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View Full Version : Progression Locks in Assassin's Creed



Jexx21
04-14-2014, 12:01 AM
Something that threw me off of Assassin's Creed 4 was the fact that it's side missions, collectibles, weapons, and things you could buy in general were too open. You could do the Assassination contracts before Edward even knew what a Templar or Assassin even was, you could collect the mayan stellae before you even knew what they were for. You can do the Templar hunts out of order. You can see everything you can buy in the game once you have access to the stores, and you can upgrade/renovate your hideout before it would make sense to.

In the Ezio trilogy and AC3, there were progression locks. Once you got past certain points in the story, you could buy more, newer, better weapons and tools. You unlocked more side missions to do. Collectibles were revealed over time. I liked this, you felt a clearer sense of progression. When I fully upgrade my island hideout in AC4 before I'm even half finished the story I feel like there's something wrong.

I wouldn't be surprised if most people preferred the way AC4 does it, but this is primarily the reason why AC4 wasn't my GOTY for 2013 (it was Splinter Cell: Blacklist btw).

What's your takes on this, do you prefer AC2-AC3 or AC4's way of doing it?

Shahkulu101
04-14-2014, 12:13 AM
AC4's. I was drowning in meaty side activities. Delicious meaty side activities. It was like a limitless supply of your favourite fast food - except you wouldn't get full and you could go back again and again.

I'm not really bothered about the feeling of progression within the story, because I'm not concerned with the story as a whole anymore. As long as the plot is vaguely entertaining, the side characters are interesting and the protagonist is good - then I'm happy.

frodrigues55
04-14-2014, 12:59 AM
You could do the Assassination contracts before Edward even knew what a Templar or Assassin even was, you could collect the mayan stellae before you even knew what they were for. You can do the Templar hunts out of order.

This distracted me too damn much, to be honest. It somehow ruined the sense of progression to me and it looked lazy. I don't even think they needed to be incorporated into the story, but if they are going to do it for every single piece of information, it's best they do it once they are introduced in my opinion. It looked stupid when Edward was introduced to assassinations contracts when I had done a bunch of them before.

Jexx21
04-14-2014, 01:27 AM
Yea, those ruined the sense of progression for me, but the point that I maxed out my hideout before I was halfway through the game was what broke it completely for me, even though Monterigionni was similar in the sense that as long as you could gather the money you could upgrade the town. But it had a lot more stuff to upgrade and buy so it felt more important. Maybe if the hideout included more than just one upgrade for dancers and pirates...

But the weapons shop also bothered me. I was under the impression that there was going to be more weapons unlocked as you went through the game as the amount of swords and pistols you could buy was pretty small, but no, what you could buy at the beginning of the game was the entire selection >.> Screw that. Also, what about dye/outfit progression, AC2, ACB, and AC3 did it by cities/districts (while ACR did have them all available at the start, which was also a bit weird)...

I dunno, I prefer progression locks on side missions and weapons so that it actually feels like I'm progressing my character along with the story.

king-hailz
04-14-2014, 03:53 AM
Well I preferred it back in AC2 and AC2 alone... I mean I loved how everything progressed in that game with all the weapons and upgrades!!! For example getting things from Leonardo and learning new abilities from Mario... It just felt more immersive for some reason. But what I really think they need to do is copy from farcry 3 and have skills so when you kill 5 guards by stealth you can upgrade to kill from a stalking zone or you can unlock new abilities... and some of them can only be unlocked from a certain point in the story. And after a while you can upgrade to get 2 hidden blades after you have a lot of the skills... I think this could really give a better feeling to the assassins creed games... It would also be a great way for ubisoft to show people all of their features that nobody knows about... and there are a lot... but I really want them to have skills that you can upgrade and also weapons that you can upgrade which we already have... but I mean you could upgrade your 1 hidden blade to get poison or to include the hidden gun and then you get the double hidden blades... and then with the sword you can upgrade to add more damage speed and combos and finally you can get an awesome sword with awesome animations and stuff... you get the idea... and they also should have blacksmiths were you can customise the look of weapons like the hidden blades... and you may be wondering that the new upgrades for weapons will get rid of the blacksmiths variety of swords and guns well we can still have them but you would have about 3 swords with different uses.... and they really need to add loads of weapons again... like the axe and hammers!!

