Ever since Assassin’s Creed introduced multiplayer with Brotherhood, the franchise has prided itself on delivering a deep yet accessible way to slay together. Since then, the multiplayer has evolved quite a bit – but one thing has remained constant: the fact that for master assassins and initiates alike, it simply makes sense. After an extended session exploring Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag’s many multiplayer modes, we cornered Lead Multiplayer Game Designer Tim Browne to discuss the secrets for a killer multiplayer experience.

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag - Multiplayer

Once again, the multiplayer is just so accessible in Black Flag. Is that intentional?

Absolutely. Every year we look at making it more accessible without losing the core gameplay and without, as the fans would say, dumbing it down. We don’t want to dumb down the game. We just want players to understand it better. This year is no exception.

Tell us a few specific things you’ve improved to make it even more accessible…

We have an improved tutorial, which has this nice story to it so it’s a bit more accessible. It draws you in a bit more than a dry, flat simulation. Then, with Wolfpack we’ve created a deliberate story wrapper around it. It’s sort of a revenge story – but I don’t want to give too much away and spoil it. The story helps introduce all the different sequences and what’s involved in Wolfpack, to make you a better player so you can work with up to three other players cooperatively in this specific mode.

We also made improvements on the menus, and we looked at the ergonomics of things. As a player, where would I expect a menu to go? How should it react? What happens when I press this button? That kind of thing. We’re always striving to improve that to make it feel comfortable so when I pick up the controller I don’t feel put off. I’m not overwhelmed by information. We gradually introduce different things like abilities. That’s key in our progression system, which we spend a lot of time on.

On the flipside, what improvements and additions can longtime core players look forward to enjoying?

We’re constantly looking at the abilities and balancing them to give the players a true balanced experience. This year we introduced full clan support, so within the game you can create a clan. You can invite people to a clan. You can promote people to be able to invite people to a clan. We’re also doing a specific ladder for clans so there will be clan vs. clan ladders and things like that.

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag - Multiplayer

In other words, better ways to compete?

Yes. We are looking at making the game more and more competitive. We know there is a key group within the community who are already very competitive. They run their own tournaments, which we absolutely love. We want to support that and encourage it even more. We’ve included all sorts of things. One of those things is the ability to jump into a private mode and then choose which team you’re going to start on. That sounds really basic, but it wasn’t in before and we knew the fans really wanted it.

We’re always looking at keeping the game going. This shows in our prestige loops as well. We’ve increased the level cap this year from 50 to 55. After you’ve gone through 55 levels, then you prestige and there are 99 prestige loops. There are hours and hours of gameplay in that. There’s progression. You unlock new things – titles and emblems and things for customization. It’s not exactly a showoff, but if you put in the effort to get to prestige 15, we want to give you something exclusive that you can only unlock at prestige 15. We love supporting the community like that. We want new players, but we want new players to make the community bigger, not to replace existing fans. We will always support existing fans.

Do you have any tips specifically for those new players?

We spent a lot of time working on the tutorial. There are two tutorials – one is the basics and one is a little more advanced and more focused on improving your score. At a base level Assassin’s Creed multiplayer is not about the amount of kills, it’s about the quality of the kills. The second tutorial focuses on that, so I recommend running through it. It will teach you how to get higher scores on kills.

A new thing we introduced this year is the ability videos. If you don’t know how to use an ability, these videos show you a good way to employ the abilities.

My personal recommendation is to play with a team first. I wouldn’t necessarily go free-for-all first. You’ll go up against some really good players and it’s going to be a bit tough. If you enter a game where you’re playing as part of a team and you’ve got a good player on your team and a good player on the other team, you’re going to learn from watching them play. Play all the different modes. Work out which one you feel comfortable with first and then focus playing on that one to begin with. Then, when you figure out the game and learn the little tactics and the maps, you can move onto the others and you’ll be a top-level Assassin in no time!

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag - Multiplayer

Uncover more secrets of Black Flag’s multiplayer here:

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag – The Team That Slays Together

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag – Killing It in Multiplayer

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag – Customizing Multiplayer with Game Lab

Assassin's Creed 4 Black Flag

Assassin's Creed® IV Black Flag

Release date — October 29, 2013
Developer — Ubisoft Montreal
Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag tells the story of Edward Kenway, a young British man with a thirst for danger and adventure, who falls from privateering for the Royal Navy into piracy as the war between the major Empires comes to an end. Edward is a fierce pirate and seasoned fighter who soon finds himself embroiled in the ancient war between Assassins and Templars. Set at the dawn of the 18th Century, the game features some of the most infamous pirates in history, such as Blackbeard and Charles Vane, and takes players on a journey throughout the West Indies during a turbulent and violent period of time later to become known as the Golden Age of Pirates.

ESRB Rating: MATURE with Blood, Sexual Themes, Violence, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol
the author

Gary Steinman has won numerous editorial awards, but you probably don’t care about that. He also ran multiple industry leading publications and websites including PlayStation: The Official Magazine, GamesRadar.com, PC Gamer and Newtype USA – but that’s all in the past. The real truth about Gary? He loves cats, he takes too many selfies on Facebook (according to one co-worker, at least), and he occasionally crochets. And now he’s helping share stories about Ubisoft’s amazing games and their incredible creators in his role overseeing the UbiBlog and other select Ubisoft social channels. Follow him on Twitter: @GarySteinman

5 Readers Commented

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  1. Sann, Matthew on October 21, 2013
    May we have some kind of mode, where we can just free realm and kill others that look suspicious. Not like assassinate, but with out locking in our targets . Also without stuns just kill. If a guy is hunting you down you can kill him instead without locking or some type of counter when the button is pressed at the same time, just like in single player.
    • Gary Steinman | Communications Manager Author on October 27, 2013
      The beauty of Game Lab is the ability to create your own modes. I bet you can create something like this, and if it's a lot of fun it'll surely catch on!
  2. Rabbit on November 1, 2013
    Yea make 100000 levels so you force players to have to buy your unlocks not even cod does that
    • DWNLD1000 on February 4, 2014
      Well, if you learn how to play, and how to play RIGHT, you'll progress the levels pretty quickly. Just yesterday, I came in second to someone with 4 kills and 1 death where I had 11 kills and 6 deaths. Like Browne said, it's about the quality of kills, not number.
  3. Alan on April 14, 2014
    Hello! Can anyone tell me how to lower my prestige level? I am a prestige 11 at the moment but can't work out how to hide it as many players do!Also I keep getting dis-conected from games, sometimes before the game has started and other times when I am at 1st position and dominating the session!. Is this reward for higher ranking players.last of all in the last 1 week I have dropped to abstergo rank 1500 from 407. I am fighting my way back and am now around 700 rank has there been any problems recently?Cheers! Alan

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