For Honor Player Wins Official Tournament, $12,000 Using Exploit

This weekend at fighting game For Honor's big Season Three tournament for PC, a big, long-standing exploit forged one player's path to victory. After the match, the victor stated: "I didn't think it'd be this easy... Before the tournament, I hadn't played the game for two weeks."

For Honor

For months, For Honor players have complained of a bug that makes attacks invincible. It's called "unlock tech", although "tech" is a generous interpretation. It prevents enemies from parrying certain attacks, so essentially, if the opponent is in range, they will always hit. Nobushi fighters have had a competitive edge because of this for over a month. A recent developer update read, "There are a number of situations where unlocking during an attack can cause it to become un-parryable by the opponent. Across the game, we're currently working to remove this unintended behaviour." (In a May developer update, For Honor representatives acknowledged a broader issue with unlock tech and said that they were looking into it.)

In the finals, Winner Jakub "SB.Alernakin" Palen did not drop one set playing as a Nobushi fighter. His impressive strings of combos and lightning-fast punishes were made all the deadlier by his regular use of the exploit. Between matches, he'd giggle and crack his knuckles. Awarding Palen his trophy, For Honor's creative director said, "Good job, buddy. Soon you may have to change your playstyle," implying that the exploit will soon be patched out of the game. Palen's prize was $US10,000 ($12,667).

Over email, a For Honor representative told Kotaku that the dev team is aware of the exploit and "will continue to improve the player experience based on feedback from the live game as well as our public test environments". Late last month, publisher Ubisoft announced an update plan for the game, including bug patches and much-requested dedicated servers.

Additional reporting provided by weekend editor Ethan Gach.


    That was a very polite "fuck you" from the dev if I ever read one.

      Don't most tournaments have clauses built in that disqualify players from using known exploits? I don't get why they gave the guy the prize money when the devs knew the exploit existed before the tournament, the player knew it existed, and the player deliberately used it.

      At the least, it seems to suggest that For Honour still isn't ready for this kind of competitive play, no matter how much the developers want to bootstrap an esports scene for it.

        I don't understand why the dev has any right to say "fuck you" to the guy?

        Note this is a "long-standing exploit" that everybody including the devs are aware of. The prize money was given to him because the devs are clearly too incompetent to fix the bug before their major tournament.

          I said why they should have a right in my first sentence: many tournaments have clauses built in that disqualify players who use exploits. Just because it's there doesn't mean it's legal. If they didn't write that into the tournament rules then that's just another reason why they're not ready for this level of competitive play yet.

        Presumably the tournament rules didn't exclude the use of this move, so there was nothing they could do.

          Presumably so. I haven't been able to find any official details on the tournament (I can't figure out what its proper title is to search properly), let alone a set of official rules to check.

            Also, I think it is a bit harsh to consider "unintended behaviour" to be the same as "exploit". There's probably a lot of interactions between systems in the game that may not have been intended by the developer: this one just happens to ruin the balance of the game.

            Others that don't break the game balance are just called "strategy".

              I can't imagine unavoidable attacks would be confused for anything other than an exploit, but maybe that's just my personal view on it. I have strict-ish views on what shouldn't be allowed in speed runs too, so maybe I'm an outlier.

              From my experience with tournaments (a long time ago, on the organiser side) the rule is that it's down to tournament judges whether something is permitted or not.

                It's a fine line between what's considered an exploit and what's considered clever use of game mechanics, rather than the issue of For Honour not being ready for the esports scene yet. I think the best example is Na'Vi's fountain hooks during the Dota TI3 playoffs, which were patched out of the game soon after. Some thought it was cheating, some didn't... but it still lead to one of the most bonkers games of Dota of all time, so I'm glad it was there!

                  I appreciate situations where there's some ambiguity, but for this exploit the developers had already acknowledged it as one and resolved to fix it. I realise they hadn't fixed it yet (and that's bullshit in its own right) but I don't think there would be any confusion about whether it was competition-legal or not.

    It's things like this that stop me from taking Esports seriously.

      This is usually an oddity in the eSports scene, not a rampant issue.
      Im sure Physical Sports have there fair share of stupidity (referees with awful calls etc).

      Do you mean other than the guy wearing a sports coat, mirrored aviators and chewing gum like he was a DEA agent instead of playing a video game??!

      Err... this kind of stuff happens in real-world sports too.

      Don Bradman was so good at batting that the English had to invent a new form of bowling to compete with him, which many considered cheating and it was phased out of the game.

    "Good job, buddy. Soon you may have to change your playstyle,"

    I'm not your buddy, guy.

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