Sea of Thieves – How to Form and Keep Alliances

Making Alliances sounds easy on paper, however actually making one and keeping them is another story, this guide is here to assist you into making new friends on the seas!


Before we start, accept that not everyone wants to be your friend

Sea Of Thieves is about player freedom, how you have the right to do anything you want, while also having the right to enforce that right of freedom, so if somebody doesn’t want to join an alliance, you have to accept that and either move on or defend yourself if they’re hostile, remember that people have their reasons why they don’t want to join your alliance.

  • Some Crews might be doing something where an Alliance is not needed, like doing Tall Tales for an example, you gain next to nothing out of it, while they feel like they have to defend or help you while they just want to enjoy the story of the Tall Tale, if someone is doing a Tall Tale while you want to do an Alliance, just leave these guys alone, you might bump into them later and see if they want to join then.
  • Some Crews don’t trust Alliances due to past experiences of being backstabbed, remember anyone in any Alliance can start killing out of nowhere for any reason.
  • Some Crews just want to PvP for whatever reason, maybe they want blood, maybe they want flags, maybe they want to get better in fights, don’t start spamming “I’M FRIENDLY!!!” over and over because you’re just encouraging them to keep attacking.
  • Sometimes some Crews just want to be left alone, left alone by themselves to do whatever, sometimes people are just like that and don’t want to interact with new people.

How to Set Up, Join or Leave an Alliance

Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way first, since some players genuinely don’t know how to do this.

On your Ship’s Crow Nest is a box that can be used to display a flag, on the second page is the Alliance Flag, equip it, and now anyone can join your Alliance.

If you’re in the area of a ship WITH the Alliance Flag up, on the second page, you will see an icon that looks like 2 rings together, this will allow your ship to join the alliance.

If you want to leave the Alliance for whatever reason, on the second page, there’s a White X with a black background, pressing this will let you leave the Alliance.

You can equip a flag of your choosing while in an Alliance without leaving it, just go back to the first page while in the Alliance and pick your flag, remember new ships CANNOT join your Alliance without you or someone else in your Alliance having the Alliance Flag up, the offer to join is only available to other players if an Alliance Flag is up.

Benefits and Downsides of an Alliance

Alliances come with quite a few benefits for all of the crews to enjoy, while also having some downsides, but let’s start of positive, what do you get out of it?

Allies now have Purple Nametags AND you can revive them!

Just incase you think you might mistake an Ally for an enemy, there’s less chance of that happening thanks to the Purple Nametag they now receive, in addition if someone bad happens, like an enemy killing them or you doing it… “accidentally”… you can now revive Allies like if they were a normal crewmate from your ship.

All Ships in an Alliance can see each other on their maps

No matter where you are, you can see all of the ships that have joined your Alliance on your map table, non Alliance Members can’t see them on their tables, however they can use yours to see where your Allies are hiding however!

Whenever an Ally sells something, you earn 50% of the profits!

If you sell something normally, you still keep 100% of what you normally make gold and reputation wise, including bonuses from Emissary Levels or ingame events, however is an Ally sells something, you earn 50% of what they get from that item!

If Everyone Plays Ball, You Can Have An Entire Server Of Allies!

This is super rare to happen ingame but it can happen, all of the ships can unify under one Alliance and makes some serious money doing World Events, Quests, Shrines, Forts and more, however again this requires everyone to be 100% committed to the Alliance.

Any Commendations relating to selling “Stolen items” still count!

Some Commendations require you to sell stolen items, like Bone Haul Bandit, Raging Hot Goods and others, so if your Ally Crew has touched something before your crew has and you need it, ask them if you can have that item, or even trade for it! Remember they still get money and reputation for doing so too, so it doesn’t hurt to ask!

Speaking of Commendations!

There are some that are either way easier to do in an Alliance or exclusive to Alliances, so it’s definitely in your best interest to make some friends if you’re a hunter like me!

Now for the Downsides

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in Alliances, like with everything, there’s downsides.

Commendations for selling specific items, do not count if an Ally sells them.

Commendations such as “Hoarder Of Treasured Tears” “Hunter of Villainous Skulls” and Manifestation can only be done by selling it yourself or by your crew, if an Ally sells them, you only earn Gold and Reputation, the Commendation’s counter will not increase.

Remember at anytime, your Allies can backstab you for whatever reason

Even when in an Alliance, you and your Allies can still damage each other and your ships, and your Allies might be planning something behind your back, here are some reasons why some people backstab Alliances.

  • You might have been annoying and not worth keeping around in the Alliance (more on this later)
  • You might be an Emissary and reached Level 5, and your Allies want your flag
  • They just wanted to do this since the start for some reason
  • Even though they earn 50% of what you sell your loot for, they would have earned more gold or reputation if they sold the items themselves.

