A Pro Gamer's Halo 4 Wishlist

MLG’s Tom “Tsquared” Taylor talks to us about how the latest on Halo 4 has affected his hopes for the direction of the franchise.

While 343 certainly has some big shoes to fill after taking over the series from Bungie, a number of Halo fans were turned off by Bungie’s work on the multiplayer in Halo: Reach. Among those diehard Halo fans is pro gamer Tom “Tsquared” Taylor. After making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year playing Halo titles on the MLG circuit, Taylor has found himself questioning the future of the franchise he built his professional career on over the years. We talked to Taylor about what he’d like to see out of Halo 4’s multiplayer in order to bring his love for the franchise back to its former levels.

Skill-based matchmaking and a return to clans

When it comes to matchmaking, there are two things Taylor wants to see in Halo 4: a return to 1-50 skill rankings across all match types and a proper clan system. “When you remove skill rankings, you get these people who have never played a certain certain playlist going against people who have played it 200 times,” says Taylor. “They do that to improve the time barrier, but I would much rather wait around for a quality Halo match.”

Taylor doesn’t necessarily have a problem with rankings based on experience points, which reflect time spent with the game rather than one’s skill level. In fact, he thinks the two systems can work side by side. “If they can find a balance between the two, that would be great. There’s nothing wrong with giving the experienced players a shot to play with the skilled players,” he says. Just make sure skill level bears the brunt of the matchmaking work.

As for clans, Taylor sees those as an invaluable tool for hardcore players to keep their competitive and personal lives organized online. “Clans are a way for you to have an additional friends list,” says Taylor. “You can only have 100 friends on Xbox Live, and some of them are your real friends that you play with casually. But with a clan you can get on Halo, and boom, there are all your Halo friends.”

Bring back the wayward battle rifle

With this one, Taylor is in luck. He wants to see the old battle rifle make a return minus any reticle “bloom” causing the weapon to become inaccurate in long bursts–and that’s just what 343 has promised for Halo 4.

However, Taylor can see a compromise between the battle rifle of old and Halo 4’s approach to gameplay-changing unlockable items. That is to say, he wouldn’t mind doing away with bloom if it meant having to unlock a certain weapon attachment first. According to Taylor, such a system “would give an introduction to the game and a reason to get good at it.”

More original maps, more often

Taylor is happy to hear that 343 won’t be sharing environments across the story and multiplayer campaigns like in Halo: Reach. “That gives me a lot of confidence,” says Taylor. “I don’t think there were a lot of great Halo: Reach maps. When I think ‘great,’ I would go with Zealot. That was the only one that was absolutely amazing.”

But Taylor would also like to see 343 hit the ground running with new map offerings beyond what’s on the disc. “That’s always something that Halo has done really well, but they just came short with the Forge system,” says Taylor. “They thought that Forge was going to overtake everything and produce a lot of maps, but it didn’t. And it took a little longer than expected for Reach’s maps to come out.”

Get more people involved in Forge

If you read that last item and assumed Taylor dislikes the Forge system, you’d be wrong. He’s actually a tremendous fan of some of the original maps that have come from Forge, but wants to see players given better tools for making maps and a better system for those maps to really catch on. Provided 343 winds up bringing Forge back (they haven’t confirmed one way or the other yet), his first wish is a simple one: let players create maps that aren’t so drab. “There’s no paint tool in Forge, yet the colors are so vibrant in the game as you can see with other maps. When you go back and talk to your friends who have barely played Halo, they’re like, ‘Oh, I love that one map with the sand.’ But there are no maps like that with Forge. They’re all gray.”

Taylor believes better creation tools will allow for more creativity, and thus, attract more people to create maps. “It’s a pretty small community, but there are people dedicating hours and hours to building these maps. Because it’s not easy if you’ve ever tried to build one. I just wish there was a little more incentive to build these maps. If they fix the coloring problem, and add snow or sand or other attributes, I think that would be amazing.”

Lose the armor abilities, but keep the custom loadouts

Taylor enjoyed what Halo: Reach’s armor abilities brought to the story campaign, but thought certain abilities were too unpredictable and unbalanced in a multiplayer setting. “I liked the jetpack a lot. The evade was a little too much. So was sprint. And nothing was more frustrating than armor lock,” remarks Taylor. “When you add those to your playlist, you’re telling everyone that’s how you want your game to be played. And that’s not fun.”

