1st week shop feedback - I should be more excited

I wanted to give it a full week before posting general feedback on the in-game shop, and I’ve got a few gripes. Rather than turn this into a hate-fest, here are my observations and how I think it could be improved. For some quick context, I’ve been with the series since CE and loved spending time customizing my spartan in H4, MCC, and H5, so getting customization into a better place is important to me.

Also, there is no Shop tag. Why is there no shop tag?

1: high priority problem - Armor compatibility restrictions are the major reason that I haven’t spent points except on the premium battle pass. I checked the shop often during the first week, and seriously considered several bundles, including the Zvezda armor bundle, and kept deciding against it. The main factor has been that the armor coatings and visors (in addition to the parts) are locked to specific armor cores. This creates a mesh of issues, when I’m looking at a bundle I have to check what core its for, then consider if it’ll look good with what I have, then think about how it’ll look with what I haven’t unlocked yet in that core from the pass, etc. the restrictions on customization lead to a lot of thinking I have to do when deciding whether or not to buy, and in the end, I always end up deciding not to buy. Not only is this a deterrent for purchasing coatings, but I’ve turned down armor parts that I liked because of the narrow color selection for a given core, and I suspect this problem will worsen as the cosmetics are spread thinner across more separate cores. If coatings and visors were universal, or if there were fewer restrictions on customization overall, I would have certainly picked up a few things. As someone who loved the customization in other halo games, and as someone who happily spends on cosmetics in other free-to-play games, I should be way more excited for infinite’s system than I am. It is very very close to being good, but the restrictions, especially armor coating and visor restrictions, are a huge turn-off.

Solution: make armor coatings and visors not-restricted by core, or at the very least unlock equivalents in all cores. This would be my ideal solution, since I’d be able to buy new armor knowing I already had a good selection of coatings, or buy new coatings knowing that I’d have the full bank of armor cores to experiment with. This doubles for visors, since that’s a key part of nailing a good color scheme.

2: high priority problem - the shop section in the waypoint app is extremely unclear. A bundle doesn’t display what armor core it is for plainly in the main UI. When you inspect a bundle, it’ll only show what core it’s restricted to if you navigate to one of the armor pieces in that bundle and switch to the “item” tab. If it navigates directly to a coating or an attachment in that bundle (this is true of the zvezda and intrusion packs at the time of posting) then you don’t see at first glance that it is restricted at all. The likelyhood that a newer user, who has not thoroughly scoured the subreddit or unlocked other cores, could purchase a bundle for mkV not knowing it won’t work on their armor, or purchase a bundle for Mk7 not knowing it won’t work on the mkV when they get the battle pass.

In-general the difference between a “kit” and a bundle are not communicated well either. When I was looking at the HCS kits they looked too good to be true compared to the other shop options, and that made me suspicious. If I didn’t right then and there look-up what a kit was, there is a good chance I would have purchased one of those by mistake assuming I’d be able to just use a coating or visor. There are certainly players that have made that mistake already.

Solution: add the name of the core that the bundle is compatible with to the name of the bundle, or at least display it prominently on the other UI screens in the waypoint app. “Armor Skin” or some more recognizable term should replace “kit” to reduce confusion, or find some other way to better communicate that to the player.

3: problem - the narrow selection of cosmetics in the shop at any given time add to the feeling that there just aren’t very many customization options at all. Don’t get me wrong this game has been a ton of fun, but I haven’t been clambering to play as much over the weekend as I had expected given my own excitement leading up to the beta and how good the flights were, but I’m just not very excited about the customization options in-general. A significant factor is selection. The rotating dailies is a double-edged sword, on one hand some folks are going to buy a bundle because they don’t know when their next chance will be, but I keep passing thinking I might like the next daily better. The practice in-general of having rotating dailies also goes against the no-fomo experience we were pitched back in December 2020. Also, the bundle options are almost always one or two items that I want packaged with a bunch of items that I don’t care for. When I feel forced to buy items that I don’t want for an arbitrary reason it feels like a poor value, as in X % of my purchase was wasted on something I’d never equip, and it dissuades me from picking it up. Also, I can’t really get a clear read if an armor coating I like is even available for other cores at all, or if it will ever become available for a specific core. Unless I see the coating I want for the core I want show up on a bundle, I have no way of knowing.

Solution - Part-out the bundles and sell the cosmetics separately, for slightly more points than their share of the bundle, in a proper searchable shop. Then use weekly and daily bundles as a means of selling those items together at a discount. This could be tackled a few ways, having an “all parts” store tab where we can filter by core or equip slot or set, or even via the Customize menu, having a “show available” check-box that allows you to equip options you have not bought, and giving you the option to purchase what you equipped as you are exiting the menu, etc. You could even have new cosmetics stay bundle-exclusive for a period of time before rolling into the main shop if you need a little bit of that fomo boost for your capitalist overlords.

4: problem - I’m just not impressed with what the shop offers that can actually customize the spartan. I don’t want this to come off the wrong way - the armor designs so far look solid to me, and the coatings each have their own charm. From a technical and visual standpoint it is all impressive especially on the series X, but really none of it excites me. This is a case where a mix of my experiences with past halo and moreover other games with micro-transactions is a big factor. So far what’s been on offer in the shop bundles feels like fairly standard fare for past halo titles, a lot of these are the sort of basic unlocks I’d be playing around with and eventually ditch in favor of something more gaudy or flashy. With that in mind, they are also the sort of parts I’d expect to be part of the free track of the battle pass, or other non-premium cosmetic unlock. Compare that to the coatings that are worked into the HCS kits… those are the kind of cosmetic I was more expecting tk make rotations in the shop. Bright colors, wacky patterns or camo, glossy or very metallic finishes, etc. This isn’t something I feel like we were promised, but it is an expectation I had from other free to play and micro transaction heavy games - where basic looks have some solid variety at the free level, and paid options look “next level”.

Solution - I don’t feel qualified to outline a proper solution to this issue, and I have no idea what the pipeline is like for these art assets. I do think though that slight variations on the free coatings should also be either part of the free-track on passes, or weekly rewards rather that clogging up shop bundles (brighter red am I right?), or include a range of basic-ish colors and combinations as a shop bundle. Basically, make coatings more accessible that get players closer to how they looked with the two-color system, then roll out the fancy stuff for the kinds of prices we are seeing now.

5: problem - I don’t have a clear idea of how a cosmetic will look on the field during a game. We can sort of see it in the customize menu, but things tend to look a bit different in different environments and with different lighting.

Solution more of a wish-list thing really- when viewing cosmetics or customizing a spartan with the armor hall backdrop, have an option to cycle-through the game’s current multiplayer maps to replace the armor hall for viewing purposes. Alternatively, have a preview option that lets you select a map and render you there. Not 100% sure how to implement this in a way that’s feasible and useful, but it would be a nice touch.