My Assassin's Creed Valhalla journal

Added Lunden to the ‘ol friends list (Pretty easy, all things considered…experience matters! :grin:) and made it through the entire second visions tale, the follow-up to The Builder. It actually takes place in a different mythical closed space, Jotunheim. For some reason, something…I think it was the Quest tab?..initially said it was 120, but when I got there the World map revealed it to be 190. I was around 160 at the time, and I didn’t notice anything amiss until one of the big jotnars took off pretty big chunks of life. For some reason I decided to keep going. It was actually smooth sailing until the big endboss duel with the jotnar king (forget the name). He was actually a bit tougher than The Builder and I only had one ration, but because I had a better grasp of how to tackle these big guys, I made it through all right. Then Loki had to show up to spoil the party (he’s kind of like a Daughter of Lerion with a couple of really annoying out-of-nowhere specials)…and surprisingly, I was able to best him with no rations! I never thought I’d say this, but punching a little above my weight and taking on a fair challenge was actually a pretty good experience, as it’s given me quite a bit of confidence for the rest of the game.

Other than that, it’s been a whole lotta exploring and ticking off those sync points. I’m going to stick to missions, gear, and world events for the remainder of this initial run, as this game is so massive I can’t seriously consider “100%”-ing until I have a better idea of what’s in store. (Plus I want to see just how many Helix credits I can actually get without, y’know, overspending, before deciding what long-term boon to take to the next time.) Those Zealots’ time will come. Just you wait. :wink:

Couple more tidbits. 1. Right now it’s impossible to retrieve the Oxenfordscire treasure; it’ll say you got it but when you go to Inventory it’ll show that you still have the map and not the treasure. I’ve been to Youtube and several other players have reported this. There’s nothing anyone can do until Ubisoft does another patch (which IMO is way overdue). 2. About the standing stones puzzles: While finding the correct spot is usually pretty easy, to solve the puzzle you have to get the image ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. That’s usually going to require lots of patient fine-tuning and a sharp eye for detail. Work slowly, keep at it, and eventually you’ll see success.

Now, my big(gish) combat guide. Your first consideration is your choice of weapon. There are basically three types of weapon, daggers, mid-rangers (axes and hammers), and two-handers (greatswords, Danish axes, and spears). It’s fairly simple: If you’re an ace at modern video games, go with a dagger; if you’re like me, stick with a mid-ranger. Mid-rangers are dependable tools with no major weaknesses and a moderate stamina drain. While they don’t have the advantages of the other weapon types, you can normally count on them doing enough damage to end the fight in your favor. Daggers are fast, with a low stamina cost, and can really carve up foes quickly if your combat instincts are well-honed. The problem is that they’re small, meaning that you have to really get in their face to do any damage, and you don’t advance toward the enemy while doing light attacks (and you really don’t want to use lots of heavy attacks with a dagger, as it completely defeats the purpose), so you have to be very accurate with your button presses, which, as you probably guessed already, I am not. A lot of times I got the “stun” or “stomp” indicator and watched in frustration as Eivor kept flailing at nothing because I got too trigger-happy with R1. Combat moves quickly in Assassin’s Creed, and you don’t have the luxury of carefully shifting into position and calculating exactly how many button presses you need to get the job done. Two-handers have the best range and carve out big chunks of damage, but at the cost of lower speed and the heftiest stamina consumption. Furthermore, you can’t use a shield at a same time, which makes defense a lot harder, especially in the early going. I don’t recommend them for anything except bosses until you get the Dual Wield skill. If you can conserve your stamina, going big definitely is the way to go.

Don’t forget that bows have their place in melee combat. I recommend a quality light bow, obviously; switch to a hunter only if you run out of light ammo. Don’t bother using a predator (Finally got one! Woo hoo! :grin:) unless things are truly desperate. The main purpose of them is to target weak points, but sometimes you just want to thin out the crowd or soften up a toughie before mixing it up.

Upgrades! The important thing to remember is that you never have to worry about leather or iron ore, which are everywhere, and once you get a shop set up, you can always buy more titanium, for upgrading gear past level 4, or carbon ingots, for improving Fine gear to Superior, as needed (remembering that fish and drinking contests are always easy money whenever you need some). That means that you only need to be conservative with nickel ingots, used to improve Superior gear to Flawless, and of which there are an absolute finite number to be had. (Only your quiver and rations pouch use fabric [and both are very important], so there’s no reason not to upgrade these at the first opportunity.) I recommend starting with your main weapon, your main shield, and one or two armor items you’re going to keep for a long time. Don’t improve something unless you intend to eventually bring it up to the maximum of 7, and it’s a good idea to also have at least a few spare runes handy. There is a super-rare ingot that improves gear from Flawless to Legendary; by the time you get it, you should know well what you want to use it for.

My current layout is a mid-ranger (Blacksmith’s Hammer) as my all-purpose “workhorse”, a greatsword for the heavy lifting, and my trusty Yule Festival-obtained small shield always at the ready. I’ve found heavy shields impractical since I can’t move while using them, and I have to move around a lot on the battlefield. I’ve only gotten one flail so far, and from what I’ve seen they don’t do anything mid-rangers do better, so I don’t know what to say about them. I’ve recently upgraded all my armor to level 5. If I find something that works better, I’ll let you know.

Dumb animals like wolves and boars are simple. Dodge, counter, repeat until dead. If they slink around stupidly, help yourself to some free hits. If you face a pack of them, try to get to a spot where you can see all of them. You get free healing whenever you slay one (meat, natch), so as long as you don’t get completely chewed up, their numbers shouldn’t be a problem.

