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Release Date: November 19, 2013


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Naval Combat Guide


Last Edit: 2 months 26 days ago


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Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

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Naval Combat is a complex affair in Assassin's Creed IV, with many

weapons, tough enemies and complicated upgrade system. Once you get
a handle on the basics of Naval combat, however, taking on even the
toughest opponents, like Man-o-wars, Forts and Legendary Ships
becomes fun and lucrative, if never quite easy.

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Level 22

Edits: 1,391

Freedom Cry (DLC)

Hunting and Harpooning

See our Legendary Ships Guide for more on the toughest Naval
Combat opponents.

Crafting and Upgrades

Money Making Guide

Level 22

Edits: 293

Weapons and Upgrades

Templar Keys
Legendary Ships

Level 30

The Jackdaw's defenses and offenses can be upgraded, but some

upgrades are not as good as others. You can check out the list of
upgrades here, as well as recommended upgrades for your ship's needs
in the main game. Here we'll discuss what weapons you should upgrade
purely for successful Naval Combat, and how to use them effectively.

Kenway's Fleet
Companion App

Level 20

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Naval Combat Guide

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Note that [1] require both Reales (See the Money Making Guide) and
Resources like Wood, Metal and Cloth, which can be acquired mainly
through Naval Combat. The other two resources, Sugar and Rum, can
be sold for a massive amount of money, and they can't be used for
anything else. Sell your Sugar and Rum!

Early Upgrades

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Achievements and Trophies

As you start your seafaring adventure and acquire a ship of your own, it
won't be the terror of the high seas that you captain in your dreams.
Focus on upgrading these items early on in your travels, as it will help you
take down bigger and tougher ships despite being a substantially weaker

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Heavy Shot -- This is extremely powerful ammo for your Broadside

Cannons. You can fire your Broadside Cannons by looking out the side of
your ship, but to use Heavy Shot you have to not hit the AIM button.
The game doesn't make this apparent. Just hit FIRE. You can still aim this
low, extremely powerful fire by lining up your ship perpendicularly with its
target, but you can't aim it vertically. Aim for the lowest part of the hull.
You need to purchase Heavy Shot, unlike your normal cannon ammo,
Round Shot. You can do so, after purchasing the initial upgrade, at
weapon shops.
Broadside Cannons -- These cannons line the side of your ship and can
be aimed vertically. Look to the side of your ship and hold AIM and then
FIRE to fire them. It is preferable that you use Heavy Shot at all times, but
your normal Round Shot can be upgraded to a very powerful level -- be
sure to make adding cannons a priority.
Hull Armor -- The reasoning behind this upgrade should be obvious. The
further you progress through the game, enemy ships and forts will become
larger and more powerful. Upgrading your hull armor may be expensive,
both to your coin purse and crafting supplies, but is well worth it especially as you encounter more ferocious opponents on the high seas.
Once you discover and craft the 'Elite Hull Armor,' you'll also gain the
ability to ram other ships while taking no damage, regardless of whether
you brace for impact or not. It will also add cooler darker colours to your
ship--always a plus.

Swivel Guns -- These guns can be used to take out small targets
highlighted on an enemy ship in red and yellow. To see these
targets, you must do some damage to the ship's hull with your Broadside
Cannons. Once you see these weak points light up, hold the SWIVEL GUN
button shown until a reticle moves of the spot, then let go to fire it. Activate
Swivel Guns while your other weapons are reloading. They do a great
deal of damage. Note that the Elite upgrade for these allows you to hold
the button and continuously fire the swivel guns at the targets at a much
faster pace.

Chase Cannons -- These guns fire Chain Shot, which does little damage,
but temporarily stuns ships, preventing them from firing or maneuvering
quickly. This is extremely important for early battles with Men o' War and
Legendary Ships. You can fire your Chase Cannons by facing directly at a
ship and hitting the AIM button, then hitting FIRE. Aim for masts to slow
ships down and stun them, then maneuver behind the ship and stay
behind it, firing your Round Shot, Heavy Shot and Swivel Guns. This tactic
will help take down the toughest enemies in the game.

Secondary Upgrades
These are upgrades to the Jackdaw that are best added once you've
progressed a little further through the game.

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Ram -- While ramming into a ship twice the size of yours isn't necessarily
the smartest idea, an upgraded ram will greatly benefit your crew once
you've begun encountering mid-size ships more frequently. Brigs and
frigates will sustain a considerable amount of damage from being rammed,
and most schooners and gunboats will be sunk or disabled in just one hit.
Paired with the Elite Hull upgrade, the ram becomes especially useful
since the Jackdaw will no longer take damage while ramming enemy

Mortars -- This long-distance cannon is mainly useful for Forts, but with a
little of practice you can also hit moving targets like ships with it. Note that
it alerts enemies from a great distance, ruining an effective surprise attack
with a more powerful weapon, like the broadside cannons. Mortars are
activated by hitting the MORTAR AIM button and then FIRE, usually the
left shoulder button. Pass the white aiming reticle over an enemy until it
turns red and fire. However, if the element of surprise isn't exactly your
style, mortars are a great way to inflict a fair amount of damage on large,
slow ships at the start of a battle. You can also take out any number of
smaller, weaker ships from afar without having to bother with a
coordinated attack.
Fire Barrels -- These floating explosive should stay low on your list of
priority upgrades. Unless an enemy is directly behind you, nearly touching
your hull, they will avoid these, rendering them useless. Look over the
rear of your ship and hit FIRE to drop them. You can use Swivel Guns to
detonate them for a large blast radius, but direct contact will set them off
as well.

