Hello fellow thieves! I have here a list of tips for players looking to always win their PvP engagements. As qualifications/bragging, I am undefeated on the galleon, and have a win rate of about 25:1 on the sloop vs galleons and sloops. I've taken almost 40 skull forts, and average a faction level of 38.
This guide will also assume the enemy ship is filled with skilled players.
I have learned that sea of thieves is not a game of "keep dealing damage and eventually they will sink." No, in sea of thieves you need to land a KILLING BLOW on the enemy ship. One man can bucket water from 6 or more holes, so you have to put them in a position where they cannot repair, which leads us into the most important piece of combat.
- Boarding: You need to board the enemy ship if you expect them to sink. Like i said earlier, just one man repairing can tank the ship through a mountain of damage, so you need to board. First off when you board I highly recommend the shotgun, I also recommend seconding that with a pistol for a instant guaranteed one shot wombo combo. Once you board, you have 3 things you need to get done, listed in importance.
Stay Alive: Just your presence creates so much chaos on their ship, keeping them from repairing, fighting, and controlling their ship. Stay alive at all costs.
Drop the enemy anchor: Dropping their anchor will allow your crew mate still on your ship, to pull the ship into what I call a "kill position" where you can shoot them, but they cant shoot you. This increases pressure on their ship, making killing them easier. It can also bait enemy pirates onto the anchor, giving you a free shotgun kill.
If you start hearing somebody hammering in wood to fix holes, that is top priority, and a easy shotgun one shot kill.
Anti-Boarding: Because boarding is so strong, it is CRITICAL you do not get boarded. There is one key to that, and it comes from audio. You can HEAR enemy players in the water, and the more experience you get identifying it the better. So to never get boarded you need to ALWAYS have a player on your boat, who is listening for enemy players. Even if you are on the cannons, you need to pause and listen for enemy players. There is a distinctive splash when the enemy player grabs the rope, that is your cue to get to the rope ladder. You should have a shotgun on you (a necessity in any PvP combat) and get the one shot kill once they climb onto the ship).
Cannon Shot Placement: "Aim your shots below the sea, if leak and flood you hope to see" HAHA good one Rare, but we don't just want leak and flood, we want death. If you are in a broadside with the enemy ship, your primary target should be their gun deck. By doing this you can create holes on their ship while damaging or even KILLING the enemy players. A solid shot will wipe out one or more players, giving you a massive advantage. Like i said at the beginning, its not just about getting "Leak and Flood", its about landing a KILLING BLOW. Killing their players gives you a chance to board, and hopefully get a stranglehold on the enemy ship.
Sail Control: "Raise your sails towards the sky, if tighter turn you hope to try." Solid advice Rare. If you expect to go into a broadside with an enemy ship, before you engage, make sure you are putting your sails almost all the way up. On the galleon, I"ll have my crew put up the front 2, on the sloop I'll put it almost all the way up. Most enemy ships do not do this, and it allows you to turn and keep up with the enemy ship as it sails by. You will turn faster/earlier, putting your gun deck on first. The enemy gun deck will only have a small window where their guns are on, yours always will be. As a bonus, it will make it easier for your gunner to shoot, shooting from a stationary platform.
Explosive Barrels: A well used explosive barrel can be a game changer in any fight. It is a great fight opener, giving your ship a butt load of pressure, and giving your boarder a distraction for them to get on the boat. Or it can be used to finish off a wounded ship. Ill give you a couple areas to use it. The barrel will always create 4 holes on the enemy ship relative to where it detonated.
Getting chased: Pretty simple, jump off the ship, drop it in front of their ship, and as it explodes, use the distraction to get up the rope. If your confident, you can also just board them with it, and make a suicide run down to their lower deck. If you have a pistol, you can even survive the engagement.
Surprising a ship at a fort: Roll up on them fast, get your gun deck on target, and send over someone with a barrel. Your ship will distract the enemy pirates, allowing your barreler to get off a succesful boom, and hopefully even get on board. Ive killed many a galleon this way.
Quick Pro Tips:1. Dont keep barrels on your ship, put them in the crows next. 2. If you are stopped somewhere, take the time to drop anchor, then raise sails, then raise anchor. This allows you to leave quickly, or turn the ship as needed to shoot skellies or approaching enemy ships. 3. Look around! In general, but also when clearing skull forts. You should always have someone dedicated to this.
After my experience, the thing that allows my crew to win almost every engagement, is the enemy crew not watching their ropes. It is such a small thing, but makes all the difference. A lot of combat you will have to learn on your own, but I hope you learned a few areas where you can focus to try and win your engagements.
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