For your common enemies, the main distinction is how they react when you charge right in and thrash wildly with your weapon. A pitiful ‘ol grunt will just stand there and take it, and in all likely drop dead for his trouble. These flunkies really get thrown for a loop by parries, usually leaving them open to a stun attack or stomp, so watch for their feeble attacks and be ready to crush them. A shieldbearer will put his guard up; you can break the shield, but it takes some work. A heavy attack from a strong enough weapon will do the trick; otherwise, your best bet is to catch his back with a well-timed dodge. Anyone with a long weapon will quickly punish you; worse, if you do manage to dodge and counter, anything after the second hit will get stuffed cold. As in boxing, the way to beat a counterpuncher is to use his tactics against him; parry his thrust, get a couple hits in, strong attack past his guard, parry again, repeat. Skirmishers, likewise, will cut you to ribbons if you get aggressive; you must get a successful dodge or parry to do any damage. If you can stun him with a parry, he’s easy pickings. Archers, well, you pretty much have no choice but to charge ‘em head-on.

Big guys like goliaths and standard bearers require more caution. Not only can they take much more punishment, they have longer attack chains, more frequent and damaging unblockables, very sturdy defenses, and the nasty habit of counter-smashing you while you’re carving them up. The best way to take them out is to plug their weak points (a light bow will suffice) and rush in for the R3-button kill. Remember that you have to get every weak point before he becomes vulnerable. Failing that, your bow is still invaluable as it can nail him before he’s close enough to clobber you. If it stuns him (a head shot works best), so much the better: arrow stun, rush in, attack, dodge away, repeat is a very effective hit-and-run tactic. NEVER just wade in and go toe-to-toe or you will find yourself in a world of pain very quickly. If the worst case scenario happens and you have to face him like a man, your best bet is to wait for him to fire off something big and slow, then dodge, catch his back, and carve out as much of him as possible before he recovers. I’ve found that parries are virtually useless (they simply recover too quickly), so grab the biggest piece ‘o iron you got and stay on your toes!

Bosses are a whole new level of bruiser, but the same strategy more or less applies: Get the weak points, if that doesn’t work go hit-and-run with the bow, if that doesn’t work read their attacks and go for the back. When they launch their devastating specials, keep moving and don’t make yourself an easy target.

As for high views…just climb any mountain. Or do an Animus anomaly (I wasn’t kidding when I said sphincter-clenching). I find the scenery in most of these places absolutely lovely. YMMV. Every game is different. Isn’t that how it should be?

Wanted to chime in with some observations.
I’m not a die-hard AC player, played most of them for a bit but I got sucked into the story by Black Flag and Odyssey and now Valhalla.

What I enjoy most of Valhalla is, other than the settings and scenery, the difference in feel to for instance Odyssey. It really does feel like I’m a viking in a medieval world. Much more savage and direct than the beauty of ancient greece and it’s hide in the shadows attacks.
So far (strength 150) stealth is not a big factor which doesn’t make sense for a game with Assassin in the title but was hinted at when early in the game Eivor looks at the hidden blade and goes “eeeh why should I be stealthy?”
Sometimes I miss it. Taking out a fortress without anyone seeing me was fun in earlier games. But it also makes a bit sense :wink:
I also noticed that they’ve changed (as was mentioned) tagging objects, targets and what not.
Especially the option that I used every time I infiltrated a fortress in Odyssey, tag every thing with your eagle and then go in and kill them. Now you need to go slower, make sure you stay out of sight as much as possible and keep checking for enemies. (and then fail at stealth and slaughter them all)

I enjoy the comradery during raids and city attacks, including helping out fallen vikings. It does make it feel more like you are part of a story then for instance the Odyssey battles where you weaved and killed everything in sight and it felt like nothing but your kills mattered. Here a few times I dodged a strong enemy and waited for my brethren to surround and bludgeon him. Good times.

The skills menu is somewhat annoying as I forget where I was due to the drawn out constellation form it takes. But I guess in the end it all works out since It’s now starting to fill out nicely.

So far I enjoy the game play a lot and the story is fun. I have a hunch on the road we take to the finish, even though I am nowhere near but that’s part of the fun.

Oh one last thing. Thank Odin they took out the 500 items of gear you randomly picked up from fighting nobodies. All gear needs to be discovered and such and there isn’t any clutter in your inventory that you don’t really want or need.

I agree, but there’s an unintended side effect.
Given that:

  • Armor and weapons must be discovered, not looted or bought

  • Armor and weapons must be upgraded, both at the blacksmith and by picking up resources along the way

  • Armor has setpiece bonuses, which must be unlocked by wearing 3-5 pieces of the same armor set

Then that means that you’ll end up using the same armor set for the vast majority of the game. I’m pretty far into the game, and I’m still using the original Raven clan armor. I’ve got a few other sets completely collected at this point, but since I can’t get them fully upgraded I’m still better off just using all five pieces of the Raven set (which I have been able to afford to fully upgrade). I’m a bit of a completionist so I’ve got almost all of the armor collected, but I’ve only just recently managed to get a second set fully upgraded.

This was kind of a disappointment for me, because I’m a bit of a clotheshorse in games like this. I really liked the way Valhalla did it- where you just unlocked appearances and could then apply those appearances to any piece of armor.

I am a huge supporter of this type of thing in games. I just played Immortals: Fenyx Rising and you can make your character look like any armor you want(swords, bows, axes, too) and still have the stats you want equipped. I encourages people to have characters that look the way they want without losing the buffs they want.

