Rare Thief

Season Eight

Sea of Thieves

Season Eight On-Demand PVP Guide

updated as needed

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The Pirate Lord and Captain Flameheart have officially rallied their forces and are now waging war on the open sea. The fight for Sea of Thieves has begun, but to whom will you pledge your allegiance? Whether you sail as a Guardian of Fortune or Servant of the Flame, your next battle is just a quick dive away with the Season Eight update!

Season Eight allows you to fight head-to-head with your opposing Faction. As you rise the ranks, you’ll earn gold and unlock Faction-exclusive cosmetics!

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about Season Eight so you can claim victory from your next on-demand PVP skirmish! The Battle for the Sea of Thieves is here!

PVP On-Demand

Season Eight introduces on-demand PVP ship combat. No matter your experience level, you can opt in anytime during your session at sea. Now, instead of looking for player ships that might not want to fight back, you can vote to fight other like-minded players who have also opted into fighting.

Participating in on-demand PVP ship combat will allow you to earn gold in the form of Hourglass Value, level up your Allegiance with the Guardians of Fortune or Servant of the Flame Factions, and unlock exclusive cosmetics, including the Ghostly Curse and Skeleton Curse.

How to opt in to On-Demand PVP

To join the fight, you must first pledge your allegiance to the Pirate Lord or Captain Flameheart. Your choice is not permanent, so you can fight for both sides and earn all the possible cosmetics and curses.

To pledge your Allegiance, enter your Captain’s Cabin. On your Captain’s Table will be an Hourglass of Fate. You can spin the hourglass to the Faction of your choosing and then vote to pledge your allegiance.

If you pledge for the Guardians of Fortune, you will be siding with the Pirate Lord. If you choose the Servants of the Flame, you will be siding with Flameheart.

There are not any requirements for joining either Faction. Any pirate, no matter their experience, can fight for either side.

As soon as you pledge to a Faction, you have opted into on-demand PVP and can invade other players at any time during your session. After one minute of pledging, a crew can invade you while you sail the sea completing Voyages and World Events.

Pledging to a Faction will also make the front of your ship’s hull glow green for the Pirate Lord or red for Captain Flameheart. The glowing hulls will make it easy to spot other Faction ships from a distance! This glow will continue to grow as you sink opposing ships!

Vote to pledge Allegiance

How do you leave a Faction?

You can leave the fight and your Faction at any Outpost. Head to the Athena’s Fortune Emissary Table or the Reaper’s Bones Emissary Table and interact with the Hourglass of Fate. Vote to end fighting and you will leave the Faction.

You will be awarded your Allegiance and the gold from your Hourglass of Fate as soon as you leave.

You will only be able to leave the Faction and cash out your Hourglass of Fate after 15 minutes from first voting to represent the Faction.

Vote to end fighting

How to invade other players

Once you have joined a Faction, you can use the War Map on your ship’s Captain’s Table. Voting to battle on the War Map allows you to invade another player-controlled crew that has joined the fight for the opposing Faction.

After voting on the War Map, you’ll need to sail to open waters if you are not already in open water. Without islands, Seaposts, or other crews nearby, your ship will dive deep beneath the waves and migrate you to an Invasion Tunnel.

While in the tunnel, you will be matchmaking with rival crews. Expect to face off against a ship the same size as your own. Crew size is also a factor in matchmaking if you are on a Sloop.

You will leave the Invasion Tunnel when there is a match and migrate to a different server. If your opponent is defending, you’ll migrate onto their server. However, if your opponent is also matchmaking, you’ll migrate to a new server.

Once on their server, your ship will burst out of the water, directly facing your opponent, where the battle begins.

There is no cooldown on invading other players, so you can invade another crew right after you win a battle.

Vote to Battle

How does skill-based matchmaking work?

Skill-based matchmaking will match you with rival crews with the same matchmaking rank as you. While you can’t see your matchmaking rank, the matchmaking system uses it while matching you with an opponent in the Invasion Tunnel.

Your rank will adjust each time you win or lose a battle. At a high level, winning an encounter will increase your rank, and losing a battle will lower your rank.

At a deeper level, your rank will increase more if you defeat a crew with a higher ranking than you and decrease less if you lose.

On the flip side, if you defeat a crew with a lower ranking than you, your rank will increase less. You will also lose more ranking if a higher-ranked opponent sinks you.

Can you cancel matchmaking?

You can cancel matchmaking while you are in the Invasion Tunnel. Canceling will return you to your original server. You can cancel from your War Map on your Captain’s Table.

When can you use the Invasion Tunnel?

You can use an Invasion Tunnel in open waters and clear of any threats. The Invasion Tunnel is not a means of escape. You cannot use the Invasion Tunnel when:

  • You are near a player ship
  • Engaged in a PVP battle
  • Being attacked by a PVE threat such as a Megalodon, Kraken or Skeleton Ship

Can you take supplies through the Invasion Tunnel?

Just like the Tunnels of the Damned, you cannot take any treasure through the Invasion Tunnel, but, you can take your resources. This includes resources already in your ship’s Resource Barrels and Resource Crates, such as Cannonball Crates and Wood Crates.

