One of the biggest changes for the game this year has been the new Sea of Thieves Emissary system, which promises better loot and more rewards for all players who dare raise the flag of a trading company. If you're new or returning to Sea of Thieves and don't quite know what this new layer does to the game, here's a full rundown of what to expect as a Sea of Thieves Emissary and how to get the most out of being one of the many Sea of Thieves Emissaries.
What are Sea of Thieves Emissaries?
Emissaries are the players in Sea of Thieves who opt into a slightly different version of the game for better loot, but greater danger. As Emissaries, players can earn loot multipliers that dole out rewards up to 2.5 times greater than they'd have received without the system activated. Players can currently sail as Emissaries for any of the five eligible trading companies, including the Gold Hoarders, Order of Souls, Merchant Alliance, Athena's Fortune (exclusive to Pirate Legends), or the newest company, The Reaper's Bones.
To join most companies as an Emissary, you must first be level 15 with that company, though the Reaper's Bones have no level requirement and of course Athena's Fortune demands you're first a Pirate Legend.
As an Emissary, players will fly a special flag on the back of their ship, signifying to other players what kind of adventures they may be on, which in turn is meant to inspire more alliances at sea. But sailing as an Emissary for anyone other than The Reaper's Bones also puts a big target on your back. Players sailing as Emissaries for this new PvP-focused company are incentivized to sink other Emissaries and cash in the flag that's left floating when their ship sinks for major rewards.
Thus, sailing as an Emissary is a new element of risk versus reward for Rare's ever-changing pirate adventure.
Sea of Thieves Emissary glossary
With the Emissary system come many new vocabulary words to the Sea of Thieves glossary. Here's what each of them means if you see them in the game.
Emissary Grade: A numerical 1-5 ranking that resets with each session. As players earn higher tiers of Emissary Grade, the rewards for loot they cash in are improved by as much as 2.5 times their normal value. Grade 1 earns 1 times the value, Grade 2 earns 1.33 times the value, Grade 3 earns 1.67 times the value, Grade 4 earns 2 times the value, and lastly the desirable Grade 5 earns 2.5 times the value.
Emissary Ledger: Seasonal leaderboards which reward players for achieving certain score thresholds for Emissary play. In its debut season, the first two of four Tiers only give players new titles, but the latter two give out exclusive company-specific rewards, like new sails for their ships. Future seasons will continue to rotate in new cosmetic rewards for players who cross the scoring thresholds.
Emissary Flag: This is what you buy from each trading company representative in order to join them as an Emissary. You need only to buy it the first time, after that you just vote on it with your crew. Each flag costs 20,000 gold. Once you buy it, you can elect to fly it and begin your life as an Emissary. The flag will automatically apply to your ship like any other cosmetic.
Emissary Table: These tables are located on every outpost for all five eligible companies, as well as one for The Reaper's Bones on The Reaper's Hideout. Visit these, usually found right beside their corresponding vendors to buy and fly a flag.
Emissary Quest: Once you achieve Grade 5 as an Emissary, revisit the company's table to purchase the Emissary Quest, a special high-value quest that is meant to cash in on your now massive multiplier.
Sea of Thieves Emissary tips
Like all of Sea of Thieves, the Emissary system is built on the principle of "tools, not rules." Rare likes players to experiment and see how they can create their own messes at sea. But if you're looking to start on the right pegleg, here are a few words of wisdom so you may survive long enough to cash in as an expert Emissary.
- Check the Emissary Table for little wooden boats. These symbolize how many ships are already flying that company's flag. If there are lots of Gold Hoarders, for example, it may benefit you to join them and form alliances should you come across them. Likewise, it may be better to don the flag of the seedy Reapers and prey upon what may be the only other Emissary in a particular lobby. These little wooden boats should always be considered when choosing a flag to fly.
- The Reaper's Bones don't get any benefit from sinking non-Emissary ships - at least not any added benefit. Take some comfort in that fact, but also don't forget that even before the Emissary system, some players just liked sinking others anyway. Just because you elect not to fly a flag doesn't mean you're safe from the wrath of a PvP-hungry pirate.
- All kinds of actions raise your Emissary Grade. Each company rewards you for several things: the typical company actions, like digging up chests as a Gold Hoarder or turning in cargo as a Merchant, overcoming PvE encounters like the Megalodon or the Kraken, and sinking Reapers. Of course, for the Reapers themselves, they get rewarded for sinking you instead.
- Prioritize the loot you need. Skulls and caged animals won't give you any special bonuses if you're a Gold Hoarder Emissary, so when time is of the essence and you can't take all the loot, take first the shinies that benefit your company. If you happen to team up with other companies' Emissaries at a stronghold fort, this is an easy way to divide the loot. Everybody wins!
- Form alliances, and not just by word of mouth. Literally use the game's alliance system. When near another ship, you can climb the crow's nest and raise an alliance flag. If the other ship raises theirs to match, you've formed an alliance and can look out for each other at sea. This will put you on the map at all times for your allies and vice versa, thus making it easier to know where to save your booty should it find itself threatened by The Reaper's Bones. Plus, any rewards earned by an allied ship pays out to others at 50% the rate at no loss to the original seller. For example, if two ships are in an alliance and one sells a chest for 2,000 gold, the other ship earns 1,000 just for being a friend. It's the fastest way to hit Pirate Legend, and the safest way to sail as an Emissary.