Adults-Only. The money would go into a fund called the “Digital Protection for School Safety Account” that aims to enhance security measures at schools in the wake of the school shootings in Parkland, Florida and Newtown, Connecticut.

State representative Chris Quinn, a republican, initially put forth the bill in 2018, but it never made it out of committee during the 2018 legislative session. The new version is similarly worded.

The 10 percent tax would be in addition to applicable state and local taxes. The sales tax rate in Pennsylvania is 6%, which means a standard $60 game costs around $64. With the extra 10 percent tax on violent games, the cost of an M-rated game like Red Dead Redemption 2 would make the game end up costing about $70.

Explaining the bill last year, Quinn said violent video games might be an element in the rise of school shootings in America. “One factor that may be contributing to the rise in, and intensity of, school violence is the material kids see, and act out, in video games,” he said.

Quinn cited the National Center for Health Research’s statement that studies demonstrate a link between violent video games and increases in aggressive thoughts and behaviors. Quinn’s comments conveniently leave out the same statement’s disclaimer that other factors like mental illness, access to weapons, and adverse environments should be considered as other risk factors. Not only that, but the National Center for Health Research’s own reporting states that studies have not shown that aggression leads to increased instances of deadly violence or criminal activity.

Expectedly, the Entertainment Software Association, which lobbies on behalf of the video game industry, is taking a hard line against this bill. In a statement to Variety, the ESA the bill is a violation of the US Constitution.

“Numerous authorities–including scientists, medical professionals, government agencies, and the US Supreme Court–found that video games do not cause violence,” it said. “We encourage Pennsylvania legislators to work with us to raise awareness about parental controls and the ESRB video game rating system, which are effective tools to ensure parents maintain control over the video games played in their home.”

After the Sandy Hook shooting, a lawmaker from Connecticut proposed a similar tax in 2013. Also that year, a state representative from Missouri proposed a sales tax on games rated M and above. In both cases, the funds would have gone towards mental health programs. However, the bills never became law.


Microsoft’s Inside Xbox Show Isn’t Working

Head of Xbox Game Studios, Matt Booty, (left) speaking with Xbox brand ambassador Larry Hryb, i.e. Major Nelson (right).
Screenshot: Kotaku (Inside Xbox)

Yesterday afternoon, Microsoft aired its latest episode of Inside Xbox, a monthly livestream in which the company updates players on new stuff in the world of Xbox. Like most episodes of Inside Xbox, it was long, precisely staged, and light on interesting news. If new Nintendo Directs have become exciting, mini-E3 press conferences, new episodes of Inside Xbox feel more like the ads that run before a movie.

In theory, it’s nice for Xbox fans to get regular updates from the people behind the platform, and Inside Xbox is by no means Microsoft’s only way of sharing Xbox news firsthand. The company has twitter feeds and a news site, podcasts, developer video series and other regular short-form showcases for getting out its message.

The Inside Xbox series, however, has been presented by Microsoft since last year as a premiere, almost-monthly showcase. The video episodes have the length to suggest it, clocking in at well over an hour. The content, however, has been oddly lacking, with small news bits diluted by lots of host chatter and an unusual amount of time spent on granular topics it’s hard to imagine Xbox fans tuned in for.

Take last night’s three minutes spent on the announcement that the name of Microsoft’s internal studios is changing from Microsoft Studios to Xbox Game Studios, a shift in part to make it extra clear going forward that Microsoft’s studios make games for Xbox.

A traveling Halo museum is a neat idea but not quite the news fans are waiting for.
Screenshot: Kotaku (Inside Xbox)

Or take the 10 minutes spent announcing a touring Halo fan experience that will let attendees play laser tag and geek out at life-size replicas of their favorite Halo stuff, among other activities. It was reminiscent of Inside Xbox episode 3 last May when the big news was a Halo light gun game coming to Dave and Busters. Last night’s Halo segment culminated with this exchange between one of the show’s hosts and Kiki Wolfkill, the head of transmedia at Halo studio 343 Industries.

