For honor, for glory, for fun
While reading SRK earlier this week I found out somebody pocketed $10,000 in winnings at a For Honor tournament celebrating the mark of season 3. But it wasn’t a story of blood, sweat, and tears like some rise to the top at EVO. Jakub “Alernakin” Palen even admitted he coasted his way to victory using the Nobushi’s notorious unlock tech. Basically, it’s a trick or an exploit that makes the Nobushi’s long-range naginata attacks unparryable. With your options to basically either block all of the Nobushi’s attacks or try to counter-poke, players on the receiving end of this strategy are at an almost insurmountable disadvantage.
This was not newly discovered, or a mysterious technique either. It’s been around a long time. So long, it’s a wonder Ubisoft never got around to removing it, much less ban the use of the tech at a tournament with $10,000 at stake. When I brought it up conversationally with the other community managers, we wondered anecdotally how this compares to the sort of competitive tech that creates the identity of Smash Bros. Melee. We certainly didn’t wonder if we would or would not use exploitative tech for personal gain because at the end of the day, a cash prize is a cash prize. When the original Marvel vs. Capcom 3 released, characters like Wesker or Storm were ubiquitous due to the DHC glitch. Sure, people complained about how the power of the DHC glitch killed team variety, but they sure didn’t stop using the glitch.
What are your thoughts on the matter of exploit-based strategies? Melee for example wouldn’t be where it is today without the momentum manipulation of wavedashing. But the example given by For Honor can suck all the excitement out of a game if left unchecked. Ironically, For Honor has plans to fix unlock tech soon while games like Melee and UMvC3 thrive with very minimal patching from their devs.
A certain kind of unintended exploit can elevate a game to that next level. That’s what makes pouring over a game’s systems and mechanics obsessively so fun, at least for me. But the most memorable tech is still rooted in some sort of skill and execution. I think it’s obvious that unlock tech does For Honor no favors in being taken seriously. Jakub can attest to that by being quoted as saying, “Before the tournament, I hadn’t played the game for two weeks.”