343i adding MTX to MCC Undermines Progression and Community Trust

Over the course of MCC’s release and Development history from its planning and release on PC, and thus renewal in development, 343i has expliclity gone out of their way to rebuilt trust with the Halo community, after the fiasco and P2W aspects of Halo 5: Guardians. This has been in the form of design decisions and direct communication with the community reinforcing those decisions.

Below are some quotes from 343i Developers highlighting these sentiments

On MCC not having any Monetisation


When Halo Reach/MCC was announced and 343i announced they would be redesigning the progression system Ske7ch did an AMA on Reddit in which it was explicitly made clear, to alleviate fans’ concerns about monetisation in MCC.

Ske7ch

First, we’re happy to say that Halo: Reach in MCC will in fact have the same level of “mix and match” customization found in the original games (all the individual armor pieces, etc…). As to how it’s earned, we are exploring a new and deeper progression system that retains the feel of the old systems and blends them with newer models for game progression (all based on in-game play, no type of monetization or anything of that nature)

Source
https://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/b2yhk8/mcc_pc_halo_reach_and_halo_insider_ama/eivsska/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3)

Later, with the introduction of the “Store”, The Exchange, in MCC. Postums conducted interviews as part of the MCC Development and Flighting Updates thread around concerns with progression.

The following quotes are from can all be found at this archived link of the MCC Development Flighting Updates Thread and highlight reinforcement of design principles, to NOT have any monetisation or paid form of progression in MCC:

Max Szlagor, Design Director for the Publishing Team

We are introducing a seasonal currency “store” – and there’s no real money involved.

[On the possibility of MCC having a “cash” option where players can buy SP if they want to]
Nope. Players can only earn and spend season points as they always have – via the first 100 levels and the various Seasonal and Weekly Challenges

Dana Jerpbak, Technical Designer for MCC

[On the possibility of exchange items costing real money]
No. Exchange items are unlocked through Season Points which players earn by leveling up and completing Challenges in MCC. No real money is involved whatsoever.


The following quote is in reference to Seasonal Rewards for challenges but I think it’s relevent:

Players are understandably attached to rewards they’ve earned for difficult challenges and we intend not to trivialize that by “just giving away” prestigious rewards.

Basically, this highlights 343i understanding the importance of progression in Halo for the Halo community, and why [at the time] they shouldn’t just allow shortcuts as that undermines the time and effort put into earning those rewards by the community.


In Respect to Progression

We’ve increased XP payouts for some Challenges with Season 6 so this will be even faster than before. With that said, you have a lot of choices on where you spend your SP. You can spend them in the Exchange or on any Season’s items. The items will remain available (or rotational, in the Exchange’s case) so while it may take a while to unlock everything you want, you won’t be missing out on anything if you can’t afford to unlock it in the short term.

Players shouldn’t expect to unlock everything the first time it rotates into the Exchange AND blow through the season’s track right away.

[In Respect to Earning Season Points outside of leveling and seasonal challenges]
SP will continue to be earned from the first 100 progression levels and from Challenges. We will continue to tune the rate they’re earned from both based on the SP price of items in the Exchange and seasons.

Source
https://web.archive.org/web/20210915200529/https://www.halowaypoint.com/en-us/forums/243780d3b80b4bb6ac7917a8942286db/topics/mcc-development-flighting-updates/3e3252e1-297a-4590-a7ab-67c133b3d37d/posts?page=4

Fast Forward to today… well, last week but still

[…] we are internally exploring a potential new feature for the future in the form of purchasable Spartan Points.

Really?! What happened to “no monetisation”?

This would be an optional, additive alternative for players who might find the vast scope of content to be an intimidating amount of playtime and want to get ahead on (or skip) the grind, or maybe want to grab specific items they want

So basically you’re throwing aside all those core principles you reinforced over the last 3 years with MCC for a quick cash grab citing a problem you caused?

This isn’t about new players or skipping grind, it’s about your bottom line. As has been discussed by the community if this really was about new players you would address the progression system directly by rebalancing or adding new ways to earn.


