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The most common Sea of Thieves problems and how to fix them

Microsoft and Rare launched online pirate adventure game Sea of Thieves on March 20, and players around the world have started exploring its vast waters and blowing each other up with their ships’ cannons.

When everything is working as intended, Sea of Thieves can be an exhilarating adventure, but players have reported a number of technical issues and bugs, which can sometimes keep us from finding as much fun as we’d like. We compiled a list of the most common problems players have reported, as well as how to fix them.

Connection issues

While Sea of Thieves depends on online group-ups, sometimes the digital waves get a little choppy.  Upon loading into the Sea of Thieves main menu, you might see a message such as “KiwiBeard, “Greybeard,” or “DaffodilBeard,” among other facial hair-themed errors. The majority of these are error messages related to the game’s servers rather than a problem with your system or your own internet connection.

Possible solutions:

  • There isn’t much you can do to resolve server-side errors. Instead, check back during hours where game traffic is likely to be lower, such as the middle of the day. The server changes Rare made in 2020 have gone a long way to fixing serious traffic issues, but connection problems can still pop up from time to time. To see if it’s a widespread issue or something wrong with your own connection, it’s a good idea to visit sites like Downdetector and see if other players are having problems.
  • If you get either a “CinnamonBeard” or “BronzeBeard” connection error, Rare recommends completely quitting the Sea of Thieves application and restarting it. To do this on Xbox One, return to the system’s dashboard, highlight the game and press the Menu button. Choose to quit the game, then start it as you normally do and attempt to connect again.

Missing reputation, ship, or currency

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Occasionally, you may load into Sea of Thieves and find you don’t have any items, that your currency will be completely depleted, or that your ship hasn’t appeared. You may also find you aren’t receiving new money or earning reputation for completing voyages.

Possible solutions:

  • Quit to the main menu of Sea of Thieves and then reconnect to the game. This will usually alleviate any issues you have with your currency being completely missing or with your ship not spawning at the dock. If it doesn’t work on your first attempt, try reconnecting a second time. Should this fail, you may just need to wait it out.
  • As of 2021, Rare has largely solved this issue with server fixes. If you find it still happens to you, you may want to check with support and your ISP to see if you are having unique connection issues.

Server mergers are causing chaos

One of Rare’s solutions to managing servers and player density is to create server mergers that join players together so the seas stay active and interesting. When a migration like this happens, it can cause several problems, such as teleporting your ship to other players’ ships or glitches when trying to navigate after a migration.

Possible solutions:

  • Keep your game updated and wait for Rare to make improvements — this is an area the studio is actively working on to improve.
  • Rare is also testing custom server options that would allow players to create private game modes for themselves that wouldn’t be migrated at all. This feature isn’t fully fleshed out yet but could provide a solution in the future if you want to avoid merging servers.

A new quest parchment is completely blank

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Skeleton Captains and similar enemies can drop quest parchments to start a new voyage in search of buried treasure. The thrill of getting a parchment drop is occasionally thwarted when players take a look and find nothing but a blank parchment with no clues or an island map to be found.

Possible solutions: 

  • Exit the game, and log back in. Your quest parchment should remain in your possession, but now it will show the proper information. Rare continues to tackle this bug with various improvements, but it can still happen.

Using a mermaid causes freezing and black screens

The mermaids found in open water act as beacons that can teleport a lost sailer back to their ship if they got stranded in the chaos (or, you know, jumped off for the fun of it). However, players encounter an annoying bug that causes the game to freeze on a black screen when they try to use a mermaid. This indicates a bug when the game tries to find the new location of the ship and teleport the player there.

Fortunately, this problem should be largely in the past, as long as you make sure that your version of Sea of Thieves is updated. Rare recently patched this issue and is reporting that it should no longer occur.

Glitches and gameplay issues

Sea of thieves flying ship

There are a few other problems in Sea of Thieves that don’t appear to be tied directly to server issues. These range from the amusing to the frustrating, and most of them don’t have any player-side solutions.

  • Ships going airborne: Occasionally, you will see a player’s ship launch into the sky like a killer whale and soar through the air before landing in the water once again. We encountered it after damaging an enemy with cannonballs, but it can be frustrating when you’re trying to navigate through tight areas, and a ship suddenly lands in front of you.
  • Dropping through the floor of your ship: When entering the bottom deck of your ship, you can transport through the floor and land in the sea, requiring a mermaid in order to get back on board.
  • Material and supplies not working correctly: We encountered a bug with consumable items that made for some pretty stressful fights. Instead of being able to carry 10 cannonballs or five bananas, we were only able to carry two of each. The game would still display the incorrect number, however, dropping from nine cannonballs to zero after loading the second into a cannon. We were able to correct this by quitting to the main menu and reconnecting to the game.

Possible solutions: 

  • With bugs like these, the best thing to do is restart the instant, join your crew again, and set off on a new voyage. Rare continues to issue bug fixes and remains actively involved in updating Sea of Thieves, so problems like this do tend to get addressed and improved with time.

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Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
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