With all the recent topic’s of Sprint, hunt the truth and preordering, the weapon sandbox has been neglected ever since the end of the Beta. Specifically the Automatic weapons. I felt that the way they were handled may have been detrimental and possibly nerfed back to uselessness (compared to the Precision and power weapons at least).
Now there is a common misconception that the bonuses the AR and SMG got when zoomed in with Smart Scope are gone. This is incorrect as quoted from the bulletin
> reduced bonuses for automatic weapons with Smart Link and w/ headshots
So they are still there, just not to the degree in the beta. There are some things that i did not agree with and some things i didn’t mind. I will go throught the points of the statement
- The Reduction of accuracy hurts these weapon’s performance in the long run and make them more unreliable. Halo 5 is the first game in the halo series to give zoom to all weapons. probably the most eyebrow raising was the reduction of the spread to weapons. Thought if one looks back, this feature has been in most halo games to various degrees of function. Yes the AR and SMG have the ability to hit mid range targets, but let us admit without lying to ourselves, were they that effective? A common compliant that i heard was the overestimation of the power of these two weapons. This does not make sense in a practical observation of encounters and gameplay. These weapons still had recoil and small degree of bullet deviance to deal with. And when dealing with return fire, loss the bonus to a much larger degree then the BR or DMR did. The AR’s zoom it could reach up to about 35-40m with periods of burst fire and some sustained fire. after that it was difficult to hit or kill opponents who weren’t already damaged, AFK or very bad ( if you managed to kill a competent, healthy player at those distances, you are a legend). while i could see an argument to be made for the SMG to be toned down, the AR was almost fine as it was with it’s zoom functionality. My worst fear is the changes to the zoom will wildly kick around and not lead to a lot of straight shooting. A very bad mechanic called visual recoil in which the accuracy displayed in the reticule is not a proper representation of ARs or SMGs accruacy. this does nothing to reward good aiming and burst fire and adds a false difficulty to the game (The reason I link a BF4 video is due to the pseudo-ADS nature of Smart Scope). If 343 wants players to feel like an extension of the player, they should not make the game lie to them and hinder the weapons with a fake sense of skill. It would make staring or picking up these weapons a disadvantage that they shouldn’t have.- Headshot damage for these weapons gives an incentive to aim properly and rewards players. probably the more controversial of the two changes, the multiplyer for headshots certainly caused some concern for the state of balance. Now, Halo 5 wasn’t first have automatic headshot weapons, that was Combat evolved with the plasma rifle and technically the pistol was automatic, but had spread when fired in full auto so semi-automatic was much preferred (strangely the AR in that game could get headshots too. It triggers grunt birthday party skull but it looks like a negligible bonus of one less bullet) . And lets not forget the Needle Rifle, a fully automatic weapon with a instant-kill bonus and bloom! when its bloom was reduced, it was a force to be reckoned with and was removed form Slayer Pro for being a little TOO powerful. The bonuses for the AR and SMG were not instant kill and gave an incentive for headshot aiming. Take two ARs at close to mid range. One is aiming for bodyshots and the other is going for the head, the guy aiming to the head is going to kill faster than the other player. The kill time difference is not as large as a difference between BR players doing the same thing. Burst firing was not a viable tactic despite giving better accuracy, because of the lack of incentive and bloom not resetting fast enough. There are concerns for random headshots from these weapons and I plan to address those concerns. The increased damage not only makes them more useful in mulitplayer, but in campaign as well by conserving ammo on the higher difficulties, less bullet sponges for enemies and a person doesn’t need to always carry a shield stripping weapon or a precision weapon.Side note: I did feeling like the SMG had to be toned down somewhat. Its headshot multiplier was higher than the AR and when Smart Scope zoom was activated it could actually outclass the AR and put more fire at range than it could due to a lack of recoil in regular aim and zoom.
Important note: Also every weapon except the BR did increased damage to the head whether shielded on unshielded, The pistol, DMR and Light Rifle did some extra damage to shields, but they did not do bleed-through damage so it would not change shots to kill. Only in circumstances when a head shot on shield would break a shield faster than a body shot.
There was some concern over headshot damage and the inconsistency that could result from a stray bullet or more. I did note the caution that players express. I do have some suggestions to mitigate or render this concern non-worrisome.
Slow down the bloom rate on the AR and SMG: The Bloom rate at the current is a little too heavy and expands too quickly to allow long distance shot placement without relying on Smart Scope. If bloom rate was lowered for the AR for example, from 6 bullets fully expand to 9-12 fully expanded, this will allow proper burst firing at longer ranges and retain better consistency when in range.
Reduce or eliminate the recoil penalty for the AR in the normal aim mode: This is a gripe I had with the weapon. The bloom is suppose to be a representation of the recoil. So the additional recoil makes no sense and only serves to impair the weapons performance inside its strengths. The recoil only comes in play when zoomed in. This also reduces bloom and randomness when not in smart scope.
Add medals for “perfect” and long range kills: medals, medals, medals. Yes, there was a lot of medals in halo 5. Some where cool and others just there… The medals I have would be harder to get and be specific to Automatic weapons. " Spray and Pray" Oxymoron medal that means getting a kill at long range with an auto weapon ( this one was in the beta) and " Flawless" kill a player while never missing a shot with an auto ( headshots and/or bodyshots count).
Adjust hitboxes for models and aim-assisted shot placement: This does apply to all weapon, but for the auto’s specifically, not too much or too little aim-assist so that the weapons require some form of good aiming and shot placement without feeling too easy or hard. smaller hitboxes for player models to avoid confusing shot placement and undeserved kills.
All these changes and suggestions are too make the AR and SMG feel like weapons worthy to learn and pick up without worry. Because Halo 5 felt like the first halo that showed that while there was dominating weapons, NO weapons felt too restrictive or crippling to the player. I honestly consider this Halo to finally get the sandbox to the best state possible. Not even Halo 1 could do that. A good weapons balance is key to have a varitey of different play styles and adds to the retention of Halo 5.
What are your thoughts on my suggestion? Agree or Disagree?