Assassin's Creed

Valhalla Settlement Building: Immersive or Not?

I'm a roleplayer above all else. I love to play tabletop roleplay games and am easily frustrated when I encounter a lack of narrative, immersion or effort on the part of people in charge of the media I consume.

Because of that, I recognize my opinion may be biased (but then again, what else can an opinion possibly be?). For me, base-building is a wonderful way to make a player feel immersed and grounded in the world. It's a way to give them responsibility that goes beyond the hack-n-slash of the rest of a game. While I recognize there are many problems with Assassin's Creed Valhalla, I'm going to try to focus this post.

I'd like to address the settlement building. I am still only in the first part of chapter 2 (I think), when you first arrive in England (no spoilers from here). I am very disappointed with the settlement for a number of reasons I'd like to outline below in the vain hope that someone affiliated with the development will read it, but also as an open letter to game developers in general to wake up and start making games for more intelligent players. Very few of us are stupid (despite what online discussions may suggest).

I would also like to preface this post with the understanding that there may be more in the game. However, I've reached the point where I have put it down. Possibly forever, as it's just too much of a slog.

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Problems with the settlement:

  • The mechanical benefits are unclear or nonexistent
    • I found one that gives a health bonus (?)
    • The blacksmith is somewhat useful but only because it's forced to be by game design
    • The fisherman's hut only BUYS fish from ME? What??
  • Players have no control over building placement or structure
    • The excitement of unlocking a new building dies within about 30 seconds when you have to walk around and see that the town is more of a mess for every building added.
  • The monotonous way of gaining more supplies for building (raiding)
    • Raiding should be fun but it's another repetitive activity to make me feel like there is more to this game.
  • There is no feeling of true "growth" so far
    • So my clan lives here now…but they don't have houses/huts? Anywhere?
    • No farmsteads? How do we eat? Rich arable was more valuable than gold to Norse settlers.
    • A base is one thing, but this is called a settlement and I don't feel it. Settlements don't spring up randomly. They are attached to resources usually, or follow a trade route or war route, etc.

But above all of this, I don't feel like there is a REASON to invest my time and energy into the settlement. It's not even "mine". I'm not a lord with a responsibility to these people and I don't get anything out of it. There are no people flocking to my army or plans for me to build an empire. So why the Hell am I wasting my time?

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Anyway, that's my 2 cents. I'm sure I'll get lots of downvotes for it, but fortunately I already believe if you're unpopular you're probably doing something right anyway haha. I don't believe digital likes should be a currency of healthy discussion or the foundation of one's opinion.

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