While emotes in most video games are meant to be silly ways to communicate and express yourself in-game, these character animations are actually valuable secret weapons in Sea of Thieves. Certain emotes allow your pirate character to sit or lie down, hiding you from view of enemy players to either escape or snag their loot right before they turn it in. Season Two of Sea of Thieves has a fun but stealthy emote built-in — get ready to mess around with the Barrel Disguise emote.
How to unlock the Barrel Disguise emote
Such a valuable emote might be thought to be a premium item, but the Barrel Disguise emote is actually included as a free reward in the Season Two Plunder Pass. All you have to do is reach Renown Level 13 in the Plunder Pass, which you can reach by completing Trials and doing your usual pirating in-game. With how fast progression in the Plunder Pass is, this should only take a few hours at the least, or less than a day.
After unlocking the emote, you will equip it onto your emote wheel through any Vanity Chest at Outposts or on the bottom deck of your ship. Be sure to unlock this before Season Two ends, as we don’t know when or through what means cosmetics from previous seasons will return to the game.
Barrel Disguise emote strategy
Per the emote’s official description, this emote was meant for “stealthy island visits.” Barrels are always scattered around islands, so if you need to hide from enemy encounters, position yourself next to a barrel, go to your emote radial wheel and select Barrel Disguise. Your character will have a little animation where they look around before producing a barrel for them to hide under. We have found that the Barrel Disguise is ineffective against CPU skeletons.
However, clever and industrious pirates may instead want to use them during ship combat. It is a common strategy to shoot oneself out of a cannon or swim to board an enemy player ship. As there are barrels all over the bottom deck of each ship, one could stealthily make their way into an enemy player ship and disguise themselves as one of the many barrels there. And keep completely still; as with any emote, movement will cancel the emote instantly and expose you.
If you’re suspicious that an unnoticed player has boarded your ship, be sure to check your bottom deck; if you don’t remember the layout of the barrels down there, you best swing at every single one you see. Paranoia isn’t fun to sail with.
How to tell who is in a barrel
As of this writing, pirates who emote as barrels on moving ships will stay level, so they won’t bob back and forth like everything else on board. This is an obvious tell — next to other barrels, the disguised player will stick out like a sore thumb.