AC3 is here, and millions of players are trying out the title’s innovative multiplayer modes for the first time ever. There’s a lot of intricate stuff to learn, and a great deal of it is intuitive, but there are also some fundamental tactical points every newbie needs to learn if s/he ever wants to get better at bludgeoning targets to death.
These core approaches should get even the most helpless of Hessians on their feet and murdering in no time. And if you happen to need other tips, we have tons of other AC3 multiplayer strategies available.
Your HUD actually matters
Look, I know players don’t like reading manuals or completing tutorials. It reminds them of school, and school reminds them of lunch ladies, and lunch ladies remind them of their sexual insecurities. It’s logical, really. But when it comes to Assassin’s Creed multiplayer, it’s important to understand what the game’s trying to tell you. And of course, the user interface/HUD is the best source of information.
I can’t/won’t recap every aspect of the screen, but every Templar agent would be well served to remember a few important points:
- If your target is shared among multiple pursuers (as indicated by blue marks under the target potrait), don’t dawdle. It’s not worth risking a slightly better score when one or more other players is gunning for the same guy as you are.
- Along the same lines, don’t needlessly gang up on targets in team game modes. If your user interface is telling you your entire squad is hunting one woman, perhaps it’s best you break off and assassinate a lone target somewhere else on the map. Your team probably doesn’t need your help, and you’ll get a better score by going
mano a manoTemplar a Assassino.
- Shut up and listen up. As with previous Assassin’s Creed games, sound is a big deal. Yes, there are big indicators like The Whispers that tell you when you’re killers are closing in, but other noises matter, too. Pay attention for players making tell-tale climbing noises, and learn how to identify every ability by sound.
- When you have proximity (inner target portrait is lit or compass is full) but not line of sight (outer portrait or compass is lit), start climbing. Your quarry is likely on the other side of the wall/building from you, and a height advantage will make you immune from many defensive abilities.
- Check the score frequently. Remember, you don’t have to reach a certain threshold to take first place, so setting realistic goals for your next couple kills can help manage your anxiety. It can also give you important information about who in the game is skilled and who’s failing Animus 101.
With these considerations kept in mind, you’re well placed to score your best on every kill. That said, it’s important not to be overeager since…
The best offense is a good defense
Players new to Assassin’s Creed multiplayer tend to view the game as a third-person shooter. “Whom do I have to kill, and where is he?” they tend to ask themselves.* After getting a basic understanding of the radar system and proximity/line of sight detectors, they figure they’re set. It’s just a matter of executing the target now, right?
Wrong. What these murder-obsessed players tend to forget is that there are up to seven people hunting them, as indicated previously. And while a good assassination could be worth more than 1000 points, getting killed before reaching your target means no bonuses for you. In fact, it’s worse than no bonuses, since you lose time in respawn and your opponents (you know, the ones you’re trying to outscore?) get to profit from your untimely demise.
For this reason, dealing with your own pursuers before eliminating your target is usually the best approach. After all, you could try to race your killer and make a beeline to your target, but doing so only makes it more likely both your adversaries will notice and humiliate you. It’s best to get some breathing room before proceeding.
You don’t have to actively lure your pursuers out, but if you see or hear them in proximity (as indicated by The Whispers), start drafting your defensive plan. It might mean moving away from tall buildings to prevent an aerial assassination, or prepping a defensive ability like Smoke Bomb, or simply stalling your killer long enough that his own pursuer murders him. Once you’re in the clear, you can take your time and plan a high-scoring approach. Of course, you shouldn’t get your hopes too high, because…
If it feels like a trap, it probably is
One of the biggest mistakes that even practiced veterans make is underestimating their targets. Going into a match, you tend to automatically size up your competition, making a mental checklist of who you expect is going to be a pushover. Perhaps it’s lower level players, or people who pick certain personas, or usernames you recognize from previous matches.
It’s easy to fall into the habit of thinking “I know what I’m doing, there’s no way she’ll see me coming,” but thoughts like this will often lead to getting stunned (or, in Assassinate, stunned and killed). Oftentimes a low-ranking or low-scoring player is actually fairly astute, and is just biding his or her time, waiting to ensnare an overzealous attacker. Other times, the person you remember as being a noob has spent some time practicing, and can now spot your strategy from a mile away.
So, the next time you’re considering strolling up to your target and lingering around for the world’s most obvious focus/poison, ask yourself Would I be falling for this right now? If the answer is no, you may want to attempt a less risky, lower-scoring assassination. Sure, you lose a few points, but it’s better than losing all of them!**
Realistically speaking, of course, you can’t always avoid death. Every now and then, you’ll meet your maker…
Can’t beat ’em? Study ’em
When all is said and done, you’re gonna get thrown on your ass countless times. It happens to every new player and hey – it still happens to me occasionally. While it would be easy to blame lag, or glitches or bad luck, it’s important to man up and accept your failures. Somehow, somebody out there just kicked your ass… and it’s your job to figure out how.
After all, you’re not going to get better by throwing your controller through the wall or sobbing into your Hello Kitty Collector’s Edition body pillow. No, you need to think about when you lost control of the match, what caused it to happen, and what your opponent(s) did to take and maintain the lead. If you’re not sure, it’s time to study it out. Ask for advice in-game or on forums, or review strategy footage on YouTube.
Want to get a head start on understanding more advanced strategy? Check out our complete Assassin’s Creed 3 multiplayer abilities guide for additional tactical considerations.
* Just kidding. FPS players don’t have a command of grammar this nuanced.
** As well as your dignity.