They say that money makes the world go 'round, and in Assassin's Creed Unity, it's just as true. No, we're not talking about the microtransactions that have turned off some series fans, but the all-too-real need for cash in your pocket to make the most out of the resources at Arno Dorian's disposal. And there are a few clever ways of making it that some players may miss.
Given how slim the AAA offerings for Xbox One and PS4 remain, it's a safe bet that more and more gamers will be trying their hand at Unity this holiday season, once Ubisoft has managed to solve much of the game's technical issues (and added free DLC to sweeten the deal). To help those players make the most of their time, we'll offer some tips and tricks to keep Arno's bank account full, and upgrades and customization flowing.
Complete EVERY Crowd Event
There may be a larger story at play in Unity, but whether running through the streets or across the rooftops of Paris, players will constantly be alerted to a nearby Crowd Event. In previous games, random events like these tended to be time-consuming or frustrating, like chasing down a messenger for endless blocks. Thankfully, Unity's challenges typically require players dispatch a handful of base-level enemies.
The individual Events don't bring the big bucks, but once a set level of 15, 20, or 25 is completed, players can receive a bonus of up to 10,000 francs; not a bad reward for what amounts to a few minutes of combat.
The fact that an early mission featuring locked doors can be completed just fine without breaking them open may make lockpicking seem like an overrated skill, but it's not. There is no shortage of locked chests (marked in red on the mini-map) scattered throughout Paris, carrying far more cash than their unlocked counterparts. That amounts to bundles of money around every corner that Arno is impossible of gathering, until Lockpicking is unlocked (preferably in Sequence 2).
Loot the Right Chests
The chests located in the higher difficulty districts of Paris contain an even higher amount of wealth, but can be a bit more challenging to attain. With stronger soldiers prowling the streets (carrying more money to be looted once defeated), it's worth taking a stroll into an intimidating district just to know how much Arno must progress before he can start harvesting their larger supplies of cash.
Stick To The Story Until Sequence 3
It's just as true that "time is money" in Unity's early stages, where the starter equipment and weaponry is more than sufficient for the tasks at hand. While it's wise to still tackle every Crowd Event as they arise, don't focus too much time on cash until reaching Sequence 3. Besides becoming a legitimate Assassin at that point, Arno is also given access to the Cafe Theatre, located directly above the Assassin headquarters.
And that's when every second of mission time starts contributing to cash in players' pockets.
Don't Wait - Renovate
Once the Cafe is unlocked, put any cash available into renovations. Each renovation brings with it a larger sum stored in the building's account every few minutes, and as the Cafe becomes more successful, more missions are unlocked by speaking with the manager Charlotte Gouze. Fast-travelling back to the Cafe to keep the money rolling in (once full, the account remains maxed out until emptied) can be a bit of a nuisance, but it's a necessary one.
The old mechanics of upgrading the city itself returns in Unity, allowing players to renovate Social Clubs located across Paris. With each renovation comes additional missions to further maximize profits, but it's still best to start by purchasing the Social Clubs in the poorer districts of the city, specifically Palais De Justice and Fauborg.
It may seem like a secondary mechanics, but once the Cafe Theatre has been fully renovated it's only the number of Social Clubs owned that limits the flow of cash rolling in.
Surf the Rifts
The decision to heighten the French Revolution setting of Unity with interspersed Helix Rifts - time anomalies transporting the player to Paris centuries later - may not be embraced by every player; but for those looking to make fast cash, it's too good an opportunity to pass up. Once players are given an introduction mission to each Rift, the following Data Harvest is the real money-maker.
Players who focus on collecting high value data clusters - and rescuing trapped Assassins most of all - will earn several thousand francs almost immediately. Once the Data Harvest is completed, a ghost will be added to guide players to the most efficient paths. Follow it a second time, and a bonus data level will likely be met, adding another lump sum.
The addition of cooperative multiplayer gameplay to Unity may have been under-served by the game's troubled launch, but it's worth powering through to unlock the rewards contained within. Specifically, the Heist missions found across Paris - even more specifically, the Ancient History heist, requiring a team of four Assassins to seek out hidden treasure.
The bonus rewards are even higher if the mission is carried out without detection (don't bet on it), but it only requires that a valuable item is found in one of four chests scattered throughout an area crawling with enemies. Once it's found, escape with the loot, and earn 25,000 francs - at least. There's no limit to how many times the mission can be attempted, and it's short enough to complete several times per hour - if players are really hurting for the cash.
Now that we've passed on some tips on how to acquire the funds needed to tailor Arno Dorian to each player's personal preference, we hope it helps new players enjoy the parts of Unity that really do work. Having a strong cashflow won't fix the technical issues or address narrative criticisms, but it will certainly make the core experience a bit more satisfying.
Assassin's Creed Unity is available now for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.