- "Discretion is a paramount in my profession. We must walk the streets freely: seen, but unseen. You too must learn to blend like us and become one with the city's crowds."
- ―Paola to Ezio.[src]
Blending was a skill used by Assassins, and in some occasions Templars, consisting of low-profile movement while pretending to be part of a crowd or group, allowing them to hide from pursuers and guards or access normally restricted areas.
High Middle Ages Levant
When blending, Altaïr moved slowly, so as not to arouse suspicion. If he was on foot, he would lower his head, fold his hands, and imitate a scholar, while on horseback, he would bow his head and slow his steed to a walk. Altaïr could also join a group of scholars for extra security, though he was bound to follow the group's path until he exited the blend.
As a crowd, scholars were effective hiding places, provided an Assassin had broken the pursuer's line of sight. If scholars realized Altaïr was being chased, however, they would disperse, preventing the Assassin from hiding amongst them.
Blending was not effective in all cases. Archers and Knights Templar, for example, were often discerning enough to identify an Assassin quickly, and would attack one on sight. Guards stationed at city gates also refused to let in a single "scholar", only allowing groups to pass through.
During the Renaissance, Paola taught Ezio Auditore da Firenze how to blend in with the crowd. Unlike Altaïr, Ezio could hide within any group of civilians, as long as there were at least four of them. An exception to this rule however was with hired courtesans, to which Ezio required only a minimum of two of them to blend amongst the faction.
Whenever Ezio blended into the crowds, he would simply walk into the middle of a group of civilians and follow them, avoiding the notice of nearby guards. Ezio would remain hidden within the group, as long as he remained in close proximity to them and avoided drastic actions, such as drawing a weapon or free-running.
Additionally, courtesans were useful allies to Ezio should he need to hide or pass through a guarded area. After purchasing their services for 150 florins, a group of four courtesans would join Ezio, concealing him amongst them much as scholars did for Altaïr. However, unlike scholars, courtesans would follow wherever Ezio walked, rather than the other way around.
Though the courtesans were not enough for Ezio to simply enter restricted areas, he could request them to distract any nearby guards, allowing him to bypass their attention and enter the area behind their backs. Should any guard pass by too close to Ezio as he traveled with the courtesans, two would often break away from the group to draw the enemy's attention.
In the Ottoman Empire, prostitution was not legally accepted, so Ezio relied on Romani entertainers to distract guards during his time in Constantinople. Otherwise, he relied on mercenaries and thieves as he usually did.
In the British colonies, Connor could blend with at least two civilians, which was represented through the Animus' heads-up display as a white circle above him to indicate his hidden status, with directional lines emanating from this circle to show who he was blending with.
This allowed the Assassin a greater leeway when it came to blending in, as he could stand between relaxing civilians so long as there was a space, accompanying his ability to blend with crowds.
Often, he would join in their activities, which showed him sitting down with the poor, or folding his arms and dropping his head to stand out less. While blending between people or against corners, Connor could whistle to lure guards and assassinate them.
During the French Revolution, Arno Dorian could blend among the large crowds of Paris. He could customize his robes to appear plainer and thereby increase the amount of time it took for guards to notice him. However, he was still in training and required lessons on how to remain incognito on benches.
While recovering a First Civilization power source from a stadium in São Paulo, which held a martial arts tournament, Desmond Miles used the skills he had inherited from his ancestors to blend in with the crowds that attended, in order to avoid detection from the guards sent by Abstergo Industries to locate him.
During the search for the Trident of Eden in 2016, Griffin taught Owen Meyers and Javier Mondragón how to blend in by taking a series of taxi cabs to evade a Templar strike team attempting to capture the two teenagers. Griffin later demonstrated another method of blending when transporting himself, Javier, Natalya Aliyev and David Collins to Mongolia via cargo plane.
- A bug during Ezio's journey across Italy gave him the never-ending ability to blend. If Ezio walked onto a surface that he couldn't stand upon while blending, he would remain in blending mode until he stood up.
- In some instances, it was possible to blend with only one person. If Ezio managed to find one of the three factions (courtesans, mercenaries, or thieves) near to water, or on the top of a roof, Ezio could push all but one of them to their deaths. Following this, once he moved closer to the remaining person, Ezio could still blend.
- Blending was also available in the first and second stage of the Animi Training Program, alongside the console stage of Abstergo Entertainment's Animus games console.
- However, the only change to the blending mechanic in these cases was that the participant was no longer required to manually follow the crowd, and may simply allow the civilians to lead their Animi Avatar, much as scholars with Altaïr did in Assassin's Creed.
- While Desmond relived the first and the second repressed memories of Ezio, made available to him during his time in Rome, Ezio was able to blend even if he had not yet visited Paola and learned the skill at the time.
- After obtaining the Apple of Eden at the Basilica di San Pietro, Ezio was no longer able to blend with crowds, since the tell-tale glow of the Apple scared the civilians when he walked close to them, leaving no groups large enough for him to hide within.
- When equipped with the crossbow, Ezio would be grayed out with the crowd when blending, however, the crossbow would remain in full color.
- Unlike previous installments, where characters were grayed out to indicate they were blended, Assassin's Creed: Unity utilized a blending circle; as long as enough individuals were within this circle's radius, Arno Dorian would remain blended with them.