Fighting games fans have a history of banning overpowered characters from tournaments. Akuma in Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo was a no-go. Meta Knight has long been frowned upon at Super Smash Bros. Brawl gatherings. Now, add the Peacekeeper from For Honor to that list.
The For Honor community has had a problem with the Peacekeeper ever since the game came out earlier this year, but in recent weeks her true power has become crystal clear. Most players agree she's the most powerful character in the game - not just by a bit, but by a lot.
Why? Because of her light attack spam, which is incredibly difficult to defend against. For Honor is a relatively lumbering affair - in fact that's one of the reasons I love it. It's a fighting game about mind games, not twitch reflexes. So the Peacekeeper's flurry of attacks seem out of place. The video, below, does a good job of explaining the problem.
It's got to the stage where the For Honor community is sick and tired of seeing Peacekeepers pop up online so frequently. For a game that'll live and die by its character balance, it's not a good look.
The Peacekeeper's popularity has extended to the fledgling For Honor tournament scene, which has been criticised for the over-abundance of the Peacekeeper. MLG online tournaments have already seen the Peacekeeper rise to the top of the tier tree, and so they're a bit boring to watch.
Things came to a head when two days ago an MLG forum user called Clint44mag declared: "No Peacekeeper or no tournament." Clint44mag said the Peacekeeper "reduces the competitive spirit" of For Honor, and explained why:
- The PK causes a lack of diversity: it can be seen easily in both normal public matches and competitive GameBattles; the PK is almost universally seen on the top players and teams. The PK should be banned for the same reason steroids are banned in sports. Without steroids normal athletes are at a major disadvantage to their competition and so the only way to truly compete is to use steroids. The PK is the steroid of For Honor - without her on your roster you play at a disadvantage. If the PK were banned for tournaments and hopefully for all GameBattles, then the full For Honor roster would be able to be played without accepting a disadvantage. New and unique play styles would be able to emerge, and players will be able to experiment different strategies without punishment.
- The PK is abnormally strong compared to other characters: although the PK's individual attacks are not the most damaging, her light attack chain is the fastest in the game. For Honor is a fighting game built on mind games and conditioning your opponent. However, when PK is used these tactics are not needed as simply spamming light attacks can usually guarantee hits, even against experienced players. For this reason PK can be easily used by new players. When players get more experienced and use these mind games and tricks in combination with the speed of the PK, she is nearly impossible to beat in a 1v1 scenario. As said above, the strength of the PK causes a lack of diversity in competitive and social matches.
- Being beaten by a PK most often leaves one feeling frustrated and "cheesed", rather than beaten by their opponents skill. A ban on the PK will lead to less disputed matches due to anger and frustration on either side.
- If the PK is not banned, then the tournaments held by MLG for For Honor are no longer worth the entry fee. I would like to play the game my way, and not have to use a PK to have a chance at winning. Until a ban on the PK or a patch re-balancing the character, I will not participate in MLG tournaments. If you agree with the viewpoint stated above, please pledge your name to the poll to boycott MLG tournaments until the PK is banned.
Pretty strong stuff! Well, the tournament organisers at MLG took notice, and banned the Peacekeeper as an experiment.
MLG online tournament supervisor -TheShadow- responded to say it will try running a tournament with Peacekeeper banned, and then send a poll. If the community declares itself in favour of banning the hero then MLG will do so.
The For Honor community has welcomed the news and declared it a mini-victory of sorts. The community hopes the decision will put pressure on Ubisoft to change the way the Peacekeeper works, although in an interview with Eurogamer earlier this month, game director Roman Campos Oriola indicated the development team would take its time with balance changes to make sure it gets them right.
Still, there is a feeling Ubisoft hasn't been the most communicative of developers when it comes to For Honor, and the perception is the game continues to shed players because of disconnection problems, poor matchmaking and overpriced micro-transactions.
It seems inevitable that Ubisoft will at some point nerf the Peacekeeper, but how long that will take is anyone's guess. Until then, don't expect to see her in MLG online tournaments. I doubt she's going anywhere for normal online play, though. A win's a win, after all.