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How do Sea of Thieves Emissaries work, and tips for playing as an Emissary

sea of thieves emissary ships rare image
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

The Sea of Thieves Emissaries update is one of the best things to be added to the online pirate-sim as it has allowed players to massively increase their gold hauls, particularly on long-haul voyages. As an Emissary, you and your crew will pledge allegiance to one of the three main trading companies or the Reaper’s Bones if you like to sink other ships. Completing voyages and looting treasure while representing your chosen company will grant you an increasing gold bonus to any loot you sell, so being an Emissary is well worth it if you want to line your pirate’s pockets. However, it’s quite a confusing system with lots of small mechanics to bear in mind, so let us break down Sea of Thieves Emissaries for you.

What are Sea of Thieves Emissaries?

What are Sea of Thieves Emissaries?

Sea of thieves merchant alliance emissary ship

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Emissaries are representatives of the three main Sea of Thieves Trading Companies – that’s the Gold Hoarders, Merchant Alliance, and the Order of Souls – the Reaper’s Bones faction and the exclusive Athena’s Fortune faction for Pirate Legends.  As an Emissary, you can get an increasing gold and reputation multiplier for any loot you cash into your chosen company, with the maximum multiplier increasing your payment by 2.5 times for each item you sell. Reaching the maximum Emissary rank will allow you to pick up an Emissary quest that offers even more great loot. While you can become an Emissary for any of these five companies, you can be an Emissary for only one company at a time. If you want to change which company you represent, you will have to give up your current Emissary status and start over with your new company.

sea of thieves emissary ledger emissary value leaderboard

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

While your Emissary Grade does not carry over between sessions, your Emissary Value – the total of all your bonus gold that you’ve earned from selling loot as an Emissary for a particular company – does carry over and is logged on the Emissary Ledger. This is a seasonal leaderboard that rewards players for reaching certain Emissary Value thresholds, and each company has one. You can get themed titles, sails, figureheads, and more for reaching higher Emissary Values in the Ledger.

However, having your ship get sunk will cause you to lose your Emissary status and your gold multiplier. This adds a considerable risk/reward element to becoming an Emissary. Staying out at sea to complete voyages and gather more loot means you’ll get far more gold than if you weren’t an Emissary, but you’ll also be exposed to more of the emergent threats in Sea of Thieves, and you’re also a big target for other player crews, especially Emissaries of the Reaper’s Bones. It is important to note that Emissary status and the gold multiplier does not carry over between sessions. You must start from scratch every time.

How to become an Emissary in Sea of Thieves

How to become an Emissary in Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves Emissaries

(Image credit: Rare)

Since not all the Trading Companies are equal there are a few different ways to become an Emissary, although every company does require you to make a one-time purchase of 20,000 gold for their Emissary Flag and license. This permanently give you the option to become an Emissary for the particular company, so buy all five flags if you want to be an Emissary for any company.

For the Gold Hoarders, Merchant Alliance, and Order of Souls, you must also be Rank 15 and need to have purchased the three promotions that come with reaching Rank 15. However, the Reaper’s Bones have no level requirement, so you only need to purchase their flag from the Reaper’s Hideout vendor. As for Athena’s Fortune, you’ll need to be Pirate Legend and must buy their flag but there are no other requirements.

sea of thieves reapers bones outpost skeleton

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Once you’ve got your flags and licenses, you need to decide on what company you’re going to represent and then find their vendors’ stall on an Outpost. Each stall will have a small table that enables you to vote on which company you’ll represent and become an Emissary for. If most of your crew votes for the same one, you’ll successfully become an Emissary. Aspiring Athena’s Fortune Emissaries will need to find the table next to the Mysterious Stanger, who can be found in the taverns of every Outpost. Aspiring Reaper’s Bones Emissaries will need to find the caged skeleton on every outpost.

