It seems that in Assassin's Creed III the developers have been listening to the comments of game fans because this time around instead of inserting the same old hunt and find type of collections in the game, they chose a very clever alternative, and integrated collections into the main story.
Normally we would include a detailed guide to the Collection Item Locations as part of this walkthrough and guide, but thanks largely to the developers there is no way that we could provide that information in a more direct or useful manner than they have already accomplished in the game. That does not mean that we are obsolete however! There are aspects to the Collection System and to particular Collection Items that warrant detailed coverage as part of the guide, hence the presence of this, the AC3 Collections System Guide!
Tight Integration into the Story
As previously mentioned above and elsewhere in the guide, the inclusion of the Collections System and the individual Collection Items as core elements for both the story and the various missions means that every effort was made by the developers to streamline access to and the location of the Collection Items.
What that means is that the player is first introduced to the collections by type, and then presented with a streamlined way to work towards completing each that cuts out a major element of time and effort that you may have been anticipating. While there are more collections in the game than in any of the previous titles, they have been heavily integrated into the story so that for most of them normal play that requires no special efforts is involved in completing them. This is especially true of the information-based collections.
For the more traditional object-based collections the developers have inserted a set of maps in the game that, once the player has climbed up and processed each and every view point, allow them to tag the collection item of its type in the map and then using the navigation pointer added to the radar and hud, they can head directly to the collection item. This is, we don't have to tell you, a major improvement over the previous system, and even more so because – remember we said that they integrated the different collections into the story mode? Well they did, and we will cover the details for that momentarily, but for not let's review the Collection System in Assassin's Creed III with a nice and organized overview of how they are integrated into the story.
The player can purchase maps for the physical Collections at any Merchant in Boston, assuming that they have the money to do so that is... One method for offsetting the costs associated with this is to first purchase the Treasure Chest Maps and them collect the Chests, which in addition to gaining the player a large selection of Crafting Recipes, also gains them a large chunk of gold from each of the Chests, which they can then use to purchase the other maps!
The Maps and their Costs are:
- Almanac Page Map: $5000
- Feathers – Black Creek Map: $2500
- Feathers – John's Town Map: $2500
- Feathers – Lexington Map: $2500
- Feathers – Monmouth Map: $2500
- Peg Leg Trinkets Map: $3000
- Treasure Chests – Frontier Map: $3000
- Treasure Chests – Central Boston Map: $1500
- Treasure Chests – North Boston Map: $1000
- Treasure Chests – South Boston Map: $1000
- Treasure Chests – East New York Map: $2500
- Treasure Chests – North New York Map: $2000
- Treasure Chests – West New York Map: $2000
The maps that are available in the game provide the player with a direct point-to-point path from where they are standing in the world when they tag a collection item to the location of the actual items itself, including distance to the item and the level indicator to show its position either above or below the current position of the player character.
The direct nature of this tool in the game means that the game itself is the best source for Collection Item locations, and subsequently any attempt that we could make at providing the semblance of a location guide for the Collection Items would pale in comparison.
The Collection System in AC3 – an Overview
While the Collections System is largely simplified in the game, it may help you to have an overview to visualize how they each appear and expand into the game, and there it is:
- Action-Based Collections
- Encyclopedia of the Common Man
- Factions and Clubs
- Settler's Collection
- Underground Entrances/Exits
- Information-based Collections
- Rich Records System
- Object-Based Collections
- Almanac Pages
- Peg Leg Trinkets
- Treasure Chests
The Collections: A Summary of Integration
As previously stated the inclusion of direct point-to-point guides in the form of the maps, and the integration of collection items as part of the standard single-played story mode (campaign) for the game means that unlike previous games in the series, save for obvious exceptions the path towards obtaining and collecting the collection items is largely automatic, and requires no special efforts on the part of the player.
