When you stack it up against just about any other major multiplayer game, medieval murderfest For Honor seems a little esoteric, but Ubisoft are still sure that the game has legs as a competitive scene - it just needs to remind the players how to run. In a major free update rolling out for the game tomorrow, For Honor is expanding with a series of official training missions, a complete in-game glossary of terms and a freeform arena mode to test classes and weapons in.
The training hub seeems impressively comprehensive. Complete beginners will start out with a step-by-step tutorial teaching you the absolute basics of gameplay, but the new Warrior Trials missions are designed specifically to teach the finer points of the game, from map-control tactics to how to effectively feint in order to create openings. It's not entirely unlike the Situation missions in Rainbow Six: Siege, and it's a little strange that For Honor has been left without this level of tutorial until now, but it's great that it's happening, even if it's a bit late.
Ubisoft's efforts don't seem to be wasted. A quick glimpse at the Steamcharts figures for the game (unofficial, but reliably accurate) reveals that its active player-base has grown by more than 50% over the past three months on Steam alone. Considering that this is a Ubisoft game there are likely a good number of additional players logging in via Uplay as well. It would seem that the introduction of dedicated servers and the company's commitment to a second season of updates hasn't gone amiss.
The release of the training mode comes not long after the launch of the Starter Edition for the game. While not ideal for anyone planning on pouring extensive time into For Honor due to its greatly increased grind to unlock additional characters, dabblers and super-casual players can now jump in at the fairly reasonable price of £12/$15.
I must say, much as people snark over the games-as-service concept, I'm always sad to see a multiplayer community fizzle out without support. Ubisoft's new imperative to prop up even their less immediately profitable online games seems to be paying off so far, and I'd much rather see this continue than go through another age of of multiplayer could-have-beens being axed within months of launch.