A Scrub’s Guide To Dominion Mode In For Honor

So, here's the deal: we're working on our review of For Honor after the servers finally went live yesterday, and I'm a pretty through-and-through scrub. I'd argue that part of that was using an the mouse and keyboard which make it all to difficult to set, hold and accurately switch guard stances. So, after switching to a gamepad and slamming my head against the brick wall that is For Honor's skill floor, I realized that I still wasn't very good.

But now, I know why. Through those repeated blows to the head while playing Dominion mode, I actually learned a thing or two. Dominion mode is probably the most friendly to new players; the main goal isn't to kill opponents necessarily, so victory isn't necessarily dependent on your ability to out duel another player.

It also seems to be just a re-skin of normal capture point-style game modes in other multiplayer games, particularly first-person shooters. But the thing is, it's more complicated than that, and For Honor's in-game features don't do a good job of explaining it to you.

How It Works, Exactly

Dominion is a lot like a capture-and-hold game mode. There are three objectives labeled A, B and C. Two of them will just be areas that you need to stand in, uncontested long enough, and the third objective needs to be pushed and controlled with your soldiers, not unlike creep or minions in a MOBA game.

Where For Honor will just give you that information and say "get to 1000 points, then kill the bad guys," there's a lot more nuance. Yes, you do earn points for control zones, usually 1 point per zone per second, you also earn a flat bonus of 100 points each time you capture that. But, this is a zero-sum game. You gain 100 points when you capture a point, and the opposing team loses that 100 points, so you can use these as a good way of swinging the battle.

When you get to 1000 points, "the enemy team is breaking," which means they will be unable to respawn and killing them will net you a victory. That is, unless they can capture a zone from you and reduce your total points to below 1000. That's what the game means when it says "the enemy team has rallied." If both teams are above 1000 points, it's sudden death, no respawns. Last team standing wins.

Points earned are also divided into "hard points," and "soft points." The 100-point bonus for capturing a zone is soft-point bonus, meaning those points can be lost. Hard points, which are points earned by killing soldiers, killing enemy heroes and the point-per-second bonus from capturing points, cannot be lost. So, if you ever get to 1300+ points, the opposing team will not be able to rally, and there will forever be no respawns.

Boosting, Boosting, Boosting

I can't emphasize this enough. Boost your points whenever you can. I remember playing Dominion when I didn't know what I was doing. I would capture a point, then move to the next one and try to capture it, as well, and, despite putting in a huge amount of objective-based work, I would still lose. What was I doing wrong?

Well, as I said above, you get 1 point per zone controlled per second. But, if you have at least one person standing in a zone you control, that bonus doubles to 2 points per zone per second. This is called "boosting." In the beginning of the game, it's tempting to capture the point nearest you and then charge into battle, but it's much more lucrative for your team if you capture the point nearest you and have at least one person just stay there.

Especially in lower-level games, you can be on pace with your opponents even if you have one zone to their two, because you can boost your zone and have each team gain 2 points per second. Likewise, if you're ahead in zones, get more ahead. Remember these are hard points, so each second you stay on the control point is money in the bank.

Don't Be A Hero

Look, we've all seen videos of someone pulling off an amazing 1v2 or 1v3, but let's not go trying to be Superman on our first go round, huh? If you arrive a control point with intent to capture it only to find that you're outnumbered (and this applies even if you're 1v2 or 2v3 or anything worse), don't try to fight. Turn around and walk away.

You're not doing anyone any good dying. You'll give your opponents at least five hard points from killing you, in addition to the 100+ they'll be getting when they capture the point anyway. If there are two people at one point, that means there is no more than one person at any of the others, so you're better served moving along and capturing one of those. Not to mention that your death will result in a lengthy respawn time, which will be increased if the enemy executes you.

Besides, my guess is that you can sneak in and capture the point right after they do, as lower-levels don't understand the concept of boosting just yet (discussed above), whereas dying will result in your team being outnumbered and likely losing at least one other point while you wait to respawn.

The Final Score is Misleading

You might lose a game, and see that you lost, say 1250 to 800 or something like that and think "wow, we really suck. We didn't even stand a chance." But, even really close games can end like that. I've seen games that were locked in a virtual 1000-point tie end in scores that seem lopsided because things can really snowball after a team is broken.

Once you break, the enemy team can potentially gain 200 points by taking whatever capture points you might control while you lose those 200 points. That there accounts for at least a 400 point swing.

I say this not merely to make you feel better, but to help you understand that you may not be as far out of it as you think, which may mean that you don't need to go home and rethink your life.