The Faction War
Upon starting the game, you’re going to be prompted to select a faction. This faction isnt just some arbitrary stat on your profile, its what defines everything you fight for in the game. Once you have selected a faction you will be aligned to it and participate in the faction war as one of its soldiers. Be careful about selecting though, because once you change it you lose the rewards for the current round and if you do it past the first round you lose the rewards for the entire season!
The main storyline of the game revolves around the war between three opposing factions. These factions are the knights, vikings, and the samurai. The game’s faction war is split into seasons, which are each split into 5 rounds. The goal of the faction war is to control the most territory by the end of each round and then at the end of the season for rewards.
Players participate in this faction war through obtaining “war assets.” At the end of each match, players are given these and they may choose to place them at a territory to increase their factions influence on that territory or forego this process and have the game automatically spread the assets across all territories.
There are four classes for each faction in the game currently (more will be added.) The knights consist of the warden, conqueror, peacekeeper, and the lawbringer. The vikings are consist of the raider, warlord, berserker, and valkyrie. Lastly, the samurai consist of the kensei, shugoki, orochi, and the nobushi.
There are four main class groups in the game currently. These are the vanguard, heavy, assassin, and hybrid. Vanguards are characterized by a jack of all trades playstyle and tend to be balanced in most aspects. Heavies are characterized by low speed, high survivability, and punishing attacks. Assassins are characterized by high speed, low survivability, versatile movesets, and high damage. Hybrids can vary in traits, for example the lawbringer being a combination of a vanguard and a heavy whilst the nobushi is more of a combination of a vanguard and an assassin. But hybrids do generally tend to have versatile movesets, long ranges, and a tendency to generate salt.
From Top Left to Bottom Right:
Warden (Vanguard), Conqueror (Heavy), Peacekeeper (Assassin), Lawbringer (Hybrid)
Raider (Vanguard), Warlord (Heavy), Berserker (Assassin), Valkyrie (Hybrid)
Kensei (Vanguard), Shugoki (Heavy), Orochi (Assassin), Nobushi (Hybrid)
Currency & Gear
The main currency in For Honor is “steel.” You get steel from doing daily missions (daily orders on the map), finishing matches, in-game purchases, and breakables from story mode. You can use steel to purchase characters, upgrade gear, buy cosmetics, get champion status, unlock feats, and open gear packs.
Gear existing in For Honor is the reason why the game is considered Pay2Win by some people. It lets you augment one stat greatly at the minor cost of another stat. These stats vary based on the gear slot its being equipped in. Gear is obtained at the end of matches as a drop. The gear dropped is exclusive to the class you are currently playing as. Your reputation level with the class determines what rarity of gear you can get. The higher the reputation, the higher the rarity going from grey to blue to purple. You can upgrade gear using salvage which you obtain from dismantling gear. The upgrade level is capped at a certain point, so its generally a better idea to upgrade higher rarity gear so you’ll have higher total stats.
IMPORTANT: Gear stats do NOT work in the duel or brawl gamemodes.
Dominion is the 4v4 objective-based gamemode of For Honor. In this mode, each team must reach 1000 points and send the opposing into “sudden death” where they cannot respawn, caused by a team controlling majority sites and having 1000 points in which they must eliminate the opposing team. There are three sites that generate points that must be controlled by a team. Each side of the map sends out killable minions to the center that fight for control of the middle site, and the side points are left to be fought for control by players. Controlling a site grants 100 initial points that are lost if the opponent takes the site, as well as point generation that cannot be lost which can be doubled by having a teammate stand in the site and defend it.
In dominion, your character gains XP points referred to as “renown.” Renown is obtained by defending sites, taking sites, killing players, and killing minions. Each classes can perform specific tasks to gain bonus renown which depends on their class. For example, conquerors gain bonus renown defending sites and peacekeepers gain bonus renown killing players. This can be used as a guideline to what you can focus on, but it shouldnt be used as an iron rule. The purpose of renown is to level up your character. Each level up to 4 unlocks abilities for your characters called “feats.” Feats can be passive or active, and are unlocked as your character levels up, allowing you to swap between various combinations of feats. One thing to note about offensive feats is that they can hurt you as well as your allies, so be careful in using them!
Many things are to be considered if you are to win this gamemode. The first is obviously good communication with your team and being able to work well with them. The other is your individual skill in situations like 1v2’s where your survival is key in order for your team to take objectives with one less enemy to worry about. The last is strategy, and this is something that is left for the player to decide upon. Strategy encompasses from your teams classes to your gameplan to win; try and use a strategy that works for you!
Elimination is a 4v4 team deathmatch gamemode that requires you to kill the entire enemy team in a best out of 5. This gamemode features buffs you pick up by standing in scattered around the map that grant you substantial upgrades to your stats and feat recharges. The gamemode also features renown, which is gained by killing your opponents and assisting your teammates, which can be used to unlock feats. You can choose to roam around and assist your team, or just take one opponent and fight them.
Two things that I will mention in this section that I left out in the last section are executions, revives, and revenge mode. You can “execute” an enemy by finishing them with a heavy attack and using the execution button to enter a “fatality” animation that heals you, increases the enemy respawn time, and prevents them from being revived- so basically try and do this if possible. You can revive allies by holding the interact button on their corpse as long as it does not have a red skull on it which means they’ve been executed or knocked off the map. These two aspects are very important in maintaining a steady numbers advantage. On the bottom left of the screen is a revenge meter which fills up as you receive damage or block it. This generation drastically increases when you are being attacked by multiple enemies. Once the bar is full, you can press the revenge mode button in order to gain a massive shield, knock down enemies currently attacking you, knock down enemies on parries or throws, and sizable stat boosts. This is important to consider when entering a fight in which you are outnumbered because then you have a chance to turn the tables.
