Preface: This information only relates to the Early Access version of the game. Many systems and mechanics may change from now until the game’s open release, so while this information is relevant now, it may not be in the future.
So you want to be a pirate, eh? Well, before you can set sail on the high seas, there are a few things you need to deal with first, namely how to get a ship. If you’re looking for the quickest way to get your pirate one, look no further than this handy guide.
Level 0: Punching your way around the Freeport
After character creation, you’ll zone into a Freeport. Your location is based on which tile you selected when you created your character, and while each of them is a little different in terms of layout and climate, the basics are all the same: The Freeport is a town with a half dozen or so NPCs that will be your first home base until you find and claim some land on your own.
Atlas is a survival MMO like its predecessor Ark: Survival Evolved, but unlike that game, you’ll need to level up from Level 0 before you can even craft a Stone Pick. Also unlike Ark, the skills you choose matter a great deal since you’re only given a small number of skill points to spend. Spend your points wisely.
In order to level to get your first couple of skill points, you will need to hit things. You won’t have any weapons, so go around punching trees, rocks, and small defenseless creatures (like chickens or sheep) until you get to Level 1.
Levels 1 to 3: Getting your Sloop
Once you reach level one, it’s time to spend your first skill points. First, you’ll need to choose a Character Stat to increase (you get to do this once per level). Early in the game Weight, Health and Fortitude are all good choices. After that, it’s essential that you take your first talent point into “The Basics” in the Survivalism tree. This skill gets you a whole host of crafting recipes, all of which you will need to gather the materials necessary to get your first boat. The next two skills I recommend are “Tools of the Trade” and “Water Keeper.”
Now it’s back to punching. You can usually gather the Stone you need by searching the local coastline for rocks, but you’ll need Fiber, Stone, and Wood to make your first Stone Pick. Fiber you pick up from various plants growing in the Freeport, but Wood comes from trees, so bare-knuckle those suckers until you get enough wood (you’ll need 6) to make your first Stone Pick.
The Stone Pick will allow you to gather the materials you will need to make a Stone Hatchet, which is also very important, as well as a Stone Spear, which will help you fight creatures and relieve them of their hides.
Ultimately your goal will be to gather enough materials to make a Ramshackle Sloop at the Shipyardman NPC on the docks. There are a few tricky things about this, the first being that as of the time of writing when you die in a Freeport your body disappears. This means that everything on your body, tools, materials, etc, are all gone. This is why making the boat is your first priority. Once that is crafted you can start placing things like storage on it and you won’t lose all your hard work.
A Ramshackle Sloop requires:
Fiber is easy and light. Wood will be more difficult weight-wise since you can only carry a limited amount of things before you’re overloaded. I recommend focusing on gathering these materials as quickly as you can, ignoring things like clothing, food, and even water. Your Food and Water stats deplete very quickly, especially if you are the kind of person that likes to run around using up your Stamina all the time, but as long as you gather your Hide and Wood quickly, you should be able to get the sloop made before your first death.
Yeah, you heard me, first death. This is a hardcore game, and you’ll die a lot. Your first death will probably go to some sort of Vitamin Deficiency unless you pick a fight with a bear or something in the Freeport.
While you are gathering your materials for your boat you’ll probably level once or twice. Increase the Character Stat of your choice, and then put your points into Construction, and then Handyman in the Construction tree. “Handyman” gives you access to two essential recipes: The Repair Hammer and the Storage Box. You’ll need both of these made before you set sail, but not just yet. Remember, boat first, then extras.
When you have everything you need to build your boat, waddle down to the docks. There will be a portly little fellow there eager to help you craft your first vessel. He can help make Rafts and Ramshackle Sloops, but Rafts are SLOW, so ignore that and craft yourself the sloop. Name your boat, and then voila! You’re almost ready to set sail. I say almost because now is the time to make things like a Bed, Water Skin, Storage Box, Repair Hammer, and a Campfire. If you want to be a little more protected, a set of clothes might be a good idea. I also recommend gathering about 100 each Wood, Thatch, and Fiber to repair your ship at sea. This is a “ramshackle” boat after all, so it’s not going to be as sturdy as the boats that you can make yourself later on.
There you have it! You’re ready to start your pirate adventure. Once you make your boat, you’ll need to sail it out of the Freeport zone within 8 hours or it will sink. The devs really want to get people exploring their island-ridden world, and so they punish those that just stick in the safe zone.
Are you playing Atlas? What advice would you give to a newly started Pathfinder? Let me know in the comments.