(Got more I want to say, but so much has happened since my last post that I’m getting this in now. I’m on vacation for the next week, so I should be able to go at a more relaxed pace. Man, what a rush…this is like GameFAQs all over again! :grin:)

Sciropescire finished, working on Essexe now. I’m going to pick up the pace because I want to see more of what the kingdoms have to offer, and I want to get as much accomplished as I can before my second game (if anyone knows how to get Uplay points, please let me know). As it turns out, I finally got enough fabric for a rations pouch upgrade, which I’ve been waiting freaking forever for (I’m still looting chests when I see them, I’m just not going out of my way to grab them all), but now I’m finding myself short of iron. It seems like the harder areas have the better chests, so if you take the time to clean out Ledecestershire, Grantebridgescire and East Anglia (which is highly advisable), you’re going to do without for a fairly long haul.

Little warning about dialogue choices: You may have notice that Ubisoft got a bit…cute when making the descriptions for what Eivor actually says. Sometimes he comes off as harsher, or gentler, or more supportive, or less supportive than the wording would seem to indicate. For the most part this doesn’t hurt you; the dialogue choices are what-if scenarios as much as anything else. However…and I’ll try not to spoil too much here…be aware that after one of your main story fights, you will get the choices “Send him to Valhalla” and “Deny him Valhalla”. I mentioned before that when I’m allowed to decide the fate of these big nasties, I always take the lethal option (which is an extremely wise course by the time you reach East Anglia…just trust me on this :wink:). In this case, however, choosing the former means that you grant his final request and give him a formal, respectful funeral, and the latter (I’m guessing) means that you deliver a parting blast and leave him to rot. Your choice has no effect on whether he lives or dies (he’s toast either way). I should note that at this point in the story I completely despised the man for multiple reasons, and seeing Eivor and his friends speak reverently of him was rather off-putting. So yeah, be prepared to see not just conversations but events not go the way you planned. Live and learn, as always. Just for the record, the second time you get to make this decision, it’s a more straightforward “Give him his axe” and “Deny him his axe”.

Correction on upgrading: Nickel ingots are for sale, meaning that the only irreplaceable goods are fabric (again, two things, you want both, no biggie) and tungsten ingots (too rare to make much of a difference). Fabric becomes more common in the later chests, so if you’re really struggling with fights, you might want to put off treasure hunting for a bit. One little caveat, though: Whenever you buy something from a shop, it takes a while to restock, and all shops are affected. Which means that in all likelihood, you will want to by iron ore at every opportunity, as you’re going to need A. Whole. Freaking. Lot. Seemingly everything in your inventory gobbles this stuff up like water. In fact, I recommend not improving anything to Flawless for the first three areas unless you’re certain that you want to stick with your starter gear for the long haul. (There isn’t a huge difference between the armor items, but you definitely want weapons you are comfortable with and a shield that fits your play style…I would’ve been pretty upset if I shovelled a lot of resources into my dagger.)

Speaking of shields, I’m thinking of sticking with a heavy from now on. Yes, with a light shield you can move while blocking, but I’ve learned that there really aren’t too many situations where that benefits you. The best way to avoid getting tagged by an archer you’re pursuing is to charge him like an angry boar and slaughter him before he can get a shot off. Against heavy hitters like pikemen, agility takes a back seat to how good it is at preventing you from getting your head cut off. Some blows can pierce a small shield like plywood, but with a heavy shield you always stand an excellent chance of not getting a scratch. Plus the timing seems to be more generous for parries, and you should always be going for parries with tough defenders, which get more and more common the further you progress.

A note about big battles. I previously mentioned something to the effect that while Eivor can definitely hold his own in a fight, and in many cases has to (I feel your pain, DarkFire…why does everyone have to be so sharp?), combat is not something you should seek out. Unlike Altair, Ezio, and Edward, who could cut down 50 enemies without even breathing hard, Eivor is more on the level of Connor, powerful but will be overwhelmed if you let him. And this is definitely something you have to watch out for in battles, which not only have a TON of enemies, they pop in seemingly out of nowhere. It’ll look like you’ve secure the courtyard, you turn around, and whoops, five more shielders! Since there’s no reward for mass carnage (although there should be, dangit :frowning_face:), the wisest course is to do enough killing to keep ‘em off your back and spend the rest of the time fulfilling the victory conditions as helpfully provided by the game. I don’t think it’s actually possible to suffer casualties on your end (they’ll go down, but you can revive them at any time), so don’t worry, your fellow soldiers can take care of themselves, just do your part!

Oh yeah…if you haven’t discovered already, blue roundheads and destroying angels are the two flora not to consume, as they drain a large amount of health. They’re very rare, though, and only appear in certain areas, so don’t worry about them. (For a while I didn’t read the mushroom descriptions carefully and I thought it was “Eat Blackish Purple Residue”, and I thought, whoa, this Eivor is hardcore! Live and learn.)

All right, let’s see if I can do that arrow-parry thing! And if those arrow abilities actually have any use!

Lightnin - That’s why I didn’t want to commit to upgrades too soon…if you get something that’s better, it’s hard to tell that it is better because it’s only level 2-3 and I’ve already bumped what I have to 5 or more. Still, your skill is the greatest factor in any fight, so I’m not going to sweat it. (Oh yeah, thanks for confirming that Odyssey would’ve been a terrible purchase for me.)

So, good game? I haven’t played an Assasin’s Creed game really since the trilogy made out of the second game. I did play part of IV(Black Flag) briefly, but honestly found the ship part laborious at times.

I heard they really changed up AC as a series and was wondering if I should go back to “Origins” or something to see how the series is now.

