Safer Seas and Private Servers in Sea of Thieves explained

Sea of Thieves
(Image credit: Rare)

Sea of Thieves Safer Seas option is a cute name for a private server, a way for you and your friends to play without the threat of being attacked by other pirates. However, while many might be delighted at the idea of being able to ferry their treasure back to port without seeing a bloody-sailed brigantine approaching on the horizon, there's a cost to this - namely that certain rewards will be reduced, and certain kinds of missions can't be played at all when in this isolated mode.

Still, if you're considering keeping your pirates private, I'll explain everything you need to know about Safer Seas and Private Servers in Sea of Thieves below, including how to set them up and what the consequences and penalties of doing so are.

What are Safer Seas in Sea of Thieves?

Sea of Thieves Safer Seas

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Safer Seas is Sea of Thieves' name for a private server, a way to play where your crew will never encounter any other players' crews. That doesn't mean you're safe by any means, but every enemy and threat you come across will be computer-controlled ones, like skeletons, phantoms and bosses like the Sea of Thieves Megalodon - you'll never come across a ship controlled by other players.

The idea is that it's a way to play for players who don't like "PvP" (player versus player), and can focus on the more structured elements of the game in "PvE" (player versus engine).

To set this up is very simple - when you start a new game in Sea of Thieves, you'll be given a choice between High Seas (public servers) and Safer Seas (private servers). Simply pick the one you want and off you go! Progress earned carries over between the two, though Safer Seas limits what progress you can make when in its kinder waters - we'll explain that now.

All Safer Seas and High Seas differences

There's more differences between the two server modes beyond just being private and open. As mentioned, Safer Seas penalises players in various ways, reducing the rewards for certain activities and locking off others altogether.

Here's the full list of changes to Safer Seas, and everything that's different from when you play in High Seas mode.

  • Players earn 30% less Gold from all activities
  • Players earn 30% less Reputation from all activities
  • Players cannot go above Level 40 Reputation with any of the major factions in this mode (if they reach that point, they stop earning further Reputation)
  • Captained Ships cannot be brought into Safer Seas, as is the use of Sovereigns.
  • Players cannot earn Allegiance for Guardians of Fortune or Servants of the Flame.
  • Letters of Recommendation cannot be purchased from Larinna.
  • Live Events are not playable in Safer Seas.
  • Certain Trials cannot be completed.
  • Athena's Fortune and Reaper's Bones Company stores do not sell to players in Safer Seas.
  • Pirate Legend status and Pirate legend content cannot be accessed in Safer Seas.
  • Players cannot post maps to the Quest Board, though they can still bury treasure.
  • Certain Voyages cannot be completed if they relate to elements removed for Safer Seas.
  • Players cannot choose to be Emissaries.
  • Guilds cannot progress in Safer Seas.
  • The Fort of Fortune is not available.
  • Reaper's Chests and Bounties are not available.
  • Certain PvP-related Commendations cannot be completed in this mode, as are those relating to elements removed.
  • Certain PvP-related Achievements and Trophies cannot be completed in this mode, as are those relating to elements removed.
  • The following Treasures cannot be found in Safer Seas:
    • All Athena’s Fortune Treasures
    • Chest of Fortune
    • Generous Gift
    • Humble Gift
    • Rag and Bone Crate
    • Reaper's Bounty
    • Reaper's Chest
    • Ritual Skull
    • Skull of Destiny
    • All Tomes

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Joel Franey
Guides Writer

Joel Franey is a writer, journalist, podcaster and raconteur with a Masters from Sussex University, none of which has actually equipped him for anything in real life. As a result he chooses to spend most of his time playing video games, reading old books and ingesting chemically-risky levels of caffeine. He is a firm believer that the vast majority of games would be improved by adding a grappling hook, and if they already have one, they should probably add another just to be safe. You can find old work of his at USgamer, Gfinity, Eurogamer and more besides.