Ubisoft’s Skull and Bones looks like a promising PvP ship combat game. However, Ubisoft is developing it to be heavily similar to For Honor, which doesn’t healthy servers anymore. Here’s why we think Skull and Bones would also fail like For Honor.
Faction Systems That Demand Progression
As posted on the game’s forum, the developers have confirmed some Skull and Bones features that feel similar to For Honor. The faction system is also present in Skull and Bones, albeit it’s more flexible than it is in For Honor.
Players will be able to join loose “factions” and group themselves up for special rewards, like in For Honor. However, the flaw in this system is that Skull and Bones has yet to test the waters if they have a long-standing player base for it.
In a way, For Honor’s beta test data failed to predict the game’s player base population post-launch. The beta got a total of six million players on all its platforms and the game had great sales. This could’ve assured the faction system’s success, but it didn’t.
Githyp’s report said that 95% of its Steam player base has left the game. Currently, the game currently has a lower player base count than The Division. Faction systems were ineffective in keeping players as it’s just a contest to see which group make more points. It’s a looming reminder that all players should participate, which could scare its newer players. Ubisoft will have to change up this faction system to prevent this from happening.
New Game Blues
Ubisoft is delivering a whole new game using Assassin’s Creed’s ship battle systems in Skull and Bones. However, most players who didn’t play or enjoy the ship battles in Assassin’s Creed 3 and Black Flag will likely ignore this game. Additionally, many players have no prior experience toward this naval battle type game since it’s considered as a niche genre. Skull and Bones plays significantly different from Wargaming’s World of Warships, which could be its closest reference when it comes to naval PvP combat gameplay.
Many good games fail not because they don’t have enough quality content but because not many players will pick it up. So far, Ubisoft has yet to the start date for the Skull and Bones beta which could help us know how much gamers are interested in this game.
No Room For Growth
Many competitive games boom because their game had avenues for players to try something new. For Honor had a promising potential to become a large competitive game with its unique combat system. Aside from bad net connectivity and bad gameplay balancing at launch, it didn’t have the room to grow as its systems were too rigid to adapt new strategies. Additionally, its players were too adamant in prescribing a specific way to fight, which destroyed any chance of growing new playstyles. In the end, regulars and competitive players would love to keep seeing new things in their game in terms of gameplay and not because they want loot.
Skull and Bones sets itself up with the same rigid system as it still lacks skill-based competitive features. The wind speed boost and penalty system and its different ship types still look too simple at the moment. Still, a lot can change as the game is scheduled for an Autumn 2018 launch.
For now, Skull and Bones has a lot to prove if it doesn’t want to end like For Honor. If they don’t, Ubisoft is setting themselves again for another loss and concede the pirate game competition to Sea of Thieves.