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AC4BF: The low synch run

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gerund's picture
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I'm currently doing a low synch run in AC4, based on the original idea for a low synch run in AC3, by Slembroccoli.

Since only failing the main missions optional objective seems to easy to me, I decided to include the Abstergo Challenges. These don't add anything to the final synchronization score, but I wanted to have some sort of extra challenge. Basically, the goal is to play to the end of the storyline (I intend to continue until after the credits), failing all the optional objectives the game throws at me, and trying to complete as few Abstergo Challenges as possible. Without even starting, I already completed two of those: 'own 5 different figureheads' and 'collect a treasure map'.

Anyway, you may speculate what my total synchronization will turn out to be, and how many Abstergo Challenges I managed to avoid/how few I completed. (Looking at you McStab, you were pretty close with the AC3 one.)

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I actually started the same thing yesterday Smile
Getting around ships with no Jackdaw Upgrades is gonna be awesome.

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gerund wrote:
Without even starting, I already completed two of those

Haha, nice! That was some great proof of how Ubi recently has embraced the 'achievements for EVERYTHING'-ideology. I am looking forward to see if they ditch it with the release of ACU, as it probably will not take place in Abstergo.

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"Perform 10 escapes from open conflict by using blending or hiding" (Abstergo Challenges, Assassin, set 2)

Apparently, red SSI is considered 'open conflict'. This stirred my plans up pretty badly.

Also, out-of-save progress hauls over. So when I'm at 0/5 captains killed (Fighter, set 1) and accidentally kill a captain, reloading the last checkpoint doesn't help and I will still be at 1/5, same as before the reload.

So far, I've 'failed to fail' two more Abstergo Challenges: unlock all locations in Kenway's Fleet, and reset your wanted level by bribing an officer. That's a direct objective in S3M4.

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After a long hiatus, I'm sort of back on this 'project'. I've got a few more Abstergo Challenges unlocked including killing 5 captains (knocking them out counts as killing) and disarming 5 enemies (wasn't paying attention during fights, had no idea). Right now I'm at S08-M02: Vainglorious Bastards. The game is asking me to board the Royal African Pearl (man-o-war, I think), and I only have minimal upgrades. They weren't joking around with that warning message of upgrading some more before starting this memory. Wink
Anyway, this ship keeps tearing me apart and to add some more fun there's two smaller ships escorting it and there's a fort nearby which packs a brutal mortar shot. My only weapons are the broadside cannons (no heavy shot), chain shot, fire barrels, ram and swivels. Also, I can't use ram or swivels as a final attack, because sinking a ship with the ram and sinking one with the swivels is on the Challenge list. I can still use them to deal some damage, though.
Anyone got any pro tips for tackling this memory (and the later ship memories)?

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in this case, how much sync would it cost you to a) take the fort. and b) have the fort take out a ship (optional objective, right?)

That's one option over upgrading the ship...

Then again, upgrading the ship to the same % sync as the above would be better in the long run, if you can beat the mission, because you'll have upgrades for later.

“To have peace there must be strife; both are part of the structure of the world and requirements.” - Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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If you sail away from the fort, do the escorts follow you? Maybe you can defeat them at sea and then return to the Pearl.

We have a great life here in Hawaii, and we're never going back to America again!

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The escorts don't really care about the Jackdaw. If you sail away they don't bother chasing you. The Royal African Pearl (a frigate and not a man-o-war btw) will give chase, but it's not really actively trying to sink you. It will just sorta keep circling and fire its cannons when you're in range again. Sailing away gives you safety from the fort's mortars.

And most importantly, if you sail far enough, the Pearl will go to yellow SSI and when that meter drains you're out of conflict, WHICH MEANS YOUR HEALTH RECHARGES! This is incredibly useful, because I could (in theory), hit her with one or two shots, then flee and come back, and repeat. There is a synchronization wall here, so I can't go everywhere. Also, there are a lot of ships that sail through the area and I don't want to attract them. They're not ust gunboats but frigates as well.

Anyway, I have good hopes of beating this thing.

Edit: Is there a name for the blocks in the Jackdaw's health bar?

Edit2: It's done. Once I got the tactic and timing right (and with some luck) it was pretty simple. It may not have been the most heroic way to do it, but hey, it gets the job done!

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gerund wrote:
It may not have been the most heroic way to do it, but hey, it gets the job done!

Unofficial AC slogan of the last few years?

“To have peace there must be strife; both are part of the structure of the world and requirements.” - Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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Finished my run. Let's go over some results, right?

TL;DR containing 9 words at the bottom.

Total synchronization: 41%

Total synch is calculated in a different way than AC3 did it. Here, I believe it's:
(main sequences + ((side missions + collectibles + side activities) / 3)) / 2 Glasses
So basically, take the average out of all the side content, out comes a number (here it's 0.3%). Then take the average out of that number plus the synch for main sequences: (83+0.3)/2 = 41.6. It's rounded down to 41 to make sure you'll never see 100% if you still have like just one glitched treasure chest left.
Not sure if hacked computers and collecting notes in the modern day count toward 100% here.

