While I’m by no means a master of multiplayer domination in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, my years of Allied Armory espionage have taught me a thing or two about the art of backstabbing people when they least expect it. And while the parallels generally end there, I think an appreciation of patience, timing, and murder generally make for an effective assassin in either game.
Though I recently exhibited a little introductory cursing Brotherhood strategy (I’m also working on a much higher quality follow-up video), I thought I’d start diving into the game’s intricacies a little bit more, cataloging every facet of multiplayer for your education and amusement.
Today, let’s start with some of the first unlockable abilities you can use to assassinate, escape, or humiliate your rivals.
The first thing you need to know about Brotherhood multiplayer is that you unlock abilities, perks, and other options as you earn experience. Experience earned is identical to the points you receive during matches, so if you score a kill worth 1,000 points (bravo!), you also earn 1,000 exp towards your next unlock. Unlocks vary from slight sidegrades to game-changing mechanics, so getting more will always benefit you, if not just by giving you more options for different situations. Luckily, Ubisoft’s ranked matchmaking system usually pits you against players around your level, so you will rarely face someone with 10 more unlocks than you. And since each player can only equip 2 unlocks at a time, it’s easy to counter enemy skillsets once you’ve seen them. In fact, many of the lowest-level abilities are the most powerful and versatile throughout a player’s progression.
In addition to active abilities, perks, and win/loss streak bonuses, you’ll unlock cosmetic personas, colors, and outfits. Review the in-game progression manual for the full unlock progression. Please note that several ability “evolutions” are earned by completing challenges, not by gaining experience.
When the objective of the game is “kill the person who looks like this,” the ability to transform into a different persona can confuse your assassin or throw off your quarry. Disguise randomly assigns you a new look for 15 seconds, though if anyone saw you transform or watches you revert back, it will be extremely obvious you’re the contracted target. For this reason, Disguise is very situational, since 15 seconds is not a long time if you hope to smoke out an enemy.
Offense: When you are fairly sure your target knows who you are (especially in Manhunt mode), Disguise around a corner then make your way toward him/her. Disguise is rarely used by attackers, and most players will be so paranoid looking for obvious assassin personas they won’t notice a new “NPC” blending with them. Use your window of opportunity to Focus on your target (wait 3 seconds before killing him/her) for an additional 150 points.
Defense: Disguise can save your life when an enemy is looking for you, but because it’s timed, it requires you know when they’ve arrived and if you can safely use Disguise without being seen. For this reason, Disguise is very risky in Wanted modes, since you have no idea who your killer is unless he/she makes a mistake or runs right at you. Disguise is better suited for Manhunt (since you know who the enemy is) or for blending in after you’ve lost your pursuer in a chase. If you can break line of sight (LOS) and then Disguise, you’re almost guaranteed 100 points for an Escape, since few assassins will risk a random stab into a crowd for a High Profile Kill.
Surprisingly enough, Sprint Boost makes you run much faster than normal. While using Sprint Boost, your character leaves behind a white trail of wind and produces a loud “whoosh” sound. Therefore, this ability will never help you with stealth on either offense or defense. However, being able to put distance between you and a pursuer (or close it between you and a target) is often the only option, especially when opponents are using abilities like Templar Vision to undo your Disguise efforts.
Offense: Sprint Boost is generally not advised on offense since using it forces you into High Profile, which greatly limits the points you can earn for a kill. And while 100 points is better than no points, you could instead equip Hidden Gun or Throwing Knives to kill or slow down a retreating target. That said, Sprint Boost is useful on defense, so in game modes in which you’re hunter and hunted at once, it has a lot more versatility and less cooldown than most other skills.
Defense: Obviously, being able to run from your foes faster is a good bonus, but keep in mind it only works when you know you’ve been discovered, and your enemy isn’t already close enough to kill you (as they can still perform a diving stab on you if you’re within ~2 meters). If you’re already out of this range and your hunter is obviously intent on airing out your gastro-intestinal system, for God’s sake, run! Sprint Boost primarily speeds up your running speed, so take advantage of this instead of trying to climb buildings or blend into crowds (your wind wake will give you away). Run for your life until the Sprint has run out while constantly breaking LOS, then blend.
This is no exaggeration (would I ever do that?): Smoke Bomb is one of the best abilities in the game. Much like the single-player skill, Smoke Bomb causes everyone around you to keel over in fits of coughing, giving you the perfect chance to have your way with them or make your escape. Because of its large radius and powerful effect, Smoke Bomb can counter many later unlocks like Templar Vision, making it a valuable and versatile skill for any time you need area denial.
Offense: Generally, Firecrackers are more useful on offense because they blind and reveal your target. However, Smoke Bomb prevents your foe from running away or fighting back, which all but guarantee a Silent Kill with a Focus bonus. Smoke Bomb can also stun other nearby players, including your target’s teammates or your own pursuer, buying you time for securing a clean kill.
Defense: When you’ve got a target on your back, almost nothing beats Smoke Bomb. If you know or suspect your killer(s) are nearby, a Smoke Bomb flushes them out for a free 200 point Stun. If you see your killer moving towards you, using Smoke Bomb while they’re about 3 meters away will either send them into coughing fits, or provide an instant escape route. If your assassin enters your area with Templar Vision or a well-timed Morph, an instant Smoke Bomb will counter their efforts, netting you points while they lie helpless, ready to die to their own assailant. Do be warned that Smoke Bomb will not work if your killer has already begun his/her assassination animation. That said, a premature explosion is always better than a late one.*
When you feel like rolling up on your target with your gat out, the Hidden Gun means assassination and getting covered in your victim’s blood are no longer intertwined. With a 1.5 second charge-up time, the Hidden Gun guarantees a kill from long range. The downsides, however, are many. The Hidden Gun has a 90-second cooldown (some perks can alleviate this), often being unavailable when you need it most. It’s extremely loud and requires you to stand still, but worst of all, kills with this Renaissance arm cannon only net 100 points. For this reason, the Hidden Gun should only be used when your target is on an out-of-reach roof, is fleeing too quickly to catch, or if you suspect he/she will use a Smoke Bomb on you if you get close.
Offense: While the Hidden Gun is powerful, I wouldn’t recommend using it unless your targets are the kinds of morons who spend the entire match in High Profile on the roof. You can’t catch them without climbing up yourself, but in doing so, you expose yourself to the same ridiculous chase antics. Just spot the roof-runner, lock on, and move onto the next target. The Hidden Gun can also be useful in team games, allowing you to finish off targets who are running from your teammates. In general, you want to only use the Hidden Gun as a last resort because any Incognito melee kill is automatically worth at least 400 points.
Defense: The Hidden Gun has no use on defense, since you can’t kill or stun your own pursuer with it. Therefore, avoid equipping it when you’re the hunted in Manhunt. Also consider that its uses in Wanted are limited by your opponents’ playstyles. In many cases, Charge or Throwing Knives are more effective at mid-range combat, and both skills can be used to escape as easily as they can be used to assassinate.
*This is where the obvious joke goes.