‘For Honor’: Will Ditching P2P For Dedicated Servers Fix Connectivity Issues?

For Honor game director Roman Campos Oriola goes in depth on why Ubisoft went with Peer to Peer networking and it’s impact on the widespread connectivity issues.

For Honor is no doubt another promising AAA title from Ubisoft, but much like its predecessors, the game has been relentlessly plagued by connection and server issues, even weeks into its launch. In fact, the server problems have been so bad that it has become detrimental to the success of For Honor.

#ForHonor is a great game crippled by its Server choices our @ForHonorGame #noobreview https://t.co/iqW5b8mfkh pic.twitter.com/LoZmswgirO

— Pratyush Raj (@PratyushofRivia) March 1, 2017

For Honor uses P2P (peer-to-peer) networking, unlike other online titles which use dedicated servers to host the game. Without getting too geeky about For Honor‘s connection setup, Eurogamer explains that P2P networking means that there is no host and all players are connected to each other at all times. This eliminates the basic issue that most competitive online games suffer from, which is terrible lag that can be caused by the host’s connection.

We can remember that For Honor released on February 14, and despite the patch that was launched to fix the server issues, weeks into the game’s release, more and more players are getting impatient and dissatisfied, with some users even experiencing irrational bans and suspensions. In fact, the server problem has been so bad that Ubisoft had to issue rewards and bonuses to everyone who has been affected by the online outage this past weekend, Express reported.

This brings us to the fact that despite Ubisoft’s positive attitude towards the advantages of P2P networking, For Honor‘s connectivity issues in its multiplayer landscape has become a major concern that players are wondering if a dedicated server might have been the better way to go.

Talking to Eurogamer in a sweeping For Honor interview, For Honor game director Roman Campos Oriola said that players shouldn’t necessarily blame the P2P networking system for all the crap that’s plaguing For Honor.

“Actually it’s more complex than that….we’ve had some issues with Ubisoft’s bigger network, like it happened also with Rainbow Six last weekend. But that is not linked to any peer-to-peer issue. It’s more a bigger network structure that sometimes got f***ed up when there are too many people running on it, and it was not intended to have that many people. We are working on that overall load. That should improve.

“…so far, we think it’s more a problem of structure and infrastructure and the way we connect with them in the game, than something related to peer-to-peer.”

On the issue of whether a dedicated system would work better than P2P in terms of For Honor‘s matchmaking system, Oriola explained that the way the computer calculates everything and how it eventually simulates the elements in the game is not an intrinsic problem to P2P.

“…even with dedicated servers, as soon as you start to lag because you are far from the server, you would start to have the same type of problems. Would dedicated servers help us in some situations? Yes. But in other situations, our current architecture is actually better than dedicated servers. Really, it’s a balance of pros and cons. We decided to go with a peer-to-peer version of our system. We still think the pros of that architecture outweigh the cons. But we are monitoring it and making sure it stays more in terms of pros than in terms of cons. We are ready to reevaluate that as soon as it changes.”

Asked whether For Honor could switch to dedicated servers when worse comes to worst, Oriola replied that it’s going to be a lot of work and would need a lot of evaluation, but it is possible.

Should For Honor ditch P2P Networking for dedicated servers? [Image by Ubisoft]

Understanding that the server outages that For Honor has been experiencing is not necessarily rooted into the decision of Ubisoft to go with P2P networking rather than dedicated servers is, however, apart still from the issue that P2P networking gives birth to, in terms of rage quitting.

One of the more annoying problems that For Honor players experience is when playing against people who get disconnected frequently, or rage quit like there’s no tomorrow.

In For Honor, if a player quits or gets disconnected, since the server is divided among all the players, the entire connection is broken and the game will try to reconfigure the session. This setup, paired with For Honor‘s lack of rage quit punishment, has made many For Honor players lose interest in the multiplayer mode.

Eurogamer raises this problem to Oriola and he admits that their leniency with rage quitting stems from the fact that they don’t want to punish players when the connectivity issues stems from their end, not the player’s. This makes sense since For Honor‘s servers are still generally unstable at this point and punishing players for leaving the game, when it’s really the server malfunctioning, would generally arouse discontent.

Ubisoft: Ditching P2P for Dedicated servers won't necessarily solve the connectivity issues [Image by Ubisoft]
Ubisoft: Ditching P2P for Dedicated servers won't necessarily solve the connectivity issues [Image by Ubisoft]

But in the long run, when things are more stable, Oriola assures that “we are looking at putting a penalty on quitting. There are plenty of options we are considering. Maybe there is a penalty on the matchmaking time. Like, if you quit it takes you a little bit more time. This kind of stuff. But at the same time, we need to improve the flow of the game to not have places that actually encourage you to quit.”

At the end of the day, it all boils down to Ubisoft not quite expecting For Honor to hit it as bit as it did. This is why their servers weren’t quite ready for the huge influx of people trying to look for a match all at the same time.

At this point, For Honor players do not really care much whether Ubisoft chooses to stay with P2P networking, or switch over to dedicated servers. What For Honor players want is for Ubisoft to fix it as fast as they could, before players start to really lose patience and interest in the game.

[Featured image by Ubisoft]