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      Skull and Bones

      Skull and Bones: 12 Tips and tricks for becoming the ocean's most infamous pirate

      Get a jump on the competition with these handy tips for Ubisoft's multiplayer action pirate game.

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      Skull and Bones has fully made its arrival after three days of so-called Early Access for anyone who grabbed one of the more expensive, premium editions of the game. Whether you've just set sail in Ubisoft's multiplayer pirate adventure or begun a few days ago, we've taken our learnings from the recent open beta and the last few days and pulled together a few tips and tricks to help you become the most fearsome and infamous pirate in the Indian Ocean.

      Infamy is more important than booty

      When you start Skull and Bones you might become inclined to believe that earning silver and amassing resources is just as important as completing contracts and tasks and sinking ships to raise your Infamy level. That's not the case. You'll earn more silver than you can ever rightly spend and gather so many resources by just doing every other activity that Skull and Bones offers. Infamy on the other hand is the core levelling mechanic, which means you will only be able to unlock certain blueprints, access certain new quest lines and opportunities, and generally progress until you become more notorious. Complete contracts, sink ships, make a name for yourself and everything else will fall into place.

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      Let the wind guide your way

      Skull and Bones does a miserable job at explaining many of its more intricate and key elements, which is no doubt why you probably don't know how to harness the wind properly. Yes, the wind affects how your ship moves, and no I'm talking just in regard to when you're getting whipped around by stormy seas. On your HUD, in the bottom right, you'll see a little arrow on your ship's speed gauge, this is the wind direction. If the wind is coming at you head on, you'll move slower, so adjust your sailing angle and keep rolling along at full speed instead of trudging along at half your usual rate.

      Don't go chasing blueprints

      As you look to outfit and improve your ship, you'll notice that a lot of weapons and upgrades (even ships themselves) are greyed out until you've found the right blueprint. Skull and Bones will encourage you to head to a specific dock in the world to find that very blueprint. Don't bother. It's a time consuming task for menial improvements. You're better off continuing to chug through contracts, natively exploring the map as you do, and finding various docks packed with NPC vendors during that experience.

      Dock at every port you find

      Following up to the last point, when you find a new port, actually dock at it. Don't sail by until you've felt the crunch of sand under your boots, or else you won't unlock this dock as a fast travel point. It might seem like a basic thing to do, but you'll notice this much more when you start exploring the wider world and the distances between the portions of land mass are sometimes over 10,000 units!

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      Use your ship as it's supposed to be used

      When you build a new ship, use it as it's supposed to be used. Again, it might seem silly to point out, but if you build a tanky ship with lots of armour you won't be able to hunt down and blow opposing ships to pieces. Likewise if you build a vessel that excels with crew attacks it won't be particularly great at ramming other ships. Play to your strengths and protect your weaknesses by refusing to expose them.

      Skull and Bones

      Don't overdo it

      You will hit patches where you find that the game is just too easy. No ship threatens you, you can effectively travel around blowing anything and everything to smithereens. This will no doubt inspire some unfound confidence in you, and you might be inclined to think that you can simply take on a ship that's a higher level than you. You'll be sorely mistaken. Ships have a level attached to them for a reason, so if you intend to take on someone that has a bigger mast than you (if you get what I'm saying), treat it with care and retreat if you find yourself on the ropes. A surrendered battle is better than a sunken ship.

      Ship size isn't everything...

      Talking about mast size, a bigger ship doesn't mean a better ship. Some ships are meant to be smaller so that they can zip in and out of battles, using their manoeuvrability to outclass opponents. If you don't believe me, try your hand against that tiny pirate ship that you've seen knocking about and see how they can put you on your ass with a quick one-two punch.

      ...But make sure to upgrade to a new ship when you can

      That being said, when you have the resources and blueprints to unlock a bigger ship class, it's definitely worth doing so. You'll be able to equip a larger vessel with more weaponry options, you'll travel faster, you'll be able to store more loot, and you'll be able to reach a higher ship level generally speaking. There are benefits to being a bigger fish in the sea, but just don't expect every minnow you meet to be food that is easy to gobble up. But hey, enough with the fish puns...

      Focus on the Helm as early as possible

      As soon as you unlock the Helm after ranking up your Infamy a few times, use this smuggler system as one of the primary sources for contracts going forward. Why? Because when you become a Kingpin and the endgame activities truly present themselves, you'll need many of the Helm specific currencies to advance your efforts. If you've already spent hours completing these contracts, you'll have a great leg up in not just making future Helm tasks easier, but in acquiring blueprints for really high quality ship parts and weapons too.

      Skull and Bones

      Plunder, plunder, plunder

      Besides participating in world events and incredibly demanding late game activities to acquire the best resources and items, one of the easiest ways to get better loot is to just plunder settlements. Yes, the massive forts will reward loads of loot, but they will also punch you right in the mouth and make you run home crying. Some of the smaller and less high level settlements and forts reward quality gear too, and you can do most of these alone, making them ideal to farm for resources.

      Upgrade your tools

      You will probably get bored of harvesting ore, fruit, wood, fibres, and raiding shipwrecks pretty quickly, but this system is an easy and fast way to earn raw materials. It becomes even easier and faster when you upgrade your tools, because this means each action you complete in the harvesting mini-game rewards more resources, so spend a bit of your hard-earned loot and invest in the future.

      Show no mercy for easy Infamy

      Last of all, if you're looking to rapidly advance your Infamy rank, aside from following the main quest lines that reward huge amounts of Infamy, one of the best ways to earn Infamy is to simply head out into open waters and sink any ship you set your Spyglass eye on. Not only will you get plenty of loot that you can sell for silver and resources for upgrading your ship, but you can get hundreds of Infamy for just sending a few different vessels down to Davy Jones' locker. It's easy, fast, rewarding, and probably the most fun activity you can indulge in on Skull and Bones.


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      Skull and BonesScore

      Skull and Bones

      REVIEW. Written by Ben Lyons

      There is potential to explore in places, but there are also far too many holes for this ship to make it back to port.

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