For Honor is coming to the Epic Games Store. Players can get the game for free from August 2-9 and join a community of more than 20 million players in slashing, parrying, and decapitating their way to glory on the battlefield. The giveaway week comes just in time for the launch of Hulda (Year 3, Season 3), which introduces the Jormungandr, a new fearsome Viking Hero who wields a deadly war hamaar in battle. Year 3 Pass owners now have immediate access to the Jormungandr, while all other players can unlock the new Hero on August 8 for 15,000 in-game Steel.
To find out more about the new feral Viking Hero, we spoke with Writer Elise Trinh and Game Designer Stefan Jewinski.
Who are the Jormungandr? How are they different from regular Vikings?
Elise Trinh: The "Jormungandr" is a shorthand to describe Viking cultists who worship a deity called the Jormungandr – aka the World Serpent. Contrary to most people, these cultists believe the first cataclysm in For Honor was sort of a Ragnarok where the World Serpent killed Thor, took his hammer from him, and became the one true God of Thunder. Most Vikings see the Jormungandr as a sect of warriors who wield the war hamaar and are very strong, because their initiation rites are gruesome. But at the same time, many Vikings fear these cultists because of their dark beliefs.
What inspiration did you draw from when creating their backstory and design?
ET: We've been wanting to have a Viking Hero wielding a hammer for quite some time now. But we also wanted to give them our own twist – you know, so it wouldn't be just another Thor. For every character we're making, the narrative tries to give an answer the question, "In a world like For Honor, that's been war-torn for so long, what kind of hero would use such weapon and why?" With rumors of a potential cataclysm growing across factions during our Year of the Harbinger, we used the Norse myth of Ragnarok as our main inspiration, but twisted it to create something fresh and unexpected.
Year of the Harbinger introduced two very dark Heroes in the Black Prior and Hitokiri; are the Jormungandr equally as dark?
ET: Oh yes! But while the Black Prior are more on the gothic side, and the Hitokiri are ghostly warriors, the Jormungandr are feral. We hinted in their backstory how their cult began because some Vikings had deformities due to a disease and were rejected by the other Vikings. The first Jormungandr saw their deformities as a sign that they were "chosen" by their God to cull the weak. Even if such diseases do not exist anymore in For Honor's world, the Jormungandr of today have included in their initiation rites the burning of their own skin so they can have sort of a snake skin like the first Jormungandr.
Tell us more about the female and male Jormungandr characters, Hulda and Gretar.
ET: Hulda is one of the leaders of the cult. Legends say she burned her entire body to show her absolute devotion to the Jormungandr and became even stronger afterwards. Then she became famous because she massacred an entire group of villagers who falsely worshipped the Great Serpent in the hopes of getting the cult's protection. The day of the massacre, a massive wave washed the bodies of the non-believers away, and Hulda saw this as a sign from the World Serpent itself that she needed to join the rest of the Vikings and show them the true path to victory before the coming of the next Ragnarok.
As for Gretar, the male counterpart, he used to be a regular warrior in the Viking army, who had many doubts about the Jormungandr like everybody else. But one day, as he thought he was about to lose a battle against the Knights with his army, a miracle saved him. Legends say the Jormungandr summoned a massive wave that washed the Knights away, and that's how Gretar ended up winning against all odds. Witnessing such a miracle, Gretar decided to follow the initiation rites and became a Jormungandr himself.
What kind of Hero is the Jormungandr? What class are they?
Stefan Jewinski: The Jormungandr are Heavy Viking warriors.
What sort of playstyle do they favor?
SJ: Jormungandr is a stamina tyrant with a gameplan. They want to attack their opponents, drain their stamina, and unbalance them. Once they're on the ground, the Jormungandr smashes them with the hamaar.
Jormungandr has a number of melee tools to drain the opponent's stamina. All these melee attacks also cause imbalance when the opponent is already out of stamina. The unblockable heavy finisher also sends the opponent to the floor when they're out of stamina. For the Jormungandr, it's about keeping the pressure on the opponent to drain their stamina, unbalance them, then deal big damage with the Hamaar Slam.
How does the War Hamaar impact how the Jormungandr moves/plays?
SJ: The power of the weapon gives some specific properties. For example, it's too powerful to be stopped when blocked. This allows Jormungandr to keep chaining, and keep pressure, even when a light attack is blocked. This helps drain opponents' stamina more quickly. The unblockable heavy finisher is also specific – it knocks the opponent around and into walls – as well as knocking them down when they're out of stamina.
What Heroes make for good teammates?
SJ: Jormungandr has a lot of friends in the Viking faction. The other Vikings have tools like Bear Trap, which steals the opponent's stamina. This, of course, allows the Jormungandr to knock them to the floor and pull off the Hamaar Slam.
What Heroes are they most similar to?
SJ: Gladiator players who utilize the Toe Stab will feel somewhat familiar with the Jormungandr – both knock the opponent to the floor when they're out of stamina. Centurion players will feel at home bullying their opponent's stamina bar with melees, and knocking them to the floor to confirm damage.
What role within the For Honor roster does the Jormungandr fill?
SJ: Jormungandr's uninterruptible stance, heavy openers, and Feats that give survivability, will allow Jormungandr to be tanky as a Heavy Hero. They want to dominate their home capture point in Dominion, and rotate to the middle capture point to help their team to victory in group fights.
Does the Jormungandr have any unique feats?
SJ: Feats 1 and 2 reward the Jormungandr for playing into their game plan with added HP and shields for increased survivability. Feats 3 and 4 help the Jormungandr achieve the knockdown and thus the Hamaar Slam – further feeding into their game plan. The individual feats are:
- Jotun Salve (Passive) – Gain HP when hitting enemy Heroes with Melees
- Hamaar's Favor (Passive) – Gain a temporary Shield after Hamaar Slam on enemy Hero
- Zealot's Bolt – Projectile that deals low damage, knocks back, and removes all stamina
- Twilight of the Gods – AOE slam that deals damage and unbalances
For Honor is now available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, including the Epic Games Store. For more information, check out our previous For Honor coverage.