In Assassin's Creed 2, you have been betrayed by the ruling families of Italy- you will have to learn how to interact and use the 'common people' or, like we call them in the game, "the underworld", to get your revenge. So you can generally consider that the crowd is on your side (except of course if you behave too badly!). First, any crowd NPC can help you to hide - just go into a group and press the blend button to enter a crowd and lower your chances of being noticed by guards. The crowd can help you to walk through the city unnoticed but isn't 100% detection-proof as some classes of guards actively search you out even in hiding spots.
We have also added a new "notoriety system". Your actions in the city will impact your notoriety: break the law one too many times and you will become "wanted" in the city.
The notoriety system monitors your actions and is directly linked to the crowd in the game. The more "commotion" you cause in the city, such as killing innocents, the more notorious you become: people will become more aware of your actions and the authorities will search for you. If you are notorious, you have a much higher chance of being seen by patrolling guards, even if you're trying to blend your way through. There are various ways to decrease your level of notoriety and return to an anonymous state:
- Assassinate witnesses
- Bribe a Herald
- Get rid of warrant posters with your face on them
You can also use certain groups or "factions" to perform specific actions. There are three main factions in the game: the thieves, the courtesans and the mercenaries. Throughout the game, you will meet their leaders, for example, Antonio, the cunning thief leader who will ask you to do certain missions for him. The Faction leaders will have an important role in the story, both gameplay and story wise. Once you gain Antonio's trust, the members of the thief guild will be fully operational to help you perform specific tasks. For example, the courtesans will be able to go seduce and distract groups of guards letting Ezio sneak past them unnoticed. Using factions and their unique special abilities adds a whole layer of strategy to the game.
Faction Leader: Mario - Ezio's uncle
Raised alongside his brother to become a trained fighter, Mario's focus was on armed combat and group maneuvers. He has built up a sizeable following of condottiere over the years. They believe him to be just another mercenary captain, but he uses them primarily to fight against Templar interests in the region. Since the Templars themselves have integrated into Italian nobility, to the outside observer, the fighting seems to be business as usual.
Mario takes Ezio under his wing early in the game - training him in basic combat skills.
Faction Leader: Antonio
Antonio's base of operation: Hideout in the Venetian commercial district
Came from a poor family. Father was a cobbler and his mother was a maid for an upper-class family. His was an unrefined, but honest life. Antonio, wanted more however, and did all he could to break free of his meager heritage. But it proved impossible. No matter how hard he studied - the schools would not accept him. No matter how hard he worked, he could never make enough money to afford a better house or nicer clothes. And so he came to realize that hard work was not enough. If he truly wanted more - he'd have to TAKE it. If he couldn't become a person of stature in normal society, he'd find his way in the black market, which is far more accepting of outsiders. Besides, the Venetian nobles are so immoral and corrupt; it's hard to say who the REAL criminal is. He sees himself as a true noble - noble in spirit and action, not blood and title. He is kind and compassionate to his fellow thieves.
Antonio considers the thief's guild a business. It's more mafia than petty theft. He has his fronts (i.e. antique shops) and is very careful about who he and his men target. They don't engage in petty crimes and they don't target ordinary citizens. They're more Robin Hood in that they tend to go after corrupt nobles. They never take enough to hurt - unless it's personal.
Antonio sees potential in Ezio. He may be the secret weapon needed to win the "war" in Venice. He will test our hero in order to ensure he's up to the task. Ezio proves himself more than capable and soon becomes a major force in helping Antonio.
Faction Leader: Paula
Paula's base of operation: Florence brothel
Paula was born into a family of assassins, but lost both her parents when she was eight years old. She soon found herself without a family and living on the streets. She grew into a beautiful young woman and used this to her advantage. But it eventually attracted unwanted attention and she was basically held prisoner by a corrupt Florentine guard for several years before freeing herself and murdering him. The crime brought her to an assassin member's attention. He soon realized who she was - and brought her back into the Assassin fold. The guards murder remains "unsolved." Paula was abused by an Officer of the Night when she was a teenager. Tortured, raped, and held captive, she eventually managed to free herself and exact revenge by killing the man. Since then she has devoted herself to caring for the other cast out women of Florence. Her brothel thus functions as something of a halfway house and foster home. It's not the most traditional form of rehabilitation, but she does what she can for the girls.
When Ezio decides to strike back against those responsible for destroying his life, Paula agrees to help him. She knows he won't be dissuaded - but with her help perhaps he can succeed and survive.