Everything wrong with For Honor

The menage-a-trois of murder and mayhem that is For Honor [official site] does a lot of things very well. You can be down to your last sliver of health, limping across a bridge like a deflated balloon and you still might manage to grab a giant knight in panic and throw him off the ledge. Victory has never felt so dirty.

But its matchmaking is a toxic dumpster fire and its user menus are a bubonic plague of mistakes and dumbfounding decisions. How in the name of the Pope did so much trash get through testing? Here is a rundown of how an evening with this medieval swordfest might go, which handily doubles as a list of all the things Ubisoft needs to fix.

Matchmaking queues

When you go into the queues it says “matchmaking started” but what that really means is “sit there and do nothing while I look for chumps”. There’s no loadout menu, no tinkering with armour or skills, no inspecting your stats, no revolving a character model and considering whether or not to make their shoulderpads pink. What you can do here is alt-tab out of the game and refresh Facebook a few dozen times. Then go back to the game and everything is ready to go. Except that it isn’t. The game has slapped you with a message saying…

You cannot join this session because it is full”

If this match is full then why did you even try and put me into it? Okay, okay, maybe it just filled up while we weren’t looking. That’s okay fighty game, it happens. You might easily assume at this point that the game will just auto-slot you back into matchmaking. But not For Honor – it likes to send you all the way back to the main menu. This is like a restaurant host taking you to a packed table in the corner and saying: “Oh no, there’s a family of five already here!” Then picking you up and carrying you back to the entrance before plonking you down at the threshold and saying: “Oh hi!” as if he’d never seen you before.

“You cannot join this session because it is full” is a message nobody should ever see. If a match is full, move on and find us a new one. If that one is full, do the same thing again. Just keep a little circle spinning in the corner or something. Find me a goddamn table, you massive jerk.

Press ‘T’ to chat but also maybe not chat

All right! We’ve hit the loading screen finally. This is where the two groups stand off and stare each other down. Let’s get everyone pumped up with some ‘GLHF’s and encouraging shouts of “VALHALLA!” I’ll just press ‘T’ and… nope. I guess that’s not working this time. Maybe next time.

Can you win fights just by looking angry?

I’ve been staring down the enemy in this loading screen for four full minutes now. War is hell.

Peer to peer notworking

Almighty Yggdrasil, we’re in! An actual fight! Okay, let’s go capture point C and take a swing at this big guy with an axe. VALHA—what?

WHY? I understand that relying on the player’s connections to host a fight makes sense in a duel. There’s only two of you. If someone quits, it’s game over anyway. But most fights in For Honor are these stonking 8-person gankfests of a point-capturing Dominion game. Meaning when someone critical to the game’s state leaves, you get an error message that pauses the whole fight for everyone. Sometimes you get outright disconnected, discarded back into the menu like a used toilette, forced to run the whole cursed gauntlet over again.

There’s a fun bingo game of error messages for these instances. “Recovering gameplay state” – “recovering network connection” – “please wait, configuring session”. How many have YOU collected? Anyway, thank you Ubisoft for concluding that a game filled to bursting point with rage-quitters and drop-outs ought to be built upon the sandcastle-like foundations of a gamer’s temperament.

There are no longer enough players”

Phew, the fight is over. That last Dominion match finished without disconnections or disgrace, thanks be to Odin. Now all we need to do is ready-up, vote on a map and then we can all fight again. Right guys? Guys? Oh no, four out of eight people have left. That makes sense – its a 4v4 mode. The other team must have been sore. That’s okay, the game says it is “waiting for players”. It must be trawling those packed matchmaking queues for suitable foes. We’ll just wait until this timer runs down and see what ha–

No way. I am back in the menus again. If an 8 person game doesn’t retain at least 6 people after the end of a fight, EVERYONE gets sent packing. It is seemingly unworkable for Ubisoft to just pause the timer and throw some new people into the pit.

This issue has a particularly contagious and life-sucking element. Because when one person quits, others follow, and people quickly realise that its faster to queue again from the start, dismissing the team and opponents at the end of every fight. After all, why wait around to be disappointed when you can just quit out every time?

Oh well. I guess this isn’t a big problem. It’s not like we have any war assets or something to allocate in these inter-match moments. Oh wait, that’s exactly what we all have.

OK. Let’s fight an Elimination match instead

“Did you mean a Skirmish match?” asks the game, putting you into a Skirmish match.

No, game. That is not what I meant at all. But I see where the confusion has come from, don’t you worry your stupid little head. If I press ‘X’ on this menu I can see the settings of this shared mode and if I press this toggle maybe I can turn off Skirmish entirely.

“Did you mean you prefer Elimination mode?”

No, I meant that I want to play Elimination mode exclusively.

“You now prefer Elimination”

Fine. Okay. Let’s just queue and hope for the best. There’s medium activity. There must be plenty of Elimination games going on.

“Welcome to a Skirmish match,” says the game, but in a quiet voice.

Well, I suppose I’ll just quit to main menu when this happens.

“Sorry, that option is now greyed out.”

Thanks, game. You have caused me to enter a stress-induced fugue state.

85 Comments

  1. Halk says:

    Microtransactions in a €60 game with €40 season pass is already enough wrong on its own.

    • LexW1 says:

      What things are locked behind microtransactions which you would want?

      I mean, that’s my question to people who say this. Seems like none of them have played the game, none of them know what the MTs are even for. Have you? Do you? If so which ones is it that you think are unreasonable.

      The “Season Pass” is basically just two things – 1 week early access to the six new classes being added, and a bunch of the microtransaction stuff. So essentially if you’re buying it you’re getting, what, most of the microtransaction stuff? Yeah.

      Further, all the MT stuff that I’m aware of can be earned with in-game currency.

      That does bring us to the only real “rub” I see in that regard – they are too stingy with the in-game currency. Not to the point where I think anyone sane would even consider buying it, but they are too stingy with it.

      The criticisms in the article re: connections etc. are absolutely spot-on, though.

      Personally I’m really enjoying it despite the stingy-ness, but I think it has a less broad audience than they might have hoped (seems to be a problem for Ubi’s MP offerings).

      • Mrice says:

        I feel like people are becoming too willing to be screwed over, as long as its not TOO egregious.

        Ubisoft have next to no running costs with this game given they aren’t even hosting servers, so there is no reason for them to charge additional micro transactions on top of a £40 game beyond furthering the profit gained from the product. Further content will be locked behind a paywall anyway so it doesn’t even fund that.

        It doesn’t matter how small the negative effect on less monetarily invested players is. (and there is a negative effect, its not massive but its there) They are still harming peoples experience and damaging the quality of the game in the pursuit of higher profits. That’s self evidently a bad thing.

        • LexW1 says:

          That seems like a completely unproductive and very self-righteous position. You are explicitly saying that even if no actual harm is done at all, people should still be flipping tables and raging?

          Well, I disagree.

          Also, you claim “further content will be locked behind a paywall”, and that appears to be an outright lie. The new classes are not paywalled – they have a 1 week delay (OH NO ONE WEEK!), and any new maps and so on will not be paywalled. I can’t evem think of anything cosmetic that can’t be earned in-game – I mean, there probably is something, but I’m not aware of it.

          So what is this “further content” that will be “locked behind a paywall”, or are you just making it up?

          • diamondmx says:

            The other person isn’t agreeing there’s no harm, just saying the harm is limited.

            However it’s demonstrably true that Free To Play games use game mechanics to push players towards purchasing microtransaction items, even vanity items, even when those items can be obtained through gameplay (grinding usually).
            These tactics include:
            First time is free (to set up a dependence)
            Early quick progress and mid-to-late slow progress (to frustrate)
            Making other players purchases visible (to peer pressure)
            In game reminders (to advertise)

            Now, looking at full price games with microtransaction elements – you see the same tactics applied, often slightly more subtly:
            Such as Overwatch
            xp/level increases (slowing progress)
            cool alternative costumes (visibility and peer pressure)
            constant trickle of reminders when you get a new crate
            duplicate items (frustrate and encourage you to buy)
            random/lottery system (trigger gambling responses)

            Overwatch isn’t even that bad, and it’s designed to psychologically manipulate players to pay money for elements of the game they already bought at full price. Elements the game will remind them regularly they don’t have.
            Whilst many people have solid ramparts against this subtle nagging the games push on you, it’s really not okay to accept that this is the new normal, and that we should just expect games to make our experience just a little bit worse so they can squeeze just a little more money out of us.

            What’s more, the more normal this is considered, the more the companies are able to push the envelope towards more overt manipulation. Remember that companies have tried to push a lot of anti-consumer policies and that the worst of them have been hard fought to get rid of or reduce the incidence of (always-on DRM, online-passes, X-install limit, hardware locked licences, effectively-malware DRM, DLC where it’s blatantly cut out of the game, in-game advertising)

            If you want to accept that a little harassment is fine for your full-price games to include, then that’s your choice, but berating others for not being okay with this is not okay.

      • Daemoroth says:

        Full retail price for a multiplayer-only game, which doesn’t have any dedicated servers to run, still includes MTs, and you’re ok with that?

        • LexW1 says:

          You know fighting games are not improved by dedicated servers, right, and that all the major fighting games don’t use them? For the 1v1 and 2v2, their P2P solution (which isn’t the “host on one machine” solution of older games) is very good.

          The issue is with 4v4, though, which causes the vast majority of complaints re: connectivity etc. I think they should have gone with dedicated servers for that, but even then it’s not as cut and dried as people like to pretend. For starters instead of connectivity issues, a lot of people would be complaining about unfairly bad ping and so on.

          Again, I ask you, what MTs are you upset about? Because as I said, all of the ones I’m aware of can earned in-game. If you want to stomp around and decry all MTs, fine, but you’re going to have to decry an awful lot of games, then, including many you don’t think of as having MTs (but actually do).

          • Daemoroth says:

            Firstly, don’t comment on the performance of Ubisoft’s implementation unless you actually have anything to back it up. Something like this: link to youtu.be

            And what exactly is their excuse for including MTs? To keep the dedicated servers running? That’s the point of contention.

            Just because you labelled it a fighting game doesn’t mean it compares to others (In network traffic/tracking complexity) and it isn’t automatically justified in copying their network architecture. There’s far less information to capture/transfer and far lower variance in the stage being played on (If any), no NPCs to keep track of, no random additional fighters or fights in the vicinity, no unpredictable target switching, commonly only two dimensions of movement, the list goes on…

            For Honor, as you can see from the tests, seems to have a massive overhead (~110ms by the look of it) in a 1v1 custom game. That’s pretty ridiculous, especially from a fighting game perspective. Even if that overhead never increases (And with eight people on a map I doubt that), that’s a hefty amount to add to anyone’s connection, and is absolutely unacceptable if you consider it a fighting game. Fighting games don’t pick P2P because they flipped a coin, they picked it cause it ensured the lowest amount of lag between two competitors. For Honor should make that same decision based on that.