As you can see, the epilogue is completed, no cheating, heheh.

Because it's calculated differently, there's no use in comparing the low synch score for AC3 (26%) with this score. It is, however, interesting to mention that I did not complete a single optional objective. In my opinion AC3's mission mechanics are shittier and the game doesn't force you as much.

What side content is completed in the storyline?


In collectibles, there's an Animus Fragment in Long Bay that is impossible to avoid, AFAIK. Please let me know if you find a way around it, but it's in the way of an escape route out of the Observatory during S10M03: "The Observatory".

In side activities, there's a viewpoint that needs to be synched in Havana during S02M01: "Lively Havana". There's also a Mayan Stela puzzle on Great Inagua that James Kidd makes you solve during S04M01: "This Old Cove".

Now, the real challenges was avoiding the Abstergo Challenges. I'm sad to admit I completed 17/100 of those.

I'll go over them one by one, commenting on what went wrong and rating them on possibility to avoid:
1 - In my circumstances it's impossible
2 - Not unless you glitch the game somehow
3 - Just be better at the game than I
3 - I dunno, do I?
4 - If only it was written more clearly
5 - Well this is just my stupid fault

  • kill 10 enemies from hiding places (Assassin, set 1)
    Dear Ubisoft. A non-lethal chokeout should not count as a kill. That's what non-lethal means.
    I didn't realize my tally for this was rising with every chokeout from a stalking zone I performed, so I kind of have myself to blame.
    Rating: 4 - If only it was written more clearly
  • dive into water from a height of 45 meters (Assassin, set 2)
    I think this was one of the first ones I completed, becasue I can't remember a thing about it. I didn't mark it on the notepad I had next to my laptop as one of the challenges that seemed easy to complete, but I should have, of course.
    Rating : 3 - I dunno, do I?
  • climb for a total of 500 meters (Assassin, set 2)
    I'll be honest: I'm terrible at estimating distances, height, weight or time. So I had no clue when this would pop up as completed. I tried to avoid climbing as well as I could by finding other routes toward my destination. Eventually it popped up at the end of sequence 4, while 'scrambling' a small hill.
    Rating: 3 - Just be better at the game than I
  • perform 10 escapes from open conflict by using blending or hiding (Assassin, set 2)
    gerund wrote:
    Apparently, red SSI is considered 'open conflict'. This stirred my plans up pretty badly.

    I'm still not sure what constitutes 'open conflict' here. It may be the red SSI with white spark. I think I would have completed this one anyway.
    Rating: 3 - Just be better at the game than I

  • purchase 3 boat upgrades (Pirate, set 1)
    You're forced to buy upgrades three times: S03M03: "Prizes and Plunder", S03M04: "Raise the Black Flag", and just before S06M01: "Diving For Medicines".
    Rating: 2 - Not unless you glitch the game somehow
  • reset your wanted level by bribing a local officer (Pirate, set 1)
    It's a direct objective in S03M03: "Prizes and Plunder".
    Rating: 2 - Not unless you glitch the game somehow
  • sail a total distance of 100 nmi (nautical miles) (Pirate, set 2)
    Again, I'm terrible with distances. This one popped up while I was making my way to Principe for S09M02: "Trust Is Earned". I tried to minimize the distance I travelled by fast-travelling to locations that were close, but I didn't have a lot of choice sometimes.
    Rating: 2 - Not unless you glitch the game somehow
  • own 5 different figureheads (Pirate, set 2)
    Unlockable content is linked to my Uplay account, so I had no choice to avoid this one. It was already completed during the first memory. It might be possible with another account that doesn't have that kind of unlockable content.
    Rating: 1 - In my circumstances it's impossible
  • collect a treasure map (Explorer, set 1)
    The treasure maps I unlocked with Kenway's Fleet in the Companion App haul over if you start a new savefile.
    Rating: 1 - In my circumstances it's impossible
  • visit 15 different locations (Explorer, set 2)
    You visit about 16 or 17 locations in the storyline. The fifteenth one was Principe, which unlocked during S09M02: "Trust Is Earned".
    Rating: 2: Not unless you glitch the game somehow
  • disarm 5 enemies (Fighter, set 1)
    That's what happens when you stop playing for a while and come back. I forgot that 'counter-hurt' is a disarm when you're bare-handed. FLAE's eye roll
    Rating: 5 - Well this is just my stupid fault
  • achieve a 3-enemy killstreak (Fighter, set 1)
    Got frustrated in some mission and thought I'd finish the fight quickly. Got even more frustrated when I forgot this was an Abstergo Challenge.
    Rating: 5 - Well this is just my stupid fault
  • kill 5 captains
    Not sure if a chokeout counts as a kill here as well. There's a bunch of captains the game wants you to kill though and I'm pretty sure I accidentally killed one by bodychecking him off his ship.
    Rating: 5 - Well this is just my stupid fault
  • possess 5000 R (Golden boy, set 1)
    I tried to keep my coin pouch as small as possible (I kept throwing money everywhere in between memories), until I found out that S06M01: "Diving For Medicines" requires you to gather 5000R to buy a diving bell.
    Rating: 2 - Not unless you glitch the game somehow
  • acquire 10 ship models for your hideout collection (Golden Boy, set 2)
    You unlock a couple of these during the storyline, as you meet/beat certain ships. Popped up during S06M02: "Devil's Advocate".
    Rating: 2 - Not unless you glitch the game somehow
  • unlock all Kenway's Fleet destinations (Golden Boy, set 3)
    Companion App hauls over, 'nuff said. Popped up just before S04M02: "Nothing Is True..."
    Rating: 1 - In my circumstances it's impossible
  • get 25% of total synchronization (Simulation, set 1)
    Makes sense.
    Rating: 2 - Not unless you glitch the game somehow

