Ubisoft just made what on the face of it looks like a minor tweak to For Honor, but for players who are playing it day-in, day-out it makes a big difference.
For Honor has daily quests, called Orders, that upon completion reward steel, the in-game currency. Orders are your best source for steel, so you want to do them.
The frustration comes when you get an Order that focuses on the Elimination (4v4) game mode, or the Skirmish (4v4 with AI soldiers) game mode. Fine, you'd think. Just load up Elimination, or Skirmish, depending on what the quest is, play then get your steel.
Unfortunately, For Honor had lumped Elimination and Skirmish into the same matchmaking search, collectively called Deathmatch. So, even if you'd selected one or the other as your preferred game type, you had no real control over which of the two modes you'd end up playing.
It meant that if you had Skirmish-related Orders, for example, you couldn't just play Skirmish to get them done. You might have ended up playing Elimination after Elimination after Elimination, without getting a Skirmish for hours.
Like I said, annoying. The system was one of the reasons you'd often see players quit a Deathmatch just as it begins.
Overnight, For Honor players noticed Ubisoft had tweaked the game to break Deathmatch up into two separate modes: Elimination and Skirmish, in response to community complaints. Huzzah!
Ubisoft's MrEricPope took to Reddit to explain:
"This is in response to Community Feedback about the Orders that can be completed only in Elimination and Skirmish and not both of them as the same time. This is also to mitigate the fact that the map voting system doesn't sufficiently highlight which mode you'll be playing with the map selected."
However, MrEricPope stressed that For Honor may not work this way forever.
"We can do this update because our current concurrent number of players is high enough, but this doesn't mean we'll be able keep it set this way forever. However we'll work on improving the two points raised above in the meantime."
Here's how it looks, post maintenance:
The change comes at an interesting time for the For Honor community. While the game's core gameplay has gone down well with players (I've already covered why I love it), much about the way the online works has not. Indeed, last weekend was a tough one for For Honor, with a Ubisoft game-wide server problem that made it unplayable for hours.
So it's good to see Ubisoft finally pipe up. For a start, it's giving a three day Champion Status to those affected by the online outage, and it just revealed details of the game's first update.
This patch fixes a number of bugs, but players will be most interested in the balance changes.
For example, For Honor is reverting the controversial Guardbreak mechanic so it works as it did in the beta. So, it's no longer un-counterable if you're Guardbroken during Guardbreak startup. This should make "teching" a Guardbreak easier, although it also means if you've spent time learning the timing you'll have some more work to do.
The Peacekeeper's bleed stacking damage has been reduced, but the range of her moves has been increased. The Berserker and Conqueror have had light attack recoveries decreased to prevent free Guardbreak on block. And the Orochi benefits from an increase to the dodge back on his Riptide Strike.
But the biggest change is reserved for the Valkyrie, which has been buffed considerably. Ubisoft has made some of her moves a little faster and added some mix-ups.
Here's another seemingly minor quality of life change that makes For Honor instantly more palatable: in Duel, Brawl and Elimination, bots joining an in-progress match will be dead for the current round. This is particularly welcome because previously, bots would replace disconnected players at full health.
The patch notes in full are over on Reddit.
For Honor still has a lot of technical problems, of course, and there's still no real rage-quit punishment, but this patch is a welcome start. Here's hoping Ubisoft continue to refine and improve the game throughout the year.