Ubisoft’s sword-and-board team fighter For Honor finds itself in a bit of a pickle at the moment. Over the weekend, Ubisoft ran a huge tournament for the game with a prize pool of US$10,000. The winner of this tournament, however, didn’t go about claiming his victories in the way Ubisoft had hoped. Rather, he used a combat exploit that has been known to players and the game’s developers alike for quite some time.
The exploit is referred to as Unlock tech and what it does is allow an attack that can be neither blocked nor parried. If a player knows what they’re doing with the exploit, they can take the game’s Nobushi Samurai class and make them an unstoppable, untouchable killing machine.
For Honor player Jakub Palen took to the game’s subreddit a month ago to pen a 1,000 word essay on how this Nobushi exploit worked and why it was so dangerous. Apparently to prove his point, he then put his thesis to the test at the For Honor Hero Series Grand Final in Burbank, California this last Saturday, saying of his win, “I didn’t think it would be this easy.”
Palen, who has been playing For Honor as the Nobushi class since the game launched in February, makes no bones about his pick. “Nobushi is the best 1vX character in the game,” he said, referring the character’s viability against every other class.
Despite the class’s glaring imbalances, Ubisoft made no move to fix them prior to last weekend’s tournament (though the game’s August 10 patch notes do acknowledge the exploit and state that a fix is coming), leaving Palen clear to use whatever techniques he had at his disposal.
For Honor‘s creative director Roman Campos-Oriola took a moment to congratulate Palen but also cheerfully admonished the champ warning, “you might have to change your playstyle” for any future tournies he might want to play in.
Palen’s win, as you can imagine, is a pretty significant stumbling block for a game that wants to position itself as a contender in the esports scene. What is far more egregious is that an exploit this dangerous was known to the developer for so long and yet nothing was done to fix it before putting the game on a major competitive stage.
Sadder still is the lack of good sportsmanship from Palen himself. Following his win, Palen went on to boast that he hadn’t even picked the game up to practice in two weeks, so confident was he that the exploit wouldn’t be patched out in time and that he would be able ride it all the way to victory.
But, believe it or not, the story gets even worse. The aforementioned For Honor subreddit is currently rife with fans alleging that many of the tournament’s final rounds were a minefield of player exploits.