I’m gonna post my rant here if anyone’s interested in reading. I don’t know if 343 will see this but who cares.
I’ve played Halo since the middle 2000s with Halo 2. I didn’t have access to Halo 3 but I’ve also played a lot of Halo: Reach, Halo 4, the Halo Online mod (ElDewrito) and MCC PC. And I wish I could’ve experienced Halo 5’s fun multiplayer and customs. Halo is a fantastic franchise and I love it so much. It’s my #1 favourite franchise and I’m willing to be with it for as long as I can. It saved me mentally.
I’m typing this because of what is happening to Halo Infinite’s Multiplayer. First thing, I love the multiplayer gameplay. I think it has the best gunplay and sandbox balance in Halo’s history. Every weapon feels like they’re useful in a unique way unlike past Halo games where people always use the BR/Magnum and not get the other weapons on the map except for power weapons. The launch maps are fantastic and have those unique, fun and classic vibes that the Halo trilogy and Reach have. Fragmentation and Streets are my favourites. The modes are good as they were before with additions such as Oddball now being a two round mode and BTB flags always changing their location after being scored to change up the match pace. Bots are fun to play with, especially Spartan bots even though it can be boring at times since I’m way better than the Spartan bots. And they don’t seem to get on Warthog turrets which is ironic since Halo CE marines can easily get on Warthog turrets. Also, Theater and Customs are glitchy. Ironic of 343 delaying Co-op and Forge for over half a month.
Now here comes the ugly part of this essay. I’m going to start with unlocking, customization and progression systems. Halo’s career systems in past games were a bit grindy(only when you’re near the max rank) but they reward players for PLAYING the game and having fun. Players can reach certain level tiers to obtain armour and credits. Halo: Reach rewards players for completing matches by giving them Credits. And they have full freedom to use those credits to buy armour pieces they desire. Reach also had a cool career system where players can progress through actual military ranks and go beyond with ranks such as Nova, Reclaimer and Inheritor. Halo games also reward players when they unlock specific achievements like how completing all Vidmaster challenges in Halo 3 grants people the Recon armour. Halo’s 1-4 allowed people to customize their Spartan colours with primary and secondary colour options. They can also create unique combinations of pictures to create their own unique emblem with their own chosen colours. I know people always play team gamemodes where all players are locked in red and blue colours, but at least players can look unique from one another just by being rewarded with armour for having a lot of fun playtime while having free colour options. Halo’s gameplay is fun, and customizing our spartans to create unique looks is also fun and a core part of the Halo franchise. I’m aware that Halo 5 butchered the legacy way of earning armour by only getting them through loot boxes which are called REQs. But players can still at least be rewarded by playing the game, increasing their Spartan Rank and completing achievements via MCC. In the end, loot boxes are a disgrace and have no place in Halo (and you can’t even create unique emblem combinations).
So, what the -Yoink!- happened with Halo Infinite? I’m gonna sound like a boomer from saying all of this, but I despise how most F2P games can’t allow players to earn cosmetics they desire just by playing. FOMO in shops, limited-timed battle passes and gacha mechanics. And players can’t even grind enough in-game currency to get shop cosmetics, only leaving them to buy cosmetics they want before it goes away. Paywalls, technically. I know they’re F2P, but all of this contrasts to how old Halo games reward players by playing the game without any extreme grinding, heavy FOMO and ludicrous paywalls. And it just so happens that Halo Infinite has all of my gripes with F2P, even making my gripes worse out of all of the other F2P games I’ve played. Halo, my long loved franchise, out of all of the other F2P games, made me hate the bad sides of F2P even more. I feel betrayed. Where should I start with this?
The Battle Pass system in Infinite is a simple start. Why the -Yoink!- is there no per-match XP? It’s an obvious thing in video games to reward players for how well they do when playing. Take Sonic games for example. If you’re too slow and beat the levels with no rings, then you’re guaranteed with an E or D rank. If you beat the level extremely fast, destroyed a lot of robots and have a lot of rings with you, then you get an A or S rank. When playing Halo Infinite matches, you get rewarded with kills and medals with points, so you have the option to be extremely good during matches and gain a lot of points that’ll lead to inevitable XP boosts, right? Right…? Nope.avi. Infinite’s Battle Pass system can only be progressed through challenges. It’s good that the BP tiers have the same XP requirement so tiers don’t increase for the sake of no grinding, but people’s crazy plays during matches are never rewarded because oops, I forgot to complete a challenge of destroying a Wraith, a vehicle that’s more rare to appear than a shiny Pokémon. We can’t even progress through the BP because we get so little XP and our match efforts become worthless, making the BP way more grindy than other F2P games (Why do this to Halo!?) Why does “XP” even exist in Infinite? XP is all about playing the game, gaining skill and being rewarded for gaining skill by playing the game. Why bother playing the objective if both teams are guaranteed with 50XP each after their match? This is not how XP works. The Live team had a segment in the Infinite Multiplayer Overview and their own Inside Infinite Blog post explaining about their “Player’s first” motive, not wanting Infinite to be a chore and allow us to have a lot of unique armour combinations at launch. “We want players to have cool content, activities, events, and rewards over the course of the season, but we do not want to demand that players play a ton of hours every week of the season to complete everything. We want players to have fun in Halo, not grind it like it’s a job.".