I think it is a good game. I haven’t played the rest of them other than a bit of the first one. Its position as number 11 or whatever in the franchise is a bit obvious at times with some lazy animations (groups of NPCs going through the exact same “cheering” animation for example, or having a conversation with an NPC who is doing his cheering animation while talking.) Having played Horizon Zero Dawn and Red Dead Redemption 2 last year, I’d been expecting more from a AAA title like Assassin’s Creed and was a bit disappointed at the lack of polish compared to those games.

I’m planning to buy this for my summer game unless Breath of the Wild 2 comes out. I have heard positives about it.

Yeah it’s pretty good.

With Essexe, Suthsexe, and now Lincolnscire in the books, it’s time to take on the big dogs. Currently on the docket is Jorvik, which promises three staunch foes of the Hidden Ones, and then most likely Eurvicscire after that. (Damn, all these Old English names are hard to get right…) They’re both level 190; as I’m at 247 now, I’m not anticipating a tough fight, but I’m going into everything completely fresh so you never know. Was going to do the final Asgard arc, but I learned that’s level 350 recommended, so it’ll just have to wait.

I will say that I’m desyncing far less than I did in the early going. Time was where I couldn’t go fifteen minutes without getting whomped by a Lost Drengar or blown up by an inconvenient supply cart (and of course, let’s not forget that inconvenient difficulty level experimentation snafu); now, with lots of Skill Points and rations and knowing what to avoid, surviving has gotten a lot easier. I stuck with this game, and, as a result, got better at it. I know, wild, huh? :slightly_smiling_face: It’s been a long time since any game convinced me to persevere like this…in all honesty, I probably have to go back to AC Unity (which, I most emphatically state, was not worth it).

One thing that’s really jumped out at me is the sheer scope of this game, and nowhere is this more obvious than in the vast cast of characters. The Codex lists 72 people, but those are just the heavy hitters. There’s also all your friends at Ravensthorpe, followers of your royal allies, second-tier villains, peasants caught in the crossfire, chance encounters, interlopers, fun-seekers just stopping by (Hi, Thyra!), and so on, and nearly all of them have a distinct name. I can’t even imagine the research needed just to dig up all these names, much less give everyone a distinct face and personality. How many characters did the original Assassin’s Creed have, 15? It’s reached the point where I need to do a second playthrough just to remember who these people are! “Birstan! Good to see you! Um…you’re the guy who likes to hunt, right? Geadric! I helped you to…uh…fight? Someone? Brothir…Broder…or is it the other way around…uh…crap, I know this…”

Decided to open up more of the map before tackling my latest ally-to-be. Ubisoft Connect says that I have 13 viewpoints to go, but I don’t see how that many can fit in the little space remaining. Maybe a third map opens up at some point. I’m not going to sweat it too much; exploration is by far the most stress-free task in this game.

Lightnin - Oh, right, setpiece bonuses! I completely forgot about that! Right after weak points! (I played like ten minutes of Origins and zero of Odyssey, you can forgive me for being a little overwhelmed.) Another good reason not to burn up too many nickel ingots in the early going. My main concern for my second game will be if I get to keep all that pretty Modraniht gear. If I get that off that bat, I can just bump them up to level 4, and that’ll be perfectly fine until I pick up Brigandine.

Agreed, stats should not be tied to appearance. This isn’t 1988; you don’t need gold armor to indicate that Arthur can cast magic now.

Mahaloth - This is the pattern I’ve seen with this franchise: The first game shows some potential but is extremely rough and crammed with blood pressure-spiking irritations which Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time. The second is a massive course correction which removes, or at least ameliorates, everything that was wrong with the first game and fine-tunes what did work. The later titles build off of the second, perhaps dialing back an overcorrection or two, refining the combat system, introducing new elements which may or may not be any good (I think most of us agree that the tower defenses and first-person puzzles in Revelations were utter garbage). Then things start to stagnate a bit and players start grumbling, so we get a big sendoff which wraps up a bunch of storylines and really stretches the hardware to its limit; this one’s almost universally liked, maybe not loved. Then the next game is a complete revamp with a brand new system which is raw and buggy and broken and an absolute mess, and a new cycle begins.

The first Assassin’s Creed wasn’t complete garbage, but there were some incredibly bad ideas I can’t believe made it to the final product (Incredibly bad ideas 1-3: derelicts, beggars, speechifiers; incredibly bad idea 4: Who the hell remembers anything other than 1-3). 2 was fantastic, such an enormous improvement that I can hardly believe it was made by the same company. The remainder of the cycle were a mix but mostly positive: Brotherhood (very good), Revelations (decent but a bit of a slog), 3 (good, underrated, and I found most of the complaints spurious…“doesn’t like to use contractions”? That’s your dealbreaker? :roll_eyes:), Black Flag (very good), and finally Rogue (a bit scant but pretty good overall). Then a new console generation came along and Ubisoft listened to all the wrong people, cramming social this and social that into Unity while leaving in a slew of bugs and turning Arno into target practice…I’ll spare you my tirade on this board again (even I’m tired of it at this point); in a word, horrible. Thankfully they rebounded big time with Syndicate, which, although it takes a long time to get going (I spent literally hours on the train doing absolutely nothing other than waiting for money to roll in, and I didn’t see any other option), but once it does, it’s an amazingly full, rich experience with tons of stuff to conquer. If you have the time, it’s a fine experience. And then…Origins. Bleah. Seriously, the things that stuck about that one for me were getting killed all the time and never being able to land a damn hit on anyone.