Plus since Allies can see each other on the map, your potential Allies might plan something to do later, like bait you to park somewhere specific at an Island to trap and bombard you with cannons.

So always be prepared if you feel something like this is or might be happening.

Some Ships You Might Want to Look Out for to Make Friends With

Some crews are more prone to Ally a lot more than others, pay attention to what Cosmetics they’re wearing and what they’re doing, you can easily grab some new friends if you pay attention!

Fishing Ships

Fishing Ships are doing exactly what it says on the tin, they want to Fish and don’t care for other loot and treasure, if there’s an active Skeleton Fort, Fort Of Fortune or Fort Of The Damned, you might see a ship there already fishing for Battlegills, which is a rare Fish that only spawn on active Forts or nearby a Skeleton Ship.

Fishing Crews can help if things get hairy, like if a boss is causing too much trouble for an example, and even be some extra pairs of eyes to watch for real trouble, and other than Mermaid Gems or “Stolen” Rag and Bone Crates, these guys don’t care for treasure other than Fish, so having these guys in an Alliance is a no brainier really.

Fishing Ships can come in all sizes, but the most common are Sloops in the Killer Whale Cosmetic Set, however this isn’t true of sometimes.

If someone is saying they’re fishing, 99% of the time, they’re telling the truth, Fishing itself is very boring and grindy, and they don’t want to risk losing any trust and getting sunk, thus losing their progress.

Reaper Emissary Ships at World Events

Not all Reapers are bloody thirsty pirates who kill on sight, some just want to make money, and one of the best ways is to go Reaper and farm world events, keep in mind they will want a majority of the loot unless you can negotiate something with them, however if you make an alliance, tell tyou’re going to go Reaper Emissary too next time you either go to the hideout or at an Outpost, so when they sell anything you get the Emissary Bonuses as well as the usual 50% cut.

Don’t EVER go to another Reaper ship AS a Reaper already, nearly every ship will see this as a challenge unless you make it VERY CLEAR you want to make an alliance.

If you come across another Reaper outside of a World Event, there is a good chance they will be hostile, so be very cautious. (More on this shortly)

New Player Ships

We were all new at one point, and this game treats new players harshly, cut them some slack and be their friend for the day, teach them some tricks, and help them conquer challenges like their first Ashen Lord.

Yes they might not be that helpful compared to the other players I mentioned, but hey, we all start from somewhere.

New Player Ships often have cosmetics that are either free (Glitterbeard/Early level Plunder Pass Sails from the most recent Season) or ones that are either cheap at the Shipwright’s or free from Twitch Drops or a recent or ongoing Event.

Plus they often drop anchor everytime, so expect to see a ship anchored in the worst possible spot at an island with all sails down.

Ships Being Attacked By Other Crews

While not the most common thing to come across, if you see a ship being bombarded or bullied by another ship, it might be in your interest to destroy the offending ship, the defending ship then might appreciate your help and want to ally you to do some fun adventures with!

However remember this won’t always work, I have 3 examples here.

  • Example One: Me and a friend were a Reaper Sloop, and noticed 2 other Reaper Ships nearby Sailor’s Knot Stronghold, we sailed towards it, and noticed one of the Reaper Ships was a Brigantine and was bullying a Reaper Sloop badly, thankfully we got in just the nick of time to sink the Brigantine, save the Sloop, and we became allies, after we farmed some World Events, we decided to sail around the Seas and do the Skeleton Throne Commendations! (Not fun, do not recommend unless you really want to do them!)
  • Example Two: Me and the same friend were a regular Sloop, and another Sloop was being chased by a Brigantine me and my friend sunk earlier in the day (more on that on Example Three) and after we sunk them again, the Sloop wanted to Ally us pretty much immediately, but we declined as we were about to leave anyway.
  • Example Three: Me and the same friend on a Sloop as an Order Of Souls Emissary (I think), and we saw a Dark Adventurer Sloop attacking a Brigantine and demolishing it, we stepped in and sunk the Sloop, however instead of thanking us, the Brigantine started attacking us, we sunk them too… and yes it’s the same one as in Example Two, we didn’t expect to bump into them again!

So yea helping a ship out might get you an Ally, but be cautious since some might not realise you don’t want to sink them until it’s too late.

Some Ships You Might Want to Avoid

As previously mentioned, not everyone wants to Ally, and some ships are very dangerous to attempt to Ally with, so here’s some you will want to avoid.

Active Reaper Emissary

If you see a Reaper Ship on the move, it might be wise to avoid them until they go to a location so you can understand what they’re up too.

  • Heading to a world event? They’re farming for gold and reputation, they might accept an Alliance.
  • Not heading to a world event and it’s been up for a bit? They’re on the hunt, avoid or sink them!

Not all Active Reaper Emissaries are hostile, however Reaper ships tend to be a lot more “jumpy” then ones at World Events in my experience, so be cautious around them until you can meet up in a safe area to talk.

