Ubisoft said in February that ranked play would be added to its faux-medieval duel simulator For Honor later this year, and tomorrow—June 29—it will take a big step toward making it happen with the start of the first public test for Duel Tournaments. The test is PC-exclusive and you need to have played the game prior to 5 pm PT on June 22, but aside from those restrictions it's open to anyone who wants to take part.
"Tournaments and competitive play have been part of the team’s vision for the game since the beginning of its development. The team has worked hard in order to be able to implement this feature, and now the feature is near completion," Ubisoft said. "We feel it is time to have it tested by our players. We want to make sure everything works as intended, but also take into account players’ feedback before its release. The Public Test will allow the team to do that."
Combatants will first throw down in 20 matches in a qualifier stage, after which they'll be ranked in Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, or Diamond tiers, each of which will then be divided into five groups to ensure a level playing field. In real tournaments, they'll ultimately be winnowed into single-elimination playoffs with rewards based on performance—the deeper you go, the better you get—but because this is a test, all progress and rewards will be wiped when it concludes on July 4.
"As the focus of the public test is Duel Tournament, we will closely monitor the stability of the Tournament flow and the behavior of the Ranking system. We will also gather qualitative feedback through For Honor Forums dedicated specifically to the Public Test," Ubi said. "Once the Public Test is over, we will send a survey to our players in order to acquire additional feedback."
Whether ranked play will be enough to reverse For Honor's flagging fortunes is anybody's guess, but there's no question that it needs a boost from somewhere: We reported earlier this month that the game had lost an estimated 95 percent of its player base in just three months.