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.