I Hit Assassin's Creed Odyssey's Original Level Cap Before Seeing Half The Map

Every time I play Ubisoft’s gargantuan Assassin’s Creed Odyssey I’m astounded at how much of it I have left. I’m also left startled by how different an experience I seem to have had from many other players.

I’ve heard some people complain that Odyssey is a grind, that they level too slowly, and that they’re convinced that Ubisoft throttled progression to coax players into buying the game’s optional, $10 experience-point booster.

A colleague told me he finished the game’s, doing the major quests, lots of sidequests and unfogging the entire map yet barely reached the game’s original level cap of 50.

Me? I haven’t even seen most of the game’s main landmass yet and am having a great time.

This screenshot shows about half of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s map. The parts in brown with white icons are areas I haven’t been to.

I have purchased no boosters. I’ve just done a lot of sidequests and then taken a break from those sidequests to poke through even more optional stuff. This is my preferred way to play. I like wandering around in massive open-world games, climbing virtual mountains and diving into virtual lakes and it seems the game is rewarding me for it.

When I play Odyssey, I’ll spot a cluster of question marks on the game’s map and venture toward them to find out what they represent. If they point me to the location of “alpha animals” to kill or optional enemy bases to clear, I’m into it. I use these missable encounters to sharpen my skills and see more of the game’s beautiful scenery. Usually all this wandering leads me to more sidequests and hidden loot, too.

I’m about 75 hours into the game, but I think I’ve been off the game’s main quest path for the past 30 or 40. I’m exploring the game’s islands, which are mostly in the eastern half of Odyssey’s map and are full of surprising micro-odysseys. On one island I found a series of quests in a region full of people clearly trying to scam tourists who are interested in the legend of the minotaur.

On another I witnessed the surprise return of a character who I’d last encountered 60 hours ago in the west. There’s an island that features a test to distinguish between two identical twins and another that hides treasure atop a volcano. There’s even a tiny island full of deadly chickens. There are also pockets of satisfying exploration to be done even between the islands, where I recently learned that sunken shipwrecks may contain figureheads that you can attach to your ship. I got a cool octopus for my trouble.

An octopus figurehead for my ship is just one of the surprising rewards I’ve earned for my exhaustive crawl through the game.

Odyssey must have hundreds of quests. An unexpectedly large number of them are tied together and move the player’s main adventures forward. While the ones that advance the game’s primary story are obvious, many others do not immediately advertise that they will further the player’s other goals of murdering dozens of members of a map-spanning cult or tracing the possible presence of creatures of ancient myth. I am impressed that so much of this stitches together, but that wouldn’t have been necessary to keep me playing. I’m simply very much into this kind of adventure, which suits the wandering, adventurous, omnivorous way I like to play sprawling games.

For others, much of what Odyssey offers off its main path is just too much of a grind. They find the game too repetitious as one fort raid blends into the next and too many treasure chests cough up unneeded swords and armour. I don’t mind, as I chip away at the game for an hour or two each night after putting my kids to bed. Some of what I’ll find in each session is overly familiar, but I usually encounter far more surprises and many more beautiful sights.

I also reached the game’s original level cap without going to the huge islands in the northeast. I’ll get there... eventually.

I do have one tip for people looking to level up faster in the game: Grab the contracts posted on the message boards in each town. These contracts usually ask players to sink a certain number of enemy ships or kill a certain number of soldiers. I never actively try to complete them—and I avoid the ones on daily or weekly timers—but the game tracks their progress as I play naturally. Inevitably I achieve the contract goals while doing other stuff. I’m regularly startled by how generously they pay out experience points. With that added XP, I can in turn activate more and more powerful abilities that make things like quickly raiding enemy camps or identifying the locations of hidden loot easier and easier.

Ubisoft recently raised Odyssey’s level cap to 70 and added a lot more quests — some paid, some free — to the game’s map. I don’t see myself finishing the game soon, but as I exhaustively tour its islands, I do feel the mainland beckoning me. Once I get there, I suspect I’ll soon finally have seen more than half of what this game has to offer. It only took me 75 largely enjoyable hours.


Comments

    I find i'm having the same experience. I'm sitting at about Level 54 but am only up to Chapter 7 and still have a fair bit of the map unexplored.

    It works for me, i'll explore an area, do any quests and clear a few locations.

    Same here. Level 55 and my friends say I have barely touched the main story. Ship fully upgraded and all map revealed. Those ? marks. Those dam ? marks distract me all the time.

    I hit the original cap, level 50, way too early as well. I was actually pretty upset when it happened, i wanted more skill upgrades. Not many people will agree with me but it was my game of the year.

    Yep, same. Hit the cap maybe...halfway through the main story. I never understood the people complaining it forced you to buy the XP boost, if anything it was too easy to level up.

      Because some people rush through the story and complains game is short and boring.

        Yeah. I mean, I get that people deliberately avoided content and then complained there wasn't enough content like idiots, but I don't understand why. It's like the kid in class when we were making bridges out of spaghetti, complaining his bridge is falling apart while literally jabbing all the connection points with a craft knife until they snapped.

          I think it was because they want to be the "first" to reach see the ending and brag about it and doing so ultimately killed their own enjoyment of the game since they missed the stuff that makes the game great.

          Like transientmind said, some is because they want to review the game, most are just idiots trying to brag.

            This is exactly how I feel when I see people rush through games. I remember an article about someone smashing through Spiderman to 100% the game in the first weekend it was out. Just thought, did you even get a chance to enjoy it or what? but each to their own.

        Because it is.
        Let's compare red dead to Odyssey.

        In red dead everything is ambient excepting some few gang hideouts. In odyssey almost all of it is procedural with level locking.