Non-Exhaustive List of How to Improve Progression for New Players

  1. Add More Weekly Challenges
  2. Reduce the Requirements and Increase the Rewards for Weekly Challenges
  3. Reduce the Requirements and Increase Rewards for “Tactical Exercises”
  4. Add Daily Challenges
  5. Add Points Rewards for every level past 100
  6. Double Points Weekends, or other events

Final Thoughts / TL;DR

Over the past 3 years, 343i has done a lot to rebuild their reputation with the Halo community and adding MTX spits in the face of all that. MCC was a beacon of hope for the Halo community and seeing it treated with disrespect, as a long-time fan, is really disappointing.

Here’s a list of reasons 343i shouldn’t add MTX to MCC

  1. This isn’t a F2P game, we already paid for the content
  2. They promoted the game on the basis of it not having this monetisation, so adding it is breaking those promises
  3. They have made challenges more grindy (increased requirements) and are now selling the solution; in-order to drive engagement up even more they will probably continue to make this disparity even worse
  4. The game is ceasing development, so no new content is being made (just existing promises being delivered upon- and said content was marketed as free updates before)
  5. They are monetising content which already exists, so you’re paying for content twice (game purchase and then MTX)
  6. There are other ways of dealing with the “grind” which don’t involve the “need” for MTX
  7. Adding MTX undermines existing progression systems in MCC; all that time and energy spent on earning these rewards by the community amounts to naught. The community spent all this time and effort based on the precedent that it wouldn’t be circumvented by MTX
  8. Microtransactions existing in MCC is counter to the systems and philosophy of these games. These are 7+ year old games. MTX just sullies them.

If you made it through all that, then I thank you for your time. There was a lot of cover and I am not sure I have got my point across as coherently as I would’ve liked but regardless, thanks again.

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Agreed. MCC has been commended for going against the trend, by the community – garnering respect and trust towards 343. We were repeatedly told there’d be no monetisation, to now hear the same old excuse for monetisation of skipping the grind. Grinds are completely artificial. The solution should be allowing more ways for players to gain points.

I have to applaud your effort putting this together.

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The solution to a lengthy grind should be more ways to EARN points, NOT BUY THEM.

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honestly

if it’s about the grind, the answer is to increase the ways to earn SP from commendations to removing the 100 level cap.

if it’s about the money, the answer is to simply release the remaining Halo Online maps for Halo 3 and ODST as a Map Pack, alongside Map Packs for both the Cut/Unreleased Maps for Halo 2, and the Cut/Unreleased maps for H2A and Halo 4.

MTX is by far the worst and most shortsighted option they could pick, and all it’s done has tarnished their reputation just considering the idea before exploring the other options.

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Honestly, they made this problem for themselves. You can’t make promises on a certain amount of post-launch content being free and then go “but not this specific content”. This may come across as “entitled” but I think it’s important to keep promises made to retain that trust built up. 343i needs to be held accountable Just look at their track record of all the times they’ve not held themselves accountable.

Given the price of the games due to their age if what you suggested was done then this DLC would amount to a greater cost than the games themselves, which is a weird situation (given the content disparity between the map packs and the games themselves).

Plus, the whole point of the shift in model away from map packs is to avoid splitting the MP playerbase. So, that would add another headache. The current way MCC MP works is fine; they would have to rework playlists/how MM Composer works.


There are two ways of additional monetisation of MCC that would be acceptable;

  1. Adding Halo 5: Guardians as a “DLC”. However, the time and effort needed to make this become a reality, especially with how fragile MCC is already is not really feasible. Especially because in order to fit the framework of “no monetisation” they would have to completely rebalance progression in Halo 5. Not to mention the file size bloat due to it not being optimised etc.
  2. Halo 3 “Anniversary” but again this would be a big undertaking in terms of investment and energy and this investment might not warrant the return they would get from it.

What 343 needs to do is deliver upon those initial promises of 10 seasons worth of post launch content. Clean up the mess they made with bugs introduced into the MCC versions of these games (and updates) then wind down development like they said they would. If they want to make the games more “newbie” friendly with progression they could do some of the things mentioned in the OP. With that there will be no qualms.

Again, these are old games, the active playerbase isn’t as big as it used to be and they’re winding down support. So this entire endeavour in an attempt to monetise it is pretty much pointless and a blatant cash grab.

