9 tips for beginners that you absolutely need to know
For Honor is one of the most demanding and mechanically-complex games of this generation. You need help.
We’re saying this at the outset because you genuinely don’t need to feel bad for doing terribly early on. Despite its depth, For Honor's learning curve is actually not that steep, provided you take it slow, getting comfortable with one hero before moving on to other options.
Because of the game's unique mix of fighting game mechanics and Soulsborne-style action combat, you'll need to get into it with a clean head, and definitely don't play it like an action RPG.
We’ll be listing a few crucial tips here; some of them cover the action combat while others highlight features the game offers that may not be obvious from the get go.
Watch the hero videos and play the tutorial courses
No matter how much you think you’re above watching intro videos and playing tutorials, you’re going to need to really, really do those before you get started with anything else.
The game starts you off in a tutorial environment, but that’s only the basic version. Once you’re done with that, you should navigate to Play > How to Play then pick Advanced Practice.
You’ll need to pick which hero you want to practice with, as there are certain differences in the tutorials for each one, so pick the one you want to learn. Once that’s done, watch both Basic and Advanced videos for your hero of choice.
You can even pause these videos at any time if you feel they’re going too fast. We cannot stress enough how important it is to do that, especially the videos part, once you’ve gotten the hang of the controls.
Besides, doing these gets you in-game currency, which you use on unlocking heroes, buying gear, and more. You only get the rewards once, though.
The moveset page is your friend
Each hero has their own moveset, available at any time from the Moveset page under 'How to Fight' (not 'How to Play'). This page is found under Customise > Heroes.
Typically, your character will have three attack chains. Light/Light/Heavy, is the most basic one, for example. It’s incredibly important to at least glance at that page to find out what your basic attacks can do.
This page also has a legend that tells you what the icons on each move mean. Some moves are unblockable, others can be if they're part of certain combos. You’ll never learn these if you don’t fully consume that page.
Don’t worry though, you won’t have to memorise too many fighting game-style combos, and even the few there are nowhere near as long or elaborate as your typical Street Fighter.
Play some bot matches first, and don’t worry, you earn XP
You can play against AI either in Free Mode (from 'How to Play'), which is endless 4v4 Dominion, or actually set up a game with your choice of map, bot difficulty, and the like. You can even invite friends to play with you against bots.
It’s a really good idea to play a couple of these before going against other players online. If nothing else, they create the same environment you’re going to run into in regular MP games. There's also the fact that bots will kick your butt and get you ready.
Best of all, you won't be wasting your time. All matches played in For Honor, since everything requires an internet connection, grant you experience points, as well as a chance to earn loot, the same way a game against human players will.
Wait until you reach level 4 or 5 with Warden before picking other characters
The Warden, Raider, and Kensei are your three starting heroes. We recommend picking Warden first and getting comfortable with it before moving on to other options. Preferably, until you've played a couple of matches with it and levelled it up to level 5.
This will take you about an hour, depending on the type of modes you play.
The idea here is that Warden is the easiest character to understand, get to grips with, and play relatively well with consistency. Warden is also well-rounded, which means you won’t be lacking in any one aspect, even if it may not be very special.
There’s a reason characters are rated Easy/Medium/Hard
Before unlocking new heroes, be sure to read the two-word classification next to each of them. For instance, Warden is Vanguard|Easy. So while other heroes may look enticiting, if they have "Hard" next to their names, you should probably pick someone else first.
Make no mistake, a hard hero may bring you to hate the game if you don’t know what you’re doing. Orochi, for instance, is an Assassin with a playstyle that's almost the reverse of Warden's. Unlocking Orochi right after Warden will hit your self esteem hard and make you think you hadn’t learned anything.
The class part is also worth paying attention to, though it won't make much sense to you early on. Vanguards are usually your straightforward heroes, whereas Heavies and Hybrids are more demanding.
Don’t go for the looks, otherwise you’ll be left disappointed.
Gear stats only matter in 4v4 Dominion
You’ve no doubt seen the ‘scavenging the battlefield for loot’ message, and you’ve probably picked up several pieces of gear already. Loot in For Honor matters, it’s not just cosmetic, with some exceptions.
Because the pieces of gear you equip can and will have an effect on your core stats, the developers disabled gear effects in 1v1 Duel, and 2v2 Brawl modes. Only the 4v4 Dominion will take into account the effects your gear has.
With that in mind, it's worth paying attention to what you have equipped before a Dominion match. The game will automatically compare the piece you're inspecting with what your hero has on at the time, so weigh your options and spec towards your preferred playstyle.
The more useless gear you scavenge, the more materials you'll have to upgrade the pieces you care about.
Pay attention to the minimap
Yes, it’s already a challenge to keep up with everything your opponent is doing, and you mostly can’t spare even a second to glance at the bottom right of the screen, but sometimes you need to do it.
In 4v4 Dominion in particular, it can be hard to make out enemies from a distance, especially if they’re hiding among their minions. This is why you should always take a quick look at the minimap to have a better idea of where they are, and the best way to approach.
The minimap is also the perfect way to avoid getting charge-attacked from behind. A common tactic used by pairs is for one to engage the enemy, allowing the other to go charging from behind, dealing massive damage.
Since the minimap only shows human fighters (friendly and enemy), it will help you dodge out of the way in time. It’s tricky to master, given the range of information you process second-by-second, but you should never neglect it.
Vary your combos, play some mind games
Don’t just spam light attacks, this isn’t Skyrim. You need to mix and match light and heavy, and throw in guard breaks, too, when you see an opening.
You should also dodge left, right, and outward. There are a lot of mind games in For Honor, so don’t be afraid to feign attacks (you can cancel heavies mid-animation by pressing B/Circle).
Try not to telegraph your attacks too much, and switch guards with the right stick often. Ideally, you should make them think you're going one way, only to switch it at the last second and get the hit.
You'll know what to do after you play a few matches, but the important thing to remember is that taking your time with every attack likely means they're going to read it and block it - or worse, parry it.
Stamina management is equally important
If you played a Dark Souls game before, you’ll know how crucial stamina management is. It’s the same way here, only things work a bit differently.
Dodging has the biggest hit on your stamina, though it varies by hero. The point is: don’t dodge as often as you would in the Soulsborne games, only when necessary. If you think you can block an attack, match your guard to its angle and take the (small) stamina hit instead of dodging and wasting precious stamina.
The other major stamina hog is heavy attacks, for obvious reasons, followed by light attacks, which consume the least amount of it. If you run out of stamina completely, your attacks will come out incredibly slowly, opening you up for everyone to wail on you.
One thing to keep in mind is that, right now - though this may change at launch - running consumes very little stamina. That's assuming you haven't run out, of course. It's sometimes a good idea to run away from a fight for a few seconds to regain stamina before reengaging.