I didn't mark any of these as 'impossible', because if there's one thing this community and it's videos have taught me, it's that nothing is impossible. That's my imaginary slogan for THB: "Nothing is fixed, everything is possible." Big smile

What did I succesfully avoid?

  • Ended at 9/10 assassinations. The ninth one was Roger Craig Smith in S12M01, so I had to hire drunken pirates to get rid of Woodes Rogers himself. Turns out pirates are about 80-85m away from the courtyard, and desynch happens when you're 75m away from him, so I had to use DAZ's SSI trick to lure Rogers away.
  • I thought the game would force me to beat 3 man-of-wars. In S10M01 you have to evade/destroy 2 man-of-wars, and I immediately destroyed one. I decided to stick with destroying them, because evading them seemed to take a lot of time and the mortar shots kept coming. If I'd desynched, the 1/3 man-of-wars destroyed would still stand and I had to try again. Just before S10M03 there's 2 man-of-wars blocking the cove to Long Bay, but those don't have to be wrecked. You can leave the Jackdaw and swim to the cove, which is what I did.

And lastly, some of the memories are very challenging/frustrating with a barely upgraded ship. It's pretty fun though, you should try it if you haven't already. You sometimes get some help from other ships. I might continue on this savefile to do some forts and naval missions with minimal upgrades.

TL;DR - 41% total synch, 17/100 Challenges. Try zero upgrades sometime.

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nice work

“To have peace there must be strife; both are part of the structure of the world and requirements.” - Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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Forgot about that animus fragment, haha.
I like rating 2, "Not unless you glitch the game somehow", because I've thought some things were impossible before, only to prove myself wrong!

gerund wrote:
Dear Ubisoft. A non-lethal chokeout should not count as a kill. That's what non-lethal means.

The game is weird about that. Incapacitations don't count as kills in the stats, and yet it's one way to assassinate targets. But when you first go on the island of assassins, knockouts are permitted while other kills cause desynch. And of course if you knockout a tailing target it desynchs as "target died".

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Well done!

I have to say, the Abstergo Challenges is not a challenge for me, it was torture. :|

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gerund wrote:
And lastly, some of the memories are very challenging/frustrating with a barely upgraded ship. It's pretty fun though, you should try it if you haven't already.

Whoa. That must have been a pain. How many of the ships did you have to destroy, without being able to avoid them? I would love to see some videos. Smile

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Slembroccoli wrote:
gerund wrote:
And lastly, some of the memories are very challenging/frustrating with a barely upgraded ship. It's pretty fun though, you should try it if you haven't already.

Whoa. That must have been a pain. How many of the ships did you have to destroy, without being able to avoid them? I would love to see some videos. Smile

Not sure about how many. I know that in S10M01 I destroyed 2 man-o-wars and 4 frigates, but that was with a stolen ship that totally kicked ass. I think there's 3 memories where you get another ship (Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge, Roberts' Royal Fortune and the Portugese Nosso Senhor da Compreensão) and in most of these there's some enemy ships to destroy. I know that there's a frigate called the Royal African Pearl that needs to be boarded in S08M02 (see one of my posts above), and Roberts' man-of-war in sequence 12 , I think. You get help from two English and two Spanish frigates there though, so I let them do all the work and only got close to deliver the finishing shot. In the memory where you take your first fort, I think there's a brig or two defending the fort. I don't know if they have to be destroyed to progress, though.

Speaking about forts, I began taking down forts and completing naval contracts with minimal upgrades, and I'm surprised how easy it is. I took down all the 1-star forts with incredible ease and completed naval contracts in all of those. One of them was marked: difficulty 5/5, but the mission was still pretty easy. Find a frigate that's at half health and defend it. First wave: 2 gunboats. Second wave: 3 gunboats. Final wave: 2 schooners and 2 brigs. Done. These missions aren't based on your own ship's level, right? It almost seems like that. Maybe the Jackdaw gets a big stats boost once you complete the storyline? I don't know. It could be that it's easier because I can freely use the swivel and ram now that Abstergo Challenges don't matter anymore. Anyway, I expect that the 2- and 3-star forts will be more of a challenge.