Earlier this week, mid-way through one of my Valhalla sessions, I got a bit of a shock when one of my daily assassination targets popped up right next to me in Ravensthorpe. My blood ran cold. A dangerous thief in the settlement? Right here, next to the frolicking children? Things could be about to get messy.
I peeked out of the longhouse - expecting an armoured contingent of soldiers to be wreaking havoc - and instead spied a lone figure, which the game told me was the Duke of Burgundy. I summoned all my powers of stealth, and shot the target down from a distance.
It was at this point I realised my assassination target was actually a training dummy.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla, for those a little confused by all this, features a daily contracts system that allows players to earn opals: a form of currency that can be used to obtain rare items and cosmetics. When you accept a contract from one of the Thousand Eyes merchants, the game marks a nearby NPC for you to either rescue or murder, and this is likely the cause of this particular bug. Using Odin Sight in Ravensthorpe shows that the game marks training dummies as "enemies", and therefore a suitable target for an assassination contract. Easiest five opals I've ever made.
I wasn't the only person to be affected by this amusing bug, however, as a number of other players reported experiencing the same thing. "I had this exact glitch nearby in the camp," freelance writer Jordan Oloman told me on Twitter. "Reda told me there was a drunk guy causing hassle, turned out to be the straw bloke out the front of the bureau. Amazing bug!"
AC: Valhalla offers repeatable quests that turn random NPCs in the gameworld into targets with a little back story and everything.— Gregor Schwayer (@gremisch) November 22, 2020
The problem: Training dummies seem to count as NPCs - so I just got the quest to kill a dummy 20 feet away, that apparently committed crimes. pic.twitter.com/R9uiBar9dI
Something I really cannot explain, however, is another bug that brings the training dummies to life. As spotted by The Gamer, Reddit user DontCrushMyJaw shared a video in which they enter a conversation with tattooist Tove, only for the nearby dummy to exit its T-pose and walk off. Must have been a boring conversation, I guess.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla was updated earlier this week to add new performance options for next-gen consoles (hang on for the Digital Foundry analysis of that), but as far as I can see, the patch notes don't mention any of these marauding dummies - so best keep your eyes peeled.