The Fastest and Easiest Ways to Make Money in Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag
In the beginning of the game it can be a little difficult to actually get the money necessary to upgrade your weapons and your ship. Looting chests and hunting down hidden treasures with treasure maps is naturally all a part of the game, but it won’t get everything you need in a speedy manner. With a few small changes in behavior you will never feel like you’re always broke again.
Saving Is Earning
Although it can be tempting to go spend a lot of money on swords and guns but the truth is they don't make a lot of difference, especially in the early game. They're not going to help you make money so you should only go with the most basic version of each and pump all of your money into the Jackdaw. With the money you earn there you can reinvest in getting your personal equipment later and be a lot better off with your progression.
This also rings true with your personal hideout. While the basic amenities are convenient and aren't all that expensive, the rest of it is only cosmetic. These are things that you should only look at getting when your ship is heavily upgraded and money isn't so much of an issue. The excellent fast travel system makes none of these upgrades necessary with everything you need available at every port.
TIP: Pick up every Shanty you can find. Pirate radio can get a bit dull on the open sea if all you have are a few songs. Having a good selection makes sailing the seas quite enjoyable.
Enjoy the Ride
Although the fast travel system in this game is great for getting around, it can be just as enjoyable to enjoy the journey along the ocean. You can also pick up a lot of random bits of cargo and crew floating along the ocean. Even though it won't earn you a great amount of cash, you can sail the seas to recruit more crew and see all the ships that are sailing about. It also plays well into the real money maker of this game.
Taking Down Ships
The absolute best way to make money in this game is to live up to your original title and be a pirate. This means getting in your ship and taking down as many ships as possible as quickly as possible.
First, upgrade your Ram as quickly as possible to at least level 2. It's not the most exciting weapon in the game, but with an appropriately leveled Ram you can smack into Schooners on the northern half of the map and immediately disable them for boarding. This will ensure little to no damage to your ship and let you build a beginning fleet rather quickly with minimum hassle.
Especially when attacking Schooners you will want to use your Swivel gun given their height compared to yours. Point it at the deck and you can take out multiple enemy sailors in one shot. And if you strategically fire at some of the gunpowder kegs sitting on deck when enemy soldiers are around you can get the fight over with before any of your crew manage to get on board. You can even take out the escort ships of a convoy before anyone is aware by using this method, leaving the ship with the gold quite vulnerable.
After laying waste to a sea full of schooners you're going to be ready to start taking on military vessels. While you can get Cloth and Wood from any ship, the metal you need is on the military ones. In the beginning of the game the easiest way to find one is to simply not lower your wanted level. You'll start to be attacked by pirate hunter ships soon enough and will start getting all the metal you can handle. Yes, this may be in the form of cannon balls, but if you've rammed enough of the smaller ships it won't be a big issue for the most part.
If you do find that these hunter ships are a bit difficult you should lure them back to an area of your choosing. If you've managed to claim one of the military fortresses they'll happily fire on enemy ships that wander too close. Extra damage to them with no cost to you can really help you out and make for some easy pickings.
Even if these activities eventually bring you down you won't lose any of your earnings that you've managed to accrue, so don't be afraid to ride your wave of violence as long as you can manage.
Take Advantage of the Weather
Are you sailing into a storm? Right now is the very best time to look around for some ships and the bigger the better. While you might be an amazing captain and able to sail around all of those nasty water spouts, enemy ships aren't always so lucky. It can be a thing of beauty to watch a water spout rip through an entire fleet and leave a large number of them ripe for boarding. Yet another reason to not use the fast travel in this game.
Although there are plenty of ways to get money without a connected console, you will make it a lot easier on yourself if you are connected to the outside world. Social Challenges can offer a variety of rewards through several different activities and the 'Fleet' minigame will also allow you to earn cash a lot faster then what you could normally in game.
TIP: Pirate Hunter ships are not only max level but they only sail when you do. If you stop your ship and let go of the wheel, they'll stop too. You can then swim over to them and kill every man on board. Swim back and attack them just once with any weapon to allow your crew to take the ship. You'll still need to blow some powder kegs and destroy their flag to make it official. At the max wanted level, you can easily get all the ships you need even it's not very exciting doing it this way. Just be sure to play it safe and let go of the wheel before you get within 500m so those pirate hunters haven't picked a fight yet.
Let's delve a little deeper into the Fleet missions for a moment. Fleet missions can be pretty decent for getting money, but not until you've built up your fleet. The further you send your ships out the riskier it is for them, and thus requires a stronger ship to survive with your gold... or at least stronger ships to make the route safe. It's only after you get some solid military ships in your fleet that this option picks up steam for making money, but can be fun to play around with. With a handful of level 60 Man-O-Wars, a lot of Frigates, and all of your docks unlocked you can log into your fleet and easily find daily hauls of 20-40k waiting for you.
Although not the best way to make money in the game warehouses contain a complete mix of resources for you to steal, including the all-important metal resource. It can be quite a fun change of pace to do these kinds of missions, and when gold is less important than the resources you need for your upgrades this can be a guaranteed way of getting what you need rather than finding it on the open sea.
For another change of pace you can become a killer for hire. Each of these missions will give you 1000 Reals upon completion, with gold bonuses of up to 500 for staying out of combat. If you wait till you get the blowgun these become a lot easier, but still not bad if you’re looking for some quick cash.
Although you need the skins for your own personal upgrades, the extra skins that you get will earn you several hundred gold each. Of course that assumes that this minigame doesn't make you feel too guilty about what you're doing.
If you've played the series before and remember walking through crowds and basically vacuuming up cash by walking through you're going to be quite disappointed. When you pickpocket now you're required to actually hold a button for a few moments to be successful at the act. Even if you're running down couriers and stealing their money it's not really worth it considering all of the other activities you can do.
Did you even try the gambling in this game?
While you can gamble with your money you shouldn't even attempt it. The amount you can win is very low compared to the time invested in the game. Give it a try once or twice to see what it’s all about, but don't waste your time thinking you'll get any kind of decent return on your money.
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All images are from the game Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag from the game itself or the Ubisoft website.