            At $60 for a MP-only game, they can use that and the money from MTs to set up and support dedicated servers, and they bloody-well should.

            PS – I can earn coins for the MT-shop in pretty much any free-to-play title out there, you using it as some kind of defense in a $60 (US$80 where I am) game is preposterous.

          • unstuck says:

            It’s interesting that you described this as a multiplayer-only game–I’m pretty sure I played through a single-player campaign and have done a whole lot of vs. AI matches by myself. Is there a clever reason to call it multiplayer-only that’s escaping me?

          • Daemoroth says:

            Would you say that the campaign warranted the cost? Was it actually a story campaign or a glorified tutorial/practice to get you ready for the main event? Honest question, since every review I’ve read pointed out that the campaign was little else.

            While the story mode is not much but a hackneyed tapestry sewn together from Ubisoft’s big box of levels, the real gristle to chew on was always going to be the multiplayer fights.

            But it’s not where For Honor sings. The same is true of the single player campaign, which I’ve left till last because it’s among the most flavourless you’ll ever come across – its scale and handsome looks torpedoed by abysmal writing and maps too obviously repurposed from multiplayer.

            I can go on.

            Is Evolve a single-player game because it has bot matches? Was Quake 3 Arena a single-player game? It had AI enemies as well. Same for Unreal Tournament, even had a campaign on top of it. Did that make it a single-player game?

            All the reviews I’ve read have made sure to point out that multi-player is the focus, and what you should be playing, and if you’re not into multi-player games For Honor isn’t for you.

          • unstuck says:

            Those are legitimate questions! My answers are a little biased–two of my absolute favorite games growing up were Bushido Blade and its sequel, and For Honor feels to me like an evolution of a lot of what I loved about them. After playing the betas I was sure I was going to get it, and that if no one else bought it I’d just play against bots.

            I did think the plot was insipid, but I enjoyed the campaign anyway. At least right now, the AI opponents put up a better fight than a lot of human players, and they’re definitely less likely to end a fight before it begins by trying to push me off a cliff or 4v1 me. I do really enjoy playing against actual people, but the bots–especially the most difficult ones–put up a damned good fight. If a human player disconnects during a fight they get replaced with a bot, and there have been a few times I haven’t realized I was fighting the AI until I looked at their name later.

            All of this is to say that I’m happy to get to choose whether I want to fight people or bots, but I’m confident I would’ve loved it even if I only played alone. I can’t really say whether that would be true for anyone else, though.

          • Daemoroth says:

            Thanks for the response, appreciate hearing your side of things. Sounds like I’d be a similar player to you. At the moment I’m totally addicted to Nioh though.

            I’ll probably hold out a bit until I finish Nioh and in the meantime keep an eye out for a free weekend (Which I anticipate as they’re apparently going to treat For Honor much like Rainbox Six) to help make up my mind, as I’d probably suck too much to enjoy full-on MP. :P

          • unstuck says:

            Hey, I’m glad I could help! Hopefully you get a chance to try it out soon. I’m crazy about Nioh–in fact, I’ll probably get right back down to it when or if I ease up on For Honor a little!

  2. wfw-rps says:

    can you play this singleplayer – is it worth even considering for that?

    • zind says:

      There is a singleplayer campaign which I believe can be played offline. Additionally, any of the multiplayer game modes can be played against AI with matchmaking off, essentially making them single-player. These are NOT offline, but they do give “war assets” for the weird metagame thing and count for your classes’ progressions.

      I dunno if I’d pay the full price if I weren’t going to play with pals, but IMO the campaign (which can be played co-op as well) is worth watching for a discount. The combat system really is something, and I enjoy it quite a bit.

      FWIW I nabbed it for 20% off at GMG at release and haven’t been disappointed. I’ve mostly played the campaign and some player vs ai with friends – it seems like the p2p issues disappear when matchmaking is turned off and you’re partied up with people with solid internet connections.

      • vorador says:

        Nah, you need to be connected to Ubisoft always, even for the single player campaign.

      • wfw-rps says:

        thanks for the info zind

        • Ignorant Texan says:

          Fwiw, the SP is online because you earn things that carry over to MP. While I’m absolutely positive no one who reads this site would be tempted to exploit the “rewards”, well, there are a lot of other people who would have no such qualms about gaining any advantage.

          • Ignorant Texan says:

            By “things”, I mean scavenger crates(which contain equipment), steel(in-game currency), and some cosmetics.

    • caffn8d says:

      I picked it up exclusively for single player and ‘co-op vs. AI’ gaming, and I’ve been happy with it. Played about ~12 hours so far. I simply don’t have the reaction times to deal with the PvP, which is fun to watch on Twitch, but brutal for an older gamer like myself.

  3. woodman663 says:

    I like the restaurant analogy.

    I imagine a good restaurant providing waiters only some of the time, while charging premium prices, and also letting you pay more than half extra if you want side dishes, a dessert and a cup of coffee at the end, but still getting away with it and getting good critic reviews and a full house every weekend.

