With the arrival of Emissaries and a choice of allegiances to be made, we’re delving into the histories and priorities of the Sea of Thieves’ current Trading Companies and the precarious balance they strike to keep this pirate paradise relatively peaceful. First under the spotlight: the oldest known Company in operation, those garrulous Gold Hoarders!

Company Background

The Gold Hoarders are a long-standing Trading Company with roots in the very formation of the Sea of Thieves as we know it. They’re quick thinkers and smooth talkers, but best known for being avaricious to the point of obsession – their constant handling of material wealth resulting in many representatives becoming afflicted with the Gold Curse that gradually metallises the skin itself. Not all treasure is tainted, of course, but the more cursed trinkets you hoard, the greater the risk you run. It’s not so much a mark of shame for the Gold Hoarders nowadays as a rite of passage.

Overly passionate about material wealth they may be, but the Gold Hoarders serve a vital function and have found themselves a perfect, somewhat devious niche that keeps them in demand: they possess the precious keys of the Pirate Lord, able to open the scattered, magically sealed treasure chests found all over the Sea of Thieves. Thanks to these keys, no matter how many sealed chests a pirate digs up, they can only claim the rewards by enlisting the aid of a Gold Hoarder representative.

This means the Company takes a hefty cut, and the gold keeps rolling in! But where does it all go? This was a question explored in the Shores of Gold series of Tall Tales, where a connection was revealed between this Trading Company and the secret location of Tribute Peak, lair of the original Gold Hoarder – a Skeleton Lord of great power, entirely consumed by greed.

This tyrannical but tragic figure has a long story behind him and has been around as long as the Pirate Lord, but while the latter may value adventure and camaraderie over the pursuit of treasure, the Gold Hoarder believes quite the opposite. This is no doubt why the Pirate Lord was able to avoid the Gold Curse, resisting the temptation to cling to every last bit of suspicious treasure, while his rival was consumed by it. The two became polar opposites in a détente that, thankfully, allowed the rest of the Sea of Thieves to thrive.

Company Operations

Since the Gold Hoarders possess the keys to open all the chests they could require, they have no need to go out seeking trinkets and windfalls themselves. It’s much easier to get regular pirates to do all the legwork (or pegwork) and bring the gold right back to them.

This is why the Gold Hoarders primarily offer Voyages related to unearthing buried treasure, often belonging to pirates of the past and sometimes jealously defended. Treasure maps can be either markings on a map or riddles that must be solved – it depends how the information was obtained, as many maps come from an agreement with the enigmatic Order of Souls.

However you find your chests and other scattered trinkets, the Gold Hoarders will pay in reputation and gold. Captain’s Chests pay well, Ashen Captain’s Chests from The Devil’s Roar even more so. Better yet, find a risky Cursed Chest such as a flame-spewing Chest of Rage to obtain the most generous rewards. Reaper’s Chests, however, are a rare exception – the Gold Hoarders have no wish to risk the wrath of The Reaper’s Bones by accepting these, which conveniently contain nothing of particular value to them anyway.

Work for the Gold Hoarders and you’ll begin as a lowly Gold Picaroon, but can rise to Master Gold Hoarder at level 50 and even beyond that thanks to a rank increase brought in by the Ships of Fortune update. The Hoarders reward loyalty with gilded shovels and compasses, while those who progress past Master level can go about gathering the elite Gold Hoarders ship livery.

Thoughts On...

The Gold Hoarders:
“People call us greedy, but without us the whole treasure business would be a free-for-all. The key arrangement works!”

The Merchant Alliance:
“A strange lot. They go to all this effort to make gold, but you never see them rolling around on piles of it.”

The Order of Souls:
“They make a fair sum by telling us where dead pirates hid their treasure. As long as they don’t get unreasonable, we can work with them…”

Athena's Fortune:
“The Pirate Lord fan club! What do they need treasure for? They should send some to Tribute Peak.”

The Sea Dogs:
“Those showboaters think they’re so glorious, but they keep score in their games using silver. Silver! Embarrassing.”

The Hunter's Call:
“Merrick’s lot always have a spare Splashtail on the fire for a weary Hoarder. One day we might even pay them for it.”

The Reaper's Bones:
“Gold thieves. Anarchists. Mercenaries. Gold thieves!

Company Representatives

Humphrey is stationed at Sanctuary Outpost. The best-known face of the Gold Hoarders, he’s amiable and dedicated but prone to the odd emotional outburst where treasure is concerned.

Henry is stationed at Galleon's Grave Outpost. He’s a very proud fellow and considers the Gold Hoarders to be the most esteemed Trading Company by far.

Herbert is stationed at Ancient Spire Outpost. He’s a man of few words, so don’t expect much conversation from this Hoarder. He’s as miserly with language as he is with gold!

Horace is stationed at Dagger Tooth Outpost. A truly obsessed Gold Hoarder, Horace is about as keen as it’s possible to be. He loves gold with a genuine, worrying passion.

Hugh is stationed at Golden Sands Outpost. Hugh focuses on the accounts of the Company and has little trust. Don’t be offended if he suspects you of stealing – he suspects everyone!

Harry is stationed at Plunder Outpost. Harry is unlike his colleagues and enjoys sharing gold and even donating it. It’s entirely possible that this is a ploy to put you at ease.

Hyde is stationed at Morrow's Peak Outpost. He’s a miser through and through and would never give you a fair deal, except he’s also not much of a liar.

Emissary Guidance

Emissaries of the Gold Hoarders may dress in their colours and can rise rapidly through Emissary Grades on any given expedition by simply exemplifying the behaviour encouraged by the Company. That means completing Voyages, rounding up as much precious treasure as possible and stowing it on your ship – and while you’re at it, crushing Skeleton Ships and Forts, giving Megalodons more than they bargained for and vanquishing the mighty Kraken, all in the name of keeping the seas calm so that riches can find their way naturally into the hands of the Gold Hoarders. Hold on to that treasure until you reach Emissary Grade 5 and you’ll get the maximum bonus for cashing it in!

Emissaries Explained - Official Sea of Thieves Gameplay Guide

Duration 3:44

Further Reading

To find out more about the origins of the Gold Hoarders…

Play Sea of Thieves and embark upon the epic Shores of Gold series of narrative-driven Tall Tales.

Read the Athena’s Fortune novel, which delves into the origins of the Gold Hoarder himself and the key arrangement.

Read Sea of Thieves: Origins Volume 1 – The Price of Gold, which tells the backstory of Humphrey and how he became a Hoarder.