Thursday, September 8, 2022

How To Sail A Ship In Noah's Heart or What Does This Button Do?

Fourteen days I waited. Not patiently. Finally, yesterday, I was rewarded. My very own sailboat: Explorer

Of course, it's never quite that simple. I claimed it but then I had to find it. It was somewhere in my bags. It took me a while. I was looking for a little picture of a boat, not the head of a Phillips' screwdriver. 

It's actually a picture of the anchor, or at least I think that's what it's meant to be. I had to go back and look at the screenshot I'd taken of the original reward before I could find the damn thing.

"Ordinary wooden sailboat" my ass!

Once I'd safely "Used" it to add it to the "Ship" tab in my Mounts window, I was all set to go. But go where?

Well, to water, obviously. But what kind of water?

I happened to be standing in sight of a decent-sized river so that's where I started. Or tried to start.

It's always the same problem, whenever I get my first ship in a game. I'm never quite sure how I'm supposed to get it into the water. Or sail it, when I do.

In most games you usually do at least get some kind of instructions. Not this time. The web was no help, either. It never is with this game.

You can take a ship to water but you can't make it float, it seems. Not in a river, anyway. I wandered up and down the bank, waiting for something to happen. Nothing did.

Maybe the water wasn't deep enough or the river wide enough. Perhaps I ought to try a lake.

I gave it a go. Didn't work either. I never really thought it would, if I'm honest. I only tried because I pressed the wrong icon on the map trying to go to the coast and ended up next to a lake instead.

On to the sea, then. Or, rather, into the sea. I've played other games where you have to be in the water to spawn the ship so I thought that might be the trick. I jumped off a cliff to give it a try. That didn't work either.

I was treading water for a while, trying a few things out. You can swim in Noah's Heart, just not very far. I seem to remember it was like that in Genshin Impact, too. You start to lose hit points after about thirty seconds and then it's get to shore or drown. 

I didn't make it as far as the shore. I drowned about ten meters short.


Fortunately, there doesn't seem to be much of a penalty for dying although I'm no expert on death in Noah's Heart. I'm Level 75 now and I believe I've only died in combat once, maybe twice, outside of PvP. Never in the open world. I don't think there is anything in the open world that can kill a player, other than falling damage and drowning. 

I've drowned a couple of times, though. All that happens is you revive back in town or at the nearest revival spot. This time, once I'd respawned, I checked the map and ported again - to a port.

And that turned out to be the answer. It seems ships can only be launched from structures specifically designed to launch ships. Who'd have thought?  


It's quite obvious, when you see it. As soon as you approach the harbor, the icon that was previously either a steering wheel or a horse's head (Your vehicle or your mount.) changes to a sailboat. Click on it in the port and you'll be told you're too far away but move to the correct spot on the pier and you can summon your ship.

It appears alongside, bobbing gently on the swell. It's a solid object, physically present in the world. You can jump on board and walk around it just as you can on the regular ships that ply their way from port to port in classic mmorpg style.

So, now you have your ship afloat. How do you sail it?

It took me a while to figure that out, too. In the end, it turned out to be a very straightforward process but as usual there's nothing to explain how it works. It's trial and error all the way.

Again, it's a very literal implementation. The Explorer has a large wheelhouse at the stern. If you stand in front of it, an icon appears, shaped like a ship's wheel. Click on it and your character lifts her arms and takes the helm. 

At that point, several control icons also appear on the HUD: Set Sail, Release Anchor, Back, Speed and Free. Once again, it's time to experiment.

Set Sail does exactly what you'd expect. It sets the boat in motion. If you just press that and nothing else you travel at a steady 11 knots per hour in the direction you're facing. 

You can steer the ship using WAD. You can't sail backwards so forget about S.

Once you're under way, two other icons appear: Speed Up and Decelerate. Why they didn't go for Speed Up and Slow Down or Accelerate and Decelerate you'd have to ask whatever half-literate intern does the translations. Fortunately the meaning is clear enough.

The Speed icon is a meter. It tells you how fast you're going. This is handy because it lets you see that speeding up and slowing down both have discrete settings. You'd never know otherwise.

Speed Up goes from zero to 34 in one press (or from 11 to 34 if you're already at the default cruising speed.) A second press takes you from 34 to 44, which is as fast as Explorer can go.