Seems like a funny joke now. Except it isn’t a joke. 343 lied to us, promised that they’re going to make it better for players to earn customization content and stray away from loot boxes, except making a system WORSE than loot boxes! (Loot boxes are still -Yoink!-. Trash vs. garbage). I feel torn apart. I love how Infinite has better multiplayer gameplay than 5, yet make progression, unlocking and customization slightly if not way worse than 5? I know per-piece customization is back, better than ever, but we get so little customization options due to the horrendous Battle Pass. Meaning that everyone will commonly look similar. And that brings me to coatings. I wasn’t fine with coatings until they said(or lied) about how we can get a lot of unique coatings without having to pay and grind. It’s still dumb to lock people’s favourite colour combinations behind paywalls and grinding. Where’s my primary white and secondary yellow? Where’s my Mark V? (not the [B] and Zeta versions). As I said before, it’s fun to customize Spartans and watch them do cool -Yoink!- in Theater mode. Now that isn’t an option anymore. They had the option to make everyone be fine with coatings, but they blew it. Why not have the option to customize coating colours while keeping their unique patterns?
And don’t get me started on the Shop. Other F2P games allow players to earn in-game currency via Battle Passes. And you can’t even earn credits in Infinite’s Battle Pass. The Shop has a severely limited selection of items to buy. And we can only get those items through only playing without the L. Not only does it contradicts Halo’s legacy of earning items through playing, it also contradicts playing games in general. It’s more fun and satisfying to unlock new things in games than using cheat codes to unlock everything and when I mean cheat codes, I mean paying. The Tenrai Fracture event is kind enough to be a free event and progress through the event pass by completing challenges with no XP requirement. But we can only advance seven tiers in the pass and the only way to unlock the Yoroi core is by paying, same with the Kabuto and Yokai armour. So why the -Yoink!- are there trillions of Double XP and Challenge Swaps in the Tenrai pass even though we can’t use them to get the rest of the Yoroi armour because they’re locked behind paywalls?? There’s clearly a huge disconnection between the Tenrai Pass’s 2X XP / Challenge Swaps and the rest of the Yoroi armour. The sad thing is that the Yoroi armour is so cool looking and it has a good blend of looking like Halo while looking like it’s far away from Halo’s iconic art style.
Is Halo Infinite Multiplayer supposed to be a huge bait towards classic Halo fans and new fans that want to join the hype train? It’s like a mouse trap. 343 are the humans who set up the trap, the trap is the -Yoink!- customization/progression, Infinite’s gameplay is the cheese and us Halo fans are the mice. Again, why would 343 have the decency to make the greatest Halo gameplay while ruining it with everything else they did? Halo fans criticized 343 for a decade, they made a subpar remake of Halo CE, they changed way too much of Halo’s identity with 4, they released MCC very buggy and unplayable, they made god awful decisions with Halo 5’s story and loot box systems and they reached a new low with Infinite’s service. Nearly 120 months of criticizing them and look at what they’ve done. Well… it can’t be Halo without Master Chief, the UNSC, the Covenant, the Halo ring worlds and its entire lore. The campaign is having an overwhelmingly positive reception so far by people who have embargo copies and I don’t want the scummy things in multiplayer to block me from playing the inevitable best campaign that Halo can have. A huge glow up from 5’s campaign that is. The campaign team has nothing to do with the multiplayer live team anyways, so I won’t feel iffy when playing the campaign and just avoid from the scummy multiplayer service.
Infinite’s multiplayer service is the worst 20th anniversary gift and we should’ve not overhyped it (-Yoink!- Hype culture anyways). But hey, Halo can get its best anniversary gift in December which is the campaign and it’s what I’m looking forward to.
Have a happy December 8th in two weeks, Halo fans~