The fifth season of For Honor, called Age of Wolves, will go live on February 15, Ubisoft announced today, bringing major gameplay changes to the Kensei, Conqueror, Nobushi, Berserker, and Highlander, plus new customization options, "quality of life" improvements, new basic and advanced training options, and those long-awaited dedicated servers—although you'll have to wait a little while longer before they go live.
Dedicated servers won't be available until sometime later in the season: Ubisoft said the dedicated server testing in December was "successful," but specific rollout plans are still being finalized. Whenever it happens, Ubi said matches will be smoother and more stable, with better matchmaking and no restrictions caused by NAT types. The end result should be better overall matchmaking success, no hitches or crashes when players leave, and a better overall rate of match completion.
"Of course, changing our online infrastructure while the game is running is a major undertaking and we will closely monitor the situation once the Dedicated Servers are implemented in the live environmen," Ubisoft wrote. "Some of our players may experience new issues that we are not aware of yet. Players' feedback will be very helpful for us to make the required adjustments and optimize the infrastructure."
The changes to the fighters in season five are meant to "reduce the gap between the top-performing Heroes and the bottom-performing Heroes." Top Heroes, such as the Shaman and Gladiator, have a "reasonable degree of confidence" that their attacks will hit home, while those at the bottom end of the scale have little hope of getting past the defenses of skilled players.
"This is why we want to buff upwards, as players will then have the tools to play offensively or defensively based on the situation and their play-style," Ubi said. "This also continues to distance the gameplay from the overly-dominant defensive play-style that was a hallmark of play in the initial seasons."
The downside to the rebalancing focus is that there won't be any new Heroes introduced in season five. But it should put the game in a better position for the future. "This why we are investing into massive changes to game including a full infrastructure change to dedicated servers. We have an extensive team working on the game, and we want to continue supporting the game throughout 2018 and beyond."