Inside Xbox host Kate Yeager: “I’d be remiss as a Halo fan if I didn’t ask, even if you can’t say anything, even if you say no, I want to know if there’s anything you can tell us about the new Showtime Halo project.”

343 Industries’ Kiki Wolfkill: “Yeah. Nothing new to officially share. I mean, we are knee deep in it. It’s really exciting for us. These things take so much time and we’re really in the knitty-gritty and it’s so much fun.”

Presumably the point was to let people know that there still may be Halo series on Showtime after its initial director departed in December, but these are hardly thrilling updates, especially when you consider a new Halo TV show was first announced back in 2013.

Some news trickled in. We learned D’Vorah will be in Mortal Kombat 11, and Jotaro and DIO from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure will be coming to Jump Force. Plus Shadow of the Tomb Raider, not even a year old yet, will be arriving on Game Pass on February 7 followed by a bunch of other games.

This studio makes games for Xbox.
Screenshot: Kotaku (Inside Xbox)

There was also an announcement of an announcement. At the end of his segment on Sea of Thieves, executive producer at Rare, Joe Neate, revealed that on March 20 the studio will announce details of a big future update coming to the game. The disclosure of that news about upcoming news, and that friends of Sea of Thieves players would be able to try the game for free for a week, took approximately 12 minutes.

The extent of the whole show, including cinematic trailers for Crackdown 3 and Metro Exodus, would easily have fit within a brief 15-20 minute video instead of the roughly 80 minute marathon Inside Xbox episodes tend to be.

After the show the Xbox Twitter account asked fans what their favorite part was. “The moment when you guys announced new exclusives. oh wait..” wrote one person. Others were less cynical. “For me it was all the Game Pass news plus the Metro story preview was pretty awesome,” wrote someone else.

I watched the episode through Twitch where the chat was less than kind for the most part, and the audience dropped from 10,000 to under 5,000 by the end of the show. YouTube numbers were similar.

The most recent episode marked the nearly one year anniversary of the show’s return since its Xbox 360-themed predecessor ended in 2012. Microsoft said at the time it hoped to make the show a monthly event, but since last fall episodes have been sporadic. The formula is usually the same: nuggets of light news scattered between interviews between Xbox personalities and video game developers where everyone seems to already know what the answers are but acts like they’re just shooting the shit in a friend’s basement.

A new red Xbox controller was one of the show’s more exciting reveals.
Screenshot: Kotaku (Inside Xbox)

In theory, incorporating interviews with developers is a great way to try and get the people who makes games in front of the people who play them. It’s just that in practice any potentially interesting answers tend to be stifled by the format, which more closely resembles the excited chit chat of a red carpet event than two human beings having a relaxed and interesting conversation about a new game.

There have been a few exceptions, most notably when Hello Games’ Sean Murray went on the show last May to announce No Man’s Sky: Next, a massive update adding multiplayer and other long-sought-after features to the game. His exchange was fascinating in part because he was passionate and didn’t sound scripted, like when he said “[Next] is like the potential that everyone’s always seen in No Man’s Sky,” acknowledging the two years of work that had been required to make it the game everyone had expected at launch. It also benefited from him having new information about what was essentially the game’s 2.0 launch.

During the segment involving the name change to Microsoft’s game development studios, Xbox executive Matt Booty was asked by longtime Xbox hypeman Larry Hryb when players would get a glimpse of what the company’s new studios have been working on. If only, Booty had said “now.” Instead, he said: “We’ll be excited to share some news about what we’re up to coming up in the next few months and at E3.” It’s nice to know that Microsoft has more Xbox news coming, but for Inside Xbox to really work, and to make it worth everyone’s viewing time, the show needs to make more of Xbox’s biggest news worth announcing right there on Inside Xbox. Maybe next time?


The Mysterious Unannounced 2K Game Might Finally Get Revealed Soon

For a long time now, Take-Two has teased an upcoming game from one of 2K’s “biggest and most beloved franchises,” and it may soon be time that we find out what it is. As part of its earnings report, Take-Two reaffirmed that this unannounced game remains on track to release during the company’s fiscal year 2020. More interestingly, Take-Two said 2K will have “more to share” on the game in the coming months.

