Some Highlights of My AC Valhalla Playthrough

I bought this game well over a month ago, but put it aside after getting to the first boss fight, as I was getting a lot of hitching that was adversely affecting my combat effectiveness. I won't lie, it was hard enough even without the hitching, but I actually ended up winning the fight on a glitch where the boss got stuck in a frozen position. I have combat set to Vikingr btw, which is the default difficulty mode. All other difficulty settings are set to default as well. I've played just it for the last week or so though, and am now up to level 92. The max player level is 400, so there's a TON of grinding in this game. In the Skill menu, which looks like stars in a dark night sky, there are tons of nodes sprawling out from a central point in 3 color coded trees, Melee, Range, and Stealth. I highly recommend going in as direct a route as possible to the Adrenaline nodes, of which there are one in each tree. You start with one Adrenaline slot, so this will give you the max 4. Fortunate for me, resetting skills is free, and I reset many after discovering how to increase adrenaline. When you find and loot Books of Knowledge in the game, it gives you a special Ability, and these Abilities are what drain adrenaline, basically one slot per use. Adrenaline is quick to regen though, especially if you do stealth kills.

I had a much harder time adapting to the combat in this game vs Origins and Odyssey, which felt far more natural to me. A couple things I don't like about it is blocks often bounce you quite a ways back, which at times makes it dicey to get to the enemy while still stunned. Dodges also often make you thrust too far, making it hard to get in side or back hits. I've also once gotten into a good side position on an enemy with a large shield, had a problem with his shield still blocking him, even though his body was mostly exposed. I should clarify this is while NOT target locked however, as I don't like that it heavily restricts your movement and view of other enemies.

It's basically for me, a game that is both frustrating at times, but also fun and satisfying when things go well. I tried playing with target lock off at first, and had to take aim sensitivity down a bit, but I've since adjusted it to Moderate, which matches the difficulty mode I'm playing on. Even WITH target lock on though, it's quirky, mainly because the reticule's recognition of a damaging hit via turning red can be deceiving. It will quite often go in and out of red even while the reticule is clearly on the silhouette of the target. This is why I thought target lock wasn't working when I first tried it, but last night I saw that the reticule definitely has to be red for it to work. Even if you are say targeting the left edge of an enemy moving right, as long as the reticule is red at the precise time you fire, the arrow will curve slightly to follow his movement. This in no way makes tough enemies easy to kill though, as they have yellow highlighted spots that are weak points, that are hard to hit without special slow mo generating skills, such as Brush With Death, that makes it kick in when you dodge a melee strike in the nick of time.

I started out with Berserker armor and a heavy shield, but have tried the Twilight armor with light shield, and am about to try the Rus armor with light shield. The Twilight armor perk is it rains down ice shards on light finishers, and imparts a lava fire blast on heavy finishers. Both effects do quite a bit of damage, and to clarify, the light effect works with ANY weapon, just on a regular vs charged up (heavy) attack. In fact it seemed like the ice shards were raining down even before I got to a finisher, but it may have been a storm that came from a previous finisher. It's strange how the ice shard rain does not affect you or your crew, but it DOES affect the enemy. The fire has even more effect (in close proximity of it's blast anyway), but takes more stamina to generate. The main reason I'm trying other builds is mainly to get movement with a lighter shield while it's raised, whereas heavy shields are only good for well timed melee weapon blocks, or a stand your ground stationary position. The lighter weight also drains stamina much less, so you can do 3 dodge thrusts simultaneously, vs 2.

If you play this game, you're going to want to read the database that details enemies and their tactics and weaknesses. Druids can be particularly tough if you don't know the best tactics, and they have a hallucination fog that can buff them, and limit you. They also at times have animals that can be hard to deal with, one of which even has a wolf that can transform into a werewolf. There ARE ways you can deal even with enemies well above your power level though, like tossing the torch when you're out of ammo and health. You have an infinite supply of them, but they are NOT easy to toss precisely.

Hyvlatonna Skull Crusher

Skull Crushers like to toss melee weapons at you rapid-fire. I was purely just intent on looting this bandit camp , but was low on arrows. Turned out lighting a couple up with a torch was all it took.

Stealing an Artifact from a Goliath

Goliaths are big guys that can grab you and toss you, throw big rocks at you, and rush you and smash into you hard. Again though, I just wanted the loot, so when I saw a leap of faith perch near where he was, I put 2 and 2 together.

