For Honor is a great fighting game marred by technical issues. That's a sentiment that has dogged the game since it came out - now thrust once again into the public eye by a recent Ubisoft-backed tournament that ended in farce.
The winner of the PC hero series tournament set up by Ubisoft to help promote the launch of season three of the game used a long-running exploit to defeat his opponent - sparking a heated debate within the For Honor community about the state of the game.
Perhaps an even worse look for For Honor, the creative director really didn't look happy awarding the victorious player his trophy.
Jakub Palen, aka SB.Alernakin, used the Nobushi hero in the PC hero series grand final. In the match, which you can see in the video below, he wins without dropping a set.
Key to Palen's success was the use of what's called "unlock tech". It's an exploit that makes an attack unparryable, makes certain attacks faster and can even stop the recoil your character suffers when your opponent blocks an attack. It's called unlock tech because it involves unlocking the targeting lock on your opponent, attacking then relocking.
The For Honor community has worked through the rights and wrongs of using unlock tech for months - and pointed out the developers have so far failed to fix it. But that didn't stop Palen and others from using it extensively during the tournament.
"I didn't think it would be this easy," Palen said after his victory.
Creative director Roman Campos Oriola could barely contain his delight when awarding Palen a trophy for his tournament victory.
"Good job, buddy," he said. "Soon you might have to change your playstyle, but honestly, that's a f***ing good job."
That wasn't the only problem with the For Tournament over the weekend. A much-discussed post on r/games summed up the various issues, including some hilarious clips. For example, at one point a bug causes the loss of a match.
The For Honor community has expressed a collective embarrassment about the tournament, which, critics say, has only served to highlight the poor state of the game.
Here's redditor ColdBlackCage summing up the sentiment:
"These issues are by no means recent issues, and have been of heavy contention the past few weeks leading up to this tournament in community discussion. For Honor is theoretically supposed to be a fighting game, but this tournament has potentially shown to thousands of people just how thin the game is in a setting where players are supposedly trying their absolute best to secure the prize money."
For its part, the development team has outlined extensive work it's doing to improve the game, including the addition of dedicated servers and a major new update to coincide with the beginning of season three, dubbed Grudge and Glory.
Still, most people who watched the For Honor tournament, which was designed as a high-level play showcase, felt it was boring and packed with "cheese". If Ubisoft have any esports aspirations for the game at all, it'll need to take a long, hard look at the tactics Honor's best players use to win and tweak accordingly. Based on Roman Campos Oriola's on-stage comments, it looks like unlock tech will be tackled sooner rather than later.
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