You will also keep your Emissary Flag and your Hourglass Value when your travel through an Invasion Tunnel.

How to defend from other players

If you would instead like your opponent to come to you, you can ignore the War Map and continue on your adventure. Staying on your server and not invading allows you to continue sailing as you usually would, completing voyages and taking on World Events, but now with the threat of another player emerging at any moment.

While you can’t be invaded if a Megalodon or Kraken is attacking you, you can be invaded at almost any other time. For example, you could be at an Outpost selling treasure or off on an island completing a riddle. So, you’ll need to be alert while sailing the sea after joining a Faction!

You also can’t be invaded immediately after winning a fight. There is a 20-minute cooldown to collect any won loot and resupply before a rival ship can invade you. That’s also five more minutes than when you are allowed to leave your Faction at an Outpost.

Digging up treasure

Battle Bounds

You will be locked into Battle Bounds as soon as you invade an opponent or an opponent has invaded you. Battle Bounds confine the battle to a specific area on the map, ensuring that crews on the run have nowhere to go.

If your opponent sails past the Battle Bounds, their ship will explode, and they will forfeit the match, earning you the win!

You can easily see the Battle Bounds on your ship’s Map Table. However, if you can’t check the Map Table, you will also see a warning and hear music queues telling you you are leaving the Battle Bounds. For example, your Hourglass of Fate will start to rattle loudly, and an eerie ringing will begin to play.

While you and your opponent are confined to the Battle Bounds, other ships on the server that are not part of your fight can sail through the Battle Bounds and join your fight.

Battle Bounds

How to earn Allegiance

Whether you are invading or defending, you will have the opportunity to earn Allegiance. Allegiance is similar to the reputation you gain by selling treasure to Trading Companies. It represents how well you have represented and fought for your chosen Faction.

You can earn Allegiance for the Guardians and Servants by:

  • Fighting ship of the opposing Faction
  • Turning in your Faction Stash Grade at an Outpost
  • Cashing out your Hourglass of Fate at an Outpost

While these are the actions you can do to earn Allegiance, there are ways to increase the amount of Allegiance you earn with Streaks and your Faction Stash Grade.

Fighting ships of the opposing Faction

Sinking an opposing Faction’s ship will reward you with the most Allegiance. If you lose your fight, you will still earn a little Allegiance but nowhere near as much as if you had won. No matter what happens in a battle, you will always make progress for your Faction.

If you are losing, make sure you stick it out! You will not earn any Allegiance if you scuttle during your fight as you need to sink from the other crew.

Raise Allegiance

Turning in your Faction Stash Grade

A less efficient way to earn Allegiance is from your Faction Stash Grade. Collecting and storing treasure on your ship while pledged to a Faction will increase your Faction Stash Grade. If you raise your Faction Stash Grade and can make it to an Outpost without sinking, you can cash it out for a small amount of Allegiance.

Like an Emissary Grade, the higher the grade, the more Allegiance you’ll earn when you vote to leave the Faction.

You can see your Faction Stash Grade on your ship’s Hourglass of Fate.

Treasure Grade

Do you earn Allegiance for sinking a ship of the same Faction?

No, you don’t earn any Allegiance or Hourglass Value for sinking a ship of the same Faction.

Do you earn Allegiance for killing other players?

You do not earn Allegiance for killing players, just sinking their ship.

What do Streaks do?

Streaks act as a multiplier on any Allegiance you earn when sinking ships belonging to an opposing Faction.

You increase your Streak by defeating consecutive unique ships without sinking yourself or leaving our Faction. If you do lose a fight and sink, you will lose your Streak, and you’ll have to rejoin the Faction to start earning Allegiance again.

If you reach Streak 4, you will become a Faction Champion! Being a Champion allows you to fight larger ships. But, more importantly, you will be marked on the World Map Table for everyone to see.

For the opposing Faction, this is an opportunity to earn extra Allegiance. The greater a ship’s Streak, the more Allegiance you can make for sinking them.

Streak Increased

How does the Faction Stash Grade work?

While you can turn in your Faction Stash Grade for a small amount of Allegiance, you can also use it while fighting other ships.

Your Faction Stash Grade also acts as a multiplier for Allegiance. To take advantage of your Faction Stash Grade, you will want to collect and store treasure on your ship and defend it from invading pirates.

Placing treasure on your ship while representing your chosen Faction will increase your Faction Stash Grade. You can earn up to five Grades, each giving a bigger Allegiance multiplier than the last. Each piece of treasure will add progress to the next Grade.

You’ll need to successfully defend your ship from a rival crew with treasure aboard to receive your multiplier. You will be rewarded with your multiplied Allegiance if you win the battle.

Removing treasure from your ship will see the relative amount of progress removed from your Faction Stash Grade. Placing the loot back will restore it.

Sloop Battle

How to raise your Hourglass Value

When you join a Faction, your Hourglass of Fate in your Captain’s Cabin will display a gold value. When you first join, the value will be zero.