Isle of Ely Monastery Superman Jump

Another one of those moments that just felt glitchy (to be honest, I've had hardly any bug problems).

Wenloch Abbey Raid at 5 times my Power Level

I honestly didn't think this would be possible once my arrows and health ran out, but then I remembered I had limitless torches! The 20 min Inst Replay didn't catch the whole raid, as I was cautiously inching along, but I show at the end I'm power level 52 compared to the recommended 250. It's obviously not what I would recommend, as the time you spend on it is very disproportionate from the gain.

Erik Loyalskull Fafnir's Fang

This is a fight with a Drengr whom wishes to depart to Valhalla with honor via being beaten in battle. He's similar to a Skull Crusher in how he fights, but more advanced, meaning harder to get past his blocks, faster, and WAY more health. I had to resort to my Incendiary Powder Trap ranged ability, and regular arrow shots. The spear you get in reward is well worth it, as spears are the go to weapon in the game due to their speed, reach, and damage.

Snaring Thorstein

A mostly stealth quest where you capture a rival in Dublin whom threatens your cousin Barid, the real King of Dublin.

Rathdown Build Up

This is the first quest to get a network of abandoned trade posts going again in Ireland. You have to first take the post from enemies (usually bandits), acquire the deed, build the post, then upgrade it. Some of the deed acquisition parts can be quite interesting and involved, and I like that most of the posts are a good place to fast travel to for arrows and cloudberries to replenish ammo and health.

Thieve's Warren at Over 3 Times my Level

This is another place I was dead set on looting, but is far more doable than raids, as you can avoid most of the combat. In forgetting to nab the key first however it took extra time waiting for a safe opening. It skips the first big treasure on the other side of the camp, which is quick and easy to sneak to. It also skips the prep for looting the central hut, which is tossing a torch on it's roof. Otherwise it's sure death to face the guy guarding the Book of Knowledge inside it, especially in close quarters.

A Show of Character

This is a quest to get back the stolen Book of Kells, which is highly valued by Christians. It's also Eivor's way of helping his cousin Barid to get respect from the Christian kings whom doubt his faith. Along the way we run into our old pal Thorstein.

Trade: The Ivory Post

Another trade post quest, this time just the deed acquisition part. It involved some Druids that looked too daunting to fully loot at the time, but I came back later and got it all (off camera). The Boar Master was the most daunting, but no match for my Poison, Incendiary, and newly acquired Smoke Bomb ranged abilities, the latter of which was then full strength. Meaning there are two of each ability, and getting the 2nd one adds another effect.

Donegal Raid

A Goliath tossed me around a few times here, one of the reasons I'm going with lighter gear. It's kind of hard to avoid being grabbed by them when you run out of stamina. It also has a smack down cage match with a mt lion, and some loot that was a bit puzzling to get to at first.

Lismore Abbey Raid

The Abbey Raids are always a bit bigger and harder with more loot. By now I was finally feeling more confident and aggressive, but it didn't stop me from making use of some handy cargo hanging above a spear wielding foe.

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Ok, more stuff from the Wrath of the Druids DLC, and a revisit to England as well. I'll call this episode Fire and Ice, because this is where I start using the Twilight armor that has fire effects on heavy finishers, and ice effects on light finishers. I also upgraded my spear and bow finally, though only for the last video shown. I am also using the Focus of the Nornir ability now, which isn't used until the last video shown. I've had it for some time, but was reluctant to use it based on what I feel is an inadequate description of it. It says "Use the power of the Nornir to aim and shoot at your enemies with fateful speed", and the example video shows Eivor rushing through and one shotting one enemy after another. What it doesn't say or show however is that it slows down time quite a bit, but that also means you can only get off so many arrow shots for each use of it. Each use drains one Adrenaline slot as per the usual with Abilities, but it also uses your Stamina, and once your stamina bar is drained, you need to then start it again after your stamina regens and use another Adrenaline slot.

It's definitely very useful though, as you can take huge chunks of health from tough enemies with each shot, as the slow mo allows you to hit weak spots and heads much easier. I've only got level 1 of this ability so far, level 2 increases it's damage with each enemy you kill. I've already looked for the next instance of the Incendiary Powder Trap ability, the one that turns arrows into little fire bombs, but it is in an area that is currently inaccessible, and I assume the same is the case with level 2 Focus of the Nornir.