And Valhalla? Hey, I don’t go into repeated in-depth analysis of a game if it’s no good. :slightly_smiling_face: Let me put it this way: This is the one where Ubisoft finally ditched the reprehensible, regressive, harmful hardcore mindset for good, it shows in the gameplay, and I am loving it. If you get killed, it’s because you used the wrong strategy, hit something you shouldn’t have, or set too high a difficulty. Failure is the direct result of something you did wrong, which means that if you learn from your mistake and make the adjustment, you will succeed the next time. The end result is that while you will almost certainly fail certain tasks once or twice, you’re never up against a stone wall, having to battle that superboss or run an impossibly tight gauntlet again and again and again until you hit the jackpot that one time. To put it another way, it’s modelled after Dark Souls without playing like Dark Souls, and that’s a huge plus in my book.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that this is the perfect starter game for someone who just got a PS4 (and definitely a PS5). It’s not horribly structured, numbingly repetitive, and completely obnoxious like Project Diva X, it’s not finger-breaking goddess-tier difficulty like Project Diva Future Tone, it’s not stupidly designed and super-short like Guitar Hero Live, it’s not crammed with outrageously overpowered enemies and useless items like Minecraft, it doesn’t require a college semester’s worth of study to do anything at all like Stardew Valley (I tried, dammit! :cry:), it won’t leave you wandering aimlessly for hours like Flower or The Girl and the Robot, it won’t leave you wandering aimlessly forever like Submerged, it doesn’t have hair-tearing chokepoints that you’ll be stuck at for days like Rime, Shantae: Half Genie Hero, or Little Big Planet 3, it won’t have you constantly flailing at solutions like Gorogoa, it’s not one tenth okay mindless fun and nine tenths broken, unplayable, confusing, zero enjoyment, or need a freaking paddle yesterday like Atari Flashback Classics, and it’s not a complete disgusting insulting waste of time and money like Subnautica. Say what you will about Ubisoft’s business practices; they really put in the effort to get this franchise right, and right now Valhalla gets a big thumbs-up from me.

What do you mean when you say this? You 100%'ed them? Or you feel they are “cleared” to your satisfaction? Or this is the order the game is going on and these regions mark your progress storywise?

Hey, does this game have difficulty settings?

Thanks for all updates from anyone playing. I read them all with interest.

I replayed Assassin’s Creed 2 and Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood recently. It reminded me which gameplay elements I miss in recent games (e.g. climbing puzzles where you have to figure out how to get from point A to point B) and which elements I don’t miss at all (e.g. missions where you have to eavesdrop on someone and being discovered is failure).

I hated those and I also hated following missions. I hate “follow from a distance” with a passion. “Don’t get too close!” “Don’t get too far away!” Sly Cooper did those as well.

Did they cut that as well?

This is my first go-around, and inasmuch as I’m learning everything on the fly (I don’t even know a reliable place to look for help; even GameFAQs hardly has anything), right now I don’t have a clear picture of what “100%” even is yet. By “in the books”, I mean secure the alliance, finish the main story mission. In the early going I was mostly concerned with obtaining levels, money, gear, becoming more powerful, but now I’m finding that most of the places I’m going are greened out (that +51 thing I mentioned earlier), so there’s no real incentive to gain more power. There will come a time when I go for all the fish orders, all the Viking-for-hire contracts, all the Zealots, etc.; right now I want to see where all this team building and vengeance seeking is leading to.

Not only are there difficulty levels, you can specifically set them for combat, stealth, and exploration. The best part is that easy actually means easy, unlike some games where 10 is “absolute impossible hellish nightmare” and 1 is “virtually absolute impossible hellish nightmare”. (I’m looking at you, every fighting game ever. :angry:). Of course, the Lost Drengar battles are going to carve you a hundred new ones no matter what, but thankfully they’re not required for anything.

No follow missions. In fact, I haven’t run into a single “desync fail” anywhere. The worst I’ve seen is that if you need to carry something to somewhere and lose it, it’ll appear back where you originally took it (the clothes-stealing world event is one example). As far as I can tell, the only things that can desync you are dying or killing too many noncombatants.

Seriously, I’m pretty sure you’ll like it. :slightly_smiling_face:

I’m considering it. I need to play Horizon Zero Down and Breath of the Wild 2(as of now unreleased).

These write-ups are making me want to play this.

There was another option. It still cost money, but not as much.

The statue is in the house behind Maximilian. The door is locked, but there is a key on a table near where Max is standing. If you try to steel the key, you will get a message to wait until Max is distracted. A few yards down the street, there are a couple of children. You can talk to one and pay him money to distract Max while you steel the key, enter the house, and take the statue. I think it cost about half as much to bribe the boy as it does to buy the statue.

As for Flyting, my main problem with it is finding the contests. I haven’t had any problem yet with losing a Flyting match. The key to it seems to be to match the meter of the opponent’s rhyme, and to use a related insult to whatever they used.

I’m a little confused about the choice between male and female Eivor. It seemed in the prologue that Eivor was a boy, but maybe the gender wasn’t specified? I will have to revisit that bit. Then I get to a character selection screen where I get to choose between male Eivor and female Eivor, or there’s another selection where the gender changes for different parts of the game (this was the default I think). I thought I left it at the default, letting the gender change periodically. So far Eivor has only been female however. Then I get to Asgard and I’m playing as, what appears to be, male Eivor, but my charactor gets called “Havi”, huh? It turns out the Asgard bits are actually playing as Odin aka “Havi” but the character looks like male Eivor, complete with raven tattoo and the wolf “kiss” (bite) scar on his neck.