If they really want to get money from the playerbase playing MCC, draw them to Infinite with content that appeals to that playerbass there.


I have seen the “what if” arguments but honestly I don’t think they are helpful because it’s a slippery slope. If you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile. I think as a community we should stand united against this change (as melodramatic as this sounds), if we want them to preserve the design of the games’ progression and their own integrity.

To me it’s pretty clear they are doing this at a time where the community is more fractured, not as many left on MCC and with the controversies and focus on Infinite, they feel they can slip this change under the radar. It’s very surreptitious, I for one do not approve of this behaviour.

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And ironically it’s because of 343’s own failure with Infinite that they even considered this in the first place. It’s clear to me the devs that showed passion for MCC between 2019 and 2021 are no longer working at 343 because there’s nothing passionate, or even well tested or thought out at 343 anymore.

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Well, the interesting thing is if you check it out, both the design team members quoted in the OP both still work at 343i.

Max Szlagor Twitter

https://twitter.com/maxszlagor

Dana Jerpbak Twitter

https://twitter.com/the_psycho_duck

Both list their current work as 343i and make mention of MCC in their bios. I think, like with Infinite, it’s more likely there’s a struggle between the design teams and marketing/upper management. Priorities have definitely shifted, especially after Infinite.

That’s why I think it’s important we speak up on the matter and not buy their snake oil.

I’d argue they held to it until Season 8, and the cancellation of Seasons 9 and 10, however neither of those seasons guaranteed those maps to be added. with their cancellation, those may no longer be inherently on the table for free either, especially since they may not be willing to add them without some form of financial incentive for the company itself. goodwill is easily not their goal in this particular situation because it does take money and resources to make it happen.

the price would be odd, but it’s moreso a DLC for the single game that is MCC and not the games therein, making the price far less absurd. adding on to that, each of the listed games would be getting a hefty amount of maps each (Halo 3 would be 3-7, H2C would be around 5-6, and H2A could get around 7 if they pulled from the Cut Halo 4 maps) making it necessary to encourage the development work needed to finish maps that are less finished than those from Halo Online.

the return to such a model on the surface seems terrible, but truthfully is more or less irrelevant since the majority of these maps would already be quarantined to the CGB, removed entirely from the matchmaking space for the same reasons they were cut in the first place. a welcome addition for players who want to experience them, but not something that would divide the playerbase too hard since it isn’t hindering your access to Matchmaking or finding a game. the only true losses would be the two remaining original Halo Online maps for Halo 3 that were finished, any maps H2A gets (however it would hardly be splitting the game when it would be getting twice as many as it has), and possibly the unreleased Blastacular map from H2C that was cut for “the wrong reasons”.

and honestly nobody but Halo 5 players really want Halo 5 in the MCC, meaning that work would be better suited updating Halo 5 Forge for a steam release, and adding the option their to buy the full game through it like how Infinites campaign is done.

H3A on the other hand is something that would have been much more feasible two years ago if they hadn’t decided to try and merge Halo Online’s content into Halo 3. the Halo Online multiplayer was in many ways superior to H2AMP, and could utilize the same assets from H2AC if it wasn’t already a shared asset in the first place; all they’d have to worry about is updating the campaign content. it’s still doable now, but it might require a lot of backpeddling on changes made to Halo 3, or just flat out trying to make a new multiplayer from the ground up.

it’s honestly not a “what if”, it’s pointing out the logical alternatives while flat out calling the MTX what they are: a blatantly lazy scam that puts the company’s profits first with no real content given to the customer, and I couldn’t agree more that the community needs to stand up together and call it out for the disgraceful practice it is.

I’m not taking about “Team leaders” or any of that, I’m talking about the actual development team for MCC between 2019 and 2021, they were upfront with us, and kept radio silence to a minimum.

On this, I think it’s important to make the distinction that Season 9 & 10 were never officially cancelled. Instead, 343i said that they’re moving away from the seasonal model;

[…] We have more MCC work to do and support will continue.
[…] So, while we very much have more updates coming – including more content, fixes, and features – the manner in which they are delivered is expected to shift. Starting next year, we’re targeting pivoting away from our current seasonal model and cadence to instead focus on smaller MCC updates that can land when they’re ready based on development status and studio roadmap alignment.

