“And the winds and the waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.” - Edward Gibbon
|While using it, the player enters in a minigame and has to locate 4 stars in the sky (minimum, to maximum 11) to get a buff that adds to your HUD a semi-transparent minimap with a center arrow pointing your facing direction, a highly-accurate top-of-screen compass and a bottom-of-screen readout of your current region, GPS coordinates, speed in knots to two decimal points and precise direction of ship travel in degrees. Duration: 5 minutes (minimum) to 2 hours (maximum and with Advanced Cosmology skill). Cooldown: None (can reapply immediately after it runs out).|
HUD text: "Enhanced exploration skills and infinite flotsam visibility." But that doesn't do this miracle device justice. It provides you the little extra data you need to be a truly-exceptional sea captain and land explorer.
Obtaining a Sextant and learning to acquire a maximum-length Sextant buff with it, day or night, will likely save you from the loss of many of your ships at sea and decrease the time it takes you to search a land area for needed resources. Any serious sea captain running a full-crewed galleon, including a crew pilot at the wheel, would be wise to maximize their situational awareness with it. And the captain can easily hit literally any compass heading they want by pointing the white diamond on the sextant buff's HUD compass on a heading and then issuing the command Autopilot / "Set Heading: (My facing direction)".
This allows you to make cross-world voyages following the most direct course possible for as much time as possible. How? By allowing you to recover from necessary escape or combat maneuvers to avoid or attack dangerous Ships of the Damned or duck between cyclones and then return to your ideal heading with just a glance at the top of the screen and a pivot of your wrist, then a simple command.
Important note: while a sextant buff makes using a pilot to enable autopilot a great thing while navigating the deep sea, a wise captain considers piloting by hand when in shallows and when docking or dropping anchor if the waters are unfamiliar.
It is advised to get on a high place with good view, the crow's nest for example is ideal. Equip the Sextant and hold down. You now need to look around for stars. Which can be a hard task at night since normal stars do not count. You have unlimited time to find the first star (more below). After that a timer starts (depending on your skill level). You have to find at least four stars to get the buff. However you can locate up to eleven stars to increase the buffs duration, which again depends on you skill level.
Locating the First Star
To easily find the first star during the daytime, scan the sky around the sun for a star that the game draws a green box around when you put the targeting lines over it. If the brightness is causing a lot of glare—or if it's foggy—this can be easier if you first turn down your gamma setting a bit. At night reports of where to look are all over the place. Feel free to check the discussion page to see our progress so far trying figure it out and to add your notes on it.
A convenient method of scanning the whole night sky—at least until someone figures out a simple rule to follow to find the first star at night—is to enable the Sextant, look straight up and then lower the view by one viewfinder width and press and hold either ←→until your view returns to where you started. Then lower one more viewfinder width and repeat. Continue repeating this procedure until you find the star.
List of Sextant Buff Abilities
Gaining the Sextant buff grants the following enhanced abilities:
- Persistent HUD mini-map (Note: v206 changed the persistence state to an option you can enable. If disabled, hold hto enable your HUD to see it. Link to note)
- The game places a small, semitransparent, persistent mini map in the top-left of your HUD. The zoom level is adequately wide to allow you just enough time to command full stop prior to risking collisions by entering shallows. This can be very helpful when in dense fog or when below decks making repairs, grabbing food and drink or the like.
- Character-facing direction arrow in mini-map
- You can always tell which way you are going at a glance.
- Character-facing direction indicator in Atlas map
- Instead of an "X", your location becomes a chevron icon with its tip pointing the direction your pathfinder is facing. If you align your pathfinder with the line of your ship, this can make it much easier to see if your current heading is likely to take you into danger.
- Persistent Top-of-Screen Digital Compass
- This compass is virtually perfectly aligned (within half a degree it seems) and is always up to date without the wobble of the handheld compass. It remains on screen even when running, unlike the handheld compass.
- In-world guidance to a selected map pin.
- Persistent and more-accurate navigation information
- The current region and GPS coordinates remain on display all the time, not just when your character is holding the handheld map. Your ship's current direction of travel—to an accuracy of a single degree out of 360 degrees—is displayed whenever you are aboard ship.
Persistent speed information Whenever you are aboard ship, the vessel's current speed in knots—to an accuracy of two decimal points—is persistently displayed along with your other navigation information.
The speed display in knots is totally wrong. See the In-game speed testing page for more info.
- Infinite Flotsam Visibility Range
Screenshot of Sextant-Buff Enabled HUD
- Top-left: Persistent Map with character-direction-facing arrow
- Top-center: Persistent digital compass
- A little above and a little right of center: Green (user sets color when placing pin) named target (user sets name when placing pin) showing Atlas-map highlighted map pin, pin name and distance to pin in meters
- Bottom-center: Persistent display showing the following navigation information:
- Current region
- GPS coordinates
- Speed in knots (accuracy to two decimal places)
- Direction of ship travel in degrees (360 degrees accuracy)
- Bottom-right: Among the other buffs and debuffs in the example image, you will see the Sextant symbol showing 2729.6 seconds remaining on the buff. The maximum buff length if you map 11 stars and with skills is 7200 seconds, which is 2 hours.
How to Place and Activate Map Pins
First you will need to map a key that will allow you to place map pins.
- Press Esc
- Click the button
- Click the "Keyboard Settings" button and find the "Place Map Marker" setting under "Miscellaneous". Link: Screenshot with notations
- Click where it says "Unassigned" and press P to set the same as Ark's default key, or press any other key you prefer.
Next you will need to place a map pin
- Open the handheld map (default m)
- Press the key you mapped (Ark default p)
- To place the pin:
- Enter longitude
- Enter latitude
- Slide the color slider to the desired color
- Type in a short name for the pin
- Click the Accept button
Finally, activate and use the map pin
- Open the Atlas map window (default number pad 8).
- Move the map to the location of the pin (click-and-hold rmb and drag the map around) and zoom in (mouse scroll or number pad +) close enough and then click the pin. You should see a message that reads: "Active on Sextant."
- Close the Atlas map window (Esc or click the X at the top-right of the screen)
- Look on your screen either for the colored and named target showing the way to the map pin or look at the edges of the screen for colored arrows indicating which way to turn to see the target.