So are the Odin/Havi parts the male Eivor parts or will there be other parts where I play as male Eivor?

Vacation’s proceeding nicely. :slightly_smiling_face: Don’t really have anything to say about the main game (I’ve reached the point where it isn’t any trouble), so I’ll start with this tidbit. I’ve reconsidered my stance…kinda…about male/female Eivor. First off, again, play the game however you like, I don’t judge, I don’t care. That said, there seem to be murmurs that the female Eivor is, in fact, canon, and if you listen carefully you’ll pick up on a character here or there who very explicitly uses a female pronoun. Don’t read too much into “Havi”, either; he’s very obviously an Odin analogue, and there’s no reason Eivor has to take exactly after him. Furthermore, it’s fairly subtle, but you can see the signs that those Eivor meets do recognize him as extraordinary, although some are loath to admit it. Finally…this is mostly a personal note, but based on his…ah, relationships, I just think it fits a woman better. You’ll see. (Haven’t tried the “Animus decide” option; can’t help you there.)

Now then, I’d like to take some time to tackle a subject which is starting to nag at me a bit: morality, or the lack of thereof. Let’s take a look at the moral outlooks of some previous AC protagonists. Altair starts out arrogant and overconfident, gets humbled, then, as he’s working his way back up the ladder, does plenty of serious soul-searching as to whether the Assassins are truly just…a question which is decided for him after Al-Mualim turns on him, and he must defeat his master and become the great leader he’d previously pretended to be. Ezio starts out a shallow, self-centered playboy (sparked in large part by an ill-fated romance), gradually matures and takes the reins of his community, and develops into a powerful force for progress and positive change. (Seriously, look at all the stuff he does in Revelations.) Connor is sparked by revenge and never trusts anyone fully, and that changes very little over the course of his life; he comes to terms with the fact that he’ll have no real legacy and spends the rest of his life trying to find inner peace. Edward is initially motivated by the desire to support his wife, which his pirate friends nurture into straight greed, and he eventually learns to adopt the mantle of the Assassins, if for no other reason that he really wants to stick it to the Templars now. They’re all heroes in their own way, but they’re flawed, they make bad decisions, and each goes to his grave with regrets. This is fine…great, even. But the important thing is that we know where they stand. They’re not “good guys” or “bad guys”, but we know which aspects of them are good or bad, why they do good or bad things. They’re clear-cut. They’re transparent.

Over the course of Valhalla, I’ve encountered all of the following:

About the “Send him to Valhalla/Deny him Valhalla” guy: Here’s a list of what you witness him doing. Tortures several prisoners and then kills one of them, gets a stubborn noblewoman to spill her guts by dumping severed heads in front of her for pigs to eat (which I thanked him for; sometimes a dirty job is just a dirty job), nearly kills another prisoner I was trying to get information out of, raves on and on about not being able to rush in and kill everyone (I feel your pain, but bite off, chew, big guy!), and finally murders a good, harmless princeling as part of a petty vendetta against someone WITH ZERO CONNECTION TO SAID PRINCELING. The other one, “Give him his axe/Deny him his axe”, is a colossal arrogant bullheaded loudmouth who tears down Eivor at every turn for no good reason I could find. A few players have made the usual 11th-dimensional chess pretzel logic to argue why one deserves Valhallafication and the other doesn’t, but for me, the proper course of action is pretty obvious: Screw both of them. I’m not interested in tiresome flibber-jibber about “honor” either from or in regards to blood-drenched scumbags who’ve proven that they don’t know the meaning of the word many, many times over. (Trivia: Do you know how we learned about Omerta? From the men THAT BROKE IT. Having a code and actually giving a crap about it are two different things.)

So now I’m hearing some scuttlebutt about how you need to give full honors to both of them to get “the good ending”. And now I have reason for slight concern, because I do intend to give both cretins exactly what the deserve next time (i.e. nothing), and if this results in Eivor being shamed or whatever crap…well, it’s going to be an extremely puzzling decision on the part of Ubisoft. It’s as if the “good” result is for Eivor to spend eternity partying with murderous barbarians, and the “bad” result is to make an effort to improve himself and build a progressive society under the scorn of said barbarians. All right, I did watch some Odyssey videos, and while it looks like making the “wrong” decision can complicate matters, it’s still possible to defeat the enemy and save the day, it just takes more legwork. Taking the evil path in Dynasty Warriors Empires because you get lots of cool stuff is one thing, but when a game rewards you for doing something morally reprehensible because the people around you pretend that it isn’t morally reprehensible, well, that’s bad. I seriously doubt there really are any “bad endings” (it was based on a prerelease report, so it was probably mostly speculation anyway), but I’m just hoping Ubisoft doesn’t sock me for a loop here. Dealing with that nonsense in LA Noire was painful enough. (Side note: if you do “Send him to Valhalla”, his buddy later talks to you about it and gives you a silver ring for your trouble. I think if you don’t do the honors, you have to fight said buddy to the death [which should be a piece of cake for anyone at that point]. However, there is a dialogue option here, so…would it be possible to deny the axe and then lie about it to the buddy? Ooh, ooh, what if the buddy later learns that you lied and you have to fight him to the death, meaning you get to shaft the scumbag, you get the ring, and you kill the stupid waste of oxygen buddy! That’d be perfect! :grin:)

