Flying with the Merchant’s Alliance is one of the fastest and easiest ways to make gold in Sea of Thieves. This alliance won’t send you on the most action packed of quests, but rather quests that involve timely deliveries, careful hands, and map knowledge. All in all, the Merchant’s alliance is definitely the most chill to adventure on.
Flying under the Merchant's Emissary
The first thing you want to do before ANYTHING else is to either fly your own Merchant’s Emissary flag, get a friend to fly theirs if you don’t have your own, or (if you are going solo as a beginner and can’t do either) you’ll need to grind up to level 5 in this faction to purchase the Merchant’s Emissary Flag from ANY Merchant for 20,000 gold. Thing is, like the other alliance flags, this is one of those “spend a little to make a lot” moments, and you’ll make that gold back EASILY in the first run of quests you complete. You can vote for the flag right next to the Merchant on the dock of any outpost.
Once you have the flag flying (or you’re just going to level it to get to that point), the next step is to gather some good quests together. Assuming you have the Merchant’s Emissary flag flying above, there IS an order with this alliance that makes you more gold without wasting heaps of time. Your main objective is to get your flag to level 15, which can take a good couple of quests, but is absolutely worth it for a 150% gold bonus. There are three quests with the Merchant’s you can go on:
- Recovering a Lost Shipment
- Embarking on a Cargo Run
- Delivering a Shipment
Each of these has their own ups and downs. The Lost Shipment can yield the greatest amount of gold gain, but can take the longest if you want to complete it thoroughly (more gold that way). The Cargo Runs are SUPER quick, if the delivery point is close to the pick up location, but the gold here is the lowest out of the three, depending on the amount of cargo you carry, not to mention you can easily wreck your product if you’re not careful. The Shipment Delivery is the most painful, as it involves you have to know the islands and what’s specifically on them, such as various animals, gunpowder, etc. Then you need to catch a bunch of said animals AND, at times, carry gunpowder kegs on your ship, which means incredibly high risk if you get attacked. These delivery’s, however, can pay a pretty hefty amount of gold (and there’s a tactic to maximize gold here without wasting time).
With that being said, lets get to the questing.
With Merchant quests, like I said before, there’s an order to them that CAN be taken to waste as little time as possible AND get you up to emissary 5 without having to sell too much before you reach it. That order is:
- Complete 2 Cargo Runs
- Find the Lost Shipment (GET THE CAPTAINS’S KEY)
- Hit level 5 finishing the lost shipment
- Then do whatever you want
Delivering shipments is only good if you know you can get almost everything on one island and deliver it back in good time, don’t bother jumping from island to island if you don’t know what’s on it HOPING you’ll find what you need, it’s just a waste of time. (advanced island guides are in the works).
Embarking on a Cargo Run
Cargo Runs are hands down the easiest of the three Merchant’s Alliance quests, as they have you just bring a bunch of cargo from one island directly to another, typically an outpost to a seapost. These quests, however, do have a little more to them then just slapping the cargo on your ships and hitting the high seas. Each item can be deteriorate in different ways, meaning that you can actually lost out on some gold if they aren’t delivered in pristine condition.
For the cloth and silks, these CANNOT get wet, a little rain won’t hurt them, but letting them soak in a storm or hopping into the ocean with them in hand will completely ruin them. The plants, on the other hand, can wither and die if they are left either in the sun for too long OR they aren’t getting water. You can tell if they’re withering by the way their leaves start to droop. And finally, the rum bottles. These are probably the easiest to break, as folks forget how much they like to jump off high places OR you run into trouble on sea, be that an enemy ship or a big storm. Once the bottles start cracking, they will have a couple different phases of cracks until they are totally broken and will make you absolutely nothing.
For these quests, it’s simple. Typically when you start the quest, the order will be picked up at the nearest outpost, and then delivered to a nearby seapost. Just simply read the note and you’re good to go! One other thing to remember, once you have picked up ALL the cargo from that one quest, you can slap down ANOTHER cargo run, if you’re wanting to, and sometimes the quest will be from that same outpost. Remember, the specific cargo goes to the specific destination, so don’t combine everything from the two quests, separate them. I usually put one cargo run on the left side of the ship, and the other on the right. Plants and silks go inside the ship for protection from sun and rain, bottles can go pretty much anywhere, just as long as they don’t take damage (so inside is usually a safe place).
Like I mentioned above, the cargo can absolutely get wrecked and depreciate in price, so if you DO end up messing up some of the cargo, the price will drop a substantial 200 gold PER depreciation, meaning your price can drop from +700 (+1050) Gold, to a measly +100 (+150).
Crate of Luxurious Cloth
Perfect - 700
Wet - 500
Soaked - 300
Waterlogged - 100
Crate of Plants
Perfect - 700
Parched - 500
Wilted - 300
Shriveled - 100
Crate of Rum
Perfect - 700
Cracked - 500
Splintered - 300
Smashed - 100
Devil's Roar Cargo
Devil's Roar Cargo
Perfect - 1400
Wet - 1000
Soaked - 600
Waterlogged - 200
Perfect - 1400
Parched - 1000
Wilted - 600
Shriveled - 200
Perfect - 1400
Cracked - 1000
Splintered - 600
Smashed - 200
Recovering a Lost Shipment
As I mentioned above, although this is most difficult quest of the three, just in terms of time it takes to complete THOROURGHLY, it’ll level you up a pretty decent chunk in your emissary, so it’s worth doing after a couple cargo runs.
Here, you will be given nothing more than a map route of the lost shipment, with dots connecting two islands. Start at the island that the note tells you the shipment set sail from, a from there all you need to do is sail along the route and keep your eyes open for birds hovering in the air. These birds will tell you exactly where to find both clues AND the possible key to the captain’s quarters on the sunken ship itself, which gives so much it’s absolutely worth finding.