Dark Adventurer Ships

While not impossible to Ally, these ships are amongst some of the hardest to Ally in the game, you need to remember getting this ship set takes millions upon millions of gold to complete, and chances are the crew has done nearly everything this game can offer.

So unless you can offer to do something these guys might be interested in, there’s a high chance they will sink you on sight, some examples of things that they might be interested in doing in is Skeleton Thrones or The Glitterbeard Easter Egg.

Deathmatch Ships

Identified by the Reaper’s Mark Flag, these ships just want to fight, simple as that, they don’t care for loot or treasure, they want to enjoy the glory of combat.

Like Reaper Ships, these guys can also be spotted on the map.

Ships that use this flag…

  • Yes I’m serious…
  • No I am not joking…
  • No I am not Homophobic…
  • No I am not hater…
  • No this has nothing to do with the flag itself…

This flag unfortunately is pretty much used exclusively by trolls, sadly this isn’t a joke, a flag known for love and acceptance is used by a lot of people in this game to troll people with with racial slurs and other nonsense. Why? I don’t know, it’s just one of those things.

Throughout my hours on Sea Of Thieves, I haven’t allied anyone who has had this flag up, while the ones who have had this flag up attacked me on sight, attempted to Keg my ship, or just started shouting racial slurs, don’t waste your time with these players.

Ships that are friendly but DON’T want to Ally with you

Ships who are friendly but don’t want to Ally might not want to for 2 reasons.

  • Like previously mentioned, they might be doing a Tall Tale or just want to be left alone.
  • More importantly, but very rarely, if you’re an Emissary Ship, and they’re giving you loot to level you up, GET AWAY FROM THEM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
  • This crew is levelling you up, so they can charge in and sink your ship to claim your flag once it’s a high enough level, this is an evil trick not only myself but others do, especially those who want the Emissary Hats for selling 5 Level 5 Gold Hoarder, Order Of Souls Or Merchant Flags as a Reaper.

So yes be very careful with ships who don’t want to Ally but are friendly, they might be hiding more dangerous actions up their sleeves.

Don’t Ally a Ship That Has Ambushed or Surprised You!

This is such an important thing I have to put it in it’s on section!

If you’ve been super busy doing something to the point where another ship has managed to get nearby your ship, DO NOT start spamming “Let’s Form An Alliance” or “FRIENDLY!” unless that Ship offers first.

This is because you don’t know why the ship has arrived to your location and there are 2 reasons for this.

  1. They might have bumped into you by accident and originally have 0 intention to attack, however you spamming stuff about Alliances and stuff, basically tells them you DO have something on board you don’t want to lose, like maybe a Rare Treasure item.
  2. And if they did intend to attack you, again like earlier, you asking for an Alliance will be ignored and sink you ASAP to get any loot on your ship.

Put yourself in their shoes, if you found a ship vulnerable and the owner is begging for an Alliance or that they’re Friendly, you know they’re up to something or hiding something good.

Never Ally a ship that get’s the jump on you, you’re just asking to be sunk.

Making Friends

Now we got the basic stuff out of the way, let’s get to the good bits, making friends themselves, remember not all of these are guaranteed to work, however they do help into letting other crews know you want to make an alliance.

Don’t Approach Too Quickly

Imagine you were doing your own thing, enjoying yourself and having fun.

Now imagine a Ship speeding towards you, what do you think it wants to do?

  • Ram you?
  • Get a good angle to bombard you with cannons?
  • Do a drive by to send over boarders?

You have no idea until you they arrive.

Speed is seen as an aggressive play, pull up your masts and slow down, it also gives time the crew you want to approach to sometime to get onto their ship if they feel uncomfortable, plus if you do slowdown, some crews might be curious on what you want to do, since slowing down some distance away is something not seen often ingame.

Fireworks Work Wonders!

In Sea Of Thieves, Fireworks are often used as a sign of Passiveness or Friendliness, so using any you have on board might be ideal to let other players know your intentions aren’t aggressive.

A couple of days ago as of writing this part of the guide (24/5/2022) I was on a Reaper Ship with a Stolen Vault Key passing by an Athena Sloop, and I could tell they were nervous by how they were moving to aim at us with their cannons, we couldn’t be ar*** to fight so I shot a firework letting them now we’re not interest in a fight, and they happily sailed next to us in the opposite direction while we continued to the Vault.

While as Reaper again sometime ago, I was sailing towards 2 other Reaper Ships to sink them, on the way a merchant Sloop was nearby and fired a Firework to show they were friendly, we respected their choice and didn’t attack as we had potentially 2 more important targets.

While the Merchants didn’t know we had more important targets, they did use Fireworks as a sign of Friendliness/Passiveness

So got some fireworks? Might be the ideal to use them to let potential Allies know you’re friendly!