Farlander1991
04-14-2014, 07:33 AM
On one hand, I really don't mind. It's the Animus, so things don't HAVE to appear or happen in the chronological order. I mean, in AC2 we can get contracts from Lorenzo long after he's dead, for example. And if the players want to get to that content sooner, they can.

On another hand, I understand why it can be jarring.

SixKeys
04-14-2014, 09:34 AM
I prefer the AC2-AC3 system. AC4's problem with weapons was that there wasn't much variation anyway, every weapon was just some variant of double swords and pistols.

In general the upgrade system needs a kick in the arse. I like the idea of crafting our own weapons and armor. Even if hunting for animals won't always be available in every setting, there should be some kind of replacement for it, like doing side quests for rare materials (similar to ACB's shop quests, but less annoying). Maybe by liberating forts/towers/whatever you would gain access to new types of metal or cloth. AC4's crafting was a step in the right direction, but should be expanded and evolved.

And yes, having Villa upgrades and assassin contracts available right from the start is stupid. It was also a shame how little Edward's mansion actually featured in the story. Perhaps they should have left it out entirely and focused on customizing the Jackdaw.

Locopells
04-14-2014, 11:12 AM
It niggled me too, a bit. The second time around, I just waited until after Edward first encounters the Assassins, before doing everything.

I wasn't surprised he had a land base, but I was hoping for the customization to focus more on the Jackdaw as well - going below deck would've been nice.

frodrigues55
04-14-2014, 12:30 PM
It niggled me too, a bit. The second time around, I just waited until after Edward first encounters the Assassins, before doing everything.


Yeah, I did one or two when I first got to Havanna, but then I realized it made no sense so I stopped in the hope it would be presented in the story. The problem is that, the first time you play, you are blind to what will be part of the story or not. I didn't know Mayan Stones and Plantations would be story points, so by the time I reached the right stage, I had done a lot of them already. It bugged, I won't lie.

I don't know if it was deliberate to counter AC3's criticism regarding linearity - after all, every marketing video for AC4 made sure to point out that "open world is fully open right away" - or if it was the case of too many teams working on too many systems at once.

Wolfmeister1010
04-14-2014, 12:53 PM
SO many of these customization issues could be fixed so easily if they let us customize more in depth like the design of you bracer, the shape of your hood, the color of the leather on your chest, the style of your boots, the color of your robes, ect ect ect.

In regards to the question, I prefer AC4's. Sure some of the chronological aspects are kinda jarring, but the fact that it is so open and free and there is so much to do makes up for it in a heartbeat. Also I didn't know there was a "correct order" for templar hunts?

Locopells
04-14-2014, 01:05 PM
Yeah, I did one or two when I first got to Havanna, but then I realized it made no sense so I stopped in the hope it would be presented in the story. The problem is that, the first time you play, you are blind to what will be part of the story or not. I didn't know Mayan Stones and Plantations would be story points, so by the time I reached the right stage, I had done a lot of them already. It bugged, I won't lie.

I don't know if it was deliberate to counter AC3's criticism regarding linearity - after all, every marketing video for AC4 made sure to point out that "open world is fully open right away" - or if it was the case of too many teams working on too many systems at once.

It was obvious for some things though - when I found an unattackable fort, for instance...

Jexx21
04-14-2014, 05:27 PM
Honestly, it's the reason why I didn't finish AC4 until recently, and one of the main reasons why Splinter Cell: Blacklist is my 2013 GOTY rather than Black Flag.

I praised the fact that AC4 wasn't going to have purchasable heavy weapons and a "small weapon" (like daggers or the tomahawk) because they essentially functioned the same way as the normal weapons, but I did think that there were going to be a larger selection of swords and pistols. I liked the hideout, personally, but I could have forgone it if there was more emphasis on customizing the Jackdaw and making it your actual home.