The quest is pretty straightforward, and once you’ve found what you need, head continue sailing until you find a MASSIVE flock of birds. Keep note, the birds can definitely be off the path, and most of the time they are, so make the effort to sail to any birds near your trade route. Once you arrive at the sunken ship, you’ll want to recover ALL the trade shipment resources you can, along with any other treasure, and finally the Revered Merchant Manifest, which (at level 5 Emissary) will sell for around 10,000 gold. If you managed to find the Captain’s Key along the way, go ahead and open up the quarter’s where you will find absolute STACKS of valuable goods to sell. Once you’ve looted it all up, you’ll have leveled your emissary probably to 5 and be ready to bring your haul back to the island.
Delivering a Shipment
The last of the three quests, delivering a shipment yourself. This quest seems to be either LOVED or passionately HATED. Reason? You gotta catch a LOT of animals and gather risky to bring aboard items.
First things first, start the quest on your ship and then immediately head back to the merchant lady, as she will have all the crates you need to get all the shipment items expected.
These shipments quests will ask you to deliver a certain amount of specific animals and items to an outpost, and usually there’s no shortage of frustrating stuff to gather. When it comes down to the animals, there’s three types that they’ll ask you to gather: Pigs, Snakes, or Chickens. The two you need to be concerned about are pigs and snakes, as pigs will die if you don’t feed them banana’s, and snakes will spit poison as you walk by them if you don’t charm them with an instrument. Just a heads up so you don’t arrive at the island with a bunch of meat instead of animals. Also, don’t keep the snake near the others, it’ll attack them.
The quest will ask you to bring in specific animals, so make sure you always grab the RIGHT ones, because yes, there are a bunch of variants to each animal kind. On top of that, the quest will also as you to bring in various items such as crates of a certain kind of food, and on occasion the wonderful gunpowder barrel(s). Be sure to store those in the mast or, if you’re feeling like a ship won’t hit them, in the base of the ship away from gun fire.
Each island has it’s own set of specific animals and items, so it can take a while before you start remembering which has which (we’re currently working on a map to help out with that), so if you are spending extended amounts of time trying to find certain items, sometimes it’s better to just bring in what you can and move on. In Sea of Thieves, time is money, so if you’re spending way too long on something that just isn’t going your way, sometimes it’s better to move on to quests that will get you gold quicker. You can get a pretty good amount of the animals, and a decent amount for the gunpowder barrels, so hey, might as well bring what you can within the time frame if your luck finding the other items just isn’t going well.
Head to the designated delivery island outpost and hand in your items, and make sure you’re emissary level 5 or these quests are REALLY not worth the bang for your buck.
Season Two has added NEW trade routes to help boost your Merchant Alliance Reputation and make some extra gold. This isn't an actual voyage, but is basically a side quest. Check them out here.
Skeleton Ships and Sunken Wrecks
Just like every other Alliance, the Merchant’s definitely benefits a lot from taking the time to either sink a skeleton ship or explore a ship that has already sunk. You never know what you might find when you make both of these a priority, ask both have a chance to drop some pretty great loot such as merchant supplies or mermaid gems. Always take a couple minutes to take advantage of this easy loot, if you’re not in a risky situation.
When exploring a Sunken Ship, make sure to check EVERY deck, as it’s fairly easy to miss some of the objects scattered around. You can pretty much find any kind of treasure down there, including skulls, so it’s always worth the look.
For the skeleton sloops, they don’t take much more than a good 10-20 well placed canon shots, and the Galleons might be around 20-35 depending on how well you can land your cannon balls. It’s also great practice for ship combat for those not as experience, and will help you later on in the game when you’re being attacked by players.
Just like every other alliance, the Merchant’s Alliance flag can be upgraded to level 5, which will give the best bonuses to selling your items as possible. For your knowledge (and greed):
- Emissary Level 1: No Bonus
- Emissary Level 2: 33% Bonus
- Emissary Level 3: 66% Bonus
- Emissary Level 4: 100% Bonus
- Emissary Level 5: 150% Bonus
That’s right, when you have Emissary Level 5 you receive more than DOUBLE what the item is worth, so typically, unless you’re having a rough time with other players or the risk is getting too high, you wanna get to level 5.
Selling to the Merchant
ALRIGHT! It’s time to sell all that beautiful loot you’ve gathered up, you’re about to get a pretty good haul of gold out of the deal. Something to keep in mind is that each supply crate is a specific color, indicating it’s worth. White will always be sugar, green will always be tea, red will always be silks, etc. They’re all worth grabbing, but if you don’t have enough time due to a risky situation, grab the better crates to make you more money and leave the rest.
It’s also worth noting that not everything will sell for the EXACT amount of gold. The gold numbers below are an approximate number of how much gold you’ll make selling each.
Crate of Fine Sugar
Crate of Rare Tea
Crate of Exotic Silks
Crate of Exquisite Spices
Ashes of the Damned
Crate of Ancient Bone Dust
Devil's Roar Supply Crates
Other Items to Sell
Lowering Emissary Flag or Getting the Emissary Quest
You’ve reach level 5 emissary in the Merchant’s Alliance, so now you can decide what you do next, either lower the flag to receive a cool 5,000 gold right there on the spot, not to mention a good chunk of reputation, or you can continue with them and grab the emissary quest from any merchant, which gives you just a bunch of quests for free.
Either way, make sure that when you ARE done with your voyage with the Merchant’s Alliance, that you do lower the flag. Too many times have I had crewmates leave before the flag goes down, and there’s a lot to be gained in lowering the flag.