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Assassin’s Creed Origins guide: Your abilities

Untangling Bayek’s skill tree and figuring out what to buy

Like a lot of things in Assassin’s Creed Origins, your abilities and skill tree are a lot more complicated than you might expect.

At first glance, it’s kind of a rat’s nest of interwoven trunks and branches. In very broad terms, the three branches — Hunter, Warrior and Seer — correspond to your bows, your melee weapons and your Assassin-ish tools, respectively. But there’s a lot going on each of those branches.

We’re going to break down all of the abilities available to you below. Like we said, it’s a lot to take in and it’s different than you’d expect from the average Assassin’s Creed game. It’s worth it to understand what your options are and what you’re getting into. After that, we’ll give some of our recommendations for useful abilities and some tips for which ones are right for you.

Understanding the skill tree

There’s a lot new to the franchise in Assassin’s Creed Origins, but the new pieces probably aren’t new to you as a player. You’ve very likely seen them before in other games. Bayek’s abilities — your skill tree — are no different.

Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft

You unlock abilities with ability points. And you earn those by gaining XP for doing basically anything in the game.

The skills lie along branches, and you have to unlock the skills earlier on the branch (closer to the “trunk” in the center) before you can unlock the skills farther out. You’ll notice, though, that the branches of Assassin’s Creed Origins interweave and double back on themselves. Skills are not a linear progression — you can unlock them along multiple paths. Some of these paths even jump between the three categories.

All skills are not equal. Each one costs between one and three skill points to unlock — three-point skills tend to be more useful or more powerful. You can purchase those at the ends of the branches multiple times. Some of them just increase how much XP you get for doing certain things, others change what you can buy at stores and still others add whole new moves to Bayek’s repertoire. There aren’t any useless skills, so you can’t really go wrong, but some skills are more immediately useful than others.

Like we said earlier, the categories broadly correspond to your three kinds of attacks — ranged, melee and assassin-ish tools — but there’s a lot going on in each of those branches. And the skills don’t always fit neatly (or, really, make sense to be in there). Let’s talk about each of the broad categories now and the skills in each.

Hunter

Hunter abilities are (mostly) about range. Generally, this means “stuff you do with your bow,” but it also includes your hawk, Senu, and assassinations.

  • Arrow retriever (one point) means you can automatically grab arrows stuck in your shield.
  • Headshot XP (one point) earns you extra XP for headshots.
  • Bow bearer (one point) adds a second bow to your ranged weapon quick-select.
  • There are four skills that correspond to the four types of bows and increase their effectiveness (two points each).
  • Elite ranger (three points), out toward the end of the branch on the left, is bullet-time for aiming while jumping.
  • Bow fury (three points) adds bullet-time for ranged kills while in stealth.
  • The final skill, master hunter, increases your bow damage by one percent, and you can purchase it multiple times.
Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft

Senu the hawk serves as Assassin’s Creed Origins’ (in this case, literally) eagle vision. Bayek doesn’t have the Assassin skill of eagle vision, but he does have an eagle whose vision he somewhat shares. There are two skills (besides the one you start with) that have to do with Senu:

  • Eagle harass (two points) lets you distract enemies as Senu, allowing Bayek to sneak up on them.
  • Hunter’s instinct (two points), shows you the path a target is walking, letting you avoid (or murder) them more easily.

The assassination skills are the ones that don’t necessarily fit the broader “ranged” description of this branch:

  • Assassination XP (one point) grants extra XP for assassinations.
  • Assassination loot (two points) lets you automatically loot your assassination targets.
  • Stealth kill streak (two points) grants extra XP for multiple assassinations without being spotted.
  • Chain assassination (three points) lets you chain multiple stealth assassinations on targets in range.

Warrior

Warrior skills are all about hand-to-hand combat, Bayek’s special fighting abilities and staying alive in fights. Warrior is the most straightforward branch of the skill tree.

The first skill you’ll unlock in this tree (unlocking this one is the direct path to everything else in the Warrior branch) is regeneration for one point. This slowly refills your health meter during combat. You want this ability. We’ll say this again later.

Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft

Like the hunter branch above, there are a few miscellaneous skills in here, but they’re thematically appropriate in that they all involve hand-to-hand combat:

  • Weapon bearer (one point) adds a second melee weapon to your quick select.
  • Charge heavy attack (one point) lets you smash through shield defenses.
  • Air attack (one point) is different, but mostly indistinguishable from an air assassination.
  • Hijack (two points) lets you steal peoples’ rides (horses, camels, chariots and the like).
  • Kill loot (three points) makes you automatically loot enemies that you kill in melee combat (note: this is different from the assassination loot skill above).
  • Extend combo (two points) means Bayek gets an extra attack in before his enemies get their balance back during a string of attacks.
  • Attack and push (one point) adds a shove to to Bayek’s light attack combos.
  • Master warrior (one point) is at the end of the branch and increases all melee damage by one percent. Like, master hunter above, you can purchase it multiple times.

There are also a couple of shield-based abilities in this section of the tree:

  • Parry (one point) lets you attempt to block attacks and create openings in enemy defenses.
  • Shield charge (two points) lets you (ready?) charge with your shield and crash into enemies, knocking them off balance.