That doesn’t mean Taylor wants to see custom loadouts done away with entirely. Halo 4 will give players the chance to earn new weapons and abilities with a progression system similar to Call of Duty, and Taylor is confident 343 can build such a system without throwing off the balance between new and veteran players. “Halo has always been about balance. Halo: Reach had some really great ideas, but it just fell short on a couple of them.”

This article was originally posted on GameSpot

IMO he has it spot-on… from the footage we can see 343 has already taken steps to complete a couple of these ideas. Looks like they know what they’re doing.

I agree with T2 as well, but really, they just took a huge dump on Halo. Nice going with being respectful and knowing what Halo is in every aspect. Just literal BS. Looks like H4’s MM will be worse than Reach’s. Cause even that is now possible.

> I agree with T2 as well, but really, they just took a huge dump on Halo. Nice going with being respectful and knowing what Halo is in every aspect. Just literal BS. Looks like H4’s MM will be worse than Reach’s. Cause even that is now possible.

A few second-long clips and you already make the assumption that it will be worse than Reach… please have a little faith in 343. They’ve been a great developer thus far.

The fact is, even an MLG Pro has more respect for 343 than a lot of the people on this forum.

There’s no way they can implement perks and make it balanced without making it useless. But judging purely on the videos, I’m very satisfied. But as Frankie said, I fear that the stuff to come will not live up to that standard.

I agree with Taylor 100%.

What are Mr T squared’s views on the inherrent flaws of the 1-50 skill system?..

Such As its easy manipulation, lack of individual assessment in team games, the monstrous amount of boosters, cheaters, de rankers, second accounters, and to a lesser extent hax0z that the system brings with it?

Not to mention the penalisation of players who get better over time.

MLG is a tiny proportion of Halo, and it’s members (from my experience) seem to think far too highly of themselves. Why should arguably the most arrogant portion of the community hold a disproportionate amount of sway because they are more…cough skillfull.

/rant :slight_smile: sorry if this wasn’t 100% relevant, but I feel better now!

Thanks for somehow turning a thread about Halo 4 into blind MLG hate and your own opinions on the 1-50 system. :slight_smile:

> Such As its easy manipulation, lack of individual assessment in team games, the monstrous amount of boosters, cheaters, de rankers, second accounters, and to a lesser extent hax0z that the system brings with it?

First of all, you’re exaggerating the extent of this “manipulation”. It’s such a small proportion of players that engage in this manipulation, that it’s almost negligible… but you still bring it up since it’s one of the only arguments against the 1-50 system than many people still cling to.

> MLG is a tiny proportion of Halo, and it’s members (from my experience) seem to think far too highly of themselves. Why should arguably the most arrogant portion of the community hold a disproportionate amount of sway because they are more…cough skillfull.

MLG is the largest and (near) longest-running Halo community in existence. You’re letting your own personal experiences change your views on an entire demographic, I can assure you that the majority of people in the “MLG community” aren’t anything like what you have stated.

Now that we’ve (hopefully) got all of that MLG-bashing out of the way, some people can start posting relevance.

and do not forget spectator mode! Halo has always lacked this and it is something that would really improve spectator experience for MLG events.

I really hope that 343 listens to the community, it would be a major let down to see this game be anything other than customizable.

A spectator mode and everything that Squared said is what I want. The spectator mode NEEDS to happen.

T2 knows whats up

You know, I also play Halo. Wheres my gamespot interview?

> A spectator mode and everything that Squared said is what I want. The spectator mode NEEDS to happen.

A spectator mode does not need to happen, the less people in a game the better chance for a strong connection. Enough players stream on Justin and Twitch, you want to watch them go to their pages.

A good ranking system is a must over spectator mode. Halo 2 still had the best ranking system of them all. The cheaters were easy to spot and when you played a game after the first month and people leveled off, games were amazing and normally nail bitters even with randoms.

Oh wow, even the MLG players don’t know that the maps were designed for Multiplayer first then implemented into Campaign… Very odd, but now it makes so much sense.

They are human people. They don’t know what’s any better for Halo than you or me. They may have a slightly better idea of gameplay balance however…

Yeah, I don’t agree at all with any of that.

agree with everything he said except for custom loadouts

God help us if 343 Industries ever base their games around the desires of MLG players.

I agree with all of those points, that was a good read.