For Honor is (finally) getting dedicated servers

Ubisoft offered For Honor players a peek at the game's future today with the announcement of two new seasonal updates, set to arrive in August and November, that will add new heroes, maps, gear variations, and other additional features to the game. But even bigger than that is the promise of a new "dedicated server infrastructure" that's coming "further down the road." 

Ranked tournaments, which Ubi began testing last month, are also on the way, as is a new four-on-four PvP mode and "more robust" training options. Balance changes will continue to be made, many of them intended to "improve elements of the fight system to make attacking more advantageous while putting more pressure on defence." Some of those changes are actually already in place on the For Honor PTE, which also began a new session today. 

Ubisoft said it is working on making improvements to the existing online system that it hopes will improve overall stability. "We’ve done one patch today to improve stability," said game director Damien Kieken said. "We did some improvements also on the patch of last week, we introduced routers for duel tournaments that will ship during Season 3, to also manage the NAT differently. So it’s a constant work we’re still doing and we still do, until the dedicated servers are used in the live environment." 

But it's the addition of dedicated servers that's the big news here. Kieken acknowledged in a blog post that For Honor has struggled with "online challenges" pretty much from the start. 

"We saw that we had connectivity and stability problems, mostly on 4v4 modes, so it’s one of the things we’ve looked at and worked on a lot since the game launched. And during that process, we decided to do an analysis of the whole online infrastructure we have and compare it to other existing ones," he said. "And in the end, based on all the data we gathered … we decided to do the move and to migrate to a dedicated server technology." 

Kieken said that dedicated servers "could help us more in the future for the things we want to do next," but will also have a more immediate impact for players. "With dedicated servers, you don’t have session host migration anymore, so there is no game pausing when somebody leaves the session. You won’t have to manage your NATs. You don’t have to check your NAT if you want to play with a friend or things like that," he said. "So it will also help greatly the overall experience of the player, from matchmaking to the game session itself, to playing with friends, and things like that." 

It's almost enough to make you wonder why the game didn't have dedicated server support right from the start, but better late than never, I suppose. And it is going to be late: Kieken said that moving to dedicated servers is a big job, akin to "changing the engine of a car while it runs," and so at this point a timeframe for the change hasn't been set. Based on the "Road Since Launch" roadmap, however, it appears that they won't be added to the game until sometime after the rollout of season for in November. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.