My Assassin's Creed Valhalla journal

(Disclaimer: I’m into my second (and final) game now, with a fresh skills tree, so I’m not going to remember the names of all these skills.)

Thus far the only melee abilities I’ve gotten any mileage out of are the the multiple-axes one (Berserker Axe?) and Valkyrie Stomp. The former is a great safety valve and panic button, capable of clearing the battlefield without having to target anyone in particular. Large-scale fights can get messy in a big hurry, and it’s always good to have a dependable fire-and-forget assault in the arsenal. Valkyrie Stomp just plain kicks butt. It locks on, it does a ton of damage, often stuns or knocks down the foe, and it can’t be interrupted by anything. I find that last point extremely important as I find my other melee abilities getting interrupted all the time. It doesn’t matter how powerful a strike is if you can’t complete it! I have considered using others, but I’ve been hard-pressed to find anything I can get any mileage out of. I stress again that in this game’s fast-paced combat, your foes will not sit still and wait for you to set up the perfect attack. If you have any stories about how you saved the day with a rush-'n-grab or a harpoon toss, feel free to share, but I’ll stick with what actually works for me.

Bow abilities, eh, take 'em or leave 'em. I’ve found that poison works the best, although as mentioned earlier you shouldn’t use if you risk any collateral damage. The flurry of arrows ability might work wonders against real toughies like Zealots, but I haven’t tried it yet.

Skills. I’ll have more to say later, but in brief: The two you absolutely must get first are Stomp and Backstab. In the early going, the key to winning battles, especially raids, is kill them quickly. Stomp is a great all-purpose finisher, and when enemies are fighting one of fellow raiders, Backstab can rack up casualties in no time. There’s one where you gain a health boost after each kill and one where parries can damage your enemies; get them ASAP. The running attack one is a great secondary skill, especially when enemies are spaced out. Auto-loot is very nice to have for those large engagements, which become more enemy-rich (and chaotic) the further you progress, and the one which loots arrow kills is great as well. Dual Wield is a must in the later game and against the really painful foes like the Daughters of Lerion. In general, favor the Bear path, and once you have some fights under your belt, split the remainder between Wolf and Raven based on what you think your needs are (I favored Wolf the first game, but there may be benefits to Raven I haven’t discovered.)

Chain Assassination…ehhh…it’s a handy skill, no doubt, but not something that’s going to make a major difference, unlike enhanced parries or Backstab. The problem is that if you’re in sight of the second target, your cover is blown even if you assassinate him. (Cool visual, though! :slightly_smiling_face:) As for Advanced Assassination, I can’t say anything about that since I’m not playing at a level where there’s any chance an assassination won’t instantly kill someone. (That may be also why I favor Wolf over Raven, come to think of it.)

Yeah, I like the Dive of the Valkyrie. It generally leaves the enemy open to a follow up Stomp.

I don’t know that I’ve ever got Backstab to work properly, unless it’s happened in the mess of a fight and I haven’t noticed. When I’m fighting one on one with a tougher enemy, I don’t seem to be able to get behind them for a Backstab.

I’m surprised you can always assassinate your targets, I regularly have foes who will only give a “Stealth Attack” prompt rather than an “Assassinate” one. Do you have the guaranteed assassination turned on in settings?

With Chain Assassination you can kill two, or three if you take one out with a bow before the first assassination, and then go back to the shadows. It makes it a lot easier to get around doing the initial softening-up of an area undetected. It doesn’t matter that the second target detects you, once they’ve gone you will go back to your undetected state.

I’ve been mostly going with Raven abilities. It’s nice that you can respec with no cost.

[Full disclosure: Yes, I have assassination-is-always-instant-kill on. It’s pretty simple - the game offers me a taste of power, I take it. Modern games are frustrating enough as it is, I’m not going to add to it.]

Second game is going swimmingly. I just never realized how much work it is completely clearing out even a low-level region like Ledecesterscire or Grantbridgescire. There are mountains of treasure to be had (you’ll never have to drop a coin on leather or runes), and being thorough in your nonviolent a-vikingr endeavors can be highly beneficial down the road. Also, there are advantages to visiting and thoroughly looting a place before you have to do it in a story mission. Not only do you get a lay of the land, you often make things easier for the mission, either by taking out foes or eliminating distractions. In the early story raid in Norway, since I’d already nabbed the supplies in my explorations, literally all I had to do was go there and it immediately triggered the success cutscene. I’ve had two world events which normally require protecting someone from a force of bandits, but in both cases since I’d already run into and carved up the bandits, both escapades ended without a drop of blood spilled.

On to East Anglia, which promises plenty of fun times (Ooh, I want a boat cat! :grin:). I’ll probably spend less time on optional tasks once I get to the level 90 areas, since there are three of them and I’m going to be running into the +51 roadblock sooner rather than later. But I’m definitely going to finish them up once I get to the really tough nuts.

One last word on world events: The correct course of action is the one where you get 1,200 experience; everything else is up to your conscience. Sometimes there’s more than one correct path, or more than one result of the correct path. A perfect example of the latter is the girl staring at the single leaf on the tree. The gist of it is that the family farm is failing, so her father went to a distant land to find work, promising that he’d return before all the leaves fell from their tree; it’s been six weeks since, there’s been no word from him, and now there’s only one leaf remaining. Now the girl does nothing but stare at the leaf and beg for it not to fall. Obviously the resolution is to shoot the leaf to make it fall and allow the girl to go on with her life, HOWEVER!!…okay, I admit I’m not 100% sure of this because I messed up my manual save somehow and was unable to try it again…if she sees you shoot the leaf, she gets angry and shouts at you to get lost, while if she thinks the leaf fell on its own, she sobs a bit but then finally accepts that her father isn’t returning. Either way it’s counted as a success and you get the experience, so the only quandary here is whether you feel an obligation to let her down gently. If I’m being perfectly honest, teaching her that life is hard sometimes, people can be capricious and heartless, and nature doesn’t give a rip in any case…all lessons she has to learn now that she’s on her own…is a perfectly acceptable outcome, which is why I never bothered hunting for the right autosave to do it over. There is another one where you make an offering of 200 silver (which gives you the same reward as any other offering), discover it’s a ruse by two sundered children, and can either give them another 65 silver or wish them the best and give nothing. (There’s also a “give them food” option, but I don’t know how you do that.) Either is fine, but only one counts as a success. (In general, it’s always a good idea to be nice to children in this game.) In an early event, I ran into an angry dispute between an irate hunter and a warlock. The former was an irascible finger-pointer, the latter a creepy weirdo. They immediately began fighting to the death, and I had to decide whether to help the hunter, help the warlock, or stand back and let nature take its course. I helped the hunter. Was it the right decision? Who the heck knows? Seriously, I have no idea as there are zero repercussions for this battle however it ends. I just took my 1,200 points and carried on, as should you. Bottom line, don’t sweat morality, just get it done and move on to more important things.

A bit more on abilities. Again, on the melee end, Throwing Axe Fury for crowd control and getting out of jams, Dive of the Valkyrie for those tough nuts. I’ve been unable to get any mileage out of anything else. In particular, anything where I have to run into the enemy is pretty much guaranteed to end in dismal failure. Ranged has more decent options. Incendiary Power Trap is great for when enemies are bunched up. I was able to take out Tonna and her two guard with a single shot with this…highly satisfying being able to take out that punk before she could shoot her mouth off any more! :slightly_smiling_face: I’ll see whether Thorn of Slumber or Ranged Poison Strike is better for a single enemy with a lot of health; I’m leaning toward the latter. I haven’t found a good opportunity for Mark of Death yet, as it requires multiple enemies in the open from a single spot. Piercing Shot is fairly handy but IMO not worth a whole adrenaline slot. In my experience, fancy trick shots aren’t as effective as good old-fashioned lethality, so I’ll stick with the fire and poison enhancements for now.

Skills! Stomp is a must and should always be your first no matter what. I’d go with Parry Damage for the second. Sprint Attack is great to have, but it’s down the Wolf path after the relatively useless Stealth Recon, so I’d save it for later. Backstab is really good for the early battles, but in the beginning there are so many other things you want that you’ll probably end up sacrificing it, possibly repeatedly. Get Chain Assassination and Auto-Loot once your fighting skills are up to speed; they’ll make life a lot more pleasant. Save Heavy Dual Wield for until you have a good, sturdy shield and a strong two-hander, like the Sepulcher Axe (my current workhorse), but definitely get it, preferably no later than your first level 90 region. I’ve changed my position on Danish Axes; they’re a perfectly fine all-purpose weapon if you don’t have two spears (and you won’t for quite a while). Perfect Strike will help you a lot in melees, and just for a bit of insurance, get Berserker Fury and Adrenaline Fiend. Once you have all those, you’re more or less set and can add based on need and go for those all-important extra adrenaline slots.

Oh, one final note. Flyting. I had some harsh words about this before. Here is my current stance. Do it. It’s fun, it’s super-easy, and it’ll give you plenty of benefits in the future. And, I hasten to add, there is no genuine malice or hostility whatsoever. No snotty little twerps, no repulsive crowd sending off the loser with a torrent of abuse. The rhyming “insults” are on the level of Sesame Street. Seriously, I can picture Bert and Ernie throwing these corny jabs at each other and then laughing about it over a jug of milk. And even if you do get a response wrong (which will rarely, if ever happen…seriously, they’re so obvious), as long as you get two of three right, it’s your victory. I’ve done 5 of these so far, and my record stands at 4 wins, 0 losses, and 11/12 correct responses. There is no reason you should have any trouble flyting.

I’d like to close this post out with a bit about Fergal The Faceless, who truly deserves a mention all his own. (Oh, and if it isn’t clear, I urge you to manually save beforehand.) It’s marked on your World map in Grantebridgescire as a flyting. When you get there you find into a locked house and a woman who regales you with a dire warning about the mysterious “Fergal The Faceless”, a terrifying creature who can be heard but never seen or touched. If you dare accept his flyting challenge, she will give you the key to the house, but beware, for such is his power that his very words can kill. Once inside the house, you see that it’s packed with images of death and doom: bones, a carcass hanging from the ceiling, ominous symbols, bits of metal, etc. Fergal is nowhere to be seen. Suddenly you hear a voice. He declares himself Fergal The Faceless, the invisible terror whose very words are death. Now that you’ve accepted his challenge, you are bound to the flyting duel, and if you get even one response wrong, you will die. After giving you a moment to let that sink in, he begins the flyting duel.

Whereupon it immediately becomes painfully obvious that he can’t do this. At all. After his initial rambling spiel (which goes over the place and doesn’t even follow any kind of cadence, you calmly request which part of his blather was the insult. He obliges, and you are given a choice of three responses…all of which are acceptable. After that, Fergal expresses genuine surprise that you used a rhyme, and he fires back with another, even clumsier barrage. Again you get three responses which all work. This totally obliterates whatever brain function he had left and he babbles in a largely incoherent manner, whereupon you discover the reason you can’t see him…he’s outside the house, next to the window. You get three variations of “I’m not wasting any more time on you”, which reveals the, ahem, terror’s true identity and ends the flyting. Again, this is a flyting that is literally impossible not to win and allows you to have a laugh at a pathetic poseur’s expense. Too kind, Ubisoft!

Oh, and the reason you should save beforehand is that this is too damn precious to see just once. :slightly_smiling_face:

The journey continues…and it’s going to be a long, long haul, no doubt. I keep learning things! For instance, if you dual wield the same weapon, L1 does a special double attack. For Danish axes, it’s a big continuous spinning slash. Good for hitting enemies all around but drains plenty of stamina; not really that useful. Once I get double spears, however, I’m almost certain that’ll enable the rapid-thrust attack that’s so key to beating the fast bosses.

