'For Honor' Getting Dedicated Servers, Additional Gameplay Changes In Future Updates

Over the next seven months, Ubisoft will continue to add new content to For Honor in the form of additional heroes, maps, cosmetic items, and game modes. However, the developers are still working on multiple patches and updates in order to balance the game experience. Ubisoft published a Q&A session about the new changes with the game’s creative director Roman Campos-Oriola and director Damien Kieken, in which the duo revealed that For Honor’s online gameplay will soon use dedicated servers.

Online Stability

According to Kieken, the reason the studio decided to switch to dedicated servers was to solve stability issues that plagued players since the game came out in February, particularly in the four-versus-four-player matches. Analyzing the data from those matches and looking at networking alternatives made Ubisoft realize that dedicated servers were the best option for online play. In addition to improved stability within matches, dedicated servers would eliminate the need for host migration, and players would no longer have to check their NAT (Network Address Translation) type prior to playing the game.

Currently, For Honor utilizes a modified version of a peer-to-peer system for online gameplay. According to a Q&A post on Ubisoft’s forums, the problem with the traditional model is that if the host leaves, the game will briefly pause until a new host is selected. The game then synchronizes with the other players in the match and gameplay continues. Ubisoft’s networking model works in a different way because there isn’t a single game host. Instead, it has a session host that handles invites and handshakes for each player in the game.

“During matches, every player runs a synchronized simulation and the game is played without any game host; all players are sending to all players what they are doing without the need of any answers from the other players thanks to the simulation,” wrote community developer Eric Pope. “This is why our tech allows more reactivity and doesn’t have the ‘host advantage’ problem of a traditional P2P model. When the match ends, the results are sent by all players to our arbitration service that validates its integrity. We also have other servers and systems that help us track and identify potential cheaters.”

The switch to dedicated servers won’t happen for some time, though. Kieken mentioned that a small portion of the online development team is working on the new capability. The rest of the group is focused on improving the current online experience through patches. Kieken said that changing to dedicated servers is like “changing the engine of a car while it runs...it will take some time, and it will go through several steps before we can release it progressively to other players.”

Changes To The Fight

Aside from the change in the overall online system, the developers are also making changes to some gameplay mechanics as well, specifically for the one-on-one Duel mode. Damage taken while defending attacks is increased to 18%. Campos-Oriola said that this will encourage players to stay on the offensive more often as it has less risk than putting your shields up and taking small amounts of damage from your opponent. Higher-level players also use the game’s parrying system to their advantage because it leads to a guard break where the player can easily kill their opponent by kicking them off a high platform on a map. Campos-Oriola said that the new change will no longer guarantee a guard break opportunity after a parry. Attacking players still have ample time to deal large amount of damage after a parry, but it’s no longer a guaranteed kill.

In addition to these changes, the developers also plan to add a new four-versus-four mode sometime in Season IV, which starts in November and ends in February. Around that same time, Campos-Oriola mentioned that a new tutorial system will also be released, which improves on the basic and advanced tutorials already within the game. If you need more practice, you can test your skills in the upcoming practice arena where you can use any Hero and see how its abilities work against other Heroes in multiple situations.

More For The Community

The eventual switch to dedicated servers is a welcome change to those who still continue to play For Honor’s multiplayer despite stability issues. The studio continues to issue updates as a way to prevent further problems, but the online connection should be more stable once the dedicated servers kick in at some point in the future.

Nevertheless, Ubisoft is still focused on giving players more content with each new season. New rewards keep veterans motivated to strive for the top spot in each match, and the addition of a new mode ensures that the monotony of the playing the same game type over and over again is broken. However, the addition of dedicated servers and the improvement to the tutorial means that new players can try their hand on the online melee battlefields and join the fight with one of the three main factions.

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NameFor Honor
TypeAction, Melee, Third-Person
DeveloperUbisoft Montreal
PlatformsPC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Release DateFebruary 14, 2017
Where To BuyUplay ShopSteamPlayStation StoreXbox StoreAmazonBest BuyTargetWalmartGameStop
  • Chettone
    The community complained (a lot) about its P2P cheap model and abandoned the game for that and other reasons. Im glad to hear that all this complaints were heared (when they lost about 90% of their playerbase within 2 months). Lesson of the day: Complain a lot, write negative reviews and abandon the game if you want devs to hear you.
  • gasaraki
    Too little too late I think the saying was.
  • dstarr3
    It's about time Ubi shows any evidence that they care about maintaining this game even slightly.
  • Krakadoom
    If they just "realised" dedicated servers were a good idea now, they're patently retarded. And deaf to their player Base to boot.
  • Olle P
    I found this article far more interesting than expected!
    It seems like the way P2P is handled resemble how the programmer (yes, one person) first tried to make CMBO(i) work in "online" mode, in order to keep data transfer to a minimum (ii). Initial tests were promising, but as soon as they actually tried to run the game using two computers that weren't the same make and model things went bad. With the way different CPUs handle rounding errors and such the outcome of a turn could end up quite differently on the two computers. Wonder if that apply to For Honor as well?

    Anyway, now that FH has lost so many players (which to me isn't that surprising given how repetitive, and thus boring, it looks) it's cheaper and easier to run dedicated servers than it was previously.

    (i) Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord is an operational level turn based game that was developed by the two man company Big Time Software in the 90:ies. It was a great game, as indicated by the individual players spending hundreds of hours just playing the two demos released before the actual game!
    CMBO's two next successors, CMBB and CMAK, were even better... (the third and later were, in my opinion, not.)

    (ii) This was in the days of sluggish phone modems that made data transfer times an issue. The idea of having both computers "crunch" each turn simultaneously as a means to save waiting time was flawed from onset though. The time required to compute a single turn could differ way more between a fast and a slow CPU than the added time of transfer all input and output data instead of just the changes. Having all computing done on the faster CPU could literally save hours of waiting time in a game.