12 things I wish I knew before playing Assassin’s Creed Origins

It's finally time to jump on your camel and ride off into the horizon. Assassin’s Creed Origins has arrived and there’s nothing quite like stepping into Ancient Egypt for the first time and uncovering its sandy secrets. 

While of course you want to experience these for yourself, there are a few tips and tricks that might just make your first saunter to the pyramids a little more successful. Here are 12 Assassin’s Creed Origins tips I wish I’d known before playing. 

1. Whistle while you work

There are two different kind of whistles on offer in Assassin's Creed Origins. While a long press of the down directional button will call your trusty horse or ship of the desert, a quick tap will whistle for attention. This comes in exceptionally handy when you’re hiding in the undergrowth of an enemy camp. 

Whistle while a guard is in range of your hiding spot and he just won’t be able to resist coming over to take a look. Wait for him to get close, tap your assassinate button and, in the moment of slow motion surprise as he sees it’s not berries in the bush, you’ll yank him into the undergrowth and put an end to his miserable life. OK, probably miserable life but you’ve got a target to get to and needs must.  

2. Pin your most wanted crafting items

You’re going to want to hunt down as many animals as people in Assassin’s Creed Origins. Not only does your gear menu have a shield, weaponry and mount section, you’ll find crafting slots at the bottom of the screen that all need various upgrades. Your quiver needs wood to be able to carry more arrows, while your hidden blade wants two different types of metal to increase damage. Crafting goods are everywhere in Egypt and they tend to be on four legs. 

The fastest way to find everything you need is by sending Senu, your eagle, into the sky. She can see metal being carted across the world by guards as well as soon to be leather having a snooze next to the river. Handily, you can pin the ingredients you need to your main screen so that when you see endless icons scooting across the country, you know what you’re looking for. Also, as a bonus, remember to dismantle the weapons you don't need as you'll get extra wood and metal. You could be carrying around a literal gold mine so keep an eye on everything. 

3. Keep an eye on weapon perks

While early on in the game most of your weapons will be of a basic quality - indicated by a blue background - as you progress, you’ll end up with purple Rare tools and Legendary yellow items. Not only do these look particularly swish and come with names like The Golden Wolf, Viper's Tooth, and Deathstorm, they also come with a wide range of exciting perks. 

Aforementioned Deathstorm, a legendary hunter bow, is already on fire, while something like Jackal’s Gaze will give you health on hit. While there are of course many positive attributes, if you’re lucky enough to find a ‘Cursed’ weapon, it’ll be much higher level than all your other tools but you’ll have three quarters of your health taken away if you arm it as your first or secondary weapon. 

4. Head to water or roll when you're on fire

You’re going to spend far more time than you’d like on fire in Assassin’s Creed Origins. Oil jars and flaming arrows are everywhere, meaning you’re inevitably going to end up like some kind of Ancient Egyptian human torch. 

An easy way to deal with the flames in run into water but if there’s nowhere nearby, raise your shield and go into combat stance and start dodging and rolling. It should put the flames out a little faster. Just try not to set everything else on fire while you’re there. 

5. Stay away from high level enemies

This might seem obvious but high level enemies are seriously dangerous when you’re starting out in Ancient Egypt. Attack a lone foe a few levels above you and you’ll probably be ok but take on a group and unless you’ve got a decent weapon, you’re going to be the next mummy on its way to a tomb. 

High level groups are deadly so either come back later when you’ve climbed a few levels or take it easy and pick them off one by one. Even then, you’ll have to pay attention to the next tip. 

6. Watch those health bars

Given the levelling system and in-depth weaponry on offer, it makes sense that Assassin’s Creed Origins no longer guarantees an insta-kill with every press of the assassinate button. It’s always worth hovering your bow and arrow over an enemy noggin - from far enough away that they don’t notice you - to check just how much health you’ll take off. If the health bar is all red, that’s a one hit kill but if even a head shot will only take off half health, you’re looking at one seriously strong enemy. 

This is the same with your hidden blade and you’ll see a healthbar under the ‘assassinate’ option. If you’re too low level to get an auto-slaughter under your belt, maybe go about your deadly business in a different way until you can get your blades up to lightning speed.  

7. Unlock synch points for fast travel

If you’re an Assassin’s Creed pro, you’ll be heading up these towers anyway but it’s worth noting that in a country the size of Egypt, you’re going to want to get as many of the 58 on offer as fast as possible for speedier traversal. Given that Egypt is made up of seemingly endless deserts and cities, it’s better to have the option of fast travel than literally hoofing it half way across the country. 

Helpfully, cities and towns have auto-fast travel options that unlock when you discover them but if you pass an eagle on the map, just clamber on up and your future self will thank you later when papyri become the order of the day. Speaking of…  

8.  Hunt down papyri but wait to find the loot  

While most buildings want you to find treasure, a number of temples hold a papyri scroll that’ll give you a riddle and loot to find. The good news is that this is always rare or legendary loot and if you hold off and find them later in the game, you’ll have a selection of high level new toys to play with with all kinds of ridiculous perks. 

Fancy a shield that sends people to sleep when you block or a flaming sword? Start hunting down those Assassin’s Creed Origins papyri locations and save the looting for your end game explorations. 

9.  Use Senu to scope for everything 

Given that Eagle vision isn’t really a thing anymore, you’re going to have to count on an actual eagle. Aaah, we see what you did there, Ubi… Senu comes in exceptionally handy not just for identifying your targets in a bright gold ring but also scoping out the lay of the land and identifying enemies. 

You can label up enemies, check guard paths and, once you’ve unlocked the ability, send Senu in to harass people while you slip silently by on the way to your target. She’s a great portable viewpoint too so if you get lost on your way into an outpost, you can send her up to look out for the next patch of undergrowth or helpful haycart. 

10. Equip the right tools for the right job

Unlike previous Assassin’s Creed games where your tool belt ended up like some kind of waist-worn infinite arsenal, Origins slims down your offerings so you don’t feel like you’re cracking a safe while trying to equip a poisoned dart. 

In the tools section of the gear screen, you can select which tools you’d like to use so you’ll want to choose whether you’re going to burn the place down with fire bombs or go in a little more stealthy and equip your sleep darts. Whenever you refill your tools at a blacksmith they’ll all refill but you’ll just need to choose which ones you want to use in the gear screen. 

11. Keep an eye out for fallen Assassins for extra XP 

For some pretty easy XP, always look out for blue skull symbols that appear in the overhead compass and on your map. These are fallen Assassins and all you have to do is avenge these complete strangers by killing their murderer. They’ll always be pretty nearby where you found the body so the guilty party won’t be too hard to find. 

The fun thing is that the killer won’t always be human either so you might end up stalking a particular predator who probably still has bits of the fallen comrade inside. Just don’t think about it as you dodge the teeth and claim your XP-flavoured reward  

12. Start Bayek’s Promise quest when you arrive in Siwa   

This is the only quest based tip I’ll give and there are no spoilers here. Just keep in mind that when you start off in Siwa at the very start of the game, a side quest will pop up on the map in the desert when you eagle dive from the closest Synch point. It says it’s for level 5 but don’t worry about being too low level for it as it’s a chained quest that’ll take a lot of exploration across Egypt to complete.

It’s not cheating to say that stone circles are involved so go and activate ‘Bayek’s Promise’ and I won’t say any more. Don’t worry though, if you do miss it, you can always just fast travel back to Siwa and start it off.