Welcome to Part 10 of WiNGSPANTT’s Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag multiplayer strategy guide!
In Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, Revelations, and Assassin’s Creed 3, pursuers who mindlessly charged their targets would initiate Chases, a special sequence that would cancel the current contract if the target in question could break line of sight long for a significant amount of time. This system rewarded stealth, but it also rewarded degenerate tactics by targets specifically designed to trigger chases. For these reasons (and due to a lawsuit by actor Chevy Chase), chases were dropped in Black Flag.
The biggest impact is that runaway tactics are not as strong as they once were. No matter how good you are at getting away from your pursuers, they’ll always have another chance to track you down. So instead of retreat being an ends to itself (by triggering a chase), think of running away as a stall tactic to accomplish one of the following:
- Force your pursuer to chase you and reveal himself for easy identification
- Force your pursuer to reveal himself to other players, possibly getting killed
- Buy yourself time to prepare an ability or tactic to attempt a stun on your pursuer
- Buy yourself time to set up a good kill on your own target before you’re taken out
Positioning and routing
Once you’ve made the decision to dash instead of die, it’s important that you plan an escape route ahead of time. Simply holding the high profile trigger and leaping to a random direction is usually a recipe for disaster. Your enemies may even be counting on you to make such a terrible move.
First of all, you have to know the maps intimately. Having a strong idea of where the various rooms, roofs, and chase breakers are will give you a huge edge in any chase, especially when you’re on the defensive side of it. Since fleeing entails leading the chase by default, you won’t have easy indicators for which way to go. Turning a corner into a dead end isn’t pretty. If you need more practice on a given map, play a few rounds of Wolfpack and observe how every area connects to each other.
Before you actually start jogging, look around for both natural and ad-hoc chase breakers. Real chase breakers are usually best, but there are lots of opportunities to get ahead of a pursuer in the heat of a footrace. For instance, darting into a small space in an otherwise dense crowd can give you the same advantage as you’ve seen in movies before. Running very close to (but not into) hay bales may cause your predator to fall into them accidentally. And look for the opportunity to draw in other players who may solve your problem for you by killing or stalling your pursuer.
When you’re en route, stay out of direct line of sight (as best as you can estimate it). Sharp turns around corners can break your killer’s lock and prevent ranged abilities. It can also give you a temporary advantage in the chase since you’ll have a first look at upcoming obstacles, including the composition of the crowd. Even a half second gain in momentum can be enough, especially if you score a few minor victories in a row.
Here are some other general tips to keep in mind while you scramble to survive:
- Navigate along the outside of maps to limit the number of ways you can be cut off.
- No matter what, stay locked to your pursuer. A lock tells you her exact location, direction, and whether or not she has LOS on you. It also makes a successful stun more likely.
- If you spot neutral players, move towards them. They may be able to “take care of” your pursuers for you. This is an allusion to murder.
- Gain the high ground. Your pursuer can only kill you from equal footing or above, so moving up means she has fewer options for an easy assassination.
- Keep an eye on your cooldowns. Too often players die without realizing they had an ability ready that would’ve saved them had they used it in time.
- If you vault backwards after climbing a wall, you will confuse and/or lose many players
- When your pursuer is a high-scoring threat, drag out the chase as long as possible to force her approach to zilch. Even if she kills you, it will have drastically hampered her odds of winning.
- When your pursuer is a lower-level or incompetent player, but you don’t think you’ll lose her, contest the kill immediately. You’ll get your 100 points and respawn sooner. Take it like a hero.
Abilities and perks
In the past, abilities that boosted your ability to escape from pursuers were generally lame. The Sprint option in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood was lackluster, and things like Closure in later versions of the game were simply too narrow to become widely useable. In Black Flag, your pickings are even slimmer. There are very few abilities specifically designed to enable a healthy jog, so nearly every skill needs to be used in a secondary capacity.
Some options like Smoke Bomb, Tripwire Bomb, and Time Phase are pretty obvious. They either completely stop stalkers in their tracks or make following you difficult or time-consuming. Even if a player anticipates one of these going off, getting around them can be circuitous, giving you the time you need to round the next corner.
Teleport is undoubtedly great at getting you out of a corner, but only if you have at least 3 seconds to spare. It’s best to activate it from around an obstruction to prevent your predators from spotting and/or stopping your upcoming quantum leap. It will never save you from a last-second emergency, but few players are ready to interrupt the ability or instantly locate your new digital digs.
Firecrackers and Disruption provide nearly instant UI-screwing power, though it’s obviously not foolproof. Throwing Knives can cripple your killer, particularly preventing them from following you to the roof. Finally, Money Bomb can theoretically block a pursuer with a crowd of NPCs, but this rarely works since it relies on so many factors (the right spacing, the right timing, the right number of AI characters) to actually work.
On the perks front, you’ll find a few useful tools for dodging your assassins.
- Resistance: Cuts down the time you’re affected by abilities that could slow you down
- Sixth Sense: shows you the direction of high-profile pursuers, signaling their next move
- Unstoppable: ensures chase breakers are always available and lets you cruise through mobs
Looking for more tips? Head back to the main Assassin’s Creed multiplayer strategy guide index.