As I’ve now tried all the weapons, let me give my observations of each:

  • bearded axe: The “Mario” of this game, neither great nor terrible at anything. Since you’ll always want a shield for everything besides boss fights (the benefits of parrying alone make it a must-have), I recommend sticking with these until you get Heavy Duel Wield and/or the Blacksmith’s Hammer. Don’t waste any nickel on them.
  • flail: Use this only if you want to challenge yourself or like flashy kills (you know who you are). Too slow and clumsy to be effective otherwise.
  • hammer: The first hammer you get isn’t too good, but the Blacksmith’s Hammer has some very nice stats. Once you build it up, it’s a fantastic tool for rattling skulls and smashing shields into kindling. Where this really shines is on the battlefield, where it can rack up bodycounts like Ezio Auditore was wielding it. Don’t use it against bosses, however; the short reach is a major handicap against heavy hitters, and its speed isn’t enough to make up for that.
  • dagger: Experts only. Can carve up the toughest foes with blinding speed, but if you don’t have nerves of steel and an extremely steady hand, it’s only going to make you look stupid. I never bothered with these after the first few fights.
  • spear: This rocks, plain and simple. As fast as a hammer yet can reach most foes before they’re even close enough to hit you. Its effective range is so great that it can rack up damage even if your timing is off (like mine much of the time). This is the boss killer, and I wouldn’t even think of taking on a real nasty like a Daughter of Lerion with anything else.
  • greatswords/Danish axes: Similar in form and function, though the big axe has slightly better range and worse speed. Their big, sweeping slashes cover plenty of ground, making them handy to have when you’re surrounded. But their basic attacks are slow, their running and L1 attacks are even more sluggish, and all too often they’ll do nearly enough damage to kill the enemy but not quite, requiring you to take one more massive, syrupy swing to finish the job. Good only until you get a spear.

Speaking of which, I took out the four weakest Zealots, and it’s been quite the experience. Redwalda was a huge pain; he kept getting hit after hit, and I was seemingly never able to nail the weak points despite getting lots of shots off. I ended up slogging it out and going through all three rations; it’s been a long time since I’ve been pressed like that. Eorforwine went a little better, but she kept doing that poison cloud thing and I just could not get clean shots. Heavy damage taken; two rations expended. And then I discovered this most remarkable Ability (well, I’ve had it for a long time, but it never occurred to me to use it)…Focus of the Nornir. The description is super cryptic (“Fateful speed”? The hell? :roll_eyes:), so I’ll just tell you what it does: It slows down time to a crawl for a few seconds, allowing you to fine-tune your aim and hit those small, quickly-moving targets. This makes a HUGE difference, especially since each is probably going to take more than one shot (that armor can really take a punch!). So on to Cola (whom I’d never even heard about before, BTW), where I fired up the Nornir ability, keyed in on the head and right foot…and stunned him. Just like that. Stun attack, life drained away like nothing, chucked a few more arrows, and that was that. The whole battle took maybe eight seconds. I tell you, it was a thrill to take on an enemy type which had caused me so much misery, so much aggravation, and find something that just completely worked. Did the same tack against Kendall; not so quick…one of her weak points was on her flank, which I just couldn’t get to…but a healthy dose of arrows finished the job without much fuss (Spray and pray is surprisingly effective in this game! :grin:).

Another fun activity is working out those Order of the Ancients clues to pinpoint Palatinuses (Palatinii? Plalatiners? Whatever…) and take those unwitting fools down. I got a tip on Gunilla and was eventually able to track her down to a dockside (full of friendly Norse, no less), where she was just sitting there without a care in the world. Predator bow shot, confirm kill, boom, dead. I tell you, those pathetic Palatinibinniwinnies drop like flies once you find out where they’re skulking. And of course, if you meet tyrant Buddha on the road, you’re perfectly at liberty to kill him completely of your own initiative. I’m fairly certain that nearly everybody is going to take out Hunta, son of Hunta (milling around after that big street fight in Ledecestre…I think some of those men were his bodyguards) and Gilfe (after assailing the pyromanaic bandit camp he happens to be running) this way. I’m seriously considering looking up The Lathe’s location on just to spare me the aggravation of having to learn freaking Orlog. (I’m okay with everything else in this game, but I hate gambling!)

On a more general note, holding off on clean-sweeping Lunden and Oxenefordscire was definitely the right call. I got a lot of levels from my first trip to Asgard, meaning that I’m going to be unavoidably spending a lot of time in a greened-out lands. Chests yield virtually no fabric until the level 130 kingdoms, Sciropescire and Cent, and realistically I won’t be snagging any of the really good gear until at least the level 160s. (Oh yeah, definitely should take on Lincolnscire ASAP; there is a sweet predator bow to be had there.) The next big stalemate point after 90 is definitely 160, as there are three kingdoms at that level and Vinland, unlocked after slaying all the Palatin-blank of War. (This is the easiest Order branch to clear out, as one is absolutely mandatory, three others are part of the Lunden assignment, and one other is the hapless HsoH. That leaves Leofgifu, who’s really nothing special and as she’s in a riverside encampment, you can and should bring your Vikingr buddies to help claim her head.) So I’m going to be in gear-‘n-go mode all the way up through the 160s, and only afterward, once levels start being important again, am I going to be thorough. (This makes even more sense given that the most valuable items are kept in castles, which are either enemy-controlled or completely inaccessible until liberated in a mission.)

One (hopefully) final word on combat: Even when you’ve learned all the techniques, the real key to survival is being able to adapt to changing situations. The big battle at Cyne Belle Castle is a prime example. First you have to lower a drawbridge (preferably after climbing the front; this is the most reliable way to get at those supports), then raise a portcullis, which requires you to go to an interior chamber and turn a crank (this is the very first time in the game you do this, BTW), and everything leads to a fight against the quick and wily Eadwyn, who does indeed have weak points…which you almost certainly won’t be able to target as you face her in a battleground full of rampaging soldiers. Even though she’s relatively weak for a boss, you won’t be able to key in on her like you can with, say, Leofrith, and the crowded field means that Dive of the Valkyrie will often target some random schmuck rather than your true foe. In this case, you either have to find a wall to put your back to and fire away, or else do the usual dodge-and-counter and keep your eyes open for flanking bastards. One good get-out-of-trouble option is Man’s Best Friend, especially once you get the additional level. There isn’t a foe this fanged terror can’t take down, allowing you to get a powerful stomp in and regroup.

Oh, as for Maximillian. Yeah, if you talk to him and refuse to pay, Eivor mentions that it might be possible to use children to distract him. I’m not going to bother with that, partly because I usually mess up these kind of shenanigans, but mainly because I honestly want to see what the Charisma-5 option does. So far I haven’t seen anything with such a large requirement, so this could be something special. Or funny, which also works.

It was a very busy Saturday for me, capped off with a thorough conquest of Vinland. It was strange… I was half-expecting it to be a savage land where survival hung by a thread, and it was pretty much the exact opposite. More on this later; first off, some more tidbits in no particular order:

  • The last thing I’ll say about combat. Two words: Twin. Spears. This is now what I use for everything and anything. Not only is it an absolutely lethal combination in terms of speed and range, it can foil enemy tactics that gave you headaches with lesser hardware. Pikemen can’t get their guard up in time, skirmishers can’t recover and counter, goliaths can’t get close enough to throw you, archers can’t backpedal fast enough. Just hammer R1 and watch your enemies drop like flies. Even better, you can parry with a spear just as well as with a shield, and against anything but a hearty boss, a twin spear stun counter is instant death. You can’t block with a spear, but this isn’t really an issue once you get to the 130 or 160 areas, as blocks eat up stamina and you’re usually better off dodging anyway. Again, two spears, parry, dodge, and you need not fear Thor himself. (Speaking of which, I have the feeling that Mjolnir is going to be a disappointment, but that’s fine…I really only want it for the trophy anyway.)

  • At heart, Zealots are just tough fighters, and they can be taken down like any other tough fighter. Fire up Focus of the Nornir and get the weak points and the battle is half won. From there just do anything that does damage, whether it be a light bow barrage, attacking from behind, or a well-timed wolf strike (I really should do that more often! :slightly_smiling_face:). Occasionally you’ll run in to someone who breaks the usual wall-‘o-iron mold…Wuffa and Cudberet are similar to skirmishers, for example…but as long as you remember how to fight them, that’s not a big problem.

  • One thing that you absolutely have to get used to is that from beginning to end, becoming stronger, tougher, and more capable is a matter of incrementalism. Each skill point adds a little bit, each equipment upgrade point adds a little bit, each blacksmith advancement adds the potential for more little bits, and it’s all these little bits and pieces that add up to a powerful whole. The impressive-looking weapons, armor and shields in the shop…y’know the stuff you have to pay actual money for…are certainly better than your regular gear, but they’re not going to turn the tide of battle on their own. When Ezio got smoke bombs, it made him about ten times harder to kill; Shay’s air rifle was essentially a BFG. There is no equivalent here. So you want a pair of sturdy, well-upgraded spears (in all likelihood Fyrd Spear and Cadfarch Spear, unless you’re actually good enough to best a freaking Lost Drengar), and lots of powerful armor, and lethal bows, and all the abilities you can get, and a fully decked out quiver and rations pouch, and a truckload of skill points. And the only way to do it is brick by brick, piece by piece.

  • You’re going to have to deal with greenouts. Especially if you’re thorough in doing all the optional tasks (which you should be), you’re going to be hitting that +51 wall sooner rather than later. In fact, I’ve completely given up blitzing through the 160s, mainly because I got so many levels from Vinland that I’d have to rush through the 160s, the 190s, and Glowcestershire (220) before I’d take on an appropriately-leveled kingdom again. Since I don’t like being rushed and am also concerned about missing out on a lot of flytings, raids, treasures, etc. (I really, really, reeeeeally want to see where the Twit Saga is going! :grin:), I’ve decided to face the reality of overpowered flunkies and go back to being thorough and cleaning out every kingdom.

  • One optional task you should definitely do as soon as you have the power and confidence is battle the Daughters of Lerion. In a nutshell, they are three fanatical ladies who fight incredibly dirty. Teleportation, invisibility, long-range stuns, blinding strikes, area effects, and bizarre movements are part of their arsenal. Worse, they recover with such amazing speed that nothing in your arsenal is going to do heavy damage. The only way to beat them is to stay alert, stay light on your feet, tough out the big hits, and, most importantly, make the most of every opportunity. They a great proving ground for your fighting skills…if you can best them all, you need not fear any other foe. Not the mightiest Zealots, not the most hardened thegns, not even the Grand Magester himself. You also get 80% of the best (non-wallet draining) armor set in the game, in case you need a more tangible reward. So far I’ve taken Goneril (Grantebridgescire, level 90) and Regan (East Anglia, level 160; she’s the one in the northeast). The former was actually a bit tougher as she used poison, which packs a heavier punch than Regan’s fire. I’m not quite sure when I’ll take on the last, who’s reportedly level 300, but as I definitely want that…relatively awesome armor (see point on incrementalism), I might be going for it sooner rather than later.

  • The Lathe is almost certainly going to be my last task before the end. Contrary to what I thought earlier, very few Palatinuses can be taken down at any time; in fact, Leofgifu, Hunta son of Hunta, and Gifle may very well be the only ones. For the rest, you either have to wait until they come up in a specific mission or do the investigation tasks…which means, yes, even if you look up where the Lathe is supposed to be, yes, you still have to play the damn Orlog game to lure him out, and yes, you have to Ragnarok-damn win it. Did I mention how much I utterly despise gambling? And this is going to be my first Orlog game ever (and very likely the last).

Now, about Vinland. Know how in most AC games there’s this one specific area or mission where for some reason or another you have minimal equipment and somehow need to defeat the same foes with this handicap? Think Edward escaping from prison or Connor just after being saved from the gallows. That’s pretty much what this is, a highly stripped-down version of the main game. You allowed to bring no weaponry and are dressed in plain merchant’s garb (so as not to spook the locals). The land is warm and peaceful, with the only threats being the Order of the Ancients soldiers and hostile predators. You can acquire weapons and armor from shops (which are surprisingly powerful; too back you can’t take any of it back to England), but you need to loot chests to afford them, which are found only in hostile encampments, meaning that you’re going to have to take out quite a few foes with your good ‘ol bare fists. (One of the interesting quirks is that Eivor takes a long time to recover from a dropkick whether or not it connects…I’m fairly certain this is the first video game in history where this is the case. :wink:) While the hunt for the no-good Magester was plenty satisfying in itself (as was finding out what the Order is doing here in the first place), for me the real reward was ingratiating myself with a simpler, humbler, kinder people and making life a little better for them. These…“native Vinlanders” (the game doesn’t say what nation this is) are genuinely good people that, in the end, I wanted many good things for. And who knows, if they use that gift properly, they just might get them.