And, very importantly:

These updates will continue to be free and will include the unreleased features and content from this year – as well as a continued effort to improve stability and tackle legacy fixes where possible.

Source: MCC September 2021 Dev Update (Archived)

https://web.archive.org/web/20210917162147/https://www.halowaypoint.com/en-us/news/mcc-september-development-update-september-2021

And from the December 2020 blog post;

Not a hard one to guess but more seasons are coming next year and are planned to be on a regular 2-month cadence starting with Season 5. The current plan will take us to Season 10 and from there we’ll determine if more will come.

Source: MCC Retrospective December 2020

https://web.archive.org/web/20210228190159/https://www.halowaypoint.com/en-us/news/mcc-development-retrospective-december-2020

So with that context, we can garner that Seasons up to 10 were planned for 2021, but delivery was slower than expected and instead we just got up to Season 8 by the end of the year. Now, that content planned for Season 9 & 10 is being delivered in 2022 in a new format. Moreover, they also re-enforce the fact that these updates are free.

On this, I was speaking more broadly in general about talking points around this discussion that I’ve seen. Variations of:

  • “If they have to add them, they should do X”
  • “Are MTX in MCC really that bad?”

What I’m saying is, I don’t think we should even entertain the thought. They’re constantly trying to move the goalposts on what’s accepted. I don’t think we should accept being gaslit and allowing that to happen. It’s really not productive for the health of the game or community, but of course I think we agree on that.

Like, we’re at a point where there are many people that have been so desensitised that they’re literally out to bat for a multibillion dollar company. History tells us it doesn’t end with this change. If this goes through it will only get worse and I don’t understand how some people can be so shortsighted on this

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Honestly, I just wish they would do something simple that isn’t ruining the game. Like bringing back Campaign experience points. I remember when we used have Campaign exp. before the official challenge system was implemented. Here’s the scaling I’d like to see.

25,000 Exp-Easy
50,000 Exp-Normal
100,000 Exp-Heroic
200,000 Exp-Legendary
400,000 Exp-Legendary; All Scoring Skulls On

It’s just such an easy thing to do and put in. And I think players would very much enjoy having more opportunities to earn experience points once MCC gets to the point where there isn’t enough of a playerbase to maintain a robust online PvP experience.

It would also inspire players to push themselves on harder difficulties outside their comfort zones, and likely help them improve their campaign skill set for challenges. High Risk, High Reward as the saying goes.

This is a nice suggestion although it doesn’t really directly relate to progression, in terms of Season Passes.

If you combined this idea with adding points being awarded past rank 100, then that would be a good incentive for people to rank up and also ease the “grind”.

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I understand that the suggested exp scaling wouldn’t affect seasonal progression, so I had written in another forum earlier about how 343 could make it easier to earn “Spartan Points” from the challenges (God I wish they would just call them “Halo Points.” There’s no need to be so prejudiced against Elites).

Anyways, I know that every week there are 6 “Gold” challenges that currently earn 1 season point per completion, and an addition 7 “Blue” challenges that earn a variety of experience points. This applies to both PvP and PvE.

If 343 can make it so that all of the “Gold” challenges earn 2 points and all of the “Blue” challenges earn 1 point it would a relatively small change But when you add it all up, that allows players to earn a total from 12 points all the way up to 38 points a week. That would incredibly player friendly.

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Also, doubling the amount of experience points earned through challenges would also be player friendly and would be incredibly helpful with progression. But of course, that would make the whole concept of purchasable "Spartan Points’ a moot point. And we all know how much 343 LOVES their “micro”-transactions.

Right, that’s part of the main point. They cite adding microtransactions as being a “favour” but it’s really not. There are many ways they could address the apparent “grind” without the need for them. It’s just a blatant cash grab. I mean, they could at the very least be honest about that

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Its bad enough you cant just buy MCC and get around the needing an xbl subscription, but doubling down on that stupid with MTX as well is really bad . Bad enough no explanation is really needed, its been beat to death already.

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For real MTX aren’t needed, nor wanted in MCC.

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