For Honor uses peer-to-peer networking, but Ubisoft say “no player will have an advantage”

For Honor

Leaked footage from this week's closed alpha test of For Honor, Ubisoft's much-promoted Medieval combat game, reveals that it will not use dedicated servers for its online multiplayer, and will instead rely on peer-to-peer (P2P) networking.

Is For Honor the next big thing? Or is that one of these other upcoming PC games?

In P2P, one player in a match acts as host for the session, and all others connect to them. If one client has a poor connection, this can cause lag for everyone else. However, Ubisoft claim that their architecture will prevent players gaining any unfair advantages through lag.

Last week, we reported on For Honor’s closed alpha test, and our resident cynic realist Ben Barrett predicted someone would break the NDA and leak some footage. Well, it happened, and user El_Duairra posted a video to Vidme. It's not encouraging, showing long wait times in matchmaking and games that drop as soon as they begin. El_Duairra acknowledges that For Honor is still in development and that the closed test had very few players, both of which might have contributed to long wait times.

His larger reason for breaking the NDA was to draw attention to the fact that For Honor uses P2P networking when its headline feature has been its PvP multiplayer mode.

/r/Games picked up on the video, and user Vaeh made the respectable point that because so much of For Honor’s combat is hand-to-hand, accurate netcode is especially important. “Even a small amount of lag can ruin a fight, as seen in the Souls games or Chivalry”. This is to say nothing of the vulnerability of P2P networking to cheating by traffic manipulation, issues with firewalls and ports and so on.

We asked Ubisoft for comment on this, and they confirmed that For Honor will use P2P networking. They say “the way we designed our peer-to-peer online architecture will allow us to provide a smooth and reliable online experience to all players when the game launches," which is perhaps an allusion to the issues that many games with dedicated servers have had on launch day as players overwhelm them (see Battlefield 4, SimCity 2013, etc). Clearly, Ubisoft expect For Honor to be popular.

For Honor

On the question of lag, Ubisoft assured us that with their architecture, "no player will have an advantage in a match compared to the others. Some of the connection and networking problems that players have experienced and perceived as consequences of that architecture are rather linked to the fact that we’re still in development". 

In other words, the connection issues in the leaked footage will be solved, and Ubisoft have somehow cracked the lag issues that have heretofore always occurred in peer-to-peer networked games whenever one user has a bad connection. In fairness, P2P architectures do vary in quality, and Ubisoft might have built a very good one.

"We monitor this feedback closely and will use it, as well as all the data we have tracked during the Closed Alpha, to fine-tune and improve our online systems before the launch of the game", they say.

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Shriven avatarQDP2 avatarWhiteCrow avatar[GM] SocietyX avatarBraveToaster avatarTemjin avatar+5
Shriven Avatar
3400
5 Months ago

And another hit to the promise that was For Honor. Always online DRM...then P2P?

Ill prolly just go with Kingdom Come: Deliverance for my medieval thrills.

4
QDP2 Avatar
679
5 Months ago

TL:DR version of Ubi's responce: We made a business decision that it would be cheaper to make the game P2P than to run dedicated servers. Sure, Ubi may be able to make the game run relatively smoothely on release, but I've yet to find a title that levels the playing field in P2P content. How do they plan on removing the host-pc's advantage? Are they going to delay his inputs till the slowest connection player has reported to the server? Because that wouldn't be irritating at all, playing with a powerful PC and finding your gameplay is delayed by slow/poor connection piers.

On release Ubisoft can try and prove the majority wrong, and release a good P2P game, but based off any of Ubisoft's coding history (This is the same group that released AC Unity to us) they shouldn't expect anything from us until they offer an alpha/beta with the stability of dedicated servers.

2
WhiteCrow Avatar
325
5 Months ago

I'll never understand the decisions some companies make in development.

Like the article mentions, the main premise of the game is intricate melee combat in a competitive multiplayer environment. Why would you NOT ensure that you take out all the stops for that to be as successful as it can be? If this were an indie title or something coming from a smaller studio, I could understand the decision. This is just lazy and reeks of cost-cutting.

The launch, and following months of this game will echo what occurred with The Division. Mark my words.

1
BraveToaster Avatar
321
5 Months ago

"Why would you NOT ensure that you take out all the stops for that to be as successful as it can be? "

AAA games are designed by a board of directors with a budget, not people who want to play video games.

1
Temjin Avatar
1
5 Months ago

Fist of all I would to Shame the person who leaked the information after agreeing to a NDA. The person in question has broken the agreement and as a result anything he/she states is void.

Without breaking the NDA People need to understand that as this was a technical test, Connections were tested in multiple fields to calculate connection between cross regional play. When waiting to find players they would possible have used different searches to see the impact on game connections, games that found player in a short time would be more unstable were as the games that took longer to find player were stable.

When playing the Closed Alpha on Console not at any point did I feel there was a host advantage and any players that had unstable connection were removed from the game. Although Dedicated servers are the optimal choice the P2P worked fine.

Before jumping on the band wagon with negative comments…….. think!

1
RealDickMove Avatar
2
3 Months ago

While I agree that breaking an NDA is immoral....So is ubisoft not announcing that it would use our internet connections without letting us know first. I doubt that if anyone would have brought it up, that ubisoft would have announced it.

This doesn't include the inherent flaws with P2P connections in gaming. I could drop people in a heartbeat from the game, Oh and not to mention, I doubt ubisoft is paying for any sort of VPN, so the Host now has access to all of your IP addresses....Seems safe.

1
Legendary_BaB Avatar
2
5 Months ago

Morons gotta whine. It's funny because a lot of MMO-s also use p2p or semi-p2p, and nobody seems to mind. People wiht a shitty connection will suffer, people with a good connection won't feel a thing.

-1
RealDickMove Avatar
2
3 Months ago

Um....Not for anything more than downloading.

Almost every MMO uses a Client-Server Architecture.

I have no idea where you got this information from, but sorry it's wrong.

1
Smokingbobs Avatar
1
5 Months ago

Kinda sad to see how things went with this game. Still, if anyone is interested in first-person competetive gameplay that looks phenomenal, check out Mordhau. They just got first place at IndieDB for upcoming title.

1
Crayfish Avatar
1

It's fun how host disconnects, then the whole game either crashes or loses the progress especially when winning and the host is on the losing side

1
Deadlya Avatar
1
Deadlya(2 days 15 hours played)
3 Months ago

we need to fix this.....

https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/dedicated-servers-from-ubisoft-for-the-game-for

1
[GM] SocietyX Avatar
141
5 Months ago

As someone who's played the beta's this is as big of a problem as you're probably all assuming it is. The disconnects and issues are numerous and rampant. I haven't noticed a "host advantage" per say but it's hard to know in that beta environment.

0
Legendary_BaB Avatar
2
5 Months ago

There were 2 alphas, and you just broke the NDA of the second.

1
BraveToaster Avatar
321
5 Months ago

Does Ubisoft pay you money?

1