Okay…updates probably going to be sparser now that I’m largely dialed in and have a ways to go before shooting for another alliance. (Any buzz about this game? Or the PS5? Curious minds want to know.)

Power: 239
Ranged abilities: 12 Books of Knowledge, Incendiary Powder Trap 1, Ranged Poison Strike 1, Ranged Fire Strike 1, Piercing Shot 1, Mark of Death 2, Raven Distraction 1, Man’s Best Friend 2, Axe Blizzard 1, Focus of the Nornir 1, Thorn of Slumber 2. I really want the second level of IPT or FotN. Mark of Death is garbage.
Melee abilities: 13 Books of knowledge, Rush & Bash 2, Blinding Rush 1, Poison Strike 1, Vengeance of Thor 1, Feign Death 1, Dive of the Valkyrie 2, Harpoon Impalement 1, Rage of Helheim 1, Fire Strike 1, Throwing Axe Fury 2. Other than DotV and TAF, I’m not seeing anything that’ll actually help me in any kind of fight. If you have any success stories, feel free to share.
Primary weapons: Fyrd Spear, Cadfarch Spear. Blacksmith Hammer’s served its purpose. May go for a better spear later on.
Bows: Skadi’s Wrath (Light, level 7), Death-Speaker (Hunter, level 7), Recurve Bow (Predator, level 4) I’m going to be scrubbing Lincolnshire for that top Predator bow pretty soon.
Armor: Brigandine Cape level 3, Thor’s Battle Plate level 7, Brigandine Helm level 3, Brigandine Gauntlets level 3, Thor’s Breeches level 7. Brigandine armor is sturdy but bulky; better than humdrum stuff like Huntsman’s or Hidden Ones’ but inferior to Mentor’s (best pound-for-pound) or Thor’s (best overall protection). I recommend getting the full set and upgrading it only if you’re not serious about getting the best armor in the game (I stuck with it for my first game).
Quiver 8/10, Rations pouch 5/6

Alliances: Ledecestershire 20, Grantebridgescire 20, East Anglia 55, Lunden 90, Oxenefordscire 90, Sciropescire 130, Cent 130
Zealots defeated: 8/15
Palatinuses defeated: 9/20
Magesters defeated: 1/5

You could say that about most games period. There has to be some bit where you get captured or something, your captors take away all your stuff and leave it in a box somewhere. You escape and have to fight foes with the bare minimum equipment, then you get your stuff back and are all powerful again.

Lots to catch up with on this lazy Saturday.

First off, a bit of advice about that delivery list (those four items in the back of the shop Yan Li wants you to drop off for her): DON’T GUESS. If you don’t know what that spring or that bathhouse is, look it up and get a good idea of where you should be going. You can easily waste an hour or more schlepping something to where you swear it should be. Save yourself the aggravation and look it up. You’ll thank me later.

Jotunheim. I took it in two parts because I was concerned about running low on supplies. Turns out that you can find food fairly easily if you know where to look and arrows are a lot more plentiful than I remembered, so splitting up was for avoiding fatigue as much anything else. This was a smart move, especially since just getting all the Ymir Blood Stones was a slog. Making the Offering Altar donation is an all-or-nothing deal, BTW (5 skill points for ponying up all 33), so once you get started, either you finish the deal or all your effort is wasted. It was such a slog that I honestly almost forgot why I was supposed to be there in the first place. Well, I was able to finish business, which means that I never have to go there again, and good riddance, honestly. Two things I did appreciate learning: 1. I kick butt! I was able to beat Steinnbyorn, a level 400 beast! (Hint 1, catch its back as often as you can, hint 2, do not let it pin you against a wall. Give it all the grazes it wants and stay in the open!) I was only about level 283 at the time, so I wasn’t sure I could actually beat it, but I thought, eh, only live once, gotta at least try. And, though I had to attack furiously and take some major lumps (I started with 5 rations and had 1 to spare), I prevailed in the end. I don’t have the slightest illusion that I would’ve gotten creamed on any higher difficulty, but hell with it, a win is a win and I’m pumped. 2. Incendiary Powder Trap can smash destructible barriers! Not only that, it doesn’t create a fire, meaning you never have to worry about, ahem, backlash. This is a fantastic option if dragging the firebomb all the way there is a hassle or you can’t find one at all. And on that latter note, I should warn you that there is one Blood Stone behind such a barrier where there is no way in and no firebomb anywhere around, so the only way you’re getting that grand 5 level boost is if you have IPT. Incidentally, this does a ton of damage to enemies, way more than poison, so it’s good to have in stock for those strongholds.

Another note on abilities: While Focus of the Nornir is, again, awesome for nailing weak points, against higher-level enemies you shouldn’t count on that to turn the tide. While reducing the enemy’s defense gives you a definite advantage, in the higher-level areas they can take such a massive pounding that you still have work to do. In these cases, it’s best to lead with FotN, then switch to something which can disable the enemy and allow you to pour on the damage. I’ve also discovered that Man’s Best Friend will not knock down the enemy if he’s too strong (and you want that knockdown). When I get the chance, I’ll see if Raven Distraction can fit the bill. The game says that with the upgrade (which I just got today), Synin will stun the target; if I can get a guaranteed stun attack against a Zealot or Legendary Beast, that alone is going to make it a must-have.

Other than that, it’s been lots and lots of highly productive work, much of it gaining loot and experience from Sciropescire and Cent and cutting down the ranks of the Order of the Ancients. Between them, Vinland, and Jotunheim, I was close to 300 before I even committed to my next 160!

The thing that Ubisoft did very well with the Order, in particular the non-storyline related Palatinuses (I still have no idea what the “correct” term is; if you have something better, feel free to share), is that they make you experience the entire game. One requires you to win a drinking contest, one requires you to be on the lookout for a certain tower, one requires you to raid an encampment. I really do not like having to win a tricky dice game to get to The Lathe (and by extension The Lyre), but I understand Ubisoft’s good intentions and can deal with it. This once. Eventually. :rage:

The other big milestone (which I actually did before Steinnbyorn) was defeating the last Daughter of Lerion, Cordelia, and obtaining two highly coveted pieces of the Armor of Thor. There’s been some scuttlebutt on GameFAQs on just how hard she is to beat and what works best against her. In a nutshell: She’s hits very hard, especially with her red aura jumping slash, her lightning attack has tremendous range, and she both moves and recovers really fast, so you need to stay on your toes, keep your guard up, and capitalize on every opportunity. That’s really all there is to it. I recommend double spears and the toughest armor you have, of course, and either the Poison Strike or Fire Strike ability, whichever you’ve seen kill bosses faster. I had 5 rations against her and used either 2 or 3, I forget (and this was after getting tagged by at least 3 reds), so it can be done. (Again, I’d like to stress that I’m playing on I-wanna-win-dammit difficulty, so I am not in any way, shape, or form thumping my chest about my video game prowess, which is and forever shall be abysmal, I’d just like to stress that yes, beating the Daughters of Lerion somewhat handily is within the realm of possibility. That is all.)

On a related note, regarding armor (and everything I said before about incrementalism still holds), the smartest play is to get at least 3 matching pieces of anything, upgrade everything to Superior (carbon ingots are so plentiful and cheap that you should never muck around with lowly Fine equipment), and keep them at a modest level unless you’re really struggling to stay alive. When you obtain Brigandine from the 130s (2 in Sciropescire, 3 in Cent), bump them up to level 4, but no higher unless you want to make this your permanent armor. While it has excellent defense, second only to the Thor armor, it’s also bulky and not easy to dodge in. My path had me besting Goneril for Thor’s Breeches before I even got the Brigandine Trousers, saving me some resources and trouble. The Thor armor is by far the best equipment you can get at the early-mid stage of the game, so I very strongly recommend biting the bullet and taking that sinister trio out. Bump all your Thor equipment up to Flawless and level 7 ASAP (if you’ve been scouring kingdoms to any reasonable extent, this should be no sweat). From there the last step should be the Mentor armor, which I strongly recommend boosting all the way to Mythical and level 10 right off the bat. While not quite as resilient as Brigandine or Thor’s, it’s considerably lighter and has much better evasion stats, and trust me, you’ll want to be very light on your feet for your final battles. The first should always the be the Mentor’s Cloak, held in a protected location in Snotinghamscire, as by the time you get the Thor equivalent it’s essentially a “bragging rights reward”. Save your precious tungsten for the other Mentor’s or Thor pieces, starting with the chest piece (which, as of the current update, is the only one which can receive a diamond rune). It only takes 1 tungsten ingot to bump up an armor piece as opposed to 3 for a weapon, so defense before offense!

Oh, before I forget, they also added a new feature. Ever wondered what those bridges on the edges of the settlement were for? Well, get ready for a new challenge, River Raids! This is essentially an “endless mode” for players who’ve conquered everything else in the game. Basically you start with a simple raid, the raids gradually get harder, you have a finite supply of raiders and healing rations, and you keep going until you call it a day or die. The bad news is that if you die at any point, you lose EVERYTHING you obtained on the raid, so it’s a question of not only skills but guts. Dare you do one more? Me, I have the guts of a jellyfish, so I’ll leave this to the true masters, but it’s nice to know that there’s some actual replay value here.

Another fun thing that happened was that I finally got to charisma level 5, meaning that I could finally work my charms on Maximillian and get that statue gratis! Just for the record, it takes a total of 12 flytings to get to that level (of which 10 require actual effort, the other 2 being a tutorial and, well, that guy :laughing:), 1 for level 2, 3 more for level 3, and 4 each for levels 4 and 5, so I was raring for this moment for quite a while. So here’s what happens…

Eivor threatens to do horrible stuff to Maximillian. Maximillian becomes filled with fear, caves, and lets her take the statue. That’s it. :face_with_raised_eyebrow: Not sure how skill at improvisational beat poetry translates to skill at base thuggish intimidation, but eh, success is success.

Alliance-wise, I decided to make the next one Essexe because I felt it was a natural continuation point after Cent, plus there was that one synchronization point I avoided earlier because there were a bunch of angry guards in the area. As it turns out, Essexe has a surprising amount of combat for an arc centered around an old romance and a corny staged kidnapping, with no castle or major battle. Just as well that much of the action took place in Colcestre, as I was able to completely clear it, which is great because I do not want to go to that bloodsoaked hellhole ever again.

There was one interesting note, which was Rollo’s grilling of his lieutenants, which, since I can barely remember the names of the important characters, much less supporting cannon fodder, I’ll simply refer to as “SM” (shield maiden) and “OV” (old veteran). Rollo belived that one of them betrayed him, so he asked for Eivor’s help to determine which. At Grantebridgescire, it was a damn long search, but eventually I found sufficient evidence to nail the culprit. (Incidentally, it is possible to seal the alliance even if you mess this up, but the fighting is tougher, Soma’s relationship with you is soured, and you lose out on a Jomsviking) Here, I don’t know what I missed, but I had zero idea who to accuse. Both had a solid motive, both gave the exact same alibi, both were strangely absent when the camp was hit, both showed suspicious behavior. I thought that the only reasonable response was to lock them up and investigate further, but Rollo wanted an answer RIGHT FREAKING NOW, with that big hammer in his hands making his intentions all too clear. In my first game, the one I didn’t accuse turned out to be guilty, which I found out the hard way in the final fight against Aelfred’s forces. Since I had garnered no further evidence, I assumed this was either the standard “They both did it, you fool!” twist, where you learn the old lesson about one party being guilty not automatically making the other innocent, or, worst case scenario, that execrable no-win situation where no matter what you choose you discover later that you were wrong. So this time, of course, I pointed the finger at the other to see what would happen.