Pure Deathmatch Gamemodes
The pure deathmatch gamemodes are duel, brawl, and skirmish. Item stats are disabled on everything but skirmish. Duel is a 1v1 best of 5 rounds where you can really test your individual skill vs players at your experience level, putting everything you’ve learned to the test. Brawl is a 2v2 best of 5 rounds which is essentially duel but you can tag an ally along. You can use brawl as an oppurtunity to test your skills when you are outnumbered because of course everyone but you is bad, or just play it as a gamemode where you can test your skill along with a friend! Skirmish is a 4v4, which is akin to elimination except you can respawn and you win by killing enemies to gain points up to 1000 where at that point the opposing team will enter sudden death where you can kill them for the victory. Renown and feats as well as buffs are present in this gamemode. There are also a few number of minions that spawn to grant some extra renown.
One mechanic that should be mentioned is the presence of environmentals, or stage hazards. Stage hazards are the bane of every players existence and should be avoided if possible or if you’re feeling risky, used as bait. The environment plays a big part in combat if it is used. It can block attacks, cause you to rebound if thrown into them, burn you, im and of course…kill you. If you are thrown into a part of the map normally inaccessible then you will die (e.g a river or off a cliff) or from spikes. Caution should be exercised around these hazards so you can use them to your advantage or avoid them completely (especially vs a class that has strong displacement techniques!)
The combat is no doubt the biggest and most complex aspect of For Honor. There are so many different things to consider when fighting that it can be almost overwhelming for a newer player! In order to get better, practice makes perfect, but before that you have to know the basics first.
In order to enter combat, first you need to be in guard mode- the button to do this varies based on the controller you are playing on. You can get away with not being in guard mode if you’re freely roaming or killing minions, but in combat this is not an option. Once you are in the guard mode, you can move your guard direction up, left, and right. This dictates where you will block attacks and also which direction you will be attacking from, so its very important to understand this.
Light / Heavy / Special
The three attacks to know first are the light, heavy, and special attacks. The buttons to light and heavy attack you should already know, and the special attack is pressing both the light and heavy attack buttons simultaneously. Light attacks are faster and deal less damage, and heavy attacks are slower but deal more damage. Special attacks are usually used for mixups because they have specialties about them. For example, the conqueror swings his flail around like a madman and the warder does a very quick horizontal slash forward. These attacks do cost a significant amount of stamina however and should be used in consideration. As for light and heavy attacks, only you can know when to use which.
If you keep on attacking, your screens going to turn black and your actions will be drastically slowed down. Whats going on? You are out of stamina. Stamina is the regenerating resource you consume in order to perform actions. If you are out of stamina you are more susceptible to attack because of your sluggishness and you will also get knocked down if you are thrown by your opponent. Always remember to keep an eye on your stamina when in combat.
Hate turtling opponents? Well the game has a mechanic set in place to prevent that called a “guard break” which has a button varying by the controller you use. Guard break briefly interrupts and stuns your opponent as long as they are not mid-swing of an attack allowing you to get a free action in during this time. At this point you can choose to attack, throw them by hitting the guard-break button again, or give yourself some breathing space and back away. This is a core aspect to playstyles of slower classes so they can actually get guaranteed hits in, but that doesnt mean its not important for other classes too! Remember, mixing up your approach and throwing in a random guard break may actually catch your opponent off guard!
Guard Break Cancel
Hate guard breaking opponents? The game has a mechanic for that too…. This mechanic is what is known as a guard break cancel! In order to execute this, you have to press the guard break button as they guard break you (this is a timing that you really have to practice to learn.) If successful, your opponents guard break will be cancelled and they will be knocked back. Sometimes, this technique requires anticipation but it can also be done on reflex if you’re fast enough!
Dodging that can be used defensively…and offensively, believe it or not. The dodge button will vary based on your controller. You can dodge while in guard mode and even when you’re not in it by hitting the dodge button in a direction. Outside of guard mode your character will roll a medium distance, typically used defensively. However, when in guard mode, you can use the dodge offensively AND defensively. You can use it as a dash, sidestep, or backstep to avoid attacks then counterattack while the opponent is still recovering from their animation, advance on enemies who are trying to escape, use unique moves, continue combos, and anything your imagination might come up with. Aggressive dodging (dashing) is important for every class so you can close the distance, and defensive dodging (sidestepping/backstepping) is important for assassins because of the mobility advantage they have. Sometimes dodging may be the only way to avoid an attack.
Parry / Counter / Deflect
If you’re up against someone and you see their block do a bit more than usual you may be wondering if you should hit the report button. They’re not hacking, this is a mechanic called parrying! Parrying is simply put, using the heavy attack in the direction your opponent is attacking at a certain timing. This timing can be pinpointed to a red flash in the opponents attack direction in your guard mode HUD (theres actually two, one that happens instantly but you’re looking for the second one.) If successful, you’ll repel the enemys weapon back, cause them to lose a significant amount of stamina, and leave them vulnerable for a split second time where you can possibly get in a quick attack, guard break, or dodge away. Parrying is a superior block, so its imperative that its learned and mastered so you can be more of a threat! Some classes have moves that is akin to a parry but has a special property. For example, the warlord and valkyries light attack parry, or the wardens top light attack parry. These have slightly different timing than a parry but are functionally the same and should be considered as well. Another cousin to the parry is the deflect, a property exclusive to assassins (plus nobushi and valkyrie.) The deflection is dodging in the direction of attack in the identical timing of the parry (red flash) after which you can use a move that connects with your deflect for a guaranteed hit connect (example, orochis light attack after deflect.) Learn the timings of all of these moves and you’ll be a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield!