Don’t want to be griefed in Sea of Thieves? Here’s how to tell if other pirates are friendly or stabby

Pirates aren’t exactly famous for being good guys. Centuries ago they robbed, stole, looted, and generally terrorised the high seas, so you’d hope things had changed a bit in Sea of Thieves with much kinder pirates sailing on the horizon. Realistically it’s unlikely everyone you meet will be after your friendship instead of your treasure, so an Imgur user Saphirewolf highlighted how you can tell peaceful pirates from pillaging pirates. 

According to the merchants’ code, if you want to be friends with someone coming your way make sure you have a flagon of grog held high, or your cannons pointing to the sky if you’re manning a galleon or sloop. See someone act like that and they’re probably just looking to buddy up to take on a skeleton fort… or they’re exploiting the guidelines I’ve just laid out to fool you into thinking they’re nice before they board your ship and stick their cutlass into your belly. 

On the other hand, spot a vessel with dimmed lanterns and you should get the hell out of there. They’re obviously hunting for some loot, and won’t be fussed about killing anyone standing in their way. Likewise, a good clue to look out for is if any pirates are wielding cutlasses when you spy them in the distance - if they are, then you want to get out of there sharpish. By the way, a good way to turn around pretty dang fast is to make sure your sails are full, then drop your anchor (hear me out) and spin that steering wheel until it’s fully locked on one side. You’ll spin around super quickly, then all you need to do is hoist the anchor and flee. Oh, did I say flee? I meant advance in another direction. For tactical purposes. If you need any more advice, check out our Sea of Thieves tips for all the guidance you need for how to become the scourge of the high seas. 

Need more Sea of Thieves advice? Check this lot out:

Zoe Delahunty-Light

While here at GamesRadar, Zoe was a features writer and video presenter for us. She's since flown the coop and gone on to work at Eurogamer where she's a video producer, and also runs her own Twitch and YouTube channels. She specialises in huge open-world games, true crime, and lore deep-dives.