The first game I accused OV. In the final battle, SM alerted the attacking forces to Estrid’s presence, then placed her in the path of an arrow (she was badly wounded but survived). In my current game, OV…who displayed a rather poor attitude up to that point, I hasten to add…warned Eivor and Rollo of the attack, then was cut down by arrows while trying to protect Estrid, who came out of the battle unharmed. So yeah, shield maiden guilty, old veteran innocent. No twist, no BS, pure as the driven snow. Go figure. Incidentally, either way the end result is essentially unchanged: Both SM and OV are dead, Estrid escapes to Francia alive, and a grateful Birstan keeps his word and makes the alliance official. I think you don’t get Rollo as a Jomsviking if you guess wrong, but Jomsvikings are easy enough to acquire that this is hardly damaging. The consequences for messing up are far less than for Grantebridgescire, so Ubisoft does has some sense of justice, at least.

Excellent game! :slightly_smiling_face: Hopefully somewhat shorter posts in the future; I don’t see any new major developments for a while.

Power: 316
Upgraded ranged abilities: Incendiary Powder Trap, Ranged Poison Strike, Piercing Shot, Mark of Death, Raven Distraction, Focus of the Nornir, Thorn of Slumber
Upgraded melee abilities: Rush & Bash, Blinding Rush, Poison Strike, Vengeance of Thor, Harpoon Impalement, Throwing Axe Fury
Primary weapons: Fyrd Spear L7, Cadfarch Spear L7
Bows: Light - Skadi’s Wrath L7, Hunter - Death-Speaker L7, Predator - Longbow L7
Armor: Mentor’s Cloak L10, Thor’s Battle Plate L7, Thor’s Helmet L7, Thor’s Gauntlets L7, Thor’s Breeches L7
Quiver and Rations pouch ALL COMPLETE! :grin: (You get_plenty_ of Fabric once you hit the 130s. Pretty much everyone should have both maxed out before finishing the 160s.)

Alliances: Ledecestershire 20, Grantebridgescire 20, East Anglia 55, Lunden 90, Oxenefordscire 90, Sciropescire 130, Cent 130, Vinland 160, Essexe 160
Completed areas - all Wealth, Mysteries, and Artifacts: Ledecestershire, Grantebridgescire, Lunden, Oxenefordscire, Cent, Vinland, Essexe, Jotunheim. (Still have a Lost Drengr in East Anglia and an Offering Altar in Sciropescire.)
Legendary animals defeated: 6/11 (Feel a bit cheated that I don’t get some acknowledgment in the homestead about Steinnbjorn and O Yan Do’ Ne, even if one “isn’t real” and the other’s far from England.)
Bound to Fate arcs completed: 2/3
Zealots defeated: 11/15 (I could take on Hrothgar and Beorhtsige right now, but I want to get some more of the story done first.)
Palatinuses/Magesters defeated: 15/25 (I’m actually thinking that The Oil might be the tough one, as the first clue is in the hardest area in the game, but I am in no hurry to go after The Lathe.)

No gameplay today, quickish update. I completed the Lincolnshire and Suthsexe alliances, and in the process became even further embedded in my utter distaste for both Sigurd and Halfdan. The latter, in particular, reminded me of a grossly overrated leader who had some success in the past and turned into a completely useless load, a shell of his former glory, yet everyone around him sees some bizarre need to continue sucking up to him. Think Bob Knight, John McCain, or Vince McMahon. From beginning to end all he did was berate Eivor for taking any damn action whatsoever. And he had the GALL to blame her for the death of a warrior who gleefully charged to his death! Ever hear of this thing called “responsibility”, you washed-up lump? The worst part is that I know exactly how this pathetic story ends…y’know, 'cause I seen it already…and once again I’m going to go through that pitiful farce about honor this and glory that, blah blah blah. It was bad enough when it was that evil butcher Ivarr, and he at least was some help on the battlefield, which is far more than anyone will ever see from Halfbaked. I normally don’t like to get too wrapped up in the story and the mindsets of the characters, but I find having this morally bankrupt paradigm repeatedly shoved in my face downright insulting, and I’ve reached the point where I just want to get all that stupid weeping and wailing the hell over with so I can go back to doing fun stuff.

On a happier note, I have some killer hardware now! I’m not a fan of the unevenness of the challenges, in particular how you’ll often have a long slog to enemies you can actually defeat, but the advantage is that if you take out the top dogs, you’ll have a romp with the lesser challenges. Case in point, I’d long since dispatched Steinnbjorn and Cordelia by the time I decided to take on the Lost Drengr in (IIRC) East Anglia…who turned out to be pretty easy! Go figure, if you take the time to level up and learn what works in combat, a fight that gave you nightmares one day will be a breeze the next. The other one in Rygalfyke was next, of course, and despite a lengthy trek he was even easier than the first. (One thing that helped was my new ability Tyr’s Kick, or whatever it was called, which does a load of damage and knocks the foe down for some juicy free hits. Right now it’s a toss-up as to whether this or upgraded Harpoon Impalment [think Scorpion’s “Get over here!” in Mortal Kombat, only about five times as powerful] is better; as always, I’m going whatever looks like it’s causing more pain.) That netted me a spear which I suspected may have been more powerful and indeed was, which I wasted no time bumping all the way up to level 10. Oh, were you aware that tungsten becomes a lot more common from 190 and up (to the point where you don’t even get nickel aymore)? That, combined with plenty of opportunistic looting, mostly in Jorvik, meant that I was able to get nearly all the Mentor armor and give them maximum boosts.

Which leads me to the poor, sad tale of Callen. Here’s how it went:

  1. Somewhere in the northeast, not long after a raid (I’ve been doing lots of cleaning up of supply locations too, but that’s another story), and having already done away with Hrothgar and Beohrtsige, I saw the final Zealot icon appear.
  2. I got on my horse and tailed him for a bit. As always, after closing to about 30 meters, I got a positive identification: Callen.
  3. I was about to turn around and go about other business when I went to the Order menu and saw that he was a mere level 280. (To put this in perspective, the single toughest zealot, who I IDed a few days ago, is 340.) As that benchmark had been greened out quite some time ago, I decided, what the heck, I can deal with him now.
  4. Focus of the Nornir. Weak points. Stun attack. Dive of the Valkyrie. Ballgame.

It took roughly a minute between discovering him and burying him. I never thought I’d be done with a Zealot so quickly. It was inspiring. :slightly_smiling_face:

And then there was one. He’s definitely on my list, of course (at my current level I can’t realistically become any more powerful; nearly all the remaining skills are assassination damage, stealth damage, and weapons I don’t use) but I reeeallly want to put away The Lathe first. That hint icon has been sticking out like a sore thumb for days, and I can’t bear to look at it anymore. It’s settled. This weekend…I gamble. :astonished: (Oh, and follow The Oil’s clue because Hamtunscire isn’t dangerous now yada yada.)

(Seriously, I almost cannot believe how much damage this spear does! Who needs Mjolnir?)

All right. :rage: I did it. :rage: I beat the :face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth: freaking :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: Orlog champion in Buckingham to get the *********** lead to The Lathe. :scream: And it was the most :angry: sickening experience I’ve :sob: ever had in :sob: an Assassin’s Creed game :rage: ever :rage::rage: ever :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: EVVVVEEERRRRRRRRRR. :scream::scream_cat::scream:

Allow me to describe how the whole torturous experience went.

Game 1
Complete novice, but I’ve seen TheRadBrad play a few games, so I do have a rudimentary idea of what I’m supposed to be doing. Oh, the red box around the image means that I get a God Favor token? Kinda counterintuitive, mainly because it means that certain results are way, way, waaaaaaayyyyyy better than others. See, I thought the whole point was that any roll could be good or bad depending on what your opponent got, so the key was to anticipate her moves (The Buckingham roller is a woman, and I have zero chance of taking on anyone else, male or female, for approximately the next 88,888 years) and adjust your rack accordingly. If she has lots of shields, load up on axes; if she has three favor-steals, match them with three of your own, etc. But now I learn there are certain die results which perform and action AND grant a token, and other die results which perform an action but DO NOT grant a token,which 1. completely throws the whole balance of the game out of whack, 2. makes it even more of a crazy, fluky pure luck-fest than usual (anyone who’s played older versions of D&D knows what a colossal pain this is), and 3. makes it look like the computer is cheating. Constantly. I have no idea if this contest actually is rigged, but there certainly are computer games that, for various reasons, openly and shamelessly cheat, and it’s reached the point where even the appearance of cheating, whether or not it actually happens, is enraging.

Anyway, I got completely clobbered.

Game 2
Get the tokens! Pit strength against weakness? What? How did she get so many tokens?? It’s all right, I’m taking her down…aagh! She’s fighting back! No! All right, stay calm, I got this. She’s down to her last stone! She…

WHAT? :astonished: WHY…GOD FAVOR… :scream: ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? I HAD ONE STONE TO :face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth: THIS IS THE MOST :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: Deep breaths…deep breaths…I can do this…keep trying…keep trying…

Game 3
Okay…I think I’m getting the hang of this. Don’t worry about cutting her down with arrows or axes, just get those tokens, keep her from pilfering too many, and keep the damage to a min…


All right…match not going well, but it’s still winnable. I have 2 stones, she has 8. After this roll I should have just about enough tokens for a full-power Thor Strike, which does 8 damage. All right…sweat, sweat…what’s the Viking equivalent of “no whammies”?..and…no damage taken this roll. Now all I have to do is launch the final blow and this soul-wrenching nightmare will finally…


…my Thor Strike connects, 8 damage, I win. :frowning:

Geez. Thanks, Ubisoft, for reminding me of what I completely, utterly loathe about these types of contests. If an enemy is giving you trouble, you can adjust your strategy, or gain more power, or gain a better weapon, and prevail the next time around. In a contest where both sides are on equal footing and there is absolutely no way to improve your chances, either the Force is with you or you can do nothing but rage and seethe while your smug foe claims victory after victory. I do not exaggerate when I say that it could have easily taken 6 attempts, or 10, or 30, or 275 to have beaten her.

Orlog was a horrible idea. A horrible, horrible idea. All bad, no good. Utterly brain-dead. Ridiculous. Gods, I’ve gotten enough damned trauma from PS4 games. I’m never touching this again. Never, never, never, ever. I don’t care if there are 20 gold trophies and 15 Ubisoft Connect rewards. Freaking execrable idea. :rage:

All right, off to slay The Lathe or whatever.

Most of you probably know this already, but a quick note: If you actually do take the time to clear out everything…all the events, all the mysteries, all the treasures…it will not take very long before you’re both considerably overlevelled and absolutely loaded. (I pity anyone who shelled out for the experience or money booster…it’s a sound purchase for roughly the first 10% of the game, and then it’s nothing but total overkill. Kind of like Temple Run 2’s coin doubler, but I’ve harped on that enough.) More to the point, if, at your current difficulty, you can succeed in those tasks, raids, and fights in your current area, you’re going to be equipped to the gills for the next. As it is, my silver hit five figures a long time ago, I have more leather and iron ore that I can even conceive of using, and I’m very rapidly soaring toward You Caught ‘Em all, Ash! territory in the skill constellation.

In fact, basic stuff is so plentiful that I must warn you about something which is not and which you will almost certainly have to purchase a great deal of in the shop: TITANIUM. You might not realize it in the early going, but later levels eat up a lot of titanium (weapon level 10 alone requires 19). It can be found in the wild, but it’s as rare as opal, and you’ll only find 1-3 at a stretch; other than that, your only source is ingot chests. Worse, you can only purchase five at a time. My advice is to get started with your titanium purchases as soon as you can and don’t stop until you’re certain you’re done with gear improvements. Remember, too, that all shops use the exact same stock, so visiting other shops won’t allow you to acquire titanium faster.

Anyway, yet another hard-working weekend. First I got my explore on, finally unveiling the rest of the map and getting those Wincestre sync points. I spent plenty of quality of time looting Wincestre. At first I only intended to get the gear, but I discovered that there were keys everywhere and there was little indication as to which key unlocked what, which forced me to be a lot more thorough. It was such a big effort, in fact, that I had to leave several chests behind for next time (that’s usually the case, so I’m not concerned). And raids! Finally had enough and took out every supply source I hadn’t nailed yet. Hoo, it’s nice to have a clear field when taking the ship! I now have all the improvements except for the final level of the fowl farm and cattle farm, which I’m presuming the final alliances will provide. The Jorvik alliance went off without a hitch, which leaves…I’m not quite certain how many, but I am getting them all, so no biggie. (I was tempted to take on Snotinghamscire and…that other place right away for the supplies, but I didn’t want to break sequence with level 190 Jorvik and Eurvicscire. I’m a real stickler about that for some reason.) Eurvicscire is next up; and if I remember correctly, it’s going to be much like Essexe, more about love and personal struggles than politics and raging battle. Should be fun.

