The Skull and Bones open beta is live, here’s everything you need to know
By Craig Pearson, Contributor
Choppy waters await the brave captains who choose this life. From lowly beginnings, you’ll try to make a name for yourself. That means taking to the waters full of pirates and peril with your own customized ship and crew, ready to battle it out in the busy seas.
The voyage lasts from now, 7th February 2024, until 11th Feb. 6PM ET. Here’s what’s on the horizon.
How to play the Skull and Bones beta
Grab the beta from the Free Games section of the store. You don’t need to have pre-purchased to access it. If you have pre-purchased the game, any progress you’ve made will be carried over. You get to keep your rankings, loot, and all your progression, giving you the perfect start for the full launch.
Owners of the Standard Edition can play the final release from Feb. 16, while owners of the Premium Edition can play from Feb. 13.
What’s in the beta?
You’ll start at the beginning of the game. You begin your pirate life in the den of Sainte-Anne, a hub ruled by John Scurlock. The outpost is a safe zone for players to gather together, and for you to craft equipment, weapons, and ships at your warehouse. You can even sell your loot.
From there, you can set out on adventure, following contracts and sailing into new waters. Places like the Red Isle, the Coast of Africa—and, for the first time in Skull and Bones’ betas, you can explore the East Indies. Pirate outposts will provide safe harbors around the world, and access to specialty craftsmen who can upgrade your equipment, but there will be other players and factions looking to turn the sea red. Planning is a key component of making a successful voyage, so don’t head out into the water without mortars, repair kits, and more.
There’s no telling what you’ll come across, but you can use a spyglass to scout ahead. With a keen eye, you’ll be able to identify a ship’s faction, rank, damage capability, armor, and loot. It’ll also lay out your potential losses, too. Weigh up the pros and cons before attacking. Poor planning and bad captaining will almost certainly see your ship sunk and you treading water.
Help is at hand: the game has cross-play enabled, so you can join friends on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S. You’ll play the opening missions of the game, up to a contract called "Exterminate the Rat.” After that, the story progression will lock. You can also grow your character up to “Infamy Cap: Tier 6 Rank 1 — Brigand”. However, your story won’t end there. You’re free to explore the world of Skull and Bones and forge your new adventure. There will still be loot to grab and activities outside the main contracts to complete, including bounty hunts, side contracts, and world events that will put you against Elite Captains and Merchant Convoys.
What about the booty?
Ah, you like big booty, eh? Taking part in the beta will earn you a pile of shiny loot to take with you into the full game if you hit certain milestones.
Reach Tier 2: Sir Reginald Grim Sail emblem ship cosmetic
Reach Tier 4: Tarred Sail pattern ship cosmetic
Reach Tier 6: Sign language emote
Use a medium ship: "Cookie" The Lemur pet
Participate in a World Event (Merchant Convoy, Elite Captains): "Basilisk I" Culverin weapon
That’s some perfect plunder. What are you waiting for? Grab the beta, you dithering sea dog. Infamy awaits!