With Their Game In Crisis, For Honor Devs Are Making All The Right Moves

It's no secret that For Honor is going through somewhat of a rocky time after its first first month and a half. What started as fringe criticism from some outsider curmudgeons (me) has gradually boiled over into a grassroots revolt of players who are tired of the rampant imbalance, microtransactions and connectivity issues sprinkled with what they see as a lack of communication from Ubisoft.

A mass of Redditors organized a one-day blackout, the idea being that all or an effective majority of players would not play For Honor the entire day of April 3, as a way of stating their discontent and getting a response from Ubisoft.

While that protest very well may still happen, Ubisoft has done what few other developers in similar crises have managed to do: effectively respond to community feedback in a timely manner. Not doing this is exactly the sort of thing that doomed a game like Evolve and plagued No Man's Sky post-release for so many months. So many developers, with their backs against the walls, will retreat into hiding.

Rather than waving the white flag, the For Honor developers have instituted one of the most aggressive PR blitzes I've seen in gaming. We already went over their near-immediate decision to dramatically increase Steel income following the announcement of the blackout. Today came their Warrior's Den livestream, where they went over what they've done, what they're working on and what they want to do, as well as a comprehensive plan to increase visibility and communication between the developers and the players.

While not using language that Turtle Rock Studios used with Evolve, calling it a "shitstorm," each Ubisoft participant in the livestream said this last week had been "intense," so it was clear that the pressure was on. First thing, For Honor producer Stephane Cardin announced that he will be creating weekly written updates that go over what the team is working on and that the Warrior's Den Weekly will be moved to Thursdays each week to coincide with the patch notes, allowing the community to ask them more immediate questions about the most recent update.

They're also actively working on the issue of rampant disconnects. Cardin revealed that River Fort and High Fort had the two highest rates of disconnect, signifying that disconnection is linked to performance. After a brief removal, River Fort is back, and, if High Fort tests well behind the scenes, it will be added back in soon as well.

Game director Damien Kieken announced huge nerfs to Revenge, and he shed light on the source of what many see as poor matchmaking in For Honor.

"One of the tricky things for us is that you select your hero after the matchmaking," Kieken said on the stream. "We don't know if you'll pick a maxed-out hero or try someone new."

So, you could be relatively even with someone in terms of overall level, but they might choose a hero with a much higher gear score than you, unbalancing your game, Kieken said. While not giving specifics, Kieken said they are looking to address this issue very soon.

All-in-all, what we're seeing here is a team that is responding aggressively to community feedback at its most critical time. Just over one month into the game's release, For Honor still has a chance to make a turnaround, unlike games like Evolve and No Man's Sky. By the time the devs of those two games tried to address the community and make needed changes, it was already too late.