For Honor player wins $10,000 in championship by abusing an exploit

Over the weekend, Ubisoft hosted a For Honor tournament with $10,000 going to the best duelist. But many are upset because the victor won the prize by spamming an exploit that made his attacks unblockable. It was a disappointing climax to a tournament that highlighted just how poorly balanced and buggy For Honor continues to be, even though the community has been rallying for months to get Ubisoft to make changes. Many in the For Honor community are, understandably, pissed.

"I didn't think it'd be this easy," said Jakub 'SB.Alernakin' Palen after he claimed his $10,000 prize. "Before the tournament, I hadn’t played the game for two weeks."

Not exactly the kind of response you'd want from one of your best players.

During the finals, Palen spammed a well-known exploit called 'unlock tech,' that made his attacks unblockable. The exploit works because of For Honor's lock-on system, which focuses your attacks on a single target. By unlocking from your target during a swing, certain attacks can become unparryable. Players have been complaining about this exploit for a month, but recent patch notes addressing the exploit only say that Ubisoft is working to "remove this unintended behavior." That's not good enough, according to For Honor's players.

Multiple posts over on the For Honor subreddit criticized the tournament as "a disgrace" and "shameful" for how poorly it represented the game. A particular source of frustration from the community stems from the flippant response from For Honor's creative director. When presenting Palen his trophy, he acknowledged the exploit and joked that he soon might have to "change his playstyle." 

Beyond Palen's exploit abuse, many players found the tournament to be a disappointing display of how poorly balanced For Honor still is, six months after launch. A post over on the r/games subreddit highlights how Raiders can spam one of their special abilities, Stampede Charge, to consistently stun-lock an opponent. A crucial round was lost thanks to another glitch, when repelling a grapple can cause the aggressor to fall over if they're on an incline.

"The tournament is literally a 'who can cheese who better,'" writes 'Theaccused95' on Reddit. "It's boring, shows no skill, doesn't show any of the mix ups this game has, and they sit there and act like this is good gameplay."

The tournament is literally a 'who can cheese who better.'


At this point, it just seems like For Honor cannot catch a break. When it launched in February, For Honor had a healthy audience of 20,000 players on Steam. That quickly eroded. While the recent free weekend promotion brought concurrent numbers back up to 11,000 players, For Honor has had a dramatically shrinking audience the last few months. Before the free weekend, concurrents were as low as 1,500 on Steam.

That's not a good sign for a competitive game that's only been out for half a year. But it's also understandable considering all the problems For Honor has. Matchmaking instability and balance issues have been a huge source of frustration for the community, but aren't the only factors: aggressive microtransactions have been a sore point since launch (though Ubisoft has since made them more generous).

Things got so bad that players even rallied to boycott the game for several days back in March until Ubisoft responded and began making efforts to listen to the community. The community appears to have cooled down considerably since then, but the controversy surrounding this weekend's tournament proves that Ubisoft needs to address balance and bugs before its community erodes completely. 

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.