Somewhere in the north, there is a world event featuring an incredibly awful bard (there is absolutely no mistaking him, trust me). He humbly requests an exorbitant amount of silver, something like 370 (he calls it “a queen’s ransom”, so even he acknowledges that his request is completely overboard). You can either give him what he wants or tell him that he’s awful…which he is…and deserves nothing…which he does. (Or you can tell him you’ll think about it and return later, but you’ll get the same choices again.) If you choose the latter, which I suspect anyone with an IQ above single digits would, he immediately starts rattling off an incredibly insulting song about you which goes on and on and on. I’m not sure what you’re “supposed” to do here, so after a few seconds of this garbage I attacked him…which killed him instantly and concluded the world event! (Oh, and I got the usual “Killing civilians will cause desynchronization” warning, but don’t worry about that; you don’t actually desync unless you go on a complete massacre.) Now, the one ironclad rule about world events is that there is one course of action which will complete the event, indicated by emblazoning the title of the event on the screen and giving you a certain amount of experience (a few events have multiple solutions). In this case killing him wasn’t the correct action because I got no experience. So what exactly was Ubisoft getting at here? I remember in the first game you were constantly, constantly beset with blood pressure-spiking aggravations and at every turn you were supposed to grit your teeth and take it, take it, TAKE IT. Thankfully they course-corrected on that in a big way in the later games…but now we have this worthless, shiftless no-talent who, if you do not accede to his patently ridiculous demand, will instantly go into super jerk mode, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it…except kill him. I’m…I’m kind of at a loss here. I’m fairly certain the put the kill option as a safety valve, so they wouldn’t get flooded with complains about jerks being allowed to be obnoxious jerks with absolute impunity (something which certainly does not fly in ’21), and I appreciate that…but then, what’s the “correct” choice, to give him what he wants? And then what, he professes his gratitude with an execrable song, except this one praises you, and that’s supposed to give you a sense of achievement or something? (Maybe then you can kill him and take the money back for a bit of poetic justice, but I doubt Ubisoft would ever be that generous.) I’ll try the get-ripped-off choice next time, of course, but I’m truly baffled as to why Ubisoft would even put in something like this. If anyone could possibly enlighten me, go right ahead. (Ah, for the days of Ezio, where he could just beat up a pathetic jerk. Where did our conflict resolution options go? :sad:)

Unfortunate encounters with random schmucks aside, I’m thoroughly baffled as to Eivor’s attitude towards the people who are supposedly his good allies. Case in point, Halfdan. At the end of the Ricsige alliance arc you have the option of either returning a fortune in ill-gotten silver to the merchants who were swindled out of it or giving it to Halfdan to support his war efforts. Ultimately the choice doesn’t matter, as Ricsige breaks his promise and keeps the silver for himself (you’ll learn why later; won’t spoil it), but if you chose to help the merchants…which, to me, seems like the only decent thing to do, and I’d be saying that even if it wasn’t a choice at all…Halfdan is outraged. And all throughout his story he repeatedly accuses his good lieutenant (who fights valiantly, speaks to you as a friend, comports himself well out of battle, and never once shows a speck of evil or malice) of treason with zero solid evidence, makes all kinds of thinly-veiled threats to Eivor, and in the end banishes his good lieutenant for what by all appearances was an honest, tragic mistake. In brief, Halfdan is a complete piece of work, and if anyone should be calling him out on it, it’s Eivor, who takes the brunt of his paranoia and rage. Okay, he’s not as bad as the two gutter trash slaughterholics you dispatched previously; how could he be? At best Eivor should consider him an extremely reluctant ally whom he’ll say nice things about only up to the point where a halfway decent candidate comes along and he can march right up to the throne and show him what real treachery is. And yet in the conclusion to the arc Eivor is speaking fondly of him, showing genuine remorse when he gets sick, and promising that he’ll honor his memory. :man_facepalming: Ye gods.

Could someone explain Odin to me in a way that does not require a 30-page dissertation? Some guiding spirits can be all over the place, but this guy is downright schizophrenic. I find him comparable to Hobbes, actually: somewhat more intelligent than Calvin but never gives him any useful knowledge; if he doesn’t know, he makes something up, if he does know, he lies, it’s impossible to tell which is which, and he’s a force of pure antagonism, never, ever having Calvin’s best interests in mind. What really sticks out is the sheer number of times he’s completely off base (the 3-way ealdorman election comes to mind). It’s not even clear if most of the Vikings in this game revere him at all, and given the accuracy of his presumptuous ramblings, it’s hard to blame them.

Richard_Pearse - Yeah, I kinda overreacted. It was the talk about “rap battle” that threw me…I hate systems where you “cannot” respond naturally to some little twerp firing off abuse at you, and, this being a game, Ubisoft has free reign to enforce such a rule. Looking at it with a more objective eye, its a test of reading comprehension more than anything, and I’m definitely good at that. That said, I’m glad to have manual saves, as I’m fairly sure I’m going to flub a few choices before I really get them down. That sort of thing always seems to happen to me. (Looking back, I can’t believe how many responses I messed up in LA Noire.)

Decided to cut my first run a little short. It turns out that what I thought was the ending sequence was just a bit of very unexpected and confusing (albeit awesome to watch) plot twist leading to the last last part of England, which is level 340 and from my past explorations looks like it’s going to be a real bear. Going to take a little break, but if I catch any new developments I’ll be glad to reveal all. Oxenfordscire treasure map still doesn’t work, and crashes are still way too frequent (I recommend restarting the system before any big battle at minimum), so Ubisoft still has a ways to go. That’s just the consequence of getting a game right after release…in the past I only got an Assassin’s Creed game months or years down the line, so I was getting a product with the bugs ironed out. (I remember my version of Syndicate having all the add-on content included. Ah, the days when video game companies did that…). Now I realize that it could very well take months. Again, I’m not getting any PS4 game after this (it’s had its time, and I have too many nagging doubts about River City Girls), so I’m more than happy to take my time.

