Welcome to Part 4 in WiNGSPANTT’s Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag multiplayer strategy guide!
To a lot of players, getting to the target is the easy part. Most game modes give you an easy-to-follow radar, so it would appear that obeying it and making a bee-line towards your victim isn’t a bad idea. Sure, that’ll work… sometimes. But a smart approach won’t follow any one, um, approach. You’ll have to balance a wide variety of offensive, defensive, and informational considerations to determine how best to reach your prey.
In most situations, your biggest concern will be finding the right mix of stealth and speed. Move too inconspicuously and every player (target and pursuer alike) within eyesight will know who you are and what your intentions may be. Move too carefully and your target could get plucked off by another player, leaving you with a ground finish (which is obviously worse than a low-scoring, reckless kill). Being overly patient has other costs, too: there’s only so much time in each round, and in many situations it’s better to reap five middling assassinations than wait for two or three “perfect” opportunities.
Let’s talk about some of these factors in detail. And by “let’s talk,” I really mean “you read.”
Red light, green light
Remember a few paragraphs ago where I was dissing the whole run to the target thing? That’s not by any means a hard and fast rule. A better rule would be something like:
Run any time your target and/or pursuers can’t see you.
Stealth is cool and all, but the reality is you get points for interacting with player, not stopping to smell the Animus-simulated roses. You have a limited timeframe to find and assassinate targets while stunning or escaping from pursuers. Every second counts, so you should sprint to most locations.
When shouldn’t you be jogging around?
- When you have, or are about to have, LOS on your target
- When you have identified your pursuer, but suspect he hasn’t identified you
- When you hear the Whispers (see defensive strategy section)
- Right before your come around a corner or major obstruction
These suggestions are intended to prevent other players from getting an easy auto-prompted lock on your character by keeping you out of high profile whenever you could potentially be spotted. This notification essentially kills all chance you have at a stealthy approach, especially since it also drastically increases the odds you’ll be hacked to bits by your own killers before you ever get to sneeze at your target.
Of course, counting on LOS is not guaranteed safety.
As we discussed earlier, line of sight determined from the persona’s point of view, not the camera… it’s entirely possible your enemy can see you sprinting up to a building, slowing down, then rounding the corner. There’s no way to know for sure, so you’ll have to adjust your gameplay accordingly. If you find yourself being exposed 9 times out of 10, consider busting out Disguise or Poison Dart.
In the case that you absolutely must move faster, use the fast walk command. Your character will make greater strides, maybe 15% faster than normal walking, but he’ll also be slightly more noticeable to your intended prey. Try to use civilians to blend or mask your approach if possible.
The early bird gets the acrobatic kill
No matter how good you are or how stupid your target is, you’re usually competing with other players in the quest to find and flay your contracted foes. Typically, the better a player is doing, the more pursuers the game system assigns him or her. That’s how it works in Wanted and Deathmatch, anyway. In Assassinate, players often trip over themselves to exploit the worst gamer in the lobby for easy points.
Regardless, you’ve got to keep an eye out for potential poachers whenever you’re moving in for the kill. Spending your Fireworks or Money Bomb to identify your victim really sucks when some 8-year old runs in and “steals” your incognito assassination.
A pursuer counter is shown inside the target portrait when you’re sharing your target with other players. This red tally can quickly let you know just how many people you’re competing with to off your bounty. If there’s only one other guy gunning for your prey, you can sometimes spot the vulture and head him off. But as the number rises, so too should your urgency in approaching and assassinating your target. Occasionally glance at the counter and be ready to race to the kill.
Here are some ways to prevent claim jumpers from taking what’s yours:
- Rush in and take the low-scoring kill instead of risking no kill at all
- Use Pistol to quickly (and safely) finish your target before anyone else
- Use abilities that impede non-target opponents (Smoke Bomb, Firecrackers, etc.)
- Avoid Poison and Poison Dart if you think they could be interrupted
- Approach from elevation to avoid ground-based ability clusterfucks
You won’t win all these battles, but being ready to act quickly will give you the edge. Failing that, make sure you’re close enough to your target that you can get a ground finish if some jerk nabs your target first. 50 points isn’t a lot, but it can often determine who’s on the podium at the end of the round.
Looking for more tips? Head back to the main Assassin’s Creed multiplayer strategy guide index.