Assassin's Creed IV Big Art

It turns out the age of online passes isn’t gone quite yet.

As Game Informer reports, gamers are finding that as fresh as Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag feels compared to some recent entries, at least one thing is unchanged. Access to one of the game’s mini-games is locked behind the Ubisoft Uplay pass that comes with the title when purchased new.

The mini-game involves adding ships to protagonist Edward Kenway’s fleet to perform side missions. The mechanic is similar to the assassin recruiting found in previous titles. Rather than performing actual side missions yourself, you send ships that return after a certain amount of time.

The perceived justification for requiring the pass is that the game includes online elements. Friends can assist you in the missions if you like, though all missions are possible to do solo. If you pick up the game used or borrow it from a friend and don’t want to pay $10 for the pass, you can skip the mini-game entirely, but you’ll lose out on access to funds that will let you more quickly upgrade your assassin and his flagship.

Earlier this year, Ubisoft’s main competitor, Electronic Arts, discontinued their online pass service and even removed the requirement from games that previously required it, so it’s disappointing to see Ubisoft still clinging to the idea and especially in such a tenuous way. With that said, we still loved Assassin’s Creed IV, so don’t miss it.