On the Order of the Ancients front…I noticed that all the “regular” members have the tag “Warden of _____”, so it makes the most sense to simply call them “Wardens”. Probably shouldn’t have waited until I’d heart-ripped nearly all of them before coming to this realization, but whatever. Not surprisingly, The Lathe and The Oil weren’t any challenge once I actually ID-ed them. I was relieved more than anything to be done with independent investigation. (Oh, and just so we’re clear, for anyone other than Hunta Son of Hunta, Gilfe, or…that first one, you MUST go through the steps before you’ll see the Warden. No cheaping it out. Sorry.) In the “pleasant surprise” department, you may have recalled what an epic quest the hunt for Fulke was (beginning with the conclusion of the Oxenefordscire campaign and continuing through two full campaigns after that) and the incredibly long road you had to travel to put an end to Gorm. Both of which became even more stark in hindsight considering that the next to Magesters are literally the easiest kills in the entire game. I found Tatfrid sitting alone at a booth, casually playing music, not a fighting man in sight. Climbed to the roof, air assassination. That’s it. Reeve Derby was literally just standing next to a waterfall staring into the distance. Again, effortlessly dispatched with an air assassination. In hindsight, I’m not certain either of them would have even recognized me as an enemy had I approached directly. Oh, one more thing…ALL ZEALOTS KILLED! :grin: It’s hard to explain, but I always found something bothersome about their presence. I didn’t like the idea of enemies in the field that I had to be afraid of; they really put a crimp on what I wanted to do as a player. No doubt that’s exactly why Ubisoft put them in, and I’m glad to say that their vaunted fighting prowess came to naught and they are dead, dead, dead, gone, gone, gone forever! I still remember the early struggles I had with Redwalda and Beorcsige, so I have to say that the way it ended was…anticlimactic. I already told you about Callen, the second to last, and in all honestly the last (level 340) wasn’t any tougher. It took me three uses of Focus of the Nornir (I think I mistimed the first one), but I got those weak points, and by then he was so full of arrows that the stun attack was sufficient to put paid to him. It’s strange…I expected this moment to have more gravitas, feel like more of a triumph, but in the end there was…nothing. As enemies go he couldn’t even hold a candle to his fellow deathbringers, much less the truly brutal boss fights, and I didn’t get any big acknowledgement from the game. (There is a Ubisoft Connect reward for besting all the Zealots, but it’s really nothing special, certainly not commensurate to the effort expended.) I guess the big fanfare is reserved for slaying the entire Order, which I’m thinking is going to be a breeze now.

Going to take a bit of a break, and then I’m going to mop up Hordalfyke before turning my attention back to Halfdan’s latest bout of idiocy. Damn, I can’t see the back of him soon enough. :wink:

Power level: 395
Books of knowledge found: 41
Upgraded abilities: 10 melee, 9 ranged
Primary weapons: Fafnir’s Fang L10, Fyrd Spear L7
Bows: Light - Skadi’s Wrath L10, Hunter - Arc of Elan L8, Predator - Longbow L9 (I’m working on it!)
Armor: Mentor’s Cloak L10, Mentor’s Robes L10, Mentor’s Mask L10, Mentor’s Vambrace L10, Mentor’s Trousers L10
Completed areas: 13/20 (Still have one chest in Jorvik which I couldn’t find the key to anywhere…anyone know?)
Legendary animals defeated: 7/11
Zealots defeated: 15/15
Wardens defeated: 21/24
Magesters defeated: 4/5

Okay, very big Saturday, starting to put a bow on a few things. First off, I finally was able to open that dang Jorvik super chest. Turns out there were three locks on it, and the idea is that I had to romp around surrounding Eurvicscire to get the keys, because the owner of the chest had a fetish with triangles or whatever. (Oh, it’s just another tungsten chest, nothing special, so go ahead and skip it if you’re not up to a big scavenger hunt.)

Correction: It was Guthrum who berated Eivor for taking action, not Halfdan. Sorry, after a while all these egotistical bloviating useless do-nothing has-been washed-up lumps start to run together. Speaking of which, having recently completed the Eurvicscire arc, it again strikes me what a freaking colossal injustice Faravid suffered (which, I might add, Eivor seemed completely uninterested in correcting). To recap: There is ZERO ZIP NONE BUPKIS NADA evidence that giving Halfdan lead poisoning was anything other than a completely innocent, tragic mistake. There is no big revelation, no twist, no “Muhahahahaha, you fools!” moment. He’s calm and steadfast from beginning to end, and in the end he accepts his fate stoically and without a grudge toward anybody. Meanwhile Halfdan rants and rages and Eivor not only cold-shoulders him but doesn’t even take the screamingly obvious corrective action of giving him a home in Ravensthorpe! (Throughout the game, it’s truly astonishing and more than a little dismaying to see Eivor display the detective skills of Hercule Poirot and yet be so completely terrible at judging character. Seriously, she just whiffs again and again and again.) He’s just left to wander into the frozen wilderness and die alone and forgotten (he literally disappears as you watch him ride away, just to really nail this home). This… :rage: gah. This is a “What the hell, hero??” moment if ever there was one. Now, I’ve already seen how Eivor’s whole journey and her faith in Odin eventually plays out, so I guess I can take this as a “one more drop in the coffin” step toward discovering her true self, but damn, it is a hard road to this destination.

I was raring to be done with the Order of the Ancients, so I went against my usual procedure, skipping Glowcestershire to (re)visit quaint Wincestre. (Let me tell you, cleaning out its treasures is a lot easier once you get all the really tough stuff! :grin:) Not much to say about that (other than Poisonous Powder Trap totally kicks butt), but I was finally able to nail that last cringing Magester to the wall. Sister Blaeswith was an unusual case…not a total pushover like Tatfrid and Derby because she’s in a distrust area, but still, like the clueless big boss she was, completely unable to deal with a deadly threat to her life. After taking out most of the nearby guards, I ran into her face-to-face. Things were moving too quickly to try any kind of stealth, so I made a rash decision to throw caution to the wind and attack. She just stood there and watched as Eivor sent her into the dustbin of history. It was remarkable, as if it simply never occurred to her to run for her life. “Who is that? Why is she running straight at me? What are those strange metal-and-fabric garments she’s wearing? And those two long pointy sticks strapped to her back? Wait a minute, did a knife just pop ouGURRRRKK.” :sunglasses: Man, I gotta tell ya…when I first started this game, every time I looked at the Order, all those menacing faces and blank squares, a hegemony of wickedness that looked all but unassailable, I’ll admit it, I was intimidated (and the fact that relatively puny killers like Redwalda and Eorforwine kept carving me up didn’t help.). Once they were crimelords, bullies, oppressors, tricksters, schemers, manipulators, butchers, malcontents of all stripes and shapes and colors. Now they’re naught but corpses. As I look upon this sea of red, this once-mighty force of tyranny brought low by a single determined warrior maid motivated by little more than petty revenge and a severely misguided sense of “honor”, I have to think…man, evil ain’t so tough if you stand up to it. Something I think we all should live by. :slightly_smiling_face:

Oh, right, I got my first mastery point! :+1: This is very much a “wizard award”, although in truth there isn’t a whole lot of wizardry required. Once you’ve completed the constellation (406 skill points as of the current version), each new level allows you to plug a mastery point into one of the three paths, bear, wolf, or raven, each of which gives a fixed small benefit. If you’ve won enough fights to reach this point, it doesn’t really matter much where it goes (all three boost your health); personally, I’d put most of them in bear. Since the benefit is really small, this is mostly a means so you don’t have to get upset about “wasted” skill points. Still, DAMN, is any kind of experience booster a COMPLETE WASTE of money or what? I honestly pity anyone who went for it. It must have seemed like a decent idea at the time.

Oh right, I ran into that disgusting horrific sickening Eurvicscire bard again (the world event is called “Art-scop”, BTW). Here’s the deal. If you give him exactly what he deserves, i.e. nothing, he fires off an incredibly insulting song and will continue forever until you kill him. Oh, and don’t attempt a nonlethal solution; if you knock him down with unarmed strikes, he continues singing unabated, AND becomes impossible to hit with ANY melee strikes, leaving you no choice but to kill him with your bow. (My personal best for putting up with this crap is something like eight seconds, so I don’t know what happens if you let him finish and have zero interest in finding out.) This ends the event (and shuts him up, which is what truly matters here) without giving you any experience. If you give him 270 silver (which is really a drop in the bucket at that stage of the game), he delivers a laudatory but still terrible song. You then tell him that he’s no good, but he’s so happy to have the money that he just promises to do better in the future. This ends the event and gives you the experience. However, he then goes on to repeat the same gods-awful song, giving you no real choice but to kill him (which also gets you your money back); thankfully this doesn’t cost you any experience.

However, there is a third option! If you give him the money and then stay next to him while he’s delivering his dirge, you’ll see the option “Steal” and a square button icon next to him. Do that and you’ll snatch your generous contribution right back! Apparently he’s so far up his own bacaurat-hole that he doesn’t even realize that he’s getting robbed blind. Once you have the experience, you can run like hell and never look back. But then he gets to continue singing. And talking. So forget that.

So! The viable options:

  1. Blow him off, then as soon as the first disgusting syllable leaves his mouth, slaughter him like the vermin he is.

  2. Give him 270 silver, listen to his “good” song for a few seconds, decide he’s not worth it, and slaughter him like the vermin he is.

  3. Give him 270 silver, listen to the whole song, accept his praise, and then when he completely fails to get the hint and rambles on endlessly, slaughter him like the vermin he is.

  4. Give him 270 silver, sneakily steal it back, listen to the whole song, accept his praise, hear him go on and on and on and on, decide that all the silver in the Order of the Ancients’ treasury isn’t worth keeping this obnoxious waste of oxygen alive, and slaughter him like the vermin he is.

I ended up doing #4; in hindsight I think #3 would’ve been the best. Still, as always, it’s your game, play it however you like. :slightly_smiling_face:

By my count, there two more arcs/alliances to wrap up before the super-big Grand Magester reveal and the battle-for-all-the-marbles at Hamtunscire. I’m going to take the time to wrap up the remaining side tasks; Snotinghamscire and Hamtunscire are the only two places I haven’t really tackled yet. (The whole map has been green as grass for days, so I’m fully at liberty to pick my target.) First, though, is a long-overdue return trip to Asgard and the quest for the remaining secret shards. I’ve reached the point where I really want to go for the green and not have any unfinished business gnawing at my mind going into the homestretch. If there’s a Flyting, Animus Anomaly, or Treasure of Britain I haven’t gotten to yet, I want it.

Melee weapons: Fafnir’s Fang L10, Fyrd Spear L10 (Finally bit the bullet and bumped up my “other” spear. Now saving up titanium for when I get the Odin Spear.)
Bows: Light - Skadi’s Wrath L10, Hunter - Arc of Elan L10, Hunter - Longbow L10 (Ohhhhhh yeah. :sunglasses:)
Books of Knowledge: 22 ranged, 22 melee (I still see one open Abilities spot for both, so I’m guessing 4 to go)
Arcs: 14/17
Completed areas: 15/21 (One infernal cairn in Eurvicscire, one Jotunheim-spawned cairn and one highly unreasonable offering altar in Glowcesterscire. Also something in Wincestre…I think it’s a world event, even though it says “Hamtumscire” when I put the cursor on it. It’s not urgent.)
Legendary animals: 10/11 (Just the Wildcats of the Weald left. I’m tempted to look up where they are and go for them right away.)
Settlement developments: 2 to go. I’ve finished all the raids, so I’m going to have to finish up the remaining arcs to get the required supplies.
Order of the Ancients: 15/15 Zealots KILLED. 24/24 Wardens KILLED. 5/5 Magesters KILLED. Just the grand honcho, the big cheese, the tyrant of tyrants himself…who, of course, in true AC fashion, will no doubt be the last enemy I face. I’ve made it this far!

