Assassin's Creed III
From Before I Play
- If you're not going for 100% completion, skip this section.
- Don't collect any almanac pages until you are playing as Connor, the main protagonist. Something appears to permanently bug the completion percentage for almanac pages. One of the suspected culprits is collecting them with the starting player character, though reports have been inconsistent. Once you have access to both cities, collect all the pages immediately and make sure they registered. This is the only known way to permanently bork a 100% completion attempt. Ask me about noticing this problem after finishing almost everything else.
- Don't fully upgrade your ship's cannon damage. 100%ing a very late-game ship sidequest, The Giant and the Storm, requires weakening several enemy ships and destroying them by targeting their gunpowder. Having weak cannon makes this task mildly more doable. The other preferred strategy is to ram each ship in the magazine at slightly below top speed. This is the other big 100% obstacle - the mission is moderately hard in the first place, doesn't save an intermediate checkpoint, and the full sync requirement is freaking moronic.
- Don't capture all the forts before you have completed both the guild sidequest and the achievement for raiding convoys. Enemy convoys still spawn when there are no forts, but they become incredibly rare, like tax collectors in AC Revelations.
- AC3 appears to save certain objectives and flags by player Uplay account, instead of to their save file. If you restart your game from scratch, don't be too surprised if certain elements such as the pivot points and some of the dishes in the manor. This appears to specifically be the case for things that are tied to UPlay Achievements.
- Yes this character suddenly knows things he shouldn't, and has a thing that came out of nowhere. Expect a lot of "big moments" with zero build-up. Narrative be damned, that's how Ubisoft rolls-a bunch of cutscenes and scripting that explain motivation, provide context, and give any sort of nuance to the plot were cut at the last minute. You can find some of them on youtube if you want.
- Things you want to get asap: maps, saddlebags, high-tier weapons (look for things with "replica" on them), quiver and dart upgrades.
- The Peg Leg/Captain Kidd missions have some of the best rewards and gameplay in the game. These are best completed as early as possible. Get a map to show you where the trinkets are.
- Poison daggers remain one of the best tools in the game. They'll kill pretty much everything discreetly in one hit. Note it takes a while to kill off larger animals, and they can still attack/run at full speed until death. They make hunting trivial.
- Outfits you buy at stores are considered "dyes", and not actual outfits that unlock at your base. You can reapply them at any time for free by returning to any store once you've purchased them.
- Several activities should not be attempted until the postgame. These include: Completing the Encyclopedia of the common man (several NPCs only perform activities in certain seasons), Completing the hunting guide, Capturing all forts, Completing all of the map, Visiting all taverns.
- If you're interested in the fast travel markers unlock them as soon as possible. For Boston/New York this is done in their perspective underground locations. You can also unlock fast-travel markers by conquering forts. It's worth looking at a map for the various fast travel points underground if you find them tedious.
- The New York underground lantern puzzle for St. Paul's chapel is bugged and has a solution that's largely unrelated to the clue. The actual solution is MALE on the LEFT, SUN on the TOP, MASON on the RIGHT, LIBRA on the BOTTOM.
- One of the underground exits in new york is opened in the main plotline. Don't worry about it.
- There is an achievement for beating one of each game at the homestead. The bowls game near the ship will not count. In their infinite wisdom, Ubisoft implemented almost full AI for centuries-old board games that are easily "solved", meaning almost everyone will find beating an intermediate or higher AI player impossible. Solution? Go online and find programs that run the game with perfect AI (there are a few available, though they're quite old and may require weird things like Java). install them and "play" their perfect AI's move against AC3's AI.
- Focus on the liberation missions that give you new recruits as soon as possible. Once you've gained a new recruit (there are three for each city), you'll gain a skeleton key that unlocks all of the chests in their district. You're still stuck manually unlocking frontier chests. This also reduces the number of guards in the area as usual, a blessing given the many aggro bugs this game has.
- Liberation missions are radiant and randomly generated-they don't consistently show up on maps. Run around in your potential recruit's district to spot them. Being higher up "widens" your view range, and makes it much easier to find them.
- Once the main game gets underway, complete the homestead missions as soon as they become available. Likewise for buying chest maps and opening chests. Chests contain crafting recipes, including for upgrades, as well as substantial amounts of money. Homestead missions must be completed to craft most items.
- Don't bother with crafting anything except upgrades, inventions, and caravans/boats and their upgrades. Buying furs (bear and beaver being my favorite) from your trapper, or hunting them yourself are the most effective ways to make money. Caravan them off, and you'll be rolling in cash in no time.
- Saddle bags (large and small) are one of the best items you can craft - they allow you to call your horse and restock supplies rather than returning to town.
- Killing anything in view of any soldiers will make them hostile to you, even if you're helping them fight off enemies or predators.
- If a caravan gets attacked, and you are not in the frontier, you can send your recruits to assist it by pulling up the menu where you assign them tasks in different parts of the east coast.
- A special material is needed to make certain unique items, such as Franklin inventions. At some point in the game an unmarked crate will appear partway up the cliff behind the Homestead. It will contain all you will need of that material.
- You will not unlock the Thieves' Guild sidequests until you pickpocket a certain amount of money. Do so asap so that your progress counts.
- Many of the challenge related instructions are vague or inaccurate. An example of this is "kill 5 animals from horseback" - you'd think shooting game with a bow would be appropriate here, but it isn’t. Instead you have to jump-kill them with your hidden blades. Another one is "disarm 5 opponents" - this means stealing their weapon from them while you yourself are unarmed, not disarming them in general.
Mission-specific full sync tips
- Something on the Side: For the "don't tackle or bump anyone" objective, you are still supposed to tackle the target. Take one attempt to just learn his route. About 75% of the way through he follows a rough J-curve, giving you an opportunity to run ahead and nab him.
- Public Execution: Unequip your weapon and go straight to tackling Hickey, avoiding everything else. Do it twice and he will aggro on you instead of Washington's guards.
- Conflict Looms: The ship section sucks, I know. The ship on the left with the grenadier should be your first target. You can assassinate two of the patrolling guards from railings to clean things out, then double assassinate the pair of soldiers at the bow while the grenadier is at the other end of the ship. Air assassinate the grenadier from the yardarm while he investigates. Run the ship on the right (with two captains) second. It's actually possible to snake through their routes to the bomb planting spot. If that doesn't work for you, get ready for some trial and error figuring out how to thin the ranks. Fun!
- Chasing Lee: the first part is the most aggravating-generally be ready to run this mission several times to learn the required actions. Shoot the barrel early to avoid getting knocked down by it. Avoid the first set of guards by running up and over boxes on the right side. Get ready to take surprise fire damage and have to restart in the ensuing section.
- Oak Island: On at least the PC version, the timing for the wolves here is impossibly tight. What the game may surprise you with - poison darts will work on the wolves. Bring a full set in case something goes wrong. Get on a tree and start tossing.