As soon as you start your journey in Atlas, you will notice that your character gains experience points for almost every activity - acquisition of a resource, creation of an item or killing a creature. Subsequent experience levels will be quickly acquired, but as soon as you reach level 8 you will receive information that further development is locked. In this chapter you will learn how to get past this problem.
Experience points acquisition is represented by the "XP" icon located in the bottom right corner of the screen, as well as through the experience bar found in the inventory (opened by pressing the "I" button). Once the experience bar is completely filled, the character will advance to a higher level and you will be able to put appoint into attributes, as well as 3 points into abilities. The problem starts when the character reaches level 8 - further development in the starting location is locked. To increase the level of the character further, you will need to get out of the starting island and find a new land.
To achieve this goal, however, you need to create your first ship. In order to do so, you can unlock a specific ability, allowing you to construct ships on your own. During the first hours of the game, however, it is not worth to spend precious ability points into that skill. Instead, you can head over to the Shipyardsman that can be found in the Freeport - the man will be standing at the bridge, he is impossible to overlook. Initiate a conversation with the sailor and two blueprints will appear on your screen - the one to create a Raft and another to create a Ramshackle Sloop.
The Ramshackle Sloop is definitely a better choice here - it will require more work, but these ships are much easier to handle at sea and provide much better protection to the player. In order to create this ship, you must collect the following resources: 225x Fiber, 75x Hide and 250x Wood. Once that is done, you need to head back to the Shipyardsman. As you can imagine, accumulating and moving with so many resources will over encumber your character. You do not need to worry, however, as it will not hurt the character itself, it just causes him/her to move slowly. Collect the required resources and travel to the sailor. Initiate a conversation again and "purchase" the ship you want to create, causing it to appear at the end of the bridge.
Now you just need to climb up the ladder located at the end of the ship and get on board. Once you are there, spread the sails and interact with the rudder to control the ship. A miniature of the ship will appear on the screen, along with a white arrow representing the direction of the wind. As you have probably guessed by now, you need to position the ship in such a way that the wind blows from behind the ship (making the arrow go upwards).
Once everything is set up, you need to point the ship in any direction and just swim straight ahead. Your goal for now is to leave the sector you in which you are currently located - this can be checked by opening the map (M). Once you reach a new sector, swim through it until you see the outline of the land on the horizon and direct the ship towards it. When you reach the land, you just need to step off the ship to discover a new location, unlocking further character development in the process.
Note - when travelling through the seas, watch out for enemy ships patrolling the water. It is generally a good idea to stay away from them - they will not chase you unless you get too close to them. Also, remember to prepare the appropriate supplies before the trip - 2-3 full Waterskins, 20 pieces of cooked Animal Meat and Fish Meat and about 100 fruits. You should also stock on some Wood, Stone and Fibers to be able to repair the ship if needed or place and lit a fireplace to warm up the character. Finally, remember to place a bed on board - once done, you will be able to respawn your character on board of the ship, right next to the bed, saving time.