    • Augh_lord says:

      Completely an off-topic but there are restaurants that require membership, like a Costco.

    • LexW1 says:

      That’s a pretty godawful analogy for For Honor, unless you include the notion that the restaurant will eventually start giving you stuff for free for being a customer or whatever.

      I mean, about the only bit that makes any actual sense in context is the “waiters only some of the time” re: the MP problems mentioned above.

      But guess what? Plenty of good restaurants with poor service do actually do very well. Especially in London, I should note, where service is routinely poor. If you have food people want to eat, though, people will put up with poor service.

  4. FrenchTart says:

    I disagree with this. There’s plenty of other things wrong with For Honor too.

    • caff says:

      Watched some videos of it and I can’t disagree. It looked dull and repetitive. Not so much sleep inducing as coma-inducing.

      • FrenchTart says:

        I played the beta briefly as I was quite excited about the game but it really doesn’t flow very well. It’s a shame as there are lots of good ideas – sadly outnumbered and marred by all the terrible ones.

    • robertlepervers says:

      What are they ?

      • LexW1 says:

        Given the person involved “played the beta briefly” and the person agreeing with them “watched some videos”, I wouldn’t expect much of a coherent answer to that.

        I mean, let’s be real, the learning curve alone means playing it “briefly” wouldn’t be enough to get even minimally competent. That itself could be considered a problem, if steep learning curves are considered a bad thing, of course.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    Every time I start to think this game might be worth buying, I see something like this, and decide against it.

    My wallet thanks you.

  6. Creeping Death says:

    This entire article is basically why I havent picked it up yet.

    Which is a real shame because I had a decent time with it in the betas. The mechanics are interesting… but I hope that whoever decided that p2p was good enough gets kicked by a horse.

    • caffn8d says:

      Typically I agree, but we’re talking about a fighting game at it’s core. If you have 100ms+ ping to the dedicated server and I have 35ms, you’re going to have a really bad time if we’re anywhere close in skill. You can normalize that response time difference in a meshed, P2P environment.

      • durruti says:

        “You can normalize that response time difference in a meshed, P2P environment.”

        do explain. because what actually happens in most so called p2p titles is that the client with the best connection and machine is selected as server. which means that so called p2p network is worse than one with dedicated servers by all measures except scaling and maintenance. if the devs had been given time and ressources to implement that properly that is… though i’m interested in learning how to synchronize 8 complex states in no time on the fly without authority.

        • Mahti says:

          There’s an ubisoft support post on the For Honor networking:
          link to support.ubi.com

          There is no host advantage. The post doesn’t go to any depth or detail but gives some explanation how the p2p communication works. Basically, there’s no host in relation to gameplay – instead every player broadcasts their actions straight to every other player. This can keep the latency lower than a dedicated server could at least in theory.

          I can confirm all the frustrations mentioned in the article but despite all that I haven’t suffered any lag whatsoever in more than 20 hours I have played this online. No rubberbanding, no lag affecting counter timing or anything. For me the actual gameplay works more beautifully than any online melee game I’ve ever played. I think Ubisoft has made the right decision going with this p2p networking as it seems to offer the best possible gameplay.

          They need to fix the matchmaking and the menus still, obviously. Both are fortunately very much possible to fix with patches.

          • wikidd says:

            If there’s no host then why does one player get a host icon next to their name, and why does that player leaving cause a session reconfiguration that looks like a host migration?

        • LexW1 says:

          It’s worth noting that pretty much all the best fighting games use P2P networking.

          It’s also worth noting, of course, that they’re most 1v1 and that the place For Honor’s networking has the most problems is the 4v4.

          They do apparently have some sort of fancy method though, which another poster has linked to. It’s not the conventional P2P model you describe.

          Dedicated servers would also be pretty awful for this, I note, but should at least see less disconnections.

          One other thing to consider is that the cat-on-cocaine reflexes you need for most fighters are lessened here, as a lot of attacks (maybe most of them?) have a 0.5-1 second wind-up and/or are highly predictable as to when they’ll be used. Certainly in general it is not was ultra-twitchy as Street Fighter-ish or Virtua Fighter-ish stuff.

          • wikidd says:

            P2P with GGPO rollback is best for 1v1 fighting games, but with anything more it’s a clusterfuck. These days developers always make it so that if you get a hit on your screen then the game trusts your client and gives you the hit; combine that with P2P mesh that takes a normalised measure of your latency in order for the other clients to measure how much they should delay your inputs by and it makes lag switching viable. You see people lag teleporting all the time in P2P mesh games and they’re either cheating or on WiFi and someone else near them started jamming up the spectrum.

            Sure, they may get banned eventually. You can probably write code to kick the most egregious cheaters straight away, but cautious use of a lag switch is pretty indistinguishable from a bad connection. Even then someone’s connection going bad mid session is pretty common. You just don’t get these problems in dedicated server games. In those games you just get a peekers advantage, but that’s usually constant within a game and you can account and deal with it. Also if your connection goes bad then your game goes bad, everyone else is fine.

  7. Christo4 says:

    There are other balance issues or problems with the gameplay that also make it not so great imo (for example, too many environmental hazzards in a brawler basically that make a lot of cheap deaths and also the revenge mechanic being too powerful).

    But i don’t understand why they didn’t just remove the campaign and the stupid faction map which is the most pointless thing i’ve ever seen in gaming and make the game just a fighter with 30 euros price tag. It doesn’t even have dedicated servers so it shouldn’t really ask for more.