There should have been quests related to the Jackdaw and the hideout in my opinion, to make it feel like you're building them up more in terms of community. Like the Homestead. The Homestead had the best sense of community of all of the hideout/home systems in AC, although Monterigionni still has the best upgrade system.

Sushiglutton
04-14-2014, 05:41 PM
It's a little bit tricky to answer imo. One of the biggest issues with AC3 was that it was so slow in the beginning. It's clear that the AC4 devs wanted the player to explore early on (sandboxy gameplay matches the pirate fantasy very well, so it makes sense for the tone they were going for). Now if you lock a lot of content you effectively discourage early exploration as it bvecomes more efficient for the player to first unlock everything and then explore. Otherwise you will need to revisit the locations several times.

As you point out it leads to some story inconsistencies, so it's a bit of a tradeoff. For the style the devs were going for in AC4 I think it was correct to do what they did and unlock everything as early as possible.

Jexx21
04-14-2014, 05:43 PM
It wasn't the best for me which is pretty much why I consider AC4 to just be barely better than AC3 and that's only because the mission design and side content is far better than AC3's, beside the lack of meaningful Jackdaw/Hideout community development.

But I think that the lack of progression locks on the weapons also threw me off a lot.

Sushiglutton
04-14-2014, 05:55 PM
I don't really care about weapons or fixing the homebase, so those thing hardly bothered me (didn't even notice tbh). I just wanted to sail around the Caribbean and do stuff (in combiantion with enjoying the campaign) and the game was great at that.

Jexx21
04-14-2014, 05:59 PM
Well, they greatly bothered me.

Locopells
04-14-2014, 06:04 PM
Weapon progression is sorta locked by the economic system. Basically, unless you're gonna spend ages at sea at the beginning, you don't have the money for everything.

Jexx21
04-14-2014, 06:08 PM
You don't have to have enough money for everything to make the system obsolete, just enough money to buy the weapons with the best stats.

Besides that I also feel like Edward lacks an "iconic" cutlass set... also why are Ezio's swords the sword he has at the beginning of ACR? O.o Wasn't aware that was his iconic sword.

Bah, Ezio's iconic weapon is more like his crossbow anyway.

no_one_o1
04-14-2014, 06:25 PM
Both and neither.
It should be a mix of AC4 and 3, I think.
As soon as I got the Jackaw I set sail and sunk hours into all kinds of sea battles, harpooning, exploring and what not, it was awesome.
But when I returned to the story, the "tutorial" missions that told me "here, this is how you capture a fort" and I was like "Oh... I already captured like three of them." THAT made me feel out of place.
So maybe you should cramp those tutorial-like missions together or the other way, make them optional OR automatically trigger them when you first engage into that kind of activity (for example, when you start attacking your first fort, Adewale could have just engaged Edward in a short cutscene and talk about capturing forts, and then the game would send you back to letting you do your thing).

I also liked that I could choose a costume of my liking right from the start, cause I'm a costumization-nerd (as opposed to playing hours and hours before Connor finally can change clothes).
So, yeah maybe a bit of both ;)

JustPlainQuirky
04-14-2014, 06:30 PM
so you want less freedom and more restrictions?

What are you? A templar? :rolleyes:

Jexx21
04-14-2014, 06:34 PM
I don't mind the fact that some of the options were open for the whole game, but the things that they have actual tutorial missions for shouldn't be available until you complete those missions. I mean, the Templar Hunt missions aren't available until you capture Great Inagua.

In terms of game design in side mission, collectibles, and weapons availability, I feel like progression locks is the best way to go for Assassin's Creed. In terms of mission design, I do prefer more freedom, but these are different things here.

pacmanate
04-14-2014, 07:24 PM
AC4's but they need to tell us we will get something for it!

It is SO pointless after beating the game to do all the naval contracts and get the best pistols, what are you going to use them for?

Have AC4's style, but tell us what the side missions will give us. If its something special just have it blacked out and have it say "special reward", at least give us some indication there is a reward for doing the side things.

Jexx21
04-14-2014, 07:50 PM
That has nothing to do with progression though.

I mean, even as a person who would prefer weapons to be unlocked as you progress in the story, the weapon stats don't mean much.