War Efforts

These are more "pigeon coup" quests that other ACs have had, being quests for kings in the area, usually to kill troublesome bandits. There are bonus objectives with each one that net you more reward.

An Eye for an Eye

This is a quest for Azar to capture and bring to her Konstantinos, the one whom took her eye, and killed her family.

Movilla Abbey Raid

Just a basic abbey raid with no intimidating underground areas.

Small Coastal Raid in Ulster

This is one of many small coastal areas that usually contain just one large chest (and a few small ones), and are not designated on the map by name.

Trade: Sweetening the Pot

This is the takeover of the Ardmel Trade Post from bandits and the acquisition of it's deed, which allows you to rebuild it. The last bandit, a "Man at Arms" class, was not easy to kill. I ended up running out of arrows. The key that allowed access to the deed was also hard to find. Sometimes they are quirky in that they're only visible from certain angles.

Foothold in Connacht

I enjoyed this quest, it starts with stealth and ends with an epic battle. It's an effort to takeover Cashelore, a fort nestled high on a mountain that will be used strategically to separate their enemies in Connacht and Ulster.

Potion of Blood

A quest to unravel the mystery of who poisoned king Flann's troops after taking over Cashelore. This in turn opens up the Order of the Danu menu, a sect of dark Druids.

Into the Fog

A very tough quest unless you are well equipped, which I wasn't. I had not yet upgraded my spear or bow, and did not have Focus of the Nornir enabled. This is the first quest that deals with Dark Druids, and this takes place high atop a dark forest area where they hold sacrificial ceremonies. The leader of the group is a Wolf Sorceress. The database tells you to take out her wolf first, but that is very hard to do on this quest because it attacks you as a Werewolf before you even get the chance to damage it as a normal wolf.

Once you damage the werewolf enough in the initial battle, it then retreats as a "Puka" (wolf wearing antlers) to it's Sorceress. At this point none of the others are alerted unless you make yourself obvious. I started out pretty well with stealth from the bushes after wearing down the werewolf with only dodges and spear attacks (though lost 1.5 of my 4 health rations).

Part of what makes this quest difficult, especially for me since I don't have great awareness in dark areas, is negotiating the rugged terrain in the dense fog, and finding where consumables are to boost back up your health rations. I lucked out by accidentally coming up on the sorceress though, and although she had clearly spotted me, I managed to stealth attack her while the prompt for it was still showing. I also found luring the werewolf down to a clearing below the altar helped to move easier, and it seemed weaker farther away from the Sorceress, even transforming back into the Puka once.

Solo Raid on Wolf Sorceress Camp

I first accidentally stumbled upon this camp while on my way to look for clues in the Potion of Blood quest. Once I realized it was not part of that quest, I decided to come back to it later. Here I use the recommended kill the wolf first tactic, but in my opinion, the Sorceress is the harder one to deal with, so I like to kill her first if possible. She's powerful even without her wolf, and has a very damaging ranged attack that inflicts a fairly fast acting poison. I did it solo just for challenge, only calling in my raid crew to help open the large chest.

Zealots - Redwalda/Kendall/Cola

Here I FINALLY take on some Zealots with my upgraded spear and bow, and Focus of the Nornir enabled. All 3 are game changers, though I am still finding some aspects of combat to be quirky at best. I still don't feel enabling Aim Assist does any good, and in my searching I've found most commenting on it say the same. This is the case even for those using gamepads, though I did see one player report it locks on too much, latching onto anything within a given range. I'd have to guess that person is using a gamepad, as it NEVER reacts that way for me on mouse. So I'm still feeling that it isn't supposed to work on mouse at all.

One of the best things about Focus of the Nornir is it doesn't even use the arrows in your quiver when it's enabled. You can clearly see when I fought Kendall that I had already run out of arrows before enabling Focus of the Nornir a final time. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it also seemed strange that Kendall sounds like a man when you fight this Zealot, but then sounds like a woman when you have the conversation after the kill. Does anyone else notice this? Maybe this is a bug.

At any rate, if I can manage to find a skill or ability that makes timing blocks easier, I might just feel unstoppable. As you can see, some enemies like Cola are very hard to block. However I DID manage to get in some good arrow shots even after my adrenaline was fully drained and couldn't use Focus of the Nornir anymore.

This is back in jolly old England btw, though some don't seem too happy to see me.
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