Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Nightmare Difficulty Guide

Last updated on October 6th, 2018

Today is launch day for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and there are a few dedicated players that will be aiming to complete the game on its hardest difficulty: Nightmare. As I have been playing on this setting for the past few days, I have created a guide with some tips to help players achieve this. Some of the things I will mention are common sense, but others you may not know. This Guide is for new players to the game, but not necessarily the franchise.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Nightmare Difficulty Guide

In Nightmare there will often be more enemies at each location, with more health, and they will hit much much harder. What this means is that you can make fewer mistakes than on lower difficulties, and sometimes even just one can “Desyncronize” you before you can blink. The first thing I want to discuss is level and how important it is to your success.

Character Level vs. Enemy Level

As you progress through the game you will face enemies with higher level than you, and some times this cannot be helped. However, you should avoid fighting any enemy that’s 2 or more levels above you at all costs. Even enemies that are only 1 level above you will be much much more difficult than those that are the same as you, and this is because they take reduced damage vs. your attacks. The higher level they are vs. yours, the less damage they will take.

There is literally nothing you can do about this damage reduction, and even improving your gear and Abilities will not make much of difference. It is advised that you go level up by completing quests or by killing other lower level enemies first and then return to these encounters. This will not only improve your chances of success, but it will save you a lot of time you would otherwise waste fighting one enemy for 5 minutes or more.

Abilities, What to Prioritize

When playing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on difficulties lower than Nightmare, there is some flexibility in the way you can spend your Ability Points. However, when playing on Nightmare you have almost none. There are a number of reasons for this but the most important one is that enemies have much more health, resulting in situations where it is extremely difficult to kill anything in one strike (bow or otherwise). This means you will find yourself fighting outside of Stealth often, which is much more difficult.

Now the funny thing is that you might think that just dumping points into the Warrior Ability Tree would be the way to go, since it will increase your damage when fighting. However, the way to make things easier is by placing points into Assassin or Hunter in order to make sure that you can almost always one-shot enemies if you need to. I strongly advise that you spend the bulk of your points in Assassin/Warrior OR Hunter/Warrior. If you enjoy Stealth kills from range, then pick the first one, and if you’d rather perform melee executions, take the second one. This will speed up your encounters, and make the game much more enjoyable as well.

The reason to split your points this way is to thin enemies before combat, and to make you more effective when you must fight as well, which is nearly unavoidable. Below is a list of abilities that are must haves for both of these load outs:

If You Chose Assassin

Shadow Assassin – This is the first thing you should take because it increases your Assassination damage. You need to keep increasing this regularly if you wish to stay ahead of the game’s curve, and be able to maintain 1-shot KOs. Place a point into this every time you can until maxed.

Critical Assassination – This ability will allow you Critically Assassinate enemies by holding Triangle, instead of pressing it. Critical Assassinations deal much more damage, allowing you to 1-shot many more enemies than you normally could. Keep in mind that you cannot use this ability on all enemies, but you should when you can. Place a point into this every time you can until maxed.

Hero Strike – This ability has 2 functions. First you can use it immediately after a stealth take down, if it doesn’t kill the target to finish it off ASAP. Second, you can use it in combat to deal very good damage to the enemy you are facing, in order to kill them quickly. It’s much more powerful that Bull Rush.

Stealth Master – This ability will help you to kill more efficiently, though it does not increase your damage. Still, being able to murder people without anyone noticing will save you time and prevent many combat scenarios that you might otherwise lose. Take this one as soon as you reach Level 16.

If You Chose Hunter

Predator Shot – This ability is great earlier on for increasing your damage at range, which you will need to do in order to 1 shot enemies. I recommend just spending a point here until you can take Devastating Shot, which does more damage.

Devastating Shot – This ability hits for 580% Hunter Damage when firing a fully-charged arrow at level 1, which is ridiculous. You’ll need to use this in order to 1 shot KO enemies as you progress further into the game, so Max it out as soon as you can.

Archery Master – Much like Shadow Assassin, this one increases your Hunter Damage by a percentage. This is essential to keeping ahead of the game’s curve, so that you can continue to 1 shot enemies. Max this one as soon as you can.

Warrior Abilities You Should Have Either Way

Second Wind – This ability is invaluable as it allows you to heal mid combat, and only gets more effective the more points you place into it. Max this one out as soon as you can, and use Adrenaline on it whenever you need to. It can be the difference between a near death and defeat.

Sparta Kick – This ability is a great way to kill enemies when your Assassination is just a bit short. Use Assassination and if the target is still standing then kick them off a high ledge if they are on one. It is also useful in interrupting an attacking opponent while in combat.

Weapon Master – This ability simply gives you an increase to your damage while in combat. You will need this because you cannot avoid combat entirely, and it will help to speed up kills, which can prevent you from becoming surrounded. Max this one out.

