Assassin’s Creed 4 naval combat tips & Jackdaw upgrade guide

Assassin's Creed 4 Black Flag preview screens

[Update: here's a complete guide to Assassin's Creed 4's elite Jackdaw upgrades.]

Ubisoft reckon up to 40% of Assassin’s Creed 4 can take place at sea so mastering sea combat is a must. Here’s a range of navel tips covering everything from general ship combat to upgrades and crafting.

Assassin’s Creed 4 tips: General naval combat guide


Use your Spyglass

It’s massively helpful to get a good idea of what your up against so use your spyglass to get info on ships you’re about to engage. It also lets you know what resources and loot are on board so you know if it’s worth it.

Use the map

When you’re not in open seas keep one eye on the mini map in the bottom left. It’s a much better way to navigate when there are rocks and narrow passages. In fact it’s possible to use that alone to zip through dangerous straight at high speed.

Use the weather

The waves at sea can actually play a part in battle, stopping shot or even giving you a more advantageous firing position. In some cases it can actually be in your interest to seek out bad weather to help push a battle in your favour.

Assassin's Creed 4 comicon assets

Always be boarding

Boarding another ship effectively protects yours by stopping it from being damaged. You can then also use the Repair Jackdaw option to patch up any holes.

Don’t forget the front or back

Drop barrels whenever you can. Even if there’s nothing behind you at the time, the circling combat means you’ll make things harder for your enemy in the long run. Upgrading your ram also means you can plough through smaller ships – both tactics should maximise the damage you can do while still blasting out broadsides with your cannons.

Lose the wanted level

If you start drawing enough heat keep an eye out for the special Hunter class frigates as you can board them and use the ‘Reduce wanted level option” to clear your name.

Assassin's Creed 4 comicon assetsTake out the small fry

Use you a custom marker to track the biggest threat while you take out all the smaller ships. Clearing the water will make it easier to take on larger targets and if you’ve upgraded your ram and barrels it should be quick work.

Make boarding painless

Use the swivel guns to thin out the enemy crew before you board a ship, looking for the red barrels to cause the most amount of damage before you pop over.

Next: Assassin’s Creed 4 tips: enemy ship type guide