I’m 29. I’ve been playing Halo with the same group since Halo 2 originally went live. I’ve been through the golden years of Halo. I’ve seen the good and the bad in all of the online games, and I think this is the best game that 343i has put out. For one, Halo Infinite has the benefit of having more players accessible to the game than ever before (because it is free and on xbox one, xbox x, and PC.) Everyone is playing Halo again, and it makes hopping on more exciting than its been since the H3 days. Nice work 343.
For two, the game plays so so so so good. The BR is satisfying, the sprint finally feels like it belongs in a Halo game, the gun fights are intense, the maps are well made, and everyone I play with agrees that the game is just fun.
The issue is that a lot of games are fun, and a lot (if not most) gamers need more than just fun. The most successful games today have robust ranking systems where the players put in the hours to grind and rank up. There’s something very rewarding about hitting Gold in League of Legends or Master Guardian on CSGO. That’s why both of these games have more daily players than will every play Halo Infinite - and both of these games are over 10 years old. People don’t play League of Legends for the graphics, or the massive skin selection, or the ability to get to lvl 200 from playing 10,000 hrs. They play because it’s something that creates competiton. People, and men especially, need competition in their lives, and Halo used to be the thing that could give me that in my free time.
The current ranking system, at first, seems great. It appeared that the ranking was dynamic, where you were rewarded for doing good(i.e. winning) and punished for doing bad (like literally all other ranked games ever!) I’m pretty good at Halo, so it wasn’t incredibly surprising that I placed in Diamond. Shortly after placing, it became apparent to me and all of my friends that there is no punishment for losing or doing poorly. Like, literally none. I’ve lost 5 games in a row - no loss of ranking at all. I’ve had really really bad games - no loss of ranking at all. Even now that I’m in onyx, I lost 4 in a row last night and my rank stayed the exact same number.
343 has created a “ranked” playlist that really should be changed to “Proof that you’ve played more than others” playlist. No one likes that. Maybe 343 thought no one would notice and that more people would play if they were given participation trophies? I can’t fathom how any of the developers could think this ranking system would be satisfying to anyone. This sucks. Bad.
The experience of being a Halo gamer is hundred hours spent playing 10 minute games. It doesn’t take long for those 10 minute games to start becoming repetitive if there’s nothing to connect them together. Dynamic ranking turns that series of 10 minute games into hours of getting to a point.
I promise you, 343, that you have a great game. You finally nailed it. You have a game that could put Halo back at the top. But I also promise you that this game will die within a month if you don’t make ranked ranked. You have so much potential right now, just like you did when you rereleased H2. But just like H2A/MCC, all the potential in the world only matters if you capitalize on it.