Battle Tactics
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag - Legendary Ship: LaDama Negra
03:41- Assassin's Creed 4 Walkthrough

To take out the toughest ships follows this simple formula (see video
above to see it in action).
Stun the ship with Chase Cannons (Chain Shot): You should start the
battle this way to give yourself time to maneuver into attack position. Keep
in mind that with the largest vessels (especially Legendary Ships) the
stunning effect caused by the chain shot will still be minimal, adding only a
few seconds here and there to your window of attack.

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Maneuver the Jackdaw behind the enemy ship: Directly

perpendicular, or ideally somewhere near 45 degree angle to its rear, with
your broadside cannons facing its rear and hitting a a large amount of
lower hull.

Fire: Stay there, carefully speeding up and slowing down and rotating and
firing Heavy Shot at its rear and rear sides, but staying out of the firing
angle of its cannons. Aim low as possible and fire your Heavy Shot at it
repeatedly, firing the Swivel Guns while your Broadside Cannons

Repeat: You can repeat this process if the enemy ship outmaneuvers
you, just speed away and come about, firing your Chase Cannons to stun
the ship and start anew.

Other Naval Combat Tips

The toughest ships are in the south, including Man o' Wars and other
tough ships.
Take on tough ships alone -- if you pursue a ship without firing, it may
split off from its armada. However, if there are small gunboats or other
weak ships accompanying the target ship, you can use them to repair
the Jackdaw between attacks on the larger ship. Just board them and
choose the Repair Jackdaw option after that sequence!
Take out Forts to eliminate hostile territories for easier hunting of
enemy ships.
You don't have to battle a ship to capture it. Simply maneuver into a
ship's path, climb out of the Jackdaw and board the enemy ship
and you can kill its entire crew. Once this is done, return to your
ship and you can pull up alongside it and capture it. This does not work
if you are engaged in battle, so you'll need to sneak aboard. It takes a
while, and it's not as flashy, but you can capture giant ships early using
this method. Note: This does not work for Legendary Ships, which kill
you if you touch their hull.

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When you use the Spyglass to spot a ship, you can see its resources/loot
and then make the decision to board it. If you sink the ship, you will only
receive half the resources on board. Note that Royal Convoys will still give
you the full amount of the cash even if you sink them. You cannot board
Legendary Ships.
After seeing the sails on the ship fall--or the health fall into the red--pull up
near the side of the stunned ship and hold the button shown. The region
you can stop in is a large rectablge on either side of the stunned ship,
highlighted in the water. If you damage the ship, with your Ram or
otherwise, you risk sinking it. you can order the crew to throw hooks over
and board the ship. You can now swing across using a rope.
The goal is to eliminate the enemy captain. You can freely attack the
ship's enemies, climbing the mast for air attacks. You can also use a
Swivel Gun to attack the enemy ship. Aim for highlighted enemies or
Powder Stores.
Capturing some ships will require you to kill two enemy scouts on the
upper levels of the ship. It's very tempting to take the shortcut up by using
the improvised "elevator,' however this is very risky. The enemy at the top
will be waiting for you and will often strike before you have any chance to
counter, sending you plummeting back down to the deck. The fall will kill
you or leave you inches from death. Take the slower route and climb up.
While not as flashy, you do not risk a teeth-grinding death by gravity.
Once the ship is captured you have 3 options as to what you do with it.
Lower Wanted Level - This not only lowers your wanted level, but also
gives you more crew members than what you get from just capturing the
Send ship to the Kenway's Fleet minigame. Replace your weaker ships
with larger ships. You can also sell these off for massive amounts of
diamonds (the in-game-minigame currency)
Repair The Jackdaw - If your ship took damage in the fight, you can use
materials from the defeated vessel to repair your own ship.

Enemy Ship Types

Man o' War-- Largest kind of enemy ship. "Capable of carrying 100
cannons," carries all types of resource in large amounts and money as
well. Successfully boarding these requires multiple objectives and the
defeat of 20 men
Frigate -- A ship that gets harder to fight over time, carries all types of
resource in medium amounts. Boarding these require a secondary
objective as well as defeating 15 men.
Brig -- A medium-to-hard ship battle, carries all types of resource in
small amounts and uses it's ramming attack liberally. Boarding these

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requires the defeat of 10 men.

Schooner -- An easy battle, carries Rum and Sugar. Boarding these
requires defeating 5 men.
Gunboat -- A small ship with little cannons, only carries ammo. You
cannot board these.
Secondary objectives include: Killing scouts, killing officers, killing the
captain, destroying powder reserves, or destroying the ship's flag
Note that you can use your swivel gun to fire 5 miniature cannon balls at
the ship you are attempting to board. In the case of schooners or brigs
these can fulfill the boarding requirement if aimed correctly.

Environmental Tactics

Dynamic weather can change the entire tone of a battle. Storms exist in
the environment, and you can choose to avoid them or plunge right in.
Enemy ships will also be affected by the weather, allowing you to gain a
tactical advantage if you play your cards right. Avoid Rogue Waves (steer
into them and brace) and water spouts (just don't go near them) which will
damage you as well as your enemy.
Another tactic includes using waves as a form of protection. A wall of water
acts as a kind of shield from cannonballs, so an advantageous use of
placement on choppy seas will prevent you from being harmed by enemy

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Legendary Ships | Naval Combat | HMS Prince

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