During the call, an analyst asked about the game, and CEO Strauss Zelnick said the company expects the game to “stay on track” following its previous delay. He added that the company has “very high expectations” for the game, whatever it may be.

This unannounced game was previously scheduled to launch during fiscal year 2019, which runs April 2018 through March 2019. However, it was later delayed to fiscal year 2020, which covers April 2019 through March 2020, so that’s when you can expect this new sequel from 2K.

Take-Two CFO Lainie Goldstein said the company has modelled some marketing spend for the new game during the current fiscal year, so that suggests the title may be announced before April 2019.

Speculation has suggested that the game may be Borderlands 3, or whatever the next title in the series ends up being called. Regardless, a new Borderlands is known to be in development. Another possibility is the new BioShock game that is reportedly in development. Back in April 2018, Kotaku reported that a top-secret new BioShock game was in the works at a studio in Novato, California.

It’s also possible that the delayed game is something else entirely, though it is expected to be a sequel given that Take-Two said it is an instalment in one of its “biggest franchises.”

In other Take-Two news, the company recently opened a new 2K studio in Silicon Valley that’s headed up by Michael Condrey, who worked on Dead Space and multiple Call of Duty games.


Get started in Sea of Thieves with this beginner’s guide

Sailing the Sea of Thieves can be a little tricky at first, especially with the ongoing releases of expansions. We’ve assembled this guide to help you with your very starting steps as a pirate, from getting into the game to starting your first voyage and finally spending your hard earned currency on some booty.

Starting the game

When the Arena expansion hits, you’ll choose between The Arena — a fast paced PvP mode — or Adventure. This guide will handle starting in Adventure. You pick your ship — the two-person sloop, the three-person brigantine, or the four-person galleon — and your crew type. An open crew matches you with strangers, and a closed crew allows you to sail with only friends you invite.

Players can spawn at any random outpost in the three regions of the world: The Wilds, The Shores of Plenty, and the Ancient Isles. There is a fourth region, the Devil’s Roar, to the east. Players must manually sail there to adventure in that region, and you cannot begin at Morrow’s Peak Outpost.

The tavern, voyages, and outposts

Once you start the game, you enter the tavern. The tavern contains Duke, who gives weekly event and expansion dialogue, gear, and quests. He distributes special voyages, like the Christmas Golden Voyages or the Mercenary Voyages for the free week. If there isn’t an event running, leave the tavern and enter the outpost.

Outposts are full of supplies. Get in the habit of checking the barrels around you — you can often find useful things, including ship supplies, cursed cannonballs you can use as weapons, and even voyages. Down by the docks will be your ship, waiting for you to climb aboard when you’re ready.

Sea of Thieves - a tavern in an outpost. Rare/Microsoft Studios

Outposts contain vendors, who sell cosmetic skins for your equipment. There is no “leveling up” or better gear. The goal is to acquire gold to trade for cosmetic items — and have fun on the seas while you do so. You’ll need to earn some gold to spend first. To do that, you’ll need to acquire a voyage.

Voyages and tools

You can hold three voyages at a time, and they do not start until you activate them upon your ship. To activate a voyage, go to your ship’s voyage table. Every member of the party can propose a voyage by pressing F on PC, or X on Xbox and selecting their voyage. Crew members can then vote by pressing F (or X) on their voyage of choice. Once the majority of a crew decides, a voyage is activated. You can check your voyage requirements by holding E on PC or right bumper on Xbox, and checking the icons in the circle.

Completing voyages often requires you to use tools. Hold Q on PC or left bumper on Xbox to use the weapon wheel. The use of each item is pretty straightforward — a shovel allows you to dig, the lantern provides light, and so on. The musical instruments are briefly used in some quests, but mostly they’re just there for you to play shanties upon the sea. Nice!

Sea of Thieves - a sloop’s voyage table
The voyage table on a sloop.
Rare/Microsoft Studios via Polygon


Voyages primarily come from three factions on each outpost.