The rest of the abilities have to do with Bayek’s overpower attack. This is a super strong attack that you can only unleash when your adrenaline meter is full. (Your adrenaline meter fills as you make successful attacks.) They include:

  • Adrenaline 1 (one point) means Bayek starts every combat with a half-full adrenaline meter.
  • Adrenaline 2 (three points) starts him with a full meter (which means overpower is available right from the start of a fight).
  • Overpower combo (two points) lets you perform a flurry of light attacks after hitting someone with an overpower attack.
  • Overpower chain throw (three points) lets Bayek throw that enemy’s weapon at another nearby bad guy after killing an enemy with an overpower attack.
  • Overpower XP (one point) grants extra XP for overpower kills.

Seer

The Seer branch of the skill tree is somewhere between the Assassin-ish skills and the “everything else” skills, with some interaction with shops and enemies skills mixed in.

Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft

Let’s start with those “everything else” skills, mostly because buying one of them is the fastest way to unlock the rest of the branch:

  • Dawn and Dusk (one point) lets you fast-forward to either day or night. This seems unnecessary, but it’s a skill that will come in very handy during a few side-missions — people and animals do different things and go different places in the day versus at night.
  • Breath holding champion (three points) means you can hold your breath underwater for longer.

The most exciting skills in this branch are the ones that unlock some of the Assassin tools you know from other Assassin’s Creed games.

  • Fire bomb (one point) adds fire bombs to your tool pouch.
  • Pyromaniac (one point) increases your fire damage by 50 percent. This applies to both fire bombs and arrows that you’ve lit on fire. (You can draw your bow and stand next to a fire to make your own fire arrows.)
  • Smoke screen (one point) lets you drop a smoke bomb after a melee attack, letting you escape or sneak around for a better angle.
  • Smoke screen damage (two points) inflicts damage on enemies caught in your smoke bomb and knocks them down.
  • Sleep darts (one point) are, unsurprisingly, darts that put enemies to sleep.
  • Flesh decay (one point) is a kind of contagious poison that you can add to dead bodies that will make them infect other enemies.
  • Berserk (two points) lets you drug unaware, low-level enemies into fighting for you.
  • Animal taming (three points) lets you tame animals that you have put to sleep with a sleep dart and get them to fight on your side.
  • Poison darts (two points) are the more deadly version of sleep darts.
  • Tool kill XP (one point) increases the XP you get from kills with flesh decay, poison darts, fire bombs and fire.
  • Master Seer (one point) is like the other two master skills. You can purchase it multiple times and increase the damage of your tools (flesh decay, poison darts, fire bombs and fire) by one percent each time.

The remaining skills are all about interacting with shops:

  • Salesman (one point) increases the price you get for selling animal parts to shops.
  • Buy materials (two points) lets you buy crafting materials from shops.
  • Backstore (two points) adds rarer gear to shops for you to buy.
  • Chariot owner (three points) lets you buy war chariots from stables.

Which Assassin’s Creed Origins abilities should you buy?

We listed everything out above because your abilities and the skill tree are just a lot to take in. They’re (mostly) new to the franchise, and some of them have pretty big effects on how you play.

You should take your time when you buy skills. You pick up skill points slower as your level increases (you need more XP to gain levels as you progress) and those three-point skills will take you a long time to save up for.

That means you should have something like a plan. Here are our tips for what skills to buy and how to choose between them:

  • Buy regeneration first. As sneaky as you think you are — and as good as you are at fighting — you’re going to want to recover health during combat.
  • Buy the gatekeeper skills next. Grab regeneration first, then get arrow retriever in the Hunter branch, followed by dawn and dusk in the Seer branch. It’s not that these are necessary skills to have (they’re useful, not necessary) so much as it’s that these skills open up more useful branches.
  • Prioritize how you play. From there, it’s kind of up to you. There are no useless skills — everything helps you — but your style of play will determine which skills you (get to) use the most. Do you tend to run straight into combat in the open? Warrior skills will help you survive. Do you love your bows? (You should — they’re great weapons in this game.) Put points into the Hunter branch. Do you want to be sneaky and use more Assassin-like weapons? The Seer branch is where you should spend your points.
  • Spread some points around. You’re not going to play Assassin’s Creed Origins purely stealthily or purely Rambo-like. You’re still going to need abilities in other branches. Spread your points around to keep your options open.
  • Get the XP boosts. They don’t have to be the highest skills on your shopping list, but getting yourself more XP means you’ll earn ability points faster to spend on other skills.
  • Auto-looting is nice, but not necessary. They’re great to have and we wouldn’t discourage you from getting these, but maybe wait to buy them for a bit. There are other, more immediately useful skills to buy.
  • Don’t ignore the salesman skill. Hunting animals doesn’t have to be your priority at any point in Assassin’s Creed Origins, but you’re going to do it to find crafting materials. Every animal you kill — even if it doesn’t drop a crafting material — will drop animal goods. These are just there to turn into money. Since you’re going to be getting them anyway, why not get more money for them?