A hot topic as of late in the For Honor community has been Hero balance. With the recent exodus of streamers, Ubisoft recently assured the community that they’ve heard them. The dev team recently urged the playerbase to compile a thread on Reddit listing the most popular balance issues in the fighting game. On this week’s Warrior’s Den, Community Developer Eric Pope praised the players for their contributions. He proceeded to give a shout-out to several users on Reddit who produced a detailed list of changes. As promised in the previous Warrior’s Den, they discussed their plans for balancing the game in 2019.
The team lead in game design, Stefan Jewinski, joined Mr. Pope this week to discuss upcoming balance issues. He opened the conversation by indicating what the top three fight problems in For Honor are: Reaction reduction, Revenge, and targeting problems. He explains further regarding reaction reduction, stating that top-level gameplay isn’t going in the direction he’d like to see.
Stefan cites that offense seems to ‘hit a wall’ when operating at the highest levels of competition. He indicates that ‘light openers’ don’t open opponents up at the highest level. Moves such as Conqueror’s Shield Bash, Gladiator’s Zone Attack, and Berserker’s Hyperarmor Light Attacks aren’t working as well as he’d see. Improving offense is considered a mega-topic in the Ubisoft camp regarding For Honor, with defensive play being favoured in competition. The defensive meta has been discussed for a considerable time amongst the community, with ‘turtling’ being a viable tactic. He states a desire for lights to be more viable as openers, and feints being more believable across the board. The dev team has a plan to globally tweak a lot of move-sets and kits, however, they also make the disclaimer that these won’t happen tomorrow.
Revenge has also been an ongoing issue in For Honor. As it stands, players can gain Revenge in non-gank settings. This means that in 4v4 modes (which are the most popular amongst For Honor gamers), a player engaging an opponent in a 1v1 setting must limit themselves so they don’t feed their opponent Revenge. This leads to some less than desirable match-ups and outcomes.
Stefan has a plan to change this, as he wants Revenge to be the “I’m outnumbered!” tool as opposed to the “I’m losing the fight!” tool. Revenge is an ambitious mechanic initially implemented as a counter-balance to unfair fights. In a setting involving two teams of four, the possibility of one player to get steamrolled by four is quite high – especially when going against premade groups. This offers the player an edge in repelling unfair fights, and the devs want to change this so the mechanic works as intended. The Revenge mechanic was never intended to be used in fair fights, so the game design team is looking to change Revenge for the better.
Mr. Jewinski also discussed the targeting issues in For Honor. As it stands now, targeting will switch to the two closest targets and will not select the third target. Stefan thinks this ‘kind of sucks’ and is looking at ways to change it. In gank situations where a player is facing multiple opponents – or two teams are slugging it out – being able to select the right targets for offense or defense is crucial. Many players have stated that they would have won otherwise unfair fights against them if this were not an issue. Stefan assures fans of the game that this will be fixed in 2019, alongside Revenge and reaction reduction.
Fans of the Hero will like to hear that Stefan has also addressed Shugoki. He states that the Hero has a ‘very strange playstyle’ right now and they’re looking at reworking him in Season 9. As it stands right now, his playstyle is centered around opponents guard-breaking him out of his passive Hyperarmour and trying to land light attacks. The devs agree that this isn’t a particularly fun way to play a Hero. It’s also admitted that many of the attacks in his kit are unsafe, and as such are underutilized. His attacks are also considered too slow and don’t work the way they’re intending them to at the highest level. They promise that players will be shown Shugoki improvements at some point and that their desire is to make him as viable as possible.
Stefan addresses the considerable community feedback regarding Lawbringer next. He says that he has arguably the best parry punish in the game, excellent feats with his bombs, and excels with shove-on-block. That said, he admits that Lawbringer cannot sustain himself in some game modes. The data the dev team has gathered suggests that he performs quite well in 4v4 modes – but lags behind in other modes. Stefan goes on to state that his current state is still considerably more successful than other characters – such as Shugoki – which is why he is not their top priority regarding balance at this time.
There’s also been a considerable disconnect between For Honor‘s data regarding Heroes and community opinion. Ubisoft reveals the data they’ve gathered regarding different Heroes each season in their State of Balance segment. This data can sometimes contradict popular community opinions on the state of each Hero. Some higher-level players argue that a Hero’s current state might not reflect the data gathered, as it does not account for skill level. For example, players discuss Lawbringer’s rework quite a bit, but some of For Honor‘s data may not reflect that accurately. A player who has mained Lawbringer since the game’s release may have honed his skills to a point where he can excel in certain game modes. The team maintained that they are trying to find ways to reconcile community feedback with their own data. Mr. Pope promised that their upcoming State of Balance blog for the past season may shed some light on this further.
Warrior’s Den had more for us than just balance talk – although it was much appreciated. There are some exciting tournaments coming up for this weekend and later on in the month. To sign up, check out the For Honor Esports section here. In addition, the popular event Dance Of Death is back from November 15 to November 21. In this widely-acclaimed game mode, the objective is to kill two opponents at the same time. Grab some friends, because it requires considerable coordination.
There’s also a sale on Mythic Outfits! Zodia Warrior, Dawn Sky, and Solaris are only 10,000 Steel instead of 15,00. This offer is valid up until November 22 at 8:00am EST. A fun new emote available called Rock, Paper Scissors is also available. Heroes can play with their friends while waiting for the opposing team to gets its butt in gear. Heroes will, at random, choose either rock, paper or scissors.
There was also a lengthy Q&A period, which can be seen here.
How do you feel about the den this week? Did the devs properly address and explain the new changes? Let us know!
Programmer. Writer. Digital media specialist. A competitive gamer in the sense that I’m competing with the constant urge to throw the controller across the room.
Check out more of my work at bradballanger.com