In the interest of full disclosure, I went on GameFAQs, and the consensus seems to be that the best layout against bosses is two spears. The spear has the longest range of all your weapons and the highest speed of your two-handed weapons. Speed is life in boss fights, but getting close enough to use a dagger effectively is hard, and they recover so quickly that, again, you do not have the luxury of carefully moving into position. If you can get a good rhythm on your spears, left-right, left-right, left-right (or vice-versa; I’m not picky :grin:), you can carve out a big chunk of damage in a hurry. Having faced a Lost Drengar who went the two-spear route, I can definitely attest to its brutal efficiency. The drawback, of course, is that you can’t block or parry, but these are so ineffective against bosses that you’ll hardly miss them. Dodge, impale, repeat, win. (Some of the weaker bosses can be bested via weak-point shooting, but in general it’s not something you want to rely on in the heat of battle. Hit and run still works like a charm, though!) For normal fights, I recommend a heavy shield (a light shield simply is not adequate protection) and a greatsword, mainly for its damage and the ability to hit two foes at once. Danish axes are too slow to be worth the bother.

Oh yeah, the “bad ending”. What happens…and I’m definitely going to have to spoilerize this…is that at some point near the end of the main game (after a very annoying boss fight), Sigurd sits down with you for a heart-to-heart to decide whether to return with you to England. Basically he’s judging some specific choices you made throughout the game, and (as far as I can tell) if you took even one course of action he disagreed with, he decides he can’t live with you anymore and stays in Norway. So in a nutshell, here’s what you need to do to stay in his good graces:

Do not use the supplies that he wanted to give to his father Styrbjorn to build your new home in England. Y’know, because Vikings never take from others and place the concerns of whiny backstabbing bloodsucking two-faced wastes of oxygen over friends and family with nowhere else to turn. :roll_eyes:

Do not start a relationship with his wife Randvi; honor the sanctity of his marriage. You know, the perfunctory sham loveless arranged marriage to a woman he shows absolutely zero affection to for the entire freaking game…he doesn’t even acknowledge her presence when she’s in the same room, for Freyja’s sake.

When he goes all iron-fisted tyrant and makes a patently horrible judgment which quite literally ruins the life of a clan member (who’s admittedly something of a clueless putz, but he didn’t deserve THAT), agree 100% and lick his boots like a good little toady. Which is both completely in character for a slayer of evil nobility and something that would come naturally to an Assassin’s Creed player. :roll_eyes::roll_eyes:

I’m not 100% certain of this, but from what I could glean from GameFAQs, giving full honors to both Ivarr and Dag is part of the deal as well. The former being a largely useless and eternally aggravating loose cannon who also FREAKING MURDERS A GOOD, INNOCENT MAN AS PART OF A PETTY VENDETTA, and the latter all but urinating in Eivor’s face at every turn and trying to kill him after spuriously accusing him of not attempting to rescue Sigurd. Apparently Eivor’s supposed to just forget about that, which, of course, is exactly the sort of attitude one should expect from a fearless raider who brings doom to his foes and at that point has pacified about half of a damn empire. :roll_eyes::roll_eyes::roll_eyes::roll_eyes:

:woman_facepalming: Good freaking gravy. The hell with a “good ending”, I expect to get PAID for that kind of sacrifice!

And not to put too fine a point on it, but what the bloody hell has Sigurd ever done to be worth it? As soon as he gets to England, he spends an eternity noodling off in some backwater without bothering to so much as send a letter (“Having a blast. Weather’s great here. Touch my wife and I’ll chop your head off. I’m pretty sure I remember how to do that.”), then follows Eivor around a bit and yells at him for failing to prevent a murder that happened months ago (I already talked about this, right? :wink:), then spends some quality time as a helpless puppet of Fulke (making zero effort to fight her or escape). It’s Eivor who does all the work of building up Ravensthorpe, securing alliances, and eliminating threats. Seriously, screw Sigurd.

What else…oh yeah, here’s a gear guide which should prove useful. Be sure to look up how to get the unique weapons, especially the Spear of Odin, as even without Dual Wield it’ll be very handy against the early bosses.

And one more critical piece of advice. Save before doing a world event. ANY world event. You never know what you’re getting into with one of these. Sometimes it’s a breeze (there’s at least one where you literally have to do nothing but listen to someone for a little while). Sometimes it’s potentially lethal. Sometimes there’s more than one solution and you want to make sure you pick the best one. Sometimes you have to react really quickly or you’re toast. And sometimes you can just plan wreck it (hello, brain-dead bard!). It is a complete crapshoot, and the only way to protect yourself and have some peace of mind is to take away the risk. (I really should make a list of these. :slightly_smiling_face:)

I’ve had to stop reading the OPs main posts because I don’t want to learn too much about parts of the game I haven’t got to.

That said, can we talk about favourite abilities and skills (the main skills, not the minor stat increases)?

I’ve found the Advanced Assassination and Chain Assassination to be particularly handy. Advanced Assassination lets you assassinate a powerful target with a timed press on the assassinate button and Chained Assassination lets you take out a second target with a thrown axe. The targets don’t have to be all that close together and you can use Advanced Assassination on the second target as well. This lets you take out two powerful enemies relatively easily which is pretty useful. You can take out three if you can get a kill with a bow to the first then get the assassinations going quickly (while the prompt is still visible).

Any other favourite skills?