What are your gameplay hours at? Are you 100%ing this game? Long playtime, I bet.


[Quick progress report - Finished up Asgard. Second trip is really nothing to talk about: You meet with Tyr and have a big fight with a powered-up Fenrir. That’s it. You can mop up any Ymir’s Tears you hadn’t already, which I did. As for the last legendary hunt, the Wildcats of the Weald, this wasn’t too hard but it was the first time in ages that I actually had to use one of my rations. Hint: When the smaller lynx jumps onto your back, roll to shake her off. I almost never have any use for rolls, so I didn’t realize it until the fight was nearly over.]

I haven’t kept track, but it’s been a long haul, easily the longest I’ve spent on a PS4 game and absolutely the most involved. The only other title that I remember eating up the hours was Minecraft, and that one immediately got the circular file treatment as soon as I ran into one of its, ahem, Daughters of Lerion. :rage: Say what you will about Ubisoft, but more often that not their games just suck me in and never let go (I lost track of the number of times I got through Assassin’s Creed II, it was that awesome), and no other console publisher can brag as much.

Like I said before, this is the end of the road for me. I’m too old for this. I can’t deal with the pain, frustration, aggravation, hopelessness, or fatigue anymore. When Shantae: Half Genie Hero is too brutal, it’s time to hang it up. By the time the PS5 actually becomes available to a lowly pleb like me, it’s likely I still won’t see any point to its existence. Console games were a source of immense joy to me in the past (and provided the vast bulk of my mindless fun pre-Internet), but I know when enough is enough. Eivor has an intriguing if troubled life, Shuan and Rebecaa have become unlikely icons, and I’ll be glad to see their stories through to the end. At this point that’s all I ask

I still don’t know what “100%” means, so let’s just run through the benchmarks:

Main story completed/Order of the Ancients destroyed - This is happening for sure, and if anything, I’m expecting it to be somewhat anticlimactic. After burying Steinnbjorn, Fenrir, Cordelia, Gorm and his entire army, all the Zealots, and all the Legendary Animals, what’s there left to provide any semblance of a challenge? (Not to mention I’ll also have the deadliest spear in the game and a truckload of mastery points.) I’ve still got some exploring before I feel comfortable romping around Hamtumscire (It’s been off limits for some time due to its level), but it’s only a matter of time.

Completed areas - There’s a chance I won’t finish every task before I give up on the game; this is a wait-and-see for now. By far my biggest headaches are the cairns. It’s tough to move those stupid rocks with any kind of precision, and one teensy tiny teeny minuscule subatomic mistake and it’s back to square one. I also hate those offering altars which require this very specific, hard-to-find item. Finding 3 hare’s feet was hard enough, but 10 small bullhead trout is truly head-slammed-into-a-brick-wall territory. (I’ve all but given up on fishing as getting that one super-specific species and size is so difficult that it’s almost never worth the bother.) Still, I’m definitely game for doing as many tasks as possible, and I’ll be sure to tell you all about it. :grin:

Hunting/fishing orders - Bleah. I consider this a purely optional task and pity anyone who’s determined to get everything. What you get and how frequently you get it is so ridiculously chancy that Orlog is a serious game of skill in comparison. I haven’t successfully harvested one reindeer antler so far, just to put it in perspective.

Treasure hoards - I’ll probably wrap this up at some point, though as it’s strictly cosmetics it’s not high on my priority list. Some of the clues make sense and some of them or so maddeningly cryptic they might have been placed by Coach Z. (I never would’ve guess the correctly location of the Lunden treasure in a million years.) Needless to say, it’s good to have backup.

Trophies - Take 'em or leave 'em, and I’m finding the latter more and more viable. The order of the day (not to be confused with Order of the Ancients) is determining how far I’m willing to go before saying the hell with it. I already know I’m never touching Orlog again, and I’ll never even face a hard difficulty opponent again (let alone all that other ridiculous crap). I’ve faced a total of like 3 housecarls so far (and no destroyers), and I don’t have a clue how to control enemy throw distance in the first place, so that’s out. I’m guessing that 150m slide in the snow will be the last; maybe I’ll go for 10 assassinations in a row when there’s absolutely nothing else left to do, but that’s far from certain. I’ll be well satisfied by my collection at that point.

Yet another intense Saturday, and I find myself close to wrapping things up. I’ve finished Glowcestershire and Snotinghamshire without any trouble (little action combat-wise; basically mopping up a bunch of annoying barbarians and taking down two somewhat tricky bosses…definitely anticlimactic after Wincestre; kinda regret doing that one first). I still saw little point in ruining the wicker man ceremony for no good reason, so I gave Cynon his proper sendoff (again), and contrary to my usual bloodthirsty nature, this time I decided to spare Modron. While I didn’t exactly trust her (y’know, since she tried to kill me and all), I didn’t see her as a pervasive threat like Rued, and she could potentially serve as a check should Tewdwr (who, to be honest, I didn’t trust all that much either) ever step out of line. That, combined with how Gwenydd grieved the time I did deliver final justice, convinced me that Modron hadn’t lived too long just yet. On the Hemming-succession front…really decent man, BTW, a thousand times the leader as those clowns Guthrum and Halfdan, I hated having to watch him die :cry: (…it is possible to put Trygve on the throne despite his objections, but 1. I think giving a leadership role to a geezer who openly expressed his desire to die with his master is a rock-stupid idea, and 2. I don’t want an obnoxious loose cannon like Vili in Ravensthorpe. Grow up a little, make something out of your life, and MAYBE I’ll give you a seat at the table. Again, these are not earthshaking choices, but it’s a nice touch to be able to subtly shape the course of Eivor’s life in the way that’s more suitable to the player.

Just completed the whole Yggdrasil adventure, which means that I’m back to where I was when I cut my first game short. I’ll wrap up Hamtumscire next week. For now, since I’ve come so far (and since I haven’t done video game ratings in a long time), I’d just like to give my personal evaluations.

First, the side activities:

Treasure collecting (gear, Books of Knowledge, ingots, leather, iron ore, titanium, opals, supplies, Roman artifacts, cosmetics) - 10/10. Thoroughly enjoyable, highly rewarding, and like in previous games, gives you the perfect excuse to go all over the map and test your assassination and fighting skills. A must no matter what!

The Order of the Ancients - 9/10. If it weren’t for that damned Orlog opponent, I would’ve given this a perfect score. Using all the various means and travelling to the four corners of England to slay the devil piece by piece was a richly satisfying experience. Definitely makes up for never getting to do it in Origins!

Cairns - 2/10. Blech. The easier ones aren’t too much of a hassle, but the latter ones have ridiculous height requirements, and these are rocks, I remind you, not bricks. This is one of those tasks where you can be literally inches from victory and have it snatched away over and over and over and over. And this, a child’s activity which isn’t even supposed to have a “victory” requirement! It seems that every AC game needs a task that’s a source of endless aggravation, and this is Valhalla’s. Unforgivable. :rage:

Offering Altars - 3/10. Give stuff, get a skill point. Unless it’s some really hard-to-get thing, in which case it’s waste a lot of time, get a skill point. Feh.

Flyting - 9/10. Here’s the beauty of it: It’s not just Monkey Island-style cornball insults. The flyters put their unique spin on things to keep things interesting. One of them requires you to degrade his appearance but not his fighting prowess, one of them has a higher ground them, one has cold weather theme, and one gives compliments and requires you to do the same! (Oh yeah, there’s also Fergal the Faceless. :laughing:) This is not only one of the best-written parts of the game, it’s the only place where you truly get to see a gamut of personalities in the common folk. “Rap battle”…hmph.

Treasures of Britain - 7/10. Can get a bit frustrating in parts (I’m not a fan of puzzles where it’s easy to lose your direction), but overall it was a interesting experience diving underground and getting those tablets. Excalibur is really nothing to write home about, unfortunately (and I couldn’t find any cool stuff from dual-wielding greatswords), so get it for the trophy.

World Events - 5/10. Definite mixed bag. The worst ones were when I had to search for something but I had no idea where it was. I remember a sleepwalking husband, a little boy holding a fallen Norseman’s axe, and a strawman that needed to be lit on fire, and finding them all was absolutely insufferable. Other than that, some were super-easy, some were a bit of work, some were utterly harmless and some drew a bit of blood. Don’t ever call it “daily life”.

Legendary Animals - 6/10. While it was definitely cathartic sinking my teeth into these beasts and going all out with my spears, this suffers from the old “Minecraft enemy problem”, i.e. they never get more powerful but you do, so once you beat the first, the others are only going to keep getting easier. (This is not to be confused with the current Minecraft enemy problem, i.e. the enemies are so freakishly overpowered that they kill you in five seconds and this is never ever going to change. :angry:) Glad I did it, but seeing those heads on the wall not the rush I thought it would be. Mainly it’s the same deal as slaying the Zealots, it’s nice just to make the landscape a little safer.

Lost Drengr - 6/10. Much the same deal as the Legendary Animals; once you’re powerful enough, all you gotta do is rack ‘em up. The dagger you get from Ragnar’s final resting place could be a great weapon, but I gave up that weapon long ago so I can’t say.

Daughters of Lerion - 4/10. You want a challenge, tough guy? You GOT it! In hindsight, while beating them was highly rewarding, I can’t say that I really liked facing these terrors. They use all kinds of cheap tricks that there’s no way to really prepare for or anticipate, making victory largely a matter of attrition; chip off the last of her life before you run out of rations. Thor armor is very good midgame protection, but I definitely don’t like getting only four of five pieces. You definitely want that Mentor’s Cloak sooner rather than later.

Animus Anomalies - 6/10. Okay, not great. I liked taking a break from the rugged lands and seeing vistas I’d never get to otherwise. The problem is that the later puzzles are real slogs (that two-sides one must have taken me half an hour), and victory seems more a matter of dogged persistence than working out what you’re supposed to do. If they allowed you to save your progress and return to finish them later, that would’ve been a considerable improvement.

Fly Agaric - 4/10. While I enjoy a psychedelic jaunt every now and then, the clues for the most part were way too vague (Am I looking for a certain tree? A pillar? A patch of ground? WHAT??), and I had to brute-force a lot more than I wanted to (Did any of you figure out the Earth/Air/Fire/Water one?). At the end the programming staff apparently ran out of ideas and said “Screw it, just fight some jotnar.” This is definitely a part of the game that could’ve used more time and effort.

Standing Stones - 5/10. Another mixed bag. I think I lucked out on a couple of them, and fine tuning the POV bit by bit by bit was always annoying. On the plus side, it’s a true revelation seeing the image come together; I always appreciate a well-made optical illusion.

Flying Papers - 7/10. The only things I didn’t really like where when Eivor jumped to the ground instead of to the rope or pole I wanted to (largely my same beef with the races in AC2), but this was a minor quibble. Otherwise it was fun running and jumping like a maniac and not hard at all. The paper staying in place at the end for a few seconds was a big plus.

Cursed symbols - 3/10. Can’t honestly say this was very fun or rewarding, and after a while it started getting way too repetitive. Climb stuff, shoot the symbol. Move stuff, shoot the symbol. Get through the poison gas, shoot the symbol. Rinse and repeat. The worst part was that it all seemed so pointless. Who’s been planting these evil symbols at random locations in England? What do they want? Are they a threat? Will I encounter them in the future? No answers. Just have to be happy that a few random spots no longer force you to walk half-crouched. Whatever.

Orlog - 1/10. Hey, what’s Norse for “AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH”? :rage::rage::rage::rage:

Drinking Challenges - 2/10. I liked that as long as you’re paying attention, you can win every time (except for the one you’re supposed to lose…you’ll know it when you see it). Other than that, you’ve outguzzled one, you’re outguzzled ‘em all. I consider this more a social obligation than an activity that’s supposed to have any benefit whatsoever.

Hunting/fishing - 1/10. Repeat after me: Random. Drops. SUCK. And that’s assuming you can even find the right spot in the first place. I haven’t gotten a single reindeer antler yet, I have no idea where to find the kind of dogs that leave dog fangs, and having to find the right species AND size for fish was gross overkill. Fish if you need the cash and leave 100% completion for the 100% masochists.