Decelerate takes you back from 44 to 38, then from 38 to 11, then from 11 to zero. 

Release Anchor, contrary to what I expected, means Drop Anchor. I though it meant haul the anchor up so you can get going but it's the exact opposite. 

Explorer acts like it has inertia but no momentum. Changing direction takes time but stopping doesn't, so if you want to stop suddenly you don't need to decelerate. You can just hit Release Anchor and you'll stop immediately. No whiplash. No being hurled over the wheelhouse into the ocean.

That just leaves Back and Free. Anyone want to guess?

Free changes the camera controls. It's easy to figure that much  out. The icon is a picture of a camera. What it does to the camera, that's harder to fathom. I played around with it for a while but I couldn't see any difference other than the icon changes from Free to Lock when you click it. 

Finally, I opened the Photo function, which is available while sailing, and my boat merrily sailed off into the distance while the camera's PoV stayed where it was. It's the same Lock/Unlock function that Photo already offers. Why it's also on the sailing controls I have no idea.

As for Back, what that does I have no idea. Nothing, as far as I can tell.


Those are the controls. Once you figure them out, they work very well. I sailed my ship from Port Utu in Cannan Mountains out into the Sea of Dawn. After a minute or two, several islands appeared on the horizon. I made for the nearest but as I approached I realised I had no idea how to land.

I solved that problem pretty easily. I just ran the Explorer close to shore, dropped anchor, let go the wheel and jumped into the sea. It wasn't far to swim. I didn't drown this time. 

I spent some time exploring the island. Quite profitably as it turned out. I found a Grand Chest and several other smaller chests. Eventually I came back to where I'd left my ship. It had gone.

Obviously, I knew it hadn't gone gone. This isn't Valheim. Nothing had come along and smashed it up and left fragments of wood floating on the surface with all the nails on the bottom of the sea. It had just despawned, like the other mounts, as soon as I'd moved a certain distance away.

Luckily, there happened to be a small harbor on the far side of the island so I was able to re-summon my ship. I assume if there hadn't I'd have had to use the map to port to somewhere that did have the necessary facilities, which would be very inconvenient if you were out exploring new islands in the deep ocean.

And there are plenty of them. I saw half a dozen small ones and one very large one in the relatively short time I was at sea. I landed on the big one, which turned out to be Innis Volcano, an area meant for Level 85 and above, as I found out when it wouldn't let me open the teleport because I was too low.

It looked like an interesting place. I look forward to exploring it properly when I'm big enough.

It was getting late by then so I decided to camp out at the docks so I could carry on next day. I've always enjoyed sailing in mmorpgs since I got my first real taste of it in Vanguard

The implementation in Noah's Heart isn't the slickest I've seen but it's pretty good. The boat handles reasonably well, although the position my character has to stand in surely must get really uncomfortable for her after a while.

There's some of the jankiness others have complained of elsewhere in the game - the PoV jumps about quite a bit and getting the wheel icon to appear sometimes takes a bit of shuffling back and forth around the deck but it's all pretty much on a par with most boats I've sailed in games like this. They're always a little jittery.

I'll take all of those minor flaws and more just to be out on the open sea again, especially when, for once, it's a genuinely interesting, content-rich environment. There are said to be hundreds of islands and I can easily believe it. As soon as I got out of port I could see new places to explore in every direction.

Whether I'll get to many of them is another question. I already have plenty to do in the game. The call of the open sea is strong, though, and Explorer is a very fine vessel. I'm proud to be her captain and I look forward to seeing where the wind takes us.


  1. That looks like the head of a harpoon to me. Can you go whaling?

    Also when I saw Back I thought of "backing the sales" which would make the ship go backwards, but sounds like it isn't that, eh?

    1. I haven't seen or heard anything about large sea creatures you can hunt or fight but the ship has combat stats (as do the mounts). So far I have no idea what they're used for.

      And, yes, my first thought was that it must make the ship go backwards, since "S" doesn't. I tried it and nothing seemed to happen but it's possible it's situational.

  2. Thank you, you're a lifesaver!! I managed to put my boat on water, but I just happened to stand next to a school of fish... So I only saw "Clownfish" where the wheel should've been -.- So thanks for the post! <3


Wider Two Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide