For Honor Q&A with Stefan Jewinski

In a previous episode of the Warrior’s Den, lead game designer Stefan Jewinski came on to discuss For Honor‘s balance. The topic of balance has been a popular one as of late, with many key community members urging Ubisoft to balance the roster. The new Wu Lin heroes get both praise and criticism by fans of the game. While they are well-designed Heroes, players feel as if they make many older ones obsolete. Balance is an important aspect of any fighting game, and the For Honor dev team is taking the time to address every issue they can. This week sees a very comprehensive Q&A period with Stefan. Daily Esports covered the most noteworthy questions from the segment:

Head game designer answers community questions in a lengthy Q&A session at For Honor HQ.

“What do you think about the current state of the Wu Win Heroes in terms of balance – Jiang Jun in particular?”

“I think most of them are doing pretty good. Datawise, Shaolin, Tiandi, and Nuxia are sitting at around a 54% win rate in duels. Not too bad, at the higher end of the grouping data-wise. So they’re strong, but not too strong. I think they will descend in time as people learn how to use them. Jiang Jun is interesting because he’s sitting too high right now in our data. He’s currently sitting at 62%, so just above that whole curve. What’s interesting with that is the tier lists that they have – he’s the only Wu Lin that’s in B tier. All the other (Marching Fire) Heroes are sitting in A tier, so there’s definitely that discrepancy between how he is in our data and how he’s perceived in top-level play. I understand that in regular play it’s difficult to parry him, for example. There are some animations where he hits you here, but it seems like he should hit you there. So that’s a bug that we’re fixing. Is damage a little too high on Jiang Jun or Shaolin? Well, we buffed it before launch because it was a little too low. It’s something we’re keeping an eye on. Will the (fixes for the) bugs be enough to fix it, will players over time be able to settle that difference between data, and tier lists? We’re hoping it smooths out a little bit. We’re keeping an eye on these guys.”

Stefan explains that Jiang Jun has a higher win rate – despite being the lowest Wu Lin Hero on the tier list.

“The max punishes available to characters seems rather volatile. How intentional is this and is there a set logic behind it?”

“So I think it’s another case of, over time, becoming much more intentional from the gameplay side. Especially new heroes like the Wu Lin. We try to say, ‘What is their guardbreak punish? What will their parry punish versus heavy or light be? What will out-of-stamina punishes be?’ or at least usually in the out-of-stamina case it’s more ‘What do they turn out to be?’ based on the timings that we put for the other things that we were worried about initially. And then is that too bad or is that okay, and if not do we adjust based on that?

“Will there be more use of test servers for testing some balance changes?”

“So I’ve talked to a lot of folks on the team. It’s something that seems like everyone wants to do, like, we’re looking in the 2019 space. It’s actively being discussed right now, meaning it’s not just gonna happen tomorrow. For example, we’re not gonna have one for Shugoki like you’re talking about. Christmas is a big looming thing that’s on the horizon, so production planning is really the main topic when we talk about doing these. Whether it’s a server test environment or whatever, it’s all being actively discussed, so we don’t have a plan to present or anything. But I did want you to know that this is a thing on everyone’s radar that I think seems like most of us all want to do. So we just have to find a way to make it work that doesn’t then sacrifice the efficiency of the team and slow them down further. So, stay tuned on that one.”

Ubisoft actively discussing the possibility of using more test servers for 2019.

“Will Warlord get some love?”

“That’s a good question. Okay, so you saw the interesting ‘data vs. tier list’ stuff there. The big difference that we saw, I think, is that Warlord’s sprint melee is too good in duels, too useful in duels. We don’t want that to be the way that you play Warlord in a duel. We want you to be doing your combat stuff. Yes, it’s gonna be a little headbutt-focused, can we put you more on the chain than we are right now? That would be the hope, can we nerf sprint melee to make that less viable? That’s the goal, I would say let’s go in that direction. Let’s try to compensate him for the loss of that, or the reduction in that. See if we can put him in more or less the same spot on the tier list and a higher spot in the data side.”

“Is a ‘gank meta’ something that the fight team wants to address at all?”

“So I mean, Shaman’s Bite is being nerfed in the next major title update. Shugoki’s Hug is another one that we’re basically wanted to do as well. Once they’re hugged, it’s heavy-heavy-heavy-heavy-heavy until you die. We’re not big fans of that. Should this be the same for some number of other moves? Maybe Lawbringer flip, maybe Shinobi’s Sickle Rain? Yes, I think that’d be great. I think that’d make a lot of sense. Should it go as far as even other moves like throws, which have super armor right now? They’re starting to get a little more of a question mark. So let’s start with Shaman’s Bite, see what happens with the Hug and then we’ll slowly move our way forward depending on how that goes.”

“Are there any plans to change stamina recovery after unlocking or while sprinting?”

“So I think the core problem here is how easy it is to generally disengage, either with dodge roll or unlock-run. It can be very difficult for opponents, even reasonably properly spacing, to keep you near with some option. Whether it’s, you know, some kind of dodge-forward attack or whether it’s heavy-feint-guardbreak, this can be very difficult right now. That’s a part that I think we should be looking at to try and reduce the ability to run. If you’re, yeah, 10 meters away and you turn and bail because you’re in Dominion or Breach or whatever, that’s kind of how it goes. The slow guy’s not gonna catch the fast guy and I think that’s okay. It’s just, the really frustrating one is when you hit somebody once and you’re like, “Okay, time for my cool mix-up!” and they bail – and none of the things in your mix-up can stop that. And you’re like, that sucks, right? Let’s start by fixing that and see if the problem is resolved generally.”

The full Q&A stream can be found on For Honor‘s official Twitch.

Are you satisfied with Stefan’s answers? As always, do let us know your opinions!

Programmer. Writer. Digital media specialist. Competitive gamer in the sense that I’m competing with the constant urge to throw the controller across the room.