Added Lunden to the ‘ol friends list (Pretty easy, all things considered…experience matters! ) 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.
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! ) 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?