        In red dead I can go anywhere and visit anything in the massive map and once I complete the main story it pulls a pokemon red on me and opens up the old map as well, where again it is almost all ambient.

        This means I experience the game by doing whatever. You just find stuff - sotes and scenery, small stories, random NPC nonsense, whatever in different places including where you don't expect.

        In odyssey you go to ? Complete tickbox and go to next ?. Its not about exploring its about following your minimap and completing objectives.
        It is fun, but unless you're fine with doing the same thing over and over again there isn't much to it. It lacks ambient world content and your ability to explore is blocked both by your level and gear meaning you don't have exploratory freedom. It drives you to do all the ? In an area just to have the required level for the next, and that is why its boring.

    I concur, I levelled up easily enough and will go out of my way to see what's behind that ? on the map ... because!
    I also regularly get the message that I've accidentally completed a quest (because I was feeling particularly violent!) and just have to collect my reward.

    I said it at the time, but yeah - like, a week in I hit the level cap and had explored maybe a fifth of the map. I hadn't even advanced the story beyond uncovering the existence of the cult. That was it. Boom. 50.

    Kinda spewing, actually, because I did a whole lot more activities after that point that COULD have gone into additional 'mastery' levels or whatever they're calling it, but instead all those boatloads of exp were wasted.

    I had the exact opposite complaint to people complaining about the booster - exp became meaningless after cap, and I didn't feel like taking on any activities which primarily awarded exp. For me, cap came too fast.

    I cannot understand how someone could complain that the game is geared towards coercing you into getting a booster. Literally the only scenario in which I could believe that might be true is if you're a game reviewer who is used to completing call of duty campaigns in under four hours and are annoyed at the idea of even sampling any side-activities.

    Serious contender for biggest fucking non-issue of 2018.

      I think the main complaint was that a lot of the game felt like filler?
      I own Odyssey but still haven't booted it up. Mostly because I spent such a long time playing Origins, but couldn't complete it before becoming disinterested with the story. No doubt Odyssey is a game I'll find it tremendous for a solid 20 hours, at which point I'll be very keen to move on (unless the story has managed to really grip me - which I'm told only happens very late in the game?).

      SkillUp, one of the few reviewers I put much stock in, raised a bit of this in his review.

      Also - the core problem with adding microtransactions which make a game easier or faster (ie a difficulty slider), is that for some of us will always question whether the game was designed this way to make it more fun, or if it was designed this way to push you towards purchasing a MTX.

      Even if this is one of the cases where it wasn't - I can't say I have any sympathy for Ubisoft for the controversy it created.
      Why couldn't they have just added this as a free difficulty slider - like games have since forever?

        I really liked SkillUp for reviews myself... Until his review of this very game.

        Someone complaining that they can't just plow through the main story in a game basically because they refuse to engage with any of the game's other content is absurd, to put it simply. Especially if they're meant to be reviewing said game's content.

          Side missions should be optional Not mandatory.

            Game content is game content... Complaining because you're refusing to engage with the majority of said content in a game is asinine, and reviewing a game like that is even more of a joke.

            Even then you can actually ignore a good deal of the side content in Odyssey and still be high enough level to complete the main story, but not if you ignore absolutely EVERYTHING else.

            It's extremely rare that a game of this sort even lets you do that as it is. Even games like The Witcher 3, the typical go-to comparison that gets brought up, definitely doesn't just let you ignore everything else and give you a pass.

          Frankly, for anyone to have encountered gates that blocked progress in the main story, I'm convinced that not only were they not completing any side-quests whatsoever, but any time they were taken to an area with optional objectives, they must not have been completing those, either.

          The exp payload for burning all the war suppiles and looting all the things in a fort is somewhere around a hundred times as much as just slipping in and killing that one guy you needed to for a mission, then fucking off.

          "Couldn't be fucked burning all four supply caches while I was in the fort, so the game is clearly forcing me to buy a booster."

          Get outta here.

        This was my issue with levelling up. I just didn't want to do most of the quests because they were boring filler for the most part. Its the same stuff I've been doing for the last few AC games.

        I didn't have this issue with Origins but I love ancient egypt so maybe I just enjoyed the setting more. But I'm time poor so doing a bunch of "kill x at y which is a while away" got boring after a while.

          You really should do the sidequests in Odyssey. Some of them are quite good and a couple reference tales from the time period. Ubisoft put a lot more effort into them than origins.

        This is probably the 1 game you cant say the side quests feel like filler. There are actually massive story lines that will be completely missed if you don't do side quests, Its gives you incentive to do side quests more than any other game I've played.

    Same - levelling up is a non issue. You need to do 3 things semi regularly which will pay off.

    1. pick up ALL the contracts off the board. most of the contracts overlap and they are NOT time based so when you complete the contract you will get XP and Drachme for multiple duplicate contracts = profit
    2. Pick up bounties for for XP and drachme. They are fast and easy and keep you constant source of income and xp.
    3. Goto the blacksmith and buy all the resources he sells (you will thank me later when you get to level cap and wanting to upgrade all your legendaries weapons/armour

    Do the above 3 semi regularly and will level up and full of resource to upgrade in no time.

    Loving this game.

      Yeah, you gotta load up your log with those non-timed bounties so that they can complete themselves through the course of play without actually being pursued as goals unto themselves.

      There's nothing like the feeling of taking out a pirate vessel because you accidentally aggro'd it, and all of a sudden three bounties that you've been ignoring just sitting in your log since god knows when all go off at once and you get two levels and a billion dollars out of it.

    I’ve only looked at half the map as well my main quest is only at 35%, I’m lvl 52 and logged 114 hrs play time. I prefer doing all the side quest and seeing what is around.

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