Gear Master – This ability will help reduce the seriously increased damage you will take on Nightmare, and will keep you alive a bit longer. This one isn’t quite a must, but it’s definitely recommended.

Second Wind allows healing while in combat

The concept here is to increase your damage with your primary means of dispatching enemies, while at the same time having good enough Warrior Abilities that you can scrape your way through some fights you will inevitably run into. It’s much easier to kill fewer enemies with mediocre Warrior Abilities then it is to kill many enemies with great Warrior Abilities. Thin them out, then engage in hand-to-hand if you must.

Weapons, Armor and Engravings

Weapons and Armor are an extremely important part of the game, and can make life easier (or harder) for you. Knowing which weapons to use, and which armor to equip might seem like an easy choice at first glance. But when you have a very small margin for error, getting things right can make all the difference. In this section we’ll look at these and provide a bit of information that may just make things a whole lot easier.


A lot of selecting a preferred weapon will be about how you enjoy playing the game, but I would suggest using either a Spear or Sword. The reason for this, is that many enemies will force you to dodge, and you cannot retaliate easily without a longer weapon. And while some other weapons have longer reach than Swords, many swing very slowly and are difficult to wield against faster more aggressive opponents. Using either of these two, will ensure you are setup well for just about any enemy type.

Assuming you heeded my advice, you will want to look for a Sword or Spear with bonus damage to either Assassin or Hunter, depending on which style you chose. After this you will look for bonuses that increase Critical Damage or the damage with your weapon type, with the priority being Bow if you picked a Hunter setup. Every player will carry a Bow, so if you’re playing Assassin, make sure the Bow has bonuses that will help you out.

Engraving allows one bonus to be added to your weapon

Once you find an appropriate weapon, then you can add another bonus to it by visiting the Blacksmith and Engraving it. Just keep in mind that you can only add one bonus, however, you can override it with another if you wish. It is a good idea to Upgrade your weapon often as well, in order to keep its damage as high as possible. Upgrading will raise the level of the weapon to your current Character Level, which increases its effectiveness. Upgrading at least every 2 levels would be optimal, and every 1 if you are struggling.


When choosing which Armor to wear, the bonuses on each piece are far more important than the Armor they provide. You will look for the same bonuses listed in the Weapons section here, and you will want to upgrade your Armor periodically as well, in order to protect your character. If you are dying in one or two hits then your Armor is too low (unless they are special attacks).

Just like with Weapons, you can also Engrave each piece of Armor at the Blacksmith for materials and gold. Be sure to add the bonuses I’ve listed above, if you are missing any, to help increase your damage.

By combining bonuses from Abilities, Weapons, Armor and Engravings you will be able to keep on pace to 1 shot enemies from Stealth and still be effective in melee combat.

Final Tips

This one probably goes without saying, but if you find yourself in a scenario where there are just a few people you cannot 1 shot, then it’s a good idea to thin out the ones you can first. This will hopefully allow you to take on these tougher enemies in melee combat one at a time, instead of in a swarm with other opponents. These ones are usually around the outskirts of whatever encampment you are assaulting.

Pay attention to the health bar of enemies when performing Assassinations to see how much damage you will do. You will notice you do more damage when attacking from above, or when the enemy is asleep, so try to prioritize these types of targets. In addition, when utilizing the Critical Assassination ability, you will not see how much extra damage you will deal. This means that it may show you will not kill the target, but you in fact will. Learn to recognize how much this will deal despite what the health bar shows for best results.

Remember that you can see how much damage you do on average with each type of attack on your Abilities screen BEFORE modifiers. That means these numbers are much less useful than they could be. You will not be able to rely upon them to measure your effectiveness, and will have to pay attention when in combat to see what kind of damage numbers you are getting. Keep stacking bonuses and improve Weapons until you can 1 shot KO.

Adrenaline is the resource used to perform special ranged and melee attacks. You gain Adrenaline from striking and parrying enemies. This means that it is harder for Hunters to gain Adrenaline with their playstyle, and they will need to melee now and then until they reach rank 2 of Archery Master. At rank 2 you can simply wait 10 seconds or so in between each shot while your Adrenaline refills, because you will gain part of a segment with every arrow shot.

Lastly, if you’re banging your head against a particular section or outpost, come back and try it again later when you are higher level or better prepared. There is no need to keep going at something for hours when it could take you minutes to complete just an hour or so down the road. If it’s taking longer than about 20 mins, pack it in and come back later.

Be sure to check back soon for more Assassin’s Creed Odyssey content. Don’t miss out on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey pre-order editions as there are some extras including season pass and bonus missions. If want to see some Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in action check out our Fextralife Youtube channel as we have the playthrough uploaded.


Senior Editor at Fextralife. I enjoy gaming, playing and watching sports, cooking yummy food, watching a good movie and hanging out with Fex.

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