For some reason Sea of Thieves currently describes playing alone as “a more perilous journey” that’s only for “experienced players”. It’s not, trust me. The Sea of Thieves Beta is running this weekend (it finishes on Monday), and I've had plenty of time with Rare's grogg-swilling sim already. And it's very, very possible to play solo. You might have to take things a little more carefully, and be much more aware of your surroundings without a crew, but you can totally pirate without friends. It’s easy and, obviously, there’s a lot more treasure when you don’t have to share.
Learn how to sail straight
When you choose a solo journey you’ll be given pretty much the same ship as the two player option. You’ll have to manage the sail length, angle, anchor and navigation all by yourself. It’s not actually that hard as long as you keep track of everything. First of all, this particular, gold trimmed handle is your best friend when sailing alone. It’ll appear in the middle when you’ve turned as far as you can go left or right, or have the wheel dead centre. That last option’s the one to look out for - as it centres it’ll vibrate as an extra warning, and the ship will stay its course, giving you time to leave it alone and do other things.
Stop steering to check the map and sails but be quick
With no crew you’ll have to do everything, making navigation a bit of a juggle - you don’t want to miss where you’re going because you’re not looking at the map, but you also don’t want to hit where you’re going because you are looking at the map. Using the gold handle trick you can guarantee you’re going in a straight line and, as long as nothing’s in front of you, you can take a look at the map to check your course, tend to the sales or just enjoy the view.
Don’t be afraid to take it slow
Whenever you get within throwing distance of an island, roll the sale up at least half way. The shore will always come up faster than you expect and the last thing you want to do is bust the hell out of your ship because you’re trying to steer, drop anchor and fiddle with the sails all at once as it does. Drop your speed and take it slow.
Check everything. Twice
Just pulling into an island and thought you heard a slight bump on the hull? Check it. Thought you heard a skeleton creak? Check it. You’re the only pair of eyes you have, so use them. The last thing you want to do is come back to find your ship flooded because that bump was a hole. Equally, getting attacked as your first warning of any undead being about is not ideal.
Always keep bananas and planks on you
You’re on your own remember, so there’s no backup or help. Any and all repairs and battles are all down to you. So keep some bananas in your inventory for healing, and planks for quick repairs. If you get caught on the hop without anything you need you’re just doubling your efforts with all the panicking and running about.
Stay moving in combat
Skeletons are faster than you think and often attack in threes. While in a group you can stay alive through the power of teamwork, here you just have to stay moving. Back-pedalling might not seem like the actions of a brave pirate but those piles of angry bones can surround you and trip away your health very quickly.
Don’t worry about falling overboard
On rough seas, when the ship’s throwing you about and you’re trying to manage navigation, sails and repairs, it’s easy to accidentally fall overboard. Fortunately, just as in when playing with others, there’s a handy merman about to help you. Just look out for the blue smoke from his flare and swim towards him. You’ll be back on deck in no time. Alone. Contemplating how you could of died.