Every Emissary table will also have a number of small wooden ships on it to show many other Emissaries for that company there are. It’s a good idea to check the Reaper’s table and your ship’s map to see how much danger your crew might be in. When you become an Emissary, a flag will be raised at the top of your ship’s main mast and at the back of you ship which clearly shows you and other ships which company you represent and what grade you are.

How to increase your Sea of Thieves Emissary Grade

How to increase your Sea of Thieves Emissary Grade

sea of thieves gold hoarders emissary flag on ship

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Now that you’ve become an Emissary, you’ll need to increase your Emissary Grade to get more gold for your goods. Every time you become an Emissary, you’ll start at Emissary Grade 1. Your Emissary Grade is what determines your gold multiplier for any loot you sell to your chosen company. Bringing relevant treasure onboard your ship is the main way of increasing your Emissary Grade, but more specifically, you can do the following to increase your grade:

  • Complete voyages
  • Pick up treasure for the first time
  • Place treasure onboard your ship
  • Complete Forts
  • Defeat Megalodons
  • Defeat the Kraken
  • Defeat other player ships, particularly Reaper’s Bones Emissaries
  • Defeat Skeleton Ships

sea of thieves emissary grade 4 increase

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

As your crew completes voyages and you build your stockpile of treasure, you’ll see your grade rise in the bottom-left corner of your screen. You can also check your Emissary Flag at the back of your ship to see your grade. When you eventually reach Emissary Grade 5, your loot will be worth 2.5 times its normal value. Here are all the gold multipliers for all the different Emissary Grades:

  • Grade 1 – 1x (normal loot value)
  • Grade 2 – 1.33x
  • Grade 3 – 1.67
  • Grade 4 – 2x
  • Grade 5 – 2.5x

Upon reaching Grade 5 with any company, you’ll also be able to pick up a special Emissary quest voyage from any company vendor at an Outpost, unless you’re a Reaper which has a different reward. At the end of your adventures, you can also vote to lower your Emissary flag by voting at one of your company’s Emissary tables on an Outpost. You’ll get a little gold reward that varies in value depending on your final Emissary Grade.

What are Sea of Thieves Reaper’s Bones Emissaries?

What are Sea of Thieves Reaper’s Bones Emissaries?

sea of thieves reapers hideout servant of the flame

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

The Reaper’s Bones are a little different from the four other companies since they aren’t a proper Trading Company. The Reapers’ focus is purely on asserting dominance over the other Trading Companies, which means ship-to-ship combat and PvP is their whole deal. Reaper Emissaries can still increase their Emissary Grade by bringing treasure aboard their ship, but hunting player crews, including other Reaper’s Bones Emissaries, and stealing their loot is highly encouraged.

You can hand in any loot to the Reaper’s Bones but they covet the Emissary Flags from sunken Emissary ships. When an Emissary ship sinks, its flag breaks off and floats in the sea like any other treasure item. If your crew finds an Emissary Flag, even if you aren’t a Reaper’s Bones Emissary, you can sell it to the Servant of the Flame at the Reaper’s Hideout along with any other loot. Emissary Flags of a higher grade will be worth more. Obviously, if you are a Reaper Emissary, you will get far more gold for handing in any flags thanks to the Emissary Grade gold multiplier.

sea of thieves reapers bones emissary ships on map

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

As a Reaper’s Bones Emissary, you’ll be visible on the maps of every other crew, regardless of your Emissary Grade. Once you reach Emissary Rank 5 with the Reapers, you won’t get a special Emissary quest but will instead get the ability to see every other Emissary ship on your map so that you can more easily hunt them down.

Will Sawyer
Will Sawyer

Will Sawyer is a freelance guides writer at GamesRadar+ who works with the rest of the guides team to give readers great information and advice on the best items, how to complete a particular challenge, or where to go in some of the biggest video games. Will joined the GameRadar+ team in August 2021 and has written about service titles, including Fortnite, Destiny 2, and Warzone, as well as some of the biggest releases like Halo Infinite, Dying Light 2, and Elden Ring.