The Merchant Alliance

The first is the Merchant Alliance. The Merchant Alliance representative is on the dock of each outpost, with a tarp over her head. She will distribute voyages for you. Press F or X to interact with her, and you can choose a Cargo Run or a Shipment.

A Cargo Run asks you to pick up some silk, rum, and/or plants and transport them to a destination. You must keep the silk dry, protect the rum from shattering, and water the plants before they wither on the way to your destination. The better shape you keep your cargo in, the more gold you acquire. Pick up the shipment from the specific person that the manifest requires, check the labels on the goods, and then deliver them to the appropriate character.

When activated, shipments allow you to take crates from the Merchant Alliance vendor. You travel to islands, find animals, put them in crates, and bring them to the noted destination. We have a more in-depth guide to finding Sea of Thieves animals, but here’s a few quick facts:

  • There are three kinds of animals: chickens, snakes, and pigs.
  • Small islands will only have one kind of animal on them, but large islands can have two.
  • Players have to feed captured pigs with bananas upon capturing them, or they will eventually starve to death. Players charm hissing snakes using music, and charmed snakes dance and stop spitting poison.
Sea of Thieves - a representative of the Order of Souls Rare/Microsoft Studios via Polygon

Order of Souls

The Order of Souls are in purple tents with an eye motif. They sell voyages to hunt down skeletons on specific islands.

Up to four skeleton captains will spawn on each island that the voyage tells you to go to. You can check which islands to travel to and how many skeleton captains there are by holding E or right bumper and checking your voyage icons.

In addition to skeleton captains, you’ll have to deal with their goons:

  • Regular skeletons who wear bandanas
  • Plant skeletons who take extra damage from cutlasses but become stronger in the water
  • Shadow skeletons who are weak in the sun and must have a lantern shone on them in the night
  • Golden skeletons who rust in water and take more damage from guns.

Once you kill skeleton captains, they drop skulls. You can sell those skulls to any Order of Souls merchant at any outpost for gold.

Sea of Thieves - a Gold Hoarder stands at his post
The Gold Hoarders stay in dark green tents with key symbols.
Rare/Microsoft Studios via Polygon

Gold Hoarders

The Gold Hoarders sell maps to treasure, and ask that you bring the chests you find to any Gold Hoarder at any outpost for gold.

Sometimes, these maps are literal X marks the spot treasure maps. Other times, they are multi-step puzzles. Either way, you’ll need to hold E or right bumper, check your voyages, and head to specific islands. Once you’re on the island, you’ll need to either track the X or solve the puzzle, and then dig up a chest using your shovel.

Here’s where the handy dandy map table comes in. This table shows the entire map. You can zoom in to see individual islands and names, or you can scroll out to see regions. Other ships can mark themselves with the Reaper’s Mark, a symbol that identifies them on the map and allows you to see them from a far distance.

Sea of Thieves - the map table Rare/Microsoft Studios via Polygon

Sailing, dying, healing, and fighting

Once you identify where you need to go, it’s time to start sailing. Lift your anchors, drop your sails, and use the wheel to steer. Practice makes perfect when it comes to sailing. For more information and help, check out our Sea of Thieves sailing guide to pick up the basics.

You have a health bar belonging to your pirate, which you can see in the lower left of your screen. If you die, you find yourself on the Ferry of Souls for a brief period of time. You can then return to your ship. Find the banana barrel on your ship and eat up from the equipment wheel to restore health.

Your ship also has its own health system. Taking damage will rip holes in the hull. The wood barrel gives you wooden planks. Use these to repair the damage in your ship by holding F or X near the hole.

Finally, you have cannonballs. Each ship has cannons and cannonballs. (You can also find cursed cannonballs in the world, which have special powers like making your opponent’s ship drop its anchor or making its crew vomit.) This is your way of defending yourself upon the seas.

This should be enough knowledge to get you set off on our first journey over the seas. Before long, you’ll be yar harring and plundering with the best of them.