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For Honor’s multiplayer modes explained

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The Faction War, your role in it and tips for winning

For Honor’s multiplayer takes a few different form, ultimately pouring into the Faction War — a broader meta-narrative that spans For Honor’s online multiplayer modes. All of the battles you fight across all of For Honor’s multiplayer modes — dominion, deathmatch, and duel and brawl — add up to determine the course of the ongoing war between the three factions — knights, samurai and vikings. In this guide, we’ll teach you how it all it works.

The metagame: How For Honor multiplayer works

After every match, you’ll be awarded war assets to distribute among disputed territories. Every six hours, those disputed territories update, and whichever faction has the most assets gets control. Those territories determine the maps you play on and some cosmetic features of those maps.

Those territory updates represent the day-to-day war, but the larger story of For Honor’s Faction War takes place over rounds and seasons. A round lasts two weeks (also known as a fortnight in some obscure languages). At the end of a round, players who participated win rewards based on the performance of their faction.

There are five rounds in a season, meaning a season lasts 10 weeks. After the season is over, players get rewards based on their faction’s standing. The Faction War resets, but the events are (apparently) not forgotten.

For Honor multiplayer modes

The heart of For Honor is multiplayer. This is where you take all of your practice (between the tutorials and story missions) and put it to the test.

Duels and brawls

Duels are exactly what they say on the tin: one versus one (either another player or AI) battles in a best of five match. This is where you really get to show off your art of battle prowess. It’s just you and your weapon against one other hero.

Brawls are a little more complicated. This is a best of five, two-on-two fight to the death against other humans (there’s no AI in this mode). You’re still going to duel, but you’re going to have a second human-controlled hero to contend with if your partner falls.

Deathmatch: elimination and skirmish

For Honor’s elimination matches are like a four-on-four brawl. These are best of five, last hero standing matches with four players to a side. (There can be some mixture of human and AI, depending on how many people are available for matchmaking). Fighting in this mode ranges from one-on-one duels all the way up to a four-on-one dogpile.

Skirmishes have four players on a side (human and AI), supported by AI-controlled soldiers and captains. The goal is to earn enough points to break the other team — when your team reaches 1,000 points, the other team can no longer respawn — and defeat them.

Scoring in skirmishes is based on the odds of a fight. Soldiers are worth fewer points than captains — and heroes are worth even more — with the added condition that one-on-one kills earn your team more points than four-on-one.

Dominion

Dominion matches are four-on-four (mixed AI and humans) battles to capture and control points on a map. Capturing these objectives and killing enemy soldiers and heroes earn you points. Dominion matches end with a breaking period like skirmishes (where one team can’t respawn), but this time the break can be broken (that sentence got away from us). Getting your opponent’s points back below 1,000 — by recapturing an objective — will respawn your no-longer-breaking team.

Dominion matches are where most of the multiplayer activity is at this point. It’s also kind of a free-for-all. Be prepared for that. All of the practice you’ve put in isn’t going to help you much against a team that doesn’t ever engage in duels.

Tips for online play

  • Play the story missions. In effect, the story missions are a long tutorial that introduce you to all of the heroes and their movesets. Knowing your enemy and getting in all that practice are only going to help.
  • Don’t get outnumbered. There are some modes where this is unavoidable — like brawls and elimination matches — but whenever possible, keep a fight to one-on-one. Taking on two enemy heroes — let alone three or four — is almost always disastrous. That said, the flip side of this tip is to try to lure your enemies into traps where you can gang up on them. (Ganging up is an entirely valid way to play, but, as we wrote about in our pre-review, it’s much less satisfying than using the game’s core mechanic of dueling it out mano a mano.)
  • Run away. Despite what we said above about the glory of dueling, you are not duty-bound to duke it out with every hero you come across. You’re going to end up in matches where you’re outranked, or you’re going to turn a corner and come face to face with the entire opposing team. Retreat is always an option. Exit guard mode and sprint, roll and dodge away until the odds or the environment are more in your favor.
  • Watch your surroundings for things to knock other players off of or to jump from. They deal additional damage. Guard blocks and throws that launch an enemy off of a parapet are just as effective as a well-timed blow.
  • Use feats. In matches that allow feats — elimination, skirmish and dominion — use them. These boosts can turn the tide of a fight.