And the arcs:

Grantebridgescire - 4/10. Talk about a baptism of fire. One of the two level 20 areas, and I have to solve a murder mystery, which requires a long, long, long slog through a swamp. Soma is a fine person and a worthy ally, and it was satisfying rooting out the turncoat, which are the only reasons I didn’t rate this lower.

Ledecestreshire - 6/10. My first glimpse into the deeply troubled mind of Ivarr the Boneless, and the long and occasionally comical hunt for the useless curmudgeon Burgred. I was actually a little disappointed that he got to live at the end. A bread-and-butter story (complete with a bread knife fight…you had to be there) with a fairly satisfying conclusion but ultimately nothing special.

East Anglia - 3/10. Blah blah honor blah blah blood will have blood blah blah sink to his level…is the concept of “too dangerous to leave alive” just too difficult for anyone besides me to grasp? :angry: I’m glad that Oswald survived his tumultuous journey, but I really do not like that doing the sensible thing means that he whines like a baby and the whole wedding is so humdrum and lifeless it could have been real wedding.

Lunden - 7/10. Phew. Two fairly routine takedowns (“Well, if she didn’t want me to shoot her in the back, she shouldn’t have run!” :grin:) leading to an intense waterfront battle; suffice to say that you will definitely want to stay well-fed for this one. Stowe and Erke are two truly good men…a rarity in this game…and deserved everything they got.

Oxenefordscire - 3/10. All I remember is a whole bunch of dumb squabbling with Sigurd, getting yelled at for failing to prevent a murder that happened long before the arc even began, throwing a couple punches in anger, and Fulke turning and Aelfred making off with Sigurd. A whole bunch of drama that’s supposed to be this big compelling story and just struck me as Amateur Nite. Pretty good battle at the end and that’s about it.

Cent - 2/10. It…happened. A bit of cloak and dagger with Fulke, a few good lines from Cynebert, the archtypical shameless opportunistic sleazeball, and that’s about it. Even though the raven figure slid into place, I never got the sense that I’d actually achieved anything. So do they just experiment with democracy now?

Lincolnshire - 5/10. And you thought Donald Trump took an election defeat badly. :slightly_smiling_face: Other than the chance to strike another blow at the foul Order, this was more a personal quest for Eivor than anything. Incidentally, my choice of Hunwald for ealdorman was essentially the “height can’t be taught” dilemma in basketball, i.e. if you have a choice between drafting a short but skilled player or a tall but unskilled player, pick the latter because he can learn skills but the short player can’t grow taller. Aelfgar may have the better sword arm, but he’s full of himself and cares too much about his personal fortune, and there’s really no way to fix that. Hunwald’s a dumb, flailing kid, but plenty of great leaders started out as dumb, flailing kids; he’s full of passion, eager to learn, and will do his darndest for Lincolnshire. Ultimately, though, it’s not a super-important choice, so this land left me with some fond memories, another Warden scalp, and not a whole lot else.

Sciropescire - 4/10. This was a literal case of the least despicable man in the room taking the prize, which I suppose I’ll have to be reasonably happy with. I would’ve rated this a lot higher, in fact, if Ivarr’s denouement wasn’t so utterly repulsive to my sensibilities. Just once, just ONCE I’d like someone, anyone, to say the simple truth: Ivarr was evil. Not honorable, not following the proper tenets of Odin, not “a product of his time” :roll_eyes:, EVIL. If Ubarr wants to be a starry-eyed fool, let him, but I’m calling a fiend a fiend and others should too. Damn.

Vinland - 8/10. Fun! It’s always tricky handling the First Nation peoples in a way that’s neither patronizing nor insulting, and I think Ubisoft did a great job here. Beautiful scenery, too!

Suthsexe - 6/10. Crap just got real, yo. A nicely epic conclusion to Fulke’s story, but I have to take off points for Guthrum’s presence and the horribly forced dialogue. Not every ding-dang-dong thing has to be about honor, dammit! Killing that worthless lump Dag was cathartic but doesn’t make up for all the other tedious blather.

Jorvik - 9/10. Amazing how much drama it’s possible to fit in such a small space. This, in my estimation, is the arc that hit all the notes just right. Steadfast allies, bloodthirsty foes, the ever-present sinister taint of the Order, escalating tension, treachery, not knowing who to trust, the one seemingly insignificant early event that blows the lid off of everything, and of course capped off with a good ol’ fashioned slobberknocker. Add to that our introduction to Ricsige, the best not-the-real-villain-but-you’re-still-going-to-have-to-kill-him-at-some-point I’ve seen in a PS4 game. A romp!

Eurvicscire - 1/10. Eat a rotten seal tail, Halfdan. Eat ALL the rotten seal tails. :rage:

Wincestre - 9/10. Yeah, definitely should have saved this for last. A true challenge of Eivor’s detective, trust-building, and fighting skills, all alone and deep in enemy territory, and overlooking everything is the king of kings himself, Aelfred. A major hurdle which truly cemented Eivor’s status as the hero of England. And that constantly tolling bell at the end was just haunting.

Glowcestershire - 7/10. A big party goes horribly off the rails and Eivor is caught in the middle. This played more like a Telltale Games episode than an AC mission, and I found it a refreshing change of pace. What really made it work was the characters, all of whom played their parts to perfection. Cynon was perfect as the well-meaning but deeply flawed and troubled leader, Modron as the conflicted outsider willing to go to extreme measures, Gwenydd as the cute but slightly little off-putting young tyke, and Tewdwr as the intolerant stuffed shirt who gradually comes around. I ended up finding things to like and dislike about everybody, which is exactly the sort of nuanced personalities a game like this needs. A very well-written story which more than made up for the lack of action.

Snotinghamscire - 3/10. This much is clear: I’d much rather do stuff with a dying legend than slog through a big weepfest. Vili’s friendship with Eivor was one of those “because we said so” deals that never made any sense to me, and I still see no reason why I’d ever want him in Ravensthorpe. In all, this was an drearily heavy and downbeat tale of “honor” I was glad to just get the Helheim over with.

Hordafylke - 5/10. Win some, lose some. Sigurd breaks ties with his useless father, Eivor finally tells Odin where he can cram his honor, fends off the murderous treachery of a man she thought was his friend, then gets her life shoved in her face by Sigurd…and…she just takes it and quietly returns to Ravensthorpe alone. An incredibly long, revelatory journey so she could…kinda-sorta toss out the garbage she’s been fed all her life.

Hopefully Hamtumscire will kick butt, but it’s not a certainty. If Eivor has the slightest pity for Aelfred, I will be severely disappointed.

Mastery points: 55
Main weapons: Gungnir L10, Fafnir’s Fang L10 (Gungnir’s numbers aren’t that much better than the other spears, but there was no way I was passing up a one-of-a-kind weapon.)
Bows: Light - Skadi’s Wrath L10, Hunter - Arc of Elan L10, Predator - Longbow L10 (If it ain’t broke! I might have gotten something better, but I’m not taking the trouble to bump it up to L10 to find out.)
Abilities: Ranged 22 levels, Melee 22 levels; no change. (Haven’t found all the Codex Pages; maybe they’re the key? I’m so loaded now that there’s no need to go out of my way to find out.)
All flytings completed, Charisma level 6. (I’m amazed at how easy this was. I got three incorrect response total, and I never had to redo a single one. I’m actually curious as to who requires a Charisma level of 6…other than Maximillian, the highest anyone needed was 4.)
Settlement level 6. DONE. And after expending every last drop of Raw Materials, I have 8,200 Supplies left over (and I still haven’t gotten all the treasure chests). Let me talk about this game’s balance issues one of these days.
All Raids, World Events, Ingots, Books of Knowledge, Roman artifacts, flying papers, Treasures of Britain, Legendary Animals, Lost Drengr, Daughters of Lerion, Animus Anomalies, Fly Agarics, Standing Stones, and Cursed Symbols. Obtained Thor’s Battle Plate, Thor’s Helmet, Thor’s Gauntlets, Thor’s Breeches, Drengiligr, Excalibur, Gorgon Shield, Soldier’s Flail, The Morrigan’s Guard, and Gungnir. (Don’t remember how many of these are tied to rewards. If you remember something else, ask and I’ll tell you if I have it.)


  • The rest of the main story and The Grand Magester of the Order of the Ancients. Any day now, honest!

  • Obtaining the last Thor armor piece and Mjolnir. Both tied to the previous for some bizarre reason.

  • 4 cairns. Not sure if I’ll ever give enough of crap and/or have the patience to do these.

  • The remaining treasure chests. Some of them are in really tight locations that I’ve worked for the better part of an hour on and still couldn’t crack.

  • The remaining hunting and fishing orders. Bleah.

  • The remaining trophies that I actually feel like obtaining. I see 10 in all and I suggest that nobody hold their breath.

Figures I’d forget a kingdom. I’ll add the vision quests just for completion’s sake.

Essexe - 2/10. The best part was when it ended. There was never any sense of grandeur or purpose, it was just an endless, pointless slog through enemies and drama. The worst part was that the entire city of Colcestre was a distrust area, meaning that I had to clear out the same areas again and again. The characters alternated between boring and annoying, in particular Estrid (I have never seen a more perfect representation of “The Load” in a video game) and the twist was so utterly ham-handed I swear it must have been stolen from an episode of Friends. And could someone please explain freaking how I was supposed to determine the traitor?

Asgard and Jotunheim - 3/10. Take away the pretty vistas and all the arglebargle about controlling one’s destiny, and you have a couple of lands where it’s really hard to get around, important locations that are a pain to even find, two seemingly neverending fetch quests, and some annoying boss fights. I’m also a tad resentful that besting that monstrous bear doesn’t “count” for anything…a portrait in the longhouse, at least! I could at least see the potential for a fun, riveting ride, but on the whole it’s way too much work for way too little reward, and I don’t know how this even ties into Eivor’s story. Good concept, execution needs work.

Oh yeah, something else I forgot, the final conversation with Sigurd and his evaluation of the choices you made. There are five in particular, and if you get them all right…something…good happens? Anyway, I made the, ahem, wrong choices. If you want the “presumably good ending”, here are a few hints, with the consequences of the wrong choices in spoiler boxes (with a few minor edits).

Hint #1: Stealing from total strangers who did nothing to deserve it, good. Stealing from a treacherous slime who sold you down the river with zero remorse, bad. You’re not supposed to be that Viking! :roll_eyes:

“You stole the supplies that were supposed to go to my father! You thought only about yourself!”
“Did I? Hytham seemed pretty grateful to have a roof over his head. Did I just imagine him? Oh, and I thought we agreed that your father is a total disgrace who deserves whatever he gets. Definitely got that vibe from that visit from not too long ago. You tend to keep forgetting that.”

Hint #2: Women have no rights. However, married women have more no-rights than singles. :roll_eyes::woman_facepalming::angry:

“You had your way with my wife! The woman I’m in a committed relationship with!”
“Yeah, funny how you never showed any interest in that commitment. And how she was always way happier around me than you. Even after you returned and I broke up with her, as I recall. Go figure, when you actually do things for people instead of stomp around them all day, they like you better.”

Hint #3: Just as a pirate never steals, a Viking never allows a confrontation to get physical. :laughing::roll_eyes:

“You punched me! And Basim! That was an unbelievable insult!”
“By Freyja, you still have sore fee-fees over that? It was the heat of the moment, and might I add, you both were acting like total clods! It’s called smacking some sense into someone! Although it obviously didn’t work in your case! I’d be happy to give you a free shot to even the score, but then you’d be scream in my ear for the next three months about how I banged up your knuckles!”

Hint #4: Being really passionate and winning a few battles in the past gives a man a free pass on everything! EVERYTHING! :woman_facepalming::grimacing::rage:

“You denied Dag his axe! That was dishonorable and cowardly and dishonorable and insulting and dishonorable and immoral and dishonorable and out of line and dishonorable and dishonorable and dishonorable and dishonorable and did I mention it was dishonorable! He fought for what he believed in! FOUGHT! FOR! WHAT! HE! BELIEVED! IN!”
“Wait, who was Dag again? Oh, right, the raving pigheaded egomaniac who nearly blew the entire East Anglia campaign before it even began, spuriously accused me of making no effort to rescue you, and challenged me to a fight to the death in front of the whole settlement. Huh, short list. But then, I suppose doing things was never his strong suit. You know what, now that I think of it, I’m completely at a loss as to why anyone would think he deserved Valhalla in the first place, since as far as anyone can tell he never accomplished a single thing in his life other than running his gods-damned mouth off for entire days at a stretch. But hey, if you want to do the honors, you know where the grave is, knock yourself out.”

Hint #5: A true Viking ALWAYS sucks up to man in charge! Not Harald, though, he doesn’t count! :scream::scream::scream::scream::scream::face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

“When I made Holgar pay 30 times the amount of the bedsheet he stole, you completely went against my decision! That was…”
“…my first choice, my second being cutting your head off, and now I’m certain that I made the wrong one!”

This is why I’m not doing this again. Ever. I realize there are a few things I could’ve done a bit better, a few different paths that might have led to interesting places, but this mindset, this ethos, I find it so utterly repulsive that I can’t go through that journey again. I don’t mind when a protagonist gets frisky with the ladies, or is slow to react to danger, or gets a little overzealous in completing a mission (What was everyone’s problem with Jacob Frye, BTW? I never thought he did anything really egregious.), or urinates in public that one time. I mind when a protagonist sees a reality that’s totally anathema to mine.

Here’s the scary part. Just before setting off for Hamtumscire, Valka meets with Eivor and warns her that this mission is going to drastically shake things up, and that the Ravensthorpe she returned to would be much different from the one she left. We already know that her story ends far from either Norway or England. Eivor is a female name, and some sources at Ubisoft (don’t have links at the moment, sorry) have gone on the record that the female Eivor is canon (“Havi” is some kind of alternate persona, so he/she can be anything). I mentioned before that I didn’t like the idea of a woman defying a powerful gender line (and doing an outstanding job of it by any standard!) without those around her treating it as extraordinary. I’m near the end of the story and thus far have seen zero indication that Eivor has any interest in all in defying the garbage about honor and glory in battle, or for that matter even trying to be a better person than Sigurd. And I don’t mean just the overt stuff like sacking monasteries and capitulating to arrogant blowhards, but in the way she treats other people, her ideals, her way of thinking. Her sense of justice never goes beyond “be nice to kids, kill only the non-cute animals”. And while she’s merciless in spilling the blood of filthy Englishmen, every time one of her own goes beyond the pale or even commits an outright atrocity (Ivarr commits one the very first time we see him, for crying out loud), it’s “Bad Norse, bad, bad Norse, no bedtime story for you!” at most. (This is especially ludicrous when you realize that she could wipe the floor with any of them, even that so-called god Sigurd.)

This puts the male Eivor in a rather disturbing light…it’s what the real Eivor sees herself as. An honor-obsessed, blood-soaked, family-grovelling, mead-guzzling, swearing, grunting brute who yearns to be one of the guys and absolutely nothing more than that. All the ridiculous decisions, all the hideously stilted dialogue, they’ve pointed to a pathetic need for acceptance from this regressive power structure. “Look, look, I’m getting completely blasted again! Look, look, I’m shouting an angry oath! Look, look, I just decapitated another Dane! I’m brawling with drunks! I’m sucking up to war-obsessed geezers! I’m greedy! I’m vulgar! LOVE ME, PUH-LEEEEZE LOVE MEEEEEE!” :angry::puke: Frankly, I’m seeing a pretty dismal ending either way…either she realizes what a horrific sham she’s been living and runs away to North America to eke out the rest of her miserable existence alone and forgotten (damn, it was painful enough when it was Connor…), or she becomes just as repulsive as Harald and Guthrum and Halfdan and Sigurd and the rest of that pitiful lot and ticks off so many Englishmen that she gets herself exiled to North America, never to return.

Obviously, I’m hoping this isn’t what happens, but given Ubisoft’s recent track record, I can’t be too optimistic.

Oh, I tried a few of the opal contracts. Not a bad way to test your skills if you don’t have anything better to do, but in the grand scheme of things there’s just not much point to them. The whole point of opals is so that Ubisoft can say “See? You can get everything in the shop without spending any more money! This proves we’re not soulless bloodsuckers!” :roll_eyes:, but both the missions and the items are so wildly random that to get something you actually want, chances are extremely likely you’ll still have to shell out.

Goddesses, this journal has really taken a negative turn, hasn’t it? :frowning_face: I hate when that happens. Still confident that the final battle for England will surprise me in a good way. We’ll see this weekend!

Well, no sense beating around the bush. My PS4 has been wiped completely clean and is now starting its new career sitting in the side of the room collecting dust. It was an easy decision…taking a loss on Divinity or Guitar Hero Live or Carnival Games is one thing, but when a title finds the garbage not a month after I said it was great (and I meant it!), it’s time to face reality and move the hell on. Funny thing, I was all set to give up console games forever before I found out about Valhalla. Now I’m doing it after.

First off, Hamtumscire and the death knell to the Order of the Ancients. The former is really nothing special…fight a ton of Saxons, see a few of your allies die (war has casualties, who knew), Aelfred hits the bricks, and after the funeral scene you have officially pacified all of England. Woo hoo. Incidentally, I got serious whiplash from Guthrum’s attitude here. I very distinctly remember him as a judgmental do-nothing nagging slug in Suthsexe, and he did absolutely nothing in the intervening arcs to change my opinion of him. Here, with zero explanation, he’s respectful of Eivor, even borderline detrimental, and there’s no friction whatsoever between them during the grand assault, even after three fine warriors bite the dust. (The fig-leaf justification was that Eivor was totally reckless in Suthsexe but she got better. Uh huh. :roll_eyes:) In any video game this large with a story this broad in scope, there are inevitably going to be some continuity hiccups, but seeing this 180 was absolutely jarring. It’s like Writer A was told Guthrum had to be an arrogant blowhard in this arc and Writer B was told Guthrum had to be a wise leader of men in that arc, and no serious effort was ever made by any party to coincide the two halves. On top of that, this final battle was supposed to seriously mess things up for Eivor and Ravensthorpe…Valka very strongly warns you about this before you set off…and…it doesn’t happen. At all. Nobody turns on you, nobody dies, nobody suffers, there’s no treachery, life goes on just as it did before. Curious.

Anyway. When you’ve pacified England and put the entire Order of the Ancients except for the Grand Magester to the sword…Hidden Blade, whatever…Hytham comes up to you with an urgent letter from that “Poor Fellow-Soldier of Christ” who’s been sending you missives throughout the game. It leads you to a quiet village in Hamtumscire, where…all right, this is kinda a big spoiler, so…

It’s ex-king Aelfred, now a humble baker. Despite his precipitous fall from grace, he’s happy that you accomplished what he couldn’t. See, he inherited the title of Grand Magester of the Order of the Ancients from his brother, but in a typical “right thing, wrong reason” move, he opposed them because their insistence on following their own rules was an obstacle to creating a Christian order. He was actually forming a plot to destroy them but it never got off the ground. (Supposedly great leaders who never actually do anything is something of a theme in this game.) After learning of the powerful Viking warrior who dispatched Kjotve the Cruel, he realized that she could do the job for him, only requiring some periodic prodding from a mysterious ally. After completing his tale, he surrenders his medallion and the key to his study without a fight, his status becomes officially “defeated” on the order screen, and the trophy is yours.

With that done, there is one last order of business, the wedding of Gunnar and Brigid. It’s a joyous occasion with, again, no conflict or treachery or other unpleasant twist. Everyone gets to share in the couple’s happiness (including Holgar, who’s in a surprisingly good mood considering how much crap he’s taken). During which time everyone gets behind Eivor as their leader, a very pleasant surprise after that Dag business. And there’s another very pleasant surprise at the end…if you’d broken up with Randvi earlier (maybe you were upset at not being able to romance her anymore after Sigurd’s return, maybe you wanted to kindle the flames with Petra…maybe water is wet :wink:), you get to make her your lover again! Even better, if you did take Petra as your lover, she remains your lover as well, with no negative repercussions whatsoever! This… :astonished: Yeah, it caught me completely off guard. Everything we’ve seen of Eivor had led me to believe that not only was she utterly uncool, she was desperately fighting to remain in that state, and she’d die alone, despised, and forgotten in an unspecified location on the East Coast…and what actually happens is the polar opposite of that. Seriously, polar opposite. (Yeah, chalk up another bigtime continuity flub. It happens.)

All that’s left after that is mop-up of the tasks you didn’t get already. I still had three Codex pages to go (I scoured those Bureaus top to bottom and found nothing, I swear) and seven more Reda missions to complete the Viking for Hire…thing. And then the next big limited-time event, the Ostara Festival, along with any more trophies I felt like going after. I was ready to get started.

And then…the next big update. With yet another big-time “balancing”. And then I saw enemies doing something like ten times the damage they did before. I had changed nothing…same difficulty, same settings, same armor, same runes. And I was taking damage like paper.

I’ve mentioned numerous times how extreme difficulty is always the killer for me. I can deal with graphical glitches, long loading times, cornball dialogue, and grindy tasks, but if it is so outrageously difficult I can’t make any progress, I won’t touch it. In this thread, I mentioned how I dreaded the programmers’ ability to make updates at any time because of that meant they could make the game harder, harder, HARDER! If an NES game went out that was so easy a 5-year old could breeze through it one-handed, tough beans. Now at any time they can jack up the difficulty, make things more painful, more torturous, more aggravating…and now it seems like every game that doesn’t start out at this point is going to reach it. I already expressed my concerns about this +51 nonsense, and here it seems that Ubisoft finally decided to plunge the rest of the way into the abyss.

This is yet another symptom of the absolutely poisonous attitude that’s permeated video game culture in recent years, the notion that NOTHING can ever be easy, or relaxed, or just plain fun, and that EVERYTHING has to be CONSTANTLY murderous and painful and blisteringly “hardcore”. And this would have been bad enough if there were only one difficulty, but…wait for it…This is on the easiest difficulty! It says right in the description that it’s for players who want to get through the story without a hassle! My Eivor was made of iron and could carve up foes like so many racks of lamb (even after the initial “balancing”), and THAT IS HOW I LIKED IT! If that were not an option, I would not have touched this game. You know what, I don’t even mind the influence of Dark Souls. Those games were made for a specific type of player and have always been up front about being unforgiving. But when game provides a merciful option and then completely flips on it, that is unforgivable. I’d say that it fills me with rage, but my rage was spent some time ago; all I’m feeling right now is disappointment and the sobering realization that I can’t go on like this.

(And now another realization has come to me…this is exactly what happened to Origins as well. All that talk about OP shields tons of materials and Easy being easy, it actually was like that, before Ubisoft took it all out. I’ve rarely been the first to the party with big releases…gotta know for sure, looking for a better deal, waiting for the bugs to get worked out, etc. Now I realize that for the PS4, the order of the day is get it done before it becomes impossible.)

So yeah, screw Ubisoft forever. Just so you all know, I knew about the company’s woes…the sexism, the abysmal quality control, the brutal crunches…long before I got the game, but I was impressed enough by what TheRadBrad showed me to overlook it, just this once. I’ve been burned so many times on PS4 games that to find something fun and riveting again was a joy. To quote a previous AC game, “Dirty money builds clean hospitals.” All I ever wanted…the ONLY thing I EVER asked for…was a fun, riveting game (hopefully patching it so that it doesn’t crash so often…yeah, that’s another thing), and you couldn’t even stick to that! Well, consider my sympathy and patience officially at a permanent end. You have earned every damn drop of vitriol that’s coming your way. My bridge was just about impossible to burn, and for absolutely no good reason you took a nuke to it. Goddam pathetic. :rage:

And with that, I bring this journal to a close. Hope you all got something out of it. Next thread, something that’s pleasant for its entire length. Hopefully.

So they updated the game and made it harder? I’m sorry to hear that. Can you not revert the update?

I’m unaware of any means of reverting to a prior version. I would’ve gone all the way back to the source if I did, bugs be damned.

I didn’t notice the game being any harder after the update.

Were you playing on the easiest setting (Skald)? Maybe they only bumped that up, or that one took the worst of it. Whatever, that alone is enough for me to drop this game like a bomb. I’ll never forgive caving and enforcing “universal hardcore”.