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INTRODUCTION: The sextant buff is one of the most useful buffs in the game, so I figured a guide explaining how to get it, what it does, and what aspects of it you should not take for granted, would be quite worth it. I'll start by listing the questions I am going to answer, and then we'll get into the thick of the content. The Big Questions: What is the sextant buff, and how does it help? How do I get the sextant buff, and how long does it last? How large are the grids (and the whole ATLAS map), in terms of lat/long points or meters? When would crossing the edges of the map to get to another grid make my trip faster? How accurate are the speed, lat/long, and direction that the sextant tells you? What is an ATLAS knot? Related questions other posts have answered, that I will skip here: Which type of ship is the fastest? Read on for more detailed info on each of these topics! What is the sextant buff, and how does it help? The sextant buff is a buff that helps you navigate the seas. When you apply the buff, you will be given the following information as a HUD at the top of your screen: A compass showing the direction you are looking in A minimap of your surrounding area (able to be toggled on/off via the settings menu) What region you are currently in, including any special qualities of that grid (lawless, golden age ruins, etc) latitude and longitude coordinates of your current position When sailing a ship: The direction you are headed and your current speed in knots In-game map marker overlay and guidance. Left-click on an ATLAS map marker to activate an in-world guidance marker. minimap and ATLAS map player markers show the direction you are facing Although the buff is indispensable in helping you navigate the seas, it is also very useful on land. I have used the sextant buff to help navigate an island due to the minimap that comes with it, as well as to line up my camera to the cardinal directions for building. Feel free to share in the comments if you have any creative ways you have used the sextant buff! How do you get the sextant buff? To get the sextant buff, you first have to unlock and get the sextant. The sextant is unlocked by the "Navigator's Tools" skill, which is the first skill in the Seamanship skill tree. It takes 11 skill points after a respec to get to this skill. Once you have it unlocked, you have to craft it with the materials shown in the wiki page. The sextant is a tool that you can use to get the buff. To use it, you will first need to get to a high location, typically the crow's nest of your tallest sail if you are on a ship. Hold right-click to bring the sextant up to your eyes, and start looking around for stars in the sky. They will still be visible in the day, and they will have a green diamond show up around them if you get close. Once the diamond shows up, left-click while continuing to hold down right click. This will add a star to your total, and 4 stars are needed to get the buff. Once you add a star to your total, a trail will lead from it to the next star. However, you have to try to be fast, since you only have a few seconds to find all of your stars. Here are a few tips: During the day, the first star tends to be near the sun (not rigorously tested) The trails that lead from one star to the next will curve if they travel a long distance, since they move on a sphere, which distorts their motion. Try to follow the curve around, or you will end up quite far from where the star actually is. Once you click on the first star, you will have 50 seconds to find your stars (+5 seconds for each cosmology level, then x1.10 for each level in able navigator skills) If you find 4 stars, you will get 1500 seconds (25 minutes) of sextant buff. Each star above that will give you +1180.6 seconds (almost 20 minutes) of buff, up to the 9th star and above, which give you a total of 7200 seconds (2 hours) of buff. NOTE: The able navigator skill currently has no effect on sextant buff duration, although it says it does. Be aware. How large are the grids? How large is the whole ATLAS map? Using the sextant buff's guidance marker feature and GPS coordinates, you can get very accurate information about the size of each grid. For example, the center of the center maw (where the Kraken spawns) is at the coordinates of 0/0 long/lat. Moving to the East increases longitude, whereas moving to the North increases latitude. NOTE: Most real-world coordinates are given in lat/long notation, but the game chooses to give the coordinates to you in long/lat notation, so try not to confuse the two. By using singleplayer to fly to the corner of a grid, then marking a waypoint at an adjacent corner and activating the guidance marker, you can get the following size for a grid 14,000 meters along a side, and 13 1/3 lat/long along a side. This means that the whole ATLAS map is 14 * 15 = 210 km in width and length, and the maximum lat/long coordinates are +/- 100. When would crossing the edges of the map make my trip