Give people mod tools, and they’ll do wonderful things, unless the game has an experience system, then they’ll break it over their knees. Predictably, that was one of the first things players did with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey‘s new Story Creator Mode, a browser-based quest editor. Yesterday, Ubisoft put their foot down on players making self-completing XP farming quests, officially stating that their prevalence leads to “less visibility for the creative, interesting and frankly fantastic community stories that have been published”. Worth noting that Ubisoft still sell XP boosters of their own.
The quests in question used a glitch (so far as I understand) to spawn a mass of enemies and then immediately kill them off-screen. The quest begins and ends instantly, giving you a sack of money, loot and XP. Ubisoft’s official statement via the Odyssey forums doesn’t mention their own boosters (which provide a lifetime XP multiplier for around $10) but they say they’re making the offending quests less visible, so they “will not appear in our automatic recommendation system”. Players can report offending quests, and Ubi say “we will be sanctioning those who continue to willingly and intentionally misuse the tool”.
“Dark Strider” on YouTube shows off how players can use these quests to get swole.
They do note that future title updates will “implement further solutions”, ideally closing up all the XP generation glitches. Maybe it’s because I’ve enjoyed Odyssey’s side-quests (and there are a phenomenal number of them), but I never found myself more than one or two points under-levelled for its main story. Still, people want to ‘skip to the good stuff’ as quickly as possible, so it’s no surprise that XP boosting quests were among the first made. It’s a common problem for any moddable game that doesn’t de-couple mods from any larger progression system. Who can forget Team Fortress 2 idling and achievement-farming servers? The friction between games-as-a-service and modding is real.
At least Ubisoft’s grumbling won’t be the swansong for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. We’ve still got the final paid DLC chapter — Judgement Of Atlantis — due out on July 16th, with more Lost Tales Of Greece planned afterwards. While arguably not part of the main game, we’ve also got the Discovery Tour mode due in autumn, this time with in-character quizzes to see if you’ve learnt your ancient Greek history. It’ll be a free upgrade for all Odyssey owners, or available as a standalone edutainment game with significantly reduced stabbing.
Personally, all I want is for Ubi to keep expanding the Story Creator tool. It’s a bit limited at the moment, and you can’t really use building interiors. Give me more placement points, give me more scripting options and (most importantly) let me use those gorgeous otherworldly DLC environments for use in my stories. It’d be a crying shame if they were only ever used once.