The relationships between the different collection items and the missions, story elements, and value-added aspects (like Trophies and Achievements) as well as the game's completion tracking system make the entire subset of systems part of the core of the game. While there are some obvious rewards for completing the different collections that relate to the actual act of doing so in the game, there are other related assets, some of which are superficial; the list below demonstrates the more obvious relationships:
- Almanac Pages Collection (Benjamin Franklin's Invention Recipes)
- Encyclopedia of the Common Man Collection (Achievement +100% the game)
- Factions and Clubs Collection (Required for Achievement/Trophy and to 100% the game)
- Feathers Collection (Required to unlock the Kanien'kehá:ka Uniform and to 100% the game)
- Liberation Collection (Achievement + 100% the game)
- Peg Leg Trinkets Collection (Captain Kidd Letters and Clues + Quests)
- Rich Records System Collection (Required to 100% the game)
- Settler's Collection (Achievement + 100% the game)
- Treasure Chest Collections Collection (General Crafting Recipes)
- Underground Entrances/Exits (Required for Achievement and to 100% the game)
A quick review of the list above should provide a good example for how some of the collections and their items are actually nested within other collections -- for instance the Almanac Page Collection consists of a set number of loose pages that are floating around the streets and rooftops of the city, and collecting the three or four pages that are part of a specific set will result in completing the Almanac Volume, which in turn appears as a collection item that is displayed in the player's bedroom at the Manor House on the Davenport Homestead. In addition to that though, completing each of the Almanac Volumes also unlocks a recipe for one of Benjamin Franklin's Inventions, which are, once crafted, their own collection of items!
In addition to the collections being mostly required in order to 100% the game there are a number of missions and events for which they are heavily linked and therefore necessary for the player to complete in order to advance both the overall story and plot as well as the missions that they specifically apply to.
This is the first time in the history of the series that a decision was made to firmly link the collections and collection items to the story, which goes a long way towards explaining why they chose to include maps that the player can purchase that provide a direct route to the object-based collection items. Otherwise the process might have eaten up huge amounts of time.
Collections-Related Achievements and Trophies Overview
Unlocking Achievements and/or Trophies is widely considered to be, if not an important aspect of game play, than certainly a desirable one, and the result of that is a focus upon completing events in games that leads directly to unlocking these. It should probably not shock or surprise the average gamer to realize that the developers are fully aware of the significance that gamers place upon these rewards, with the good development teams crafting the Achievements System so that it complements game play rather than requiring players to perform additional tasks or game play outside of the usual activities for regular play.
It is widely held that a game that forces the player to perform tasks and/or complete specific and unusual game play in order to unlock Achievements or Trophies tends to represent games that were designed with less attention to detail and, therefore, are of an inferior quality over games in which the symmetry is faithfully observed... AC3 is a game in which the Achievements are strongly associated with regular game play, which can be thought of as another form of proof for its high quality and good entertainment value.
The Collections in AC3 that are associated directly with Achievements or Trophies include:
- Almanac Pages Collection: Patent Not Pending (10G) & Blowing in the Wind (20G) Achievements.
- Encyclopedia of the Common Man Collection: Extraordinary Man (10G) Achievement.
- Factions and Clubs Collection: By Invitation Only (20G) & In Good Standing (30G) Achievements.
- Liberation Collection: Magne cum Laude (20G) & Man of the People (20G) Achievements.
- Peg Leg Trinkets Collection: Kidd Gloves (30G) & Bring Down the House (20G) Achievements.
- Settler's Collection: House Party (10G) & A Complete Set (20G) Achievements.
The Collections Guide Summary
Below this Introduction in the menu on the right upper corner of the page you will find a selection of sub-sections whose focus is sharing information about the Collections System and the individual Collection Items in the game. These sub-sections are intended to be both entertaining and informative and in addition to provided tips that relate to specific Collection Items with a notion towards helping to make the collecting process easier, also present an opportunity to broaden one's appreciation for the unusual efforts that went into creating this new and integrated Collections System.
Long-term fans of the Assassin's Creed series will be very familiar with the in-game collection system that has appeared in the past titles, probably with a slight feeling of reservations since they tend to be on the challenging side, and involve a lot of running around searching and a LOT of time spent in the process... If that is how you feel about collections in the AC series though, we have some good news for you!