faster? The right edge of the ATLAS map is connected to the left, and the top is connected to the bottom, just like in Pac-man. Curiously, this means that the ATLAS map is not on a sphere, like our Earth, but rather on the surface of a torus (a doughnut shape). Since there are a total of 15 grids in each direction, you could go 8 tiles in one direction, or 7 tiles in the other direction to get to the same grid. Therefore, you should never go more than 7 tiles E/W or N/S to get to your destination. If your route takes you on a path with more than 7 tiles in one direction (for example, West), just go in the opposite direction (East) and it will be shorter. Never go more than 7 tiles in one direction (E/W or N/S) to get to your destination. Go the opposite way, and you can get there in under 7 tiles. The furthest grid from you on the map is 7 tiles E/W and 7 tiles N/S away from you, for a total of 9.9 tiles to get to the opposite side of the map. How accurate are the numbers that the sextant buff gives you? To start, I will assume that the long/lat numbers are exact, since they are simply related to the in-game coordinate system that the game invariably uses. From these numbers, we will discuss the accuracy of the sextant buff speed and direction numbers, and any relevant conversion factors. First up: speed. In real life, a knot is defined as about 1.15 mph, or around 0.514 m/s. Using this number, and the fact that grids are 14 km in width, a ship going around 20 knots would take over 23 minutes to cross a grid. This isn't the case (you can traverse a grid much quicker), so the game must think that knots are something different. To test this, I started a brig off in a random direction at full speed, in singleplayer. Using singleplayer commands, I made the wind a constant speed and not rotate, and I sailed for about 1/2 of an in-game day, and computed the total long/lat distance traveled, compared to the speed shown in the sextant buff. I determined that 1 knot is equivalent to about 0.077 lat/long per in-game minute, or 0.347 grids/in-game hour. To convert in-game minutes to real-life minutes, you just have to divide by 2.1 (I got this number by timing with a stopwatch for about 10 minutes and figuring out how many in-game minutes passed by). Therefore, 1 ATLAS knot is about 38.56 meters/real-life second. Thus, a ship going at 20 knots can cross a grid in just over 6 minutes. Here are a few useful conversion factors: 1 ATLAS knot = 38.56 meters/real-life second = 0.0367 lat/long per real-life second = 0.165 grids/real-life second 1 in-game minute = 2.1 real-life seconds 1 lat/long = 1050 meters NOTE: The speeds given by the sextant buff depend on your current CPU usage. If your CPU spikes, the speed will dip. I tested this by changing the slomo setting - as time is slowed down, the sextant buff indicator sped up. This is because the slower time allowed the CPU to rest more and keep up with the speed calculations. Additionally, I ran the user benchmark cpu test while playing the game at normal settings and similarly saw a drop in the sextant buff reported speed. I found that, for my game under typical settings and activity, the speed can increase by about 1% by slowing the game down absurdly, and it can slow down significantly when speeding the game up. Just a heads up - the speed is not universal, and the same ship may report different speeds on different PCs, even with all variables taken care of. The second task: Direction indicator/heading. I first noticed that the direction indicator is off somewhat when I set my ship to head North (0 degrees) and found my longitude changing still. When I set the ship sailing in a direction that had no longitudinal changes (even over a very long period of time), the directional HUD said 1 degree. More of my testing included recording start and stop lat/long for my ship, and the direction of travel. I then computed the angle from the lat/long data, to compare to the given direction. I found that the direction is accurate to +/- 1 degree always. This can contribute to error when testing and trying to determine actual numbers for these things, but I doubt it will affect gameplay in any noticeable way. The biggest effect I could see this having is if you skirt along a grid border, you should look at the lat/long directly instead of the direction, since you could end up veering off course for long journeys. Conclusion: The sextant buff is a very useful buff, which is why I try to keep it on most of the time I play ATLAS. It helps plot a course on the sea, navigate a new island, or just stay oriented in your home base. Although the speed and direction have a few small accuracy issues, this shouldn't affect your gameplay at all unless you are crazy like me and want to dig up the numbers behind the game that make it all work. That's it for this guide, let me know in the comments if there are any other sextant-related topics you want me to cover, or if you want me to make a guide on another subject that interests you. See you on the high seas!