For Honor, much like the warriors that populate its PvP battlefields, refuses to go down without a fight. After a while of only pulling about 5,000 concurrent players on Steam, the game has managed to rally the troops and call 210,000 players to action yesterday. How was it able to bolster its ranks so quickly? By offering pretty much everything for free.
Many gamers might have forgotten about For Honor, and they can't really be blamed. It's a competitive online multiplayer game that trades in the usual trappings of guns and modern battlefields for swordplay and castles. The game got a lot of pre-launch hype because it offered something different with its older setting and detailed combat system. But Ubisoft's handling of its post launch, or lack thereof, made it bleed players faster than a samurai with a stab wound.
It came out in February 2017, and ended the year with around 2,000 players per-hour, GitHyp reports. It seemed like that would be the end of For Honor's tragic tale, until Ubisoft decided to go for broke and make the game free-to-play for a limited time. PC players can now get the Starter Edition and take to the battlefield completely free of charge. Once this fact was made known on Steam's front page, the game's player base grew exponentially.
The Starter Edition gives players access to the game's story mode, all PvP modes, and three of its Hero characters right off the bat. Players can choose between samurai, vikings, and knights, and the three Heroes of that faction will be instantly unlocked. The catch is that all other Heroes will have to be unlocked with Steel, the in-game currency that can also be bought with real-world money. Unfortunately for curious console gamers, the Starter Edition is PC only.
PC players are more than enough to make up for a sizable growth, however, as all 210,000 of the new players were tracked by Steam. The real question is if Ubisoft can manage to keep them. A free-to-play game with a full story, online multiplayer, and a decent chunk of characters unlocked has been shown to be enticing enough to attract a lot of downloads. But if the base game isn't strong enough, those players won't stick around for long, and certainly won't put money into new characters or DLC. GitHyp even points out that For Honor had a free weekend back in May where it doubles its player count and then lost them just as quickly.
So if you're curious about For Honor, now's the time to play. This might well be the game's last stand. The Starter Edition is only being made free for those who download it before August 27th, so strike quick before its gone.