Experience is the measure of time a pirate has put into a certain puzzle. Each pirate's experience is recorded and shown on that pirate's info page, as well as being listed on the ultimate list. In addition to tracking puzzle experience, players are ranked on puzzle skill, which is displayed side-by-side with experience on the ultimate list.
If a game of Swordfighting, Drinking, Rumble, or Treasure Drop is not rated then it will not affect a pirate's experience. Tournaments, parlor games tables and challenges all have options to play "unrated". Multiplayer swordfighting or rumble brawls are always unrated, so these matches will never increase a pirate's experience.
Each level of experience takes longer to achieve than the previous. While it is generally agreed that each successive experience level takes twice as long as the one before, the amount needed to reach the next level is not revealed to players.
Experience has an effect on the amount of recent scores needed for a pirate to get one's skill rank up or down. The higher experience the pirate has in a puzzle, the less any single score affects the player's skill rank.
In keeping with the Ringers' philosophy of avoiding the display of numbers in the game, each level of experience is given a descriptive word. The middle levels are bolded and the higher levels are both bolded and italicized when displayed on a pirate's info page. From low to high, they are:
With release 2012-04-30 wager limits were added to parlor games and challenges, but not tournaments, based on a pirate's experience level. This has reduced the instances of alts being created to play high stakes games with low experience and standing, a form of alt abuse.
Some missions with the navy cannot be undertaken unless the player meets the minimum experience requirement:
- Apprentice experience in Bilging, either Carpentry or Patching, and either Sailing or Rigging are required to get the mission to Gun with the navy.
- In order to get the "Navigate with the navy" mission, a player must be subscribed or own a pirate or higher rank badge and have experience of Broad or higher in Bilging, either Carpentry or Patching, Gunning, and either Sailing or Rigging.
- To get the "battle brigands with the navy" mission (to do Battle Navigation with the navy), a player must be subscribed or have a pirate badge or higher and must have Narrow or more experience in Navigation.
The following trophies are awarded when a pirate reaches the indicated level of experience: