How far does a game have to fall before a company makes some sort of major decision to set things to rights? When do exploits, which can often be harmless fun, go too far? When it comes to Ubisoft and For Honor, we may have an answer. It is all thanks to the For Honor Hero Series Finals on August 12, 2017, a $10,000 competition won by a player who used an exploit Ubisoft has known about for months.
Let’s set the stage. Unlock tech is an exploit that, from my research, has been known about and used by the For Honor community for about five months. For frame of reference, the game itself is about six months old now. People use unlock tech to unlock the targeting lock on an opposing player, perform their attack or skill, and then relock on again. When you do this, you can speed up your attacks or keep an opponent from blocking or parrying. In the case of a character like Shoguki, the unlock tech exploit can make an attack deal double damage. It is a game breaking move.
In the For Honor Hero Series Finals, Jakub “SB Alernakin” Palen used Nobushi and the unlock tech exploit to win it all. In the post-match interview, he even said his preparations involved “not playing for two weeks.” He got the trophy and prize, much to the consternation of people like Roman Campos-Oriola, the For Honor Game Director who came out to present the trophy to Palen, congratulate him, and tell him, “You might have to change your playstyle.”
But the problem isn’t just Palen’s actions. It was the actions of everyone who participated, as you can see in the official Ubisoft video. All the people playing were using various cheats and exploits that have been left within For Honor for months. The unlock tech exploit was one of money. Some used the zone flicker input lag to get an edge. Another used unlocked heavies cheats. The inclined terrain bug related to level height caused a character to be knocked down and lose a fight. The overpowered Raider, with its Stampede Charge, was exploited by many. Everybody was taking advantage of this still broken game, which was running on one of the latest patches. Obviously, the participants who aren’t Palen aren’t winning, because no one was playing 100% by the book. Everyone was cheating each other and themselves. And Palen has certainly earned some internet ire for his behavior during and after the event.
Ubisoft can count this as a huge failure. This For Honor Hero Series Finals was a public humiliation event. Tons of people are talking about it. They are pointing out how egregious these errors are and how inexcusable it is that they have remained in the game for so many months. It has been half a year without any fixes. They remained in a tournament setting. They are so advantageous and renowned that pretty much everyone there used them. Who would want to play the game after seeing that?
Those of us acting as spectators can’t even enjoy this. It isn’t funny. This is just pathetic. We heard Palen say, “Didn't expect it to be this easy." It was more disheartening, and maybe even a little disgusting, rather than a humorous moment. Our take away is that For Honor is so bad at this moment, someone can win a $10,000 tournament after not playing for two weeks. There is no joy to be found here.
This is a no win situation. The people who participated had to use cheats to win, creating a poor reputation for themselves. Palen won money, but earned internet ire. Ubisoft has tarnished its reputation, since it has shown they aren’t supporting a major game enough to fix issues present since launch. And those of us watching in the wings can’t even enjoy or laugh at it, because it is all so pathetic. Exploits, bugs, and glitches have ruined the game for everyone.