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It's No Secret Why For Honor Lost Nearly Its Entire Playerbase In Three Months

At a glance, the 2015 E3 "For Honor" trailer promised the kind of breakneck, head-rolling action worthy of Ubisoft's tagline for it: "Carve a path of destruction." The title garnered fairly positive reviews from critics at the time of its release in 2017, with the likes of IGN giving it solid scores for its fleshed-out and highly technical combat system. It amassed a huge playerbase for a time too, with the open beta attracting a peak of over 71,000 players on Steam (per GitHyp). Unfortunately for Ubisoft, gamers soon encountered a number of issues that led them to abandon "For Honor" in droves. GitHyp recorded only a few thousand concurrent players booting up the game in late February 2023.


Ubisoft has encountered issues with player retention before. Before "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege" became its best-performing title and an awesome game all-around despite what Metacritic suggests, the tactical shooter suffered heavily in the beginning due to widespread connectivity issues and a dearth of content. It made Ubisoft's comeback all the more miraculous. The company attempted a similar resurrection with "For Honor" after players planned a massive boycott of the medieval action entry, an offering plagued by both similar and opposite circumstances to "Rainbow Six Siege."

Not so honorable unlockables and online play

One month after "For Honor" released on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox, a Reddit post put into clear detail how much time players would have to spend to unlock all in-game outfits, execution maneuvers, and other cosmetics: roughly two-and-a-half years. The post also broke down the cost of buying these virtual items with real money: about $732 to unlock over 1 million non-DLC cosmetics. While a handful of commenters believed the fanbase was overreacting since completionists represented only a small sliver of the playerbase, most top-rated Reddit comments concurred that Ubisoft implemented an unfair system.


The issues stretched beyond microtransactions as well. From the outset of the game's launch, users encountered connection errors resulting in lag, mid-game dropouts, and failure to connect to servers at all. Confused and disgruntled "For Honor" players took to forums like GameFaqs to compare notes on connection problems and vent frustrations. To its credit, Ubisoft attempted to solve these issues, but the damage appeared to have been done.

By the time July rolled around, GitHyp recorded the average number of "For Honor" players as having reached a low of 1,185 — certainly a hard fall from grace considering "For Honor" ranked as the top game of February earlier that year.