Every ship you sink that belongs to an opposing Faction will add gold to your Hourglass of Fate.

You can earn even more gold for each sink by increasing your Streak. The higher your Streak, the more gold you’ll add. You build your Streak by consecutively sinking rival crews.

You can also earn additional gold for sinking a Faction Champion. A Champion is a crew who has a streak of at least four.

The gold in the Hourglass of Fate is yours once you cash out at an Outpost. So, you must leave the fight at your Faction’s Emissary Table on an Outpost to claim your Hourglass Value.

If you sink before leaving the fight, you automatically leave your Faction and lose all the gold in your Hourglass of Fate.

You can only leave and cash out 15 minutes after first voting to join the Faction.

Hourglass Value


You can level up your Trading Company reputation if you fly your Factions Emissary Flag while fighting! For example, suppose you vote to raise your Emissary for Athena’s Fortune and join the Guardians of Fortune. In that case, you can earn Athena’s Fortune Reputation and increase your Athena’s Fortune Emissary Grade for every ship you sink.

The same goes for The Reaper’s Bones. If you sink ships as a Servant of the Flame while flying a Reaper’s Bones Emissary Flag, you will earn Reaper’s Bones Reputation and increase your Reaper’s Bones Emissary Grade.

This expansion to the Emissary system also allows pirates to sell Reaper’s Bones Emissary Flags to the Mysterious Stranger!

You can also earn extra Hourglass Value for sailing and sinking ships as an Emissary. For example, suppose you vote to raise your Emissary for Athena’s Fortune and join the Guardians of Fortune. The higher your Emissary Grade, the more your Hourglass of Fate will be worth when you leave your Faction.

The same goes for The Reaper’s Bones and the Servants of the Flame!


Faction Hideouts

Faction Hideouts are exclusive areas for the most dedicated Allegiance players. The Hideouts contain traders that you can speak to and purchase unique cosmetics. You must reach an Allegiance of 100 for either Faction to enter their Hideout. You will also need to be a Pirate Legend to enter the Tavern of Legends Faction Hideout and a Reputation of 75 with the Reaper’s Bones to enter The Reaper’s Lair Faction Hideout.

The Servants of the Flame Faction Hideout is The Reaper’s Lair. You can find it deep beneath The Reaper’s Hideout. Once inside, you will traverse a fiery labyrinth of chasms and corridors before speaking with the skeletons that live there.

The Guardians of Fortune Faction Hideout is an expansion of Tavern of Legends. You can access it through the Athena’s Fortune Hideout. Once inside, you’ll find Belle, Merrick, and other pirates to share a grog with!

The Reaper's Lair


The Pirate Lord and Captain Flameheart will reward their most dedicated fighters with Faction-exclusive curses. Neither curse is time-limited, and you can earn both, so you don’t need to worry about missing out.

Pirates who have proven their worth to Flameheart by reaching a Reputation of 75 with the Reaper’s Bones and an Allegiance of 100 will gain access to The Reaper’s Lair and unlock the Skeleton Curse by participating in the Ritual of the Flame.

Pirates who have proven their worth to the Pirate Lord by reaching Pirate Legend and Allegiance of 100 will gain access to the Tavern of Legends Faction Hideout and unlock the Ghostly Curse by participating in the Blessing of Athena’s Fortune ceremony.

The Skeleton Curse is particularly special as it has unique customization options that no other curse has had up to this point. You can unlock the Skeleton Curse customizations by reaching high levels of Allegiance and completing specific commendations.

You can unlock new:

  • Skeleton Heads
  • Skeleton Torsos
  • Skeleton Lower Bodies
  • Skeleton Bone Colors

After unlocking the customizations, purchase them from the Bonesmith inside The Reaper’s Lair.


Can you get the Curses without doing PVP?

No, getting any Faction customizations, including the curses, is impossible without opting into PVP.

You have to reach an Allegiance of 100, which requires joining a Faction. And as soon as you pledge your Allegiance to a Faction, you can invade and be invaded.

Faction Captaincy Alignments and Milestones

There are now two Faction-related Captaincy Alignments that showcase your PVP prowess: one for the Guardians and one for the Servants.

Like other Milestone Alignments, you can unlock unique ship cosmetics, Trinkets, and decorations for your ship when earning Milestones.


To the Tavern!

Aye, we pirates do love a good tavern. ‘Tis a place to share our findings and adventures. ‘Tis a place to clap each other on the back. ‘Tis a place to glean further insight.

Happily, we’ve found proverbial taverns on several social outposts—each bustling with a vibrant pirate community! Want to join in the merriment? Ye will always find a hearty welcome at our table!

Follow Along

To the Tavern!

Aye, we pirates do love a good tavern. ‘Tis a place to share our findings and adventures. ‘Tis a place to clap each other on the back. ‘Tis a place to glean further insight.

Happily, we’ve found proverbial taverns on several social outposts—each bustling with a vibrant pirate community! Want to join in the merriment? Ye will always find a hearty welcome at our table!

Want to keep a weather eye out?

Jot down yer email, and we’ll be sure to let ye know when there’s something new on the horizon.

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