Talking and Communication Is Essential for Strong Alliances

Talk to the other crew, let them know your intentions are and what you want to do overall, whether it’s the ingame Pirate Chat, Text Chat or Voice Chat, talking to the other crew is a big step into making new friends.

For those who don’t or struggle to speak English (the main language spoken by most players ingame) or a language that’s the dominant in the crew (maybe you speak German in a crew and potential Alliance where French dominates who knows) it might be worth using a tool or program like Google Translate, however do give other players a heads up that your translations might not be 100% accurate.

Remember your Speaking Trumpet is super helpful!

Unlike most videogames where voicechat is universal and can be heard by nearly anyone, anywhere you are on the map, Sea Of Thieves’s Voice Chat works in proximity when speaking to other Pirates with the exception of your crew who can hear you nearly at all times no problem.

The speaking Trumpet can either improve or quieten your volume depending on how it’s used.

By default, pressing and holding your primary fire button with the Speaking Trumpet out will increase your volume and distance players can hear you, ideal if you want to approach a ship and talk to them.

By default, pressing and holding your secondary/ALT fire button with the Speaking Trumpet out will decrease your volume and your distance players can hear you, ideal if you want to talk to an Ally about a ship that’s nearby, maybe to allow them into your alliance, or maybe make a plan to sink them if you don’t trust them for an example.

Don’t forget about the Speaking Trumpet, it’s an amazing tool to use!

Don’t Park Next to the Other Ships in Your Alliance

Try your best to keep some distance between your ship and your Ally’s ship, for 2 main reasons.

Remember at anytime they can attack you and vice-versa, so parking too close, especially with your broadside pointing at them can put your Allies on edge and be nervous, try to park so you have some distance between you, or at the very least where you and they can’t fire the cannons from.

Just incase another Crew comes along to attack your ships, you can get out and move quickly and efficiently without constantly crashing into each other.

Always Ask Permission to Come Aboard on an Ally’s Ship

Look, just because you made a friend, doesn’t mean they’re going to trust you instantly, always ask if you can come aboard for any reason, to give treasure, get food or whatever, don’t ever just walk onboard like it’s nothing.

Imagine you were at home and someone walks in without knocking, raids your fridge, watches your TV, goes to sleep in your bed, then goes away but takes your Xbox Controller or something, wouldn’t that p*** you off?

That’s pretty much the ingame version of what you’re doing by going onboard a ship without permission.

If you do go onboard without asking permission, the crew who owns the ship, has the right to kill you if they feel uncomfortable, regardless of what you’re doing, seriously it’s a d*** move coming on without permission, always ask first.

Be Useful! Don’t Be a Burden!

Always appear to be useful, don’t appear to be a burden as they might turn on you, keep up with the following and give yourself a more positive image to your Allies!

  • Always keep an eye out for other ships in the area and let your Allies know as soon as possible of potential danger approaching the area.
  • If they’re a certain Emissary, move certain loot towards their ship to be Harpooned, like if they’re an Order Of Souls for an example, let them have any Skulls you find.
  • Revive any dead Allies ASAP.
  • Offer food you have in you’re inventory if someone is low on health.
  • Offer to do certain objectives if you finished what you were originally doing, maybe suggest doing more World Events or certain Achievements and Commendations.
  • Talk to your Allies as much as possible.
  • Show that you can stand on your own in a ship fight and don’t need the assistance of your Allies to succeed in a fight.
  • Don’t just stand there, talk and hover around your Allies, DO SOMETHING MAN!

If you’re being a burden, you’re going to get yourself killed and your Alliance will be broken, why should your Allies carry you? Pull your own weight and prove to yourself and them that you’re helpful!

If You’re Doing Something Relating to Kegs, Let Your Allies Know!

  • Want to sell a Keg for a Commendation?
  • Want to explode a Keg at the end of a Fort?
  • Need to kill Skeletons with Kegs for a Commendation?

Kegs are powerful tools to use when it comes to backstabbing, always let your Allies know what you’re planning to do with them, some might not mind, while others will ask you not to, remember Alliances are all about trust and making sure everyone is happy, so if someone asks you not to use them, try not to, I know some Commendations are just out of reach for you, but it looks like you gotta wait a bit longer to get them.

At The End of Your Session, If You’re an Emissary, Offer Your Flag

Sometimes during an Alliance, an Ally might ask you to scuttle your ship so they can have your flag, while it’s up to you if you want to or not, it is seen as a “cool move” to make some friends ingame, as high level flags are valuable, and if sold as a Reaper, you can earn a Gold Hoarder, Order Of Soul and Merchant hat to purchase for selling 5 level 5 Flags of the corresponding Emissary.

Again it’s not a necessity, but it will make your Allies super happy, especially if you surprise them at the end of your session together if you need to leave early.

And remember to enjoy yourself!

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13544 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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