    Instead they decided to put a 60 euro price tag with microtransactions… and no dedicated servers… yeah i’m not touching it unless it’s 30 euros or less.

    I had a great fun in the beta, but even so i don’t think it’s worth encouraging such lousy practices.

    • Christo4 says:

      Also, i really want to whine a bit more about maps.

      Why did they make them just so claustrophobic? It just feels like you have only a couple of meters to move sometimes. Especially duel maps on those damn bridges. Worst. Idea. Ever. It ends up being just a game of who can cast guard break faster (granted, it was funny one time when i was with conqueror vs a raider and he tried to grab me, i dodged and shield bashed him off the bridge).

      Now, i’m fine with some environmental hazards. But when they’re just so easy to pull off because guard break is VERY hard to counter and there are just so many ledges and other things you can use, it turns it into a cheese game a lot of times (more than once i’ve had players run only to go near such a hazard and just spam guard break until they got one).

      Even dark souls with it’s invasions felt 10 times more open and fair sometimes.

      • unstuck says:

        I haven’t been able to get the timing down for busting out of a guard break, but it sounds like they’re going to make it easier in the first patch. It’d be super nice not to go flying into quite so many hell pits, for sure!

        • Kitsunin says:

          The timing isn’t that hard and will get easier, but the real trouble is that if you get guard-broken during certain maneuvers, you aren’t allowed to cancel it. What is really silly is that the potential for getting hit by one or two mostly unavoidable guardbreaks over the course of a fight is very high, and on certain maps it’s an instant death.

          The guardbreaks are well balanced based on the amount of damage that can be chained off of them…they are completely OP when they can instakill and almost all moves are vastly easier to punish.

  8. fray_bentos says:

    This looks like a game aimed at the always-online kiddies that don’t know any better (and perhaps have never experienced a quality single-player game).

    • Sian says:

      Well, as someone who almost exclusively plays offline and only with friends when online and even then mostly coop rather than pvp, I’m having a blast with this in pvp with total strangers.

      Edit: Oh heck, let’s add it: Your comment is both kinda patronising and derogatory. It’s perfectly fine to criticise a game for its faults or even just because you don’t like it. It’s not okay to try and put down people who do enjoy it as “kiddies that don’t know any better”. Attack the product, not the customer. Thanks.

  9. dongsweep says:

    What do we want? Mount & Blade 2! When do we want it? Now!

    I thought For Honor would tide me over until Bannerlord came out but after fumbling through that awful beta I am happy I didn’t waste my $60 on this turd.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Don Reba says:

    My greatest frustration was with the matching system not even trying to maintain an even win-lose ratio. Some people win all their matches, some people lose all their matches, and it is not necessarily because they are the best or the worst at the game.

  11. wigginmiller says:

    So, all these points are very valid and this is a well-written article. For those looking to make an informed buying decision, look no further to find the negatives for this game.
    However, that’s not to say when this game works, it WORKS.
    Concerning the disconnection/p2p issues, I actually have barely had any problems.
    Maybe I’m just lucky, but I’ve had maybe 2-3 freezes where I got the “Recovering gameplay state” or the other versions of that.
    I feel like people might overexagerate the problems or once again I’m just lucky.
    The team chat not working, and the elim/skirmish mode not being on seperate queues are both issues that can easily be patched.
    Hell, a lot of the issues presented can easily be patched, and the ubisoft community manager is in contact with the reddit/forums to make sure they stay updated on the problems the community has with the game.
    All in all, the game is fun as hell. Fights are satisfying, when you clutch that kill with a sliver of health, or get into a 2v1 and win by throwing one off the edge and then executing the other, you will be hooked.
    Keep an eye on the game to see if they fix the issues because I promise it will be a game worth your time soon.

    • HopeHubris says:

      I’d say the problems are definitely not exaggerated, I’ve had times where it takes me 30-40 minutes to find a single game that doesn’t error out

  12. unstuck says:

    These are all issues that I’d love to see addressed, but I’ve also noticed a weird disconnect between my experience of the game and the reception and coverage it seems to get on RPS and in the comments. These UX and connectivity quirks are certainly stumbling blocks in the path to a good fight, but people generally seem to have internalized them as being frustrating or stressful. We control our reactions to external circumstances, not the other way around–I choose not to be frustrated by these things, so I don’t get frustrated when they happen. Anyone can do this! I’ve lived with depression, anxiety, and ADHD for at least twenty years, and changing my mental framework like this has been eminently freeing. That goes for user behaviors like ragequitting, stalling indefinitely at the end of a match, or roaming around in big old murderballs, too. Can these things be annoying? Absolutely, but I don’t have to be annoyed by them.

    I don’t really understand the concerns about microtransactions, either. They are absolutely in the game, but the currency you can buy doesn’t ultimately give you that much of a leg up. Champion status accelerates your XP and gear acquisition by a fair margin, but higher-quality gear is balanced such that–as an example–a weapon that does crazy damage is also really bad at defense. I can’t speak to whether the balancing is quite right on gear stats, but it seems fair enough to me.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t generally mind microtransactions or season passes, I bought the season pass for this game because I really like the game itself, and I’m pretty tempted to buy some steel so I can get that sweet, sweet cherry blossom effect for all the samurai characters.

    I’m absolutely not saying anyone’s thoughts or feelings are wrong! Really, I’m just curious to see if anyone feels the same way I do.

    • Sian says:

      Sorry, I’ll have to get shouty for a moment here:
      THANK YOU!

      This is precisely how I feel. The negativity being poured out by some people, especially on the Steam forums (why oh why do I go there), is sometimes a bit overwhelming, so I’m glad someone sees the game the same way I do. Well, someone who writes it down as opposed to those who’re playing the game and enjoying it.

      • unstuck says:

        Happy to oblige! I tend to stick with playing happily regardless of what the internet says, but I love this game so much I wanted to do a comment!

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      You may include me in the group that doesn’t find this stuff game-breaking. FFS, I’ve never played a MMO at launch that worked as well as this game does.

    • zal says:

      By actively choosing to suppress your annoyance rather than be annoyed by something that is annoying, you’re doing yourself a favor in the short term, but you can be short-changing yourself as well.

      Desync’s/crashes/etc… aren’t just unpleasant because they interrupt the fun you have, they typically entail time spent doing something tedious, such as navigating through menus or staring at a spinning matchmaker.

      There are games who’s menus I enjoy (I really liked Dishonored’s), but by and large menu’s are a tiny chore I work through because I’m aware there’s a payoff down the line. While it makes sense not to let myself get annoyed by that, It would be foolish to ignore the underlying message that came with that twinge of annoyance.
      In this case, its shorthand for “you hate the menus leading up to actually playing this game”. the smart thing to do would be to acknowledge that and move on to another game if its going to keep dropping back to the menu.

      Given the challenges you’ve faced, it would be understandable if you placed less stock in the value of your emotional message content, but for most people, emotions trigger for good reason and relay reliable information (often times more effectively than the inane ramblings of conscious thought). Building up a blind to ignore that information is not the best course of action, unless its already suspect. Learning how to mitigate those feelings is a good idea though, for the reasons you pointed out.

      • unstuck says:

        These are good points! I really appreciate your taking the time to write them out in such a well-reasoned and empathetic manner, and I do agree that our emotions can feed us valuable information about their triggers. If I were so fed up with the UI that it overwhelmed my ability to enjoy the game, it’d be a pretty good indicator that I’d be happier spending my time elsewhere.

        I suspect there are other schools of thought on this, but my understanding is that even for people without mental illnesses it can be helpful to detach from unpleasant emotions. They’ll still happen, of course, but buying into them is what leads to stuff like ragequitting and toxic chat environments. As in your example, a person could recognize that the game’s UI was making them really frustrated, step back from the frustration, and still work with that feedback of “I’d really rather go do something else.”

        Really that’s just an addendum to your post. Overall, I totally agree! As much fun as I’m having with For Honor, I imagine I’ll like it even more if they can hammer out some of these issues.

    • RealWeaponX says:

      A thing I noticed during the beta, not sure if it’s the same in live, is that weapon stats actually do nothing most of the time, because if you check the match details in PvP they were turned off by default.

      • unstuck says:

        I noticed that, too! As far as I can tell, gear stats are disabled in 1v1 and 2v2 fights and enabled everywhere else in the live game.

  13. Bunnymancer says:

    Not apologizing for the downfalls of For Honor, although I’ve sure gotten my money’s worth from it by now, but as for chat, this happens, for whatever reason, when using a controller on PC.

    Wiggling the mouse around for a second will set it back to “Keyboard & Mouse” allowing you to use chat again..

    Yeah.. I know… At least there’s a consistent workaround for now.

    • Sian says:

      You wouldn’t happen to know of a workaround for the other issue with chat I’m having, namely that sometimes after I’ve chatted via my keyboard, quickchat on my controller won’t work anymore, would you? Since it’s vital to be able to call for help, I often refrain from chatting, but I’d like to.

  14. Winstons says:

    In contrast to all the whinge here – I am thoroughly enjoying For Honor, which at it’s core is a quite deep and compelling fighter game, with oodles of axe-wielding lunacy and honest-to-goodness brutality.

  15. ChiefOfBeef says:

    So everything still wrong with Siege after a year is what is wrong with For Honor now.

    Expect every Ubisoft multiplayer title to be like this for five years before we get another round of “oh but we learned our lessons THIS time”.

  16. Afkilla says:

    A lot (if not all) of these very valid complaints were present in the alpha/beta. Some are bugs and likely could be fixed, but the worst offender, Peer-to-Peer multiplayer is unlikely to change.

    The inclusion of Peer-to-Peer multiplayer was alone enough to stop me from buying For Honor. I’m just not interested in such a poor experience, that at best will be full of errors/in-game issues and at worse will expose my IP address to other players (host). I don’t care so much about consoles, but the PC gaming community should demand better of a full priced title from a large developer.

    It’s too bad that profit outweighs player experience for Ubisoft. I feel bad for people who bought this garbage. Hopefully the betas were enough warning.

    Ghost Recon Wildlands looks like it will be extremely generic with awful design choices as well. Based on announcements and trailers, I wanted to like both of these games too.

  17. corroonb says:

    Still in beta then?

  18. MiaStar says:

    I love this game. I don’t have any of these problems.

    But I’ve pretty much been praying that a website covers this subject, gets a lot of attention, and puts pressure on the publisher to correct these issues.

    Otherwise, I’m not going to have many people to play with in a few weeks, am I. The idea that a big enough publisher can simply make a big enough game and it’ll sell like hotcakes, is an old, stale, forgotten idea. Bad reviews on Steam are what matters.

    Really.

  19. JuiceMonger says:

    I can’t refute any of the above complaints. Surprisingly though, the core combat mechanics have me hooked. They feel good in the sense of weight, momentum and impact that they convey. Control-scheme wise it’s a very unique game with a lot of depth. In short, I’m glad I gave Ubi my money for making something new and bold, even if it breaks as much as it succeeds.

  20. Scizor_32 says:

    Why are these such problems. I mean yes they get anoying but some of the same things happen in CoD and many other games. All it takes is a little bit of patience and then you’re in a game. And in the preferred gamemode part, suck it up. Just because you didn’t get what you wanted doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. Besides, ubisoft came out with a game with great graphice and a totlly unique gameplay style that hasn’t been seen before. Furthermore, For Honor hasn’t even been released for more than a month so of course there will be bugs and issues.

    • lglethal says:

      Furthermore, For Honor hasn’t even been released for more than a month so of course there will be bugs and issues.

      I’m actually curious why you think it’s acceptable for a game to be released with bugs and issues? And that it’s acceptable for them to take a couple of months to fix them?

      If you bought a new car, would you be happy if it came with a few bugs as well? Maybe, you can only put the Windows down on the left side of the car, or perhaps you need to first open the boot, roll down the right hand window and open and close the glove compartment before you can start the car?

      You wouldnt accept that in your car, but people seem to accept it for games. Which is something I’ve never understood.

      Also from what I’ve read on here, most of the menu Problems in For Honor also existed in the Beta so they’ve had MONTHS to fix them already and havent. Do you really have confidence they will do this in the future?

      • KenTWOu says:

        MONTHS to fix them? Man, it’s Ubisoft, For Honor beta was a month ago. Also, your car analogy is terrible. Cars have their own unfixable usability issues, tons of them.

        • lglethal says:

          The For Honor open Beta was a month ago, before that was a closed beta, before that no doubt was an internal alpha. Are you saying that these issues were never brought up in any of that? Doesnt say much for their QA procedures.

          And I stand by my car analogy. What bugs are acceptable in your car that would stop you for 40 minutes (someones value from in this comment section) from being able to do the thing you paid for it to be able to do (i.e. being able to drive it)?

          What bugs do you have in a car? I can only imagine your thinking something like a big car not fitting in a small parking space, but thats not a bug, thats a design requirement – the computing equivalent would be the difference been an RTS and a TBS. Not a bug, a feature. So what bugs do you have in your car?

          • LexW1 says:

            The car analogy is completely worthless, like 99% of analogies, because it doesn’t make any sense, because you are not comparing like with like. You are in fact comparing a specific kind of tool – a vehicle – which has been developed for well over a century, and has to obey a lot of very specific standards, with a computer game.

            That isn’t apples and oranges. That’s apples and cyborg pteranodons.

            The fact that you “stand by” this pointless waste-of-time analogy is nothing anyone should be impressed by – quite the contrary.

          • KenTWOu says:

            @lglethal
            Nope, For Honor closed beta was a month ago, For Honor open beta was two weeks ago. Ubisoft betas are so close to release, they are more like multiplayer stress tests or demos. And my guess, their QA procedures are up to date, they just don’t have time to properly analyse players feedback and choose the most important issues to fix. Because Ubisoft is a public company which doesn’t release a game when it’s done.

            Regarding car analogies, I could write an article like this one, mentioning hundreds of major/minor annoyances in a car, we could even find the ways to fix some of them. But it would be completely worthless, because car manufacturer can’t update a car releasing a patch. Meanwhile in games absolutely everything seems fixable from the average player’s point of view, which makes almost any complaint relevant.

  21. Eldritch says:

    While no doubt frustrating, these silly design choices did give rise to this excellent, very funny article, which made me laugh a lot.
    Thanks!

  22. Slazia says:

    This is very similar to my experience with GTA multiplayer. Absolutely awful design that punishes the player for daring to try and enjoy the game they paid for.
    I’ve had ten-minute long loading screens with no progress indicator. Missions abandoned after nearly one hour with no reward because one player decides to leave the heist. Constant trolling from jets with no way of defending yourself. It’s like they had a meeting and consciously decided that games were bad for people and therefore it would be better to encourage people not to play them any more.

  23. Ericusson says:

    It is a personal thing.

    But Ubisoft games are kind of blacklisted in my brain.
    There would have to be a huge consensus on a good game from them beyond the usual artificiality of their game building.

    I see For Honor has a mixed grade on Steam, not worth putting some interest in it.

  24. MaxMcG says:

    These days, whenever I see these exorbitant season passes (even the name annoys me), I instantly pass. I don’t want to spend over €100 for a game and I don’t trust that the base game for €60 hasn’t been deliberately and dishonestly excised of content in order to extract more money. Basically, I don’t trust the Ubisofts of this world and am wary of being ripped-off. I’ve been ripped off enough already.

    It really pays to be patient these days. I’ll look again in a sale. In the meantime, I’ll get far more hours of enjoyments from Long War 2 and that didn’t even cost me anything.

  25. tonicer says:

    It is just another third person console game. Who the fuck cares about those anymore? Oh right … apparently everyone. Why are so many people not seeing how consoles ruined gaming. Before consoles where mainstream gaming was much better than it is now. No fucking buildin wallhacks or stupid quick time events or retarded microtransactions or really ugly GUI’s or low texture quality or multiple actions bound to one key or …. i could continue for hours. Consoles ruined it all. Look at these new games. They are all the same crap just with a different wallpaper plastered over them. My favorite hobby is ruined by these set-top boxes.

    • DudeshootMankill says:

      Consoles made gaming the billion dollar industry it is today. Consoles made AAA games possible. And what the hell, have you even tried the Dark Souls series? Its effing great.

    • falcon2001 says:

      You’re eminently and objectively wrong, but sure, I’ve got time. Let me do a takedown.

      Before consoles where mainstream gaming was much better than it is now. I’m going to assume that by ‘before consoles’, you don’t actually mean before consoles, you mean before probably Xbox 360 or something like that. Otherwise this whole argument sounds like you want to Make Zork Great again. What is your favorite game or genre?

      No fucking buildin wallhacks wallhacks being something from PC gaming exclusively or stupid quick time events a behavior taken from Dragon’s Quest and other early PC games or retarded microtransactions Maybe, maybe I could give you this one. Maybe. Although I doubt it would be long before PCs developed it on it’s own or really ugly GUI’s Wait, early PC games didn’t have shitty UIs? Wow. Someone didn’t tell every PC gaming designer from the 90’s and 2000’s. or low texture quality This one’s actually a little hard to tell because ultimately low textures were a thing on PC as well, and the idea of consoles holding back PC games on textures is relatively recent, at least the 360 era, and honestly how many PC games release with objectively bad textures? or multiple actions bound to one key Yeah, it’s true. PC gaming never had awful control schemes before CONSOLES came around. or …. i could continue for hours.

  26. KingFunk says:

    Regarding the query as to how so many of these issues got through testing – having worked in various types of software development in various roles for much of the past decade, I’d say it was probably because most of those in QA are industry hopefuls paid peanuts and that most of the developers didn’t ask for or care about their opinions on the elegance and usability of certain solutions. Mainly they probably just wanted to make sure there were no easily reproducible crashes, no glaring art or audio issues and that the player can’t ‘break’ the game with their actions. Admittedly, the open beta should probably have been longer, but then, well, money…

  27. Ferno says:

    It’s a shame you’ve found the menus such a terrible experience. I don’t think they’re great but they’ve been a mild annoyance at most. The worst thing for me is that dropping you back to the main menu if there aren’t enough players thing rather than finding more. Always find it strange to see people in the comments who haven’t even bought the game bitching. I for one am really enjoying the complex and really rather good fighting system. Having an absolute blast in 2v2 duels. Like most fighting games it’s very punishing to new players, mind.

    • Ferno says:

      Apologies, that note came across ruder than I meant. I enjoyed the article and the frustrations noted are certainly valid for the game. With the improvements Siege has seen I’m hopeful for the support this game will have

      • LexW1 says:

        I think the menus in For Honor are probably the worst I’ve seen in an AAA game in… ten years? I mean, 2007 so we’re back to ME1, earlier WoW and so on and yeah, I can’t think of any menus this awful until all the way back then. Options are hard to find, it’s hard to understand what you’re supposed to click (I should never have to THINK about what to click when I know I just want to be ready or whatever!), stuff is randomly segregated to certain menus and so on. They’re a trashfire.

        Otherwise, I agree. All games have a certain amount of “I haven’t played it but…” and with games with very familiar genres and gameplay that’s sometimes even fairly valid (Shootersequel 11 etc.). But with For Honor neither is the case and a lot of the non-player criticism is just wild, wacky nonsense. Assumptions poured on misapprehensions and then set on fire!

  28. cardboardcity says:

    A shorter version of review could have been: Broken and currently a rip-off until it is fixed. It’s beyond me why people apologize for this kind of thing. If it were any other kind of product, these comments wouldn’t exist.

    “You know, the speedometer in my new car only works when I tap on the instrument panel, but the engine makes a nice zoomy noise.”

    • unstuck says:

      That’d be a pretty dreadful review, given that it betrays a serious bias and is hyperbole anyway. It also doesn’t read like you’ve actually played the game. While it is true that there are issues with the user experience, I’ve spent about twenty hours with For Honor and have had a fantastic time–for me, the issues listed above are mildly inconvenient at worst. It might be true that there wouldn’t be people saying how much they like it if this were a different kind of product, but it isn’t a different kind of product, and there are tons of issues unique to the creation of a video game. Implementing multiplayer compounds those issues, and online multiplayer further compounds them. Add to that the ever-rising cost of AAA development and there’s only so much the end user can logically expect from a game right out of the gate. I certainly wouldn’t categorize this one as broken or a rip-off, because I’ve only experienced maybe ten minutes of inconvenience to at least twenty hours of enjoyment so far.

      Adjusting your analogy for accuracy, it’d be more like, “You know, occasionally the turn signal is a little wonky, but otherwise my new car is fantastic, and if you like cars like it you might want to check it out. If you don’t like cars like it, that’s also fine. You might want to get a different car.”

  29. dorobo says:

    I knew it was a trap!

  30. Dandaman says:

    Your article is very much on the money. I have given up playing this multiplayer until they address the gross issues with the game. I have been playing games for 20 something years and this is the most infuriating game I have ever played.