Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag Kenway's Fleet Guide
In Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, around sequence 8, you gain the ability to use Kenway's Fleet. This will be used in a variety of ways. First of all you can go on missions throughout the Atlantic and gain more goods and money, and s mentioned in my guide to sailing, you can now capture desirable ships and add them to your fleet.
Note: Kenway's Fleet requires a steady Internet connection, so if you don't have one, you're out of luck.
How to Attract More Desirable Ships To Add to Your Fleet
If you're just puttering around in the ocean, you can encounter a half-dozen schooners and gunboats, but you're never going to get to Africa with a fleet of schooners. What you need are a few bigger, badder ships.
For one, you can attract Hunter ships. To do so you must attack ships enough to raise your wanted level. Usually ships that are brig-level or above will get you to raise your wanted level faster. Once you're over Level 1, you're going to attract a Hunter ships. These ships are red-sailed menaces and tough to kill, but it's a good ship to add to your fleet, or scrap, which we'll explain later.
Another good place to pick up ships is Royal Convoys. These Royal Convoys are also part of the single-player online element, and are a good way to get a lot of gold and a pretty decent ship to add to your fleet. These convoys will pop up in your mini-map as blue icons, and if one of your online friends is also playing AC4, then you should also be getting alerts from when they find Royal Convoys. These ships aren't the strongest in the fleet, but early game they were especially helpful for keeping the seas clear for my safe passage.
Lastly, a good strong ship is a Man O War. You encounter these tough guys usually on story missions, and they're a rough bit to kill. I'd recommend attacking one of the smaller ships that usually escorts them and then taking them down, and my guide on ship combat would be a good place to look for more exact tips on that. Man O Wars are great for two reasons: 1) they have excellent fire power and 2) their storage is pretty much unparalleled.
Ships All Boarded, Now What?
Remember to board the ships, don't sink them. They're just going to give you some minor goods and crew if you sink them.
Now, if your ship has not been substantially injured by the previous fight, you can afford to not repair the Jackdaw. Simply select "Send to Kenway's Fleet," even if you're pretty sure you're going to scrap the boat.
Kenway's Fleet runs on a slightly different economy than the rest of the game: gemstones. You can use Kenway's fleet through the Captain's Quarters on the ship, and from here you can decide the fate of captured ships.
Don't waste your dock space on small, insignificant boats. The big ships are worth the wait.
You really only have two options. One, you can add the ship to your fleet (if you have the dock space, but more on that later) or you can scrap the ship for gemstones. Gemstones allow you to buy more dock space, repair ships damaged in battle for territory, etc. They are very valuable, as you can only earn them in the Kenway's Fleet mini-game.
Sometimes when I'm playing, I send schooners to Kenway's fleet simply so I can collect gemstones for them. This will help in the long run, especially if you damage your Man O War in a battle to control trade to Portugal.
What About Docks?
You are limited to the amount of docks you can have, and when you get enough gemstones, you can use those to purchase more dock space.
You can also salvage another ship from the fleet to make more dock space.
How to Use Your Fleet
The primary map you'll be using to access Kenway's Fleet is your naval map. This map, which resembles colored constellations, features all the routes you have access to (you can add more routes through completing missions) as well as the safeness of the routes. The danger level of the route is color coded similar to a stoplight, red means hazardous and green means safe.
Ships are used for one of two things. One is ship battles to secure the route and the other is naval missions.
Ship battles are probably the most tactic involved aspects of Kenway's Fleet. These acts of naval warfare are a way of claiming your territory, and making it so that the routes your ships use are safer -- making it easier and faster for them to complete naval missions. You can select a ship battle by pressing Y on the above menu.
Once you are in the ship battle menu, you can make your decisions. I'm very precautionary, so I never go into a fight unless I have a 100% chance of success, especially with some of my more valuable ships like the Man o War. Below is an image of a ship battle:
This interface is all about picking which ships will be the best in a fight against the others. Above your ships are your "odds of success." Now, there's no reason to throw your big guns at every battle. A Man O War is a little more costly to fix, so if you're just fighting a gunboat, you can send a schooner to take care of the job.
The first slot is your primary ship, and the two other slots help to add more damage to the other fleet, and to spread the damage across your ships so they don't sink one of your ships. Each battle is different, but always shoot for high odds.
Above is a ship battle. The red circles indicate how fast a ship is firing. Like in a Jackdaw fight, little ships fire faster but hit softer, big ships fire slower but can really pack a punch. Keep that in mind while selecting your ships. While you can shoot fire barrels, I honestly don't recommend doing that unless you are in dire straights. Barrels are given through random drops from destroying other ships, so they're a rare commodity.
At this point, all you can really do is watch the battle play out with your selected pawns. If it looks like the fight is going poorly, you can flee or you can shoot fire barrels, but if you choose a very high percentage rate, you're not going to have to worry about that.
Naval missions are the other aspect of Kenway's Fleet. These are how you gain resources, a bit of coin, and some items. Simply select a mission from the drop down menu. This is really a matter of personal preference, but I usually like to keep one of my larger ships at home while the rest do missions, just so I can go and do more ship battles if the seas get hazardous again.
Why Do I Care About Kenway's Fleet?
It's true, the Kenway's Fleet part of Assassin's Creed 4 is not necessary to complete the story missions. But there are a couple of reasons you might want to look into it.
First and foremost, it can actually be sort of fun. I had a lot of fun figuring out how to spread out my fleet assets, and really missed when I wasn't able to work with this specific aspect of the game.
Outside of enjoyment, you can get treasure maps from Kenway's Fleet. If you're a completionist, you'll need to find all the treasure maps and complete all the fleet missions to receive all the Abstergo Cheats, including Deceased Crew.
Did I miss something about Kenway's Fleet? Have any questions? Leave a comment in the section below.