Building a Better Halo Multiplayer

Ever since Halo 1, the Halo series multiplayer has steadily declined. Halo 1 was nearly perfect: it had pristine weapon balance, innovative and classic maps, a large skill gap, and fantastic gameplay. Was it perfect? No, but it was close. The issue is that each consecutive Halo has done worse in each of these 4 categories (except for Halo 2 in regards to maps, as it probably had the best Multiplayer Map collection of all time). These are all things that should be touched upon and improved upon in the next Halo, and the best template to use would be Halo 1. So, I’m going to discuss several focal points I think the next Halo needs to model itself after.

  1. Understand what make’s Halo Halo.
    This is said often enough, but is often misunderstood. A great Halo game has the 4 mechanics I mentioned above. When you pick it up and play, you know you’re playing a Halo game. Reach lost this. If you play it and then play Halo 1, 2, or 3, you really don’t see the connection. It just doesn’t feel like Halo, because its weapon balance is off, its maps are lacking (especially in Big Team because of large maps being tailored to Invasion), its skill gap is small, and the gameplay just feels off.

  2. But that doesn’t mean it can’t do things differently.
    AA’s are not a bad idea. If they were implemented like power-ups, but could be dropped like power weapons when you die, they could become very interesting and add to the gameplay. But as it is, since they’re available off spawn, have little to no skill gap, and many of them make game flow feel choppy and reward bad play instead of skilled play, they’re a crappy addition. Same goes for bloom. Rewarding players with steady aim makes sense, but the way it was implemented Bloom often rewards spamming. It’s not that Reach had a boatload of bad ideas: it’s just some of them were implemented very poorly. Don’t be afraid of trying new things. There’s a lot of potential to shift the game mechanics and come up with exciting new ideas. Just make sure they are carefully thought through.

  3. Please make the gameplay fast.
    This is a no-brainer. The competitive community highlights this as one of their biggest issues with Reach. Every game since Halo 1 has been slower. In Reach it has hit an all time low with Armor Lock, slow kills times, and slow speed. The casual community clearly likes fast gameplay, as CoD is all the rage. There is no sensical reason to keep the game slow. Speed it up.

  4. Do cater to casual players, but not by breaking core mechanics.
    There is nothing wrong with catering to casual players. They are a majority of the consumers. That doesn’t mean you should screw the game up for them. A good example of this is Reach, but an even better one is MW2. I’d actually go as far to say that taking notes from Treyarch wouldn’t be a bad idea, as Black Ops is a hell of a lot better than MW2. They made the game much better. This is one of the harder points, because the easiest way out is seemingly to lower the skill gap. However, this leads to lower population as the game ages. It is much better to have a install base of dedicated fans who will stick by you as long as you continue to operate at a high level than people who hop from fad to fad. This is truly something that is hard to do, adding things into the game to hook in the casual gamers while satisfying the hardcore gamers, but I know 343 is capable of it.

  5. Cater to the hard-core gamers.
    Reach gave the hard core fan base a giant middle finger. The game mechanics were completely changed, and many of them (Bloom, fall damage, health recharge without health packs, grenade damage) were not changeable in custom options. You cannot make the Pistol and DMR a 4 shot kill without completely screwing up the rest of the sandbox. Arena was a complete failure, and up until very recently there wasn’t a playlist addressing any of the complaints about the game. This needs to be fixed. The next Halo should have options in Playlists and Playlists dedicated to Veterans and Competitive players, and custom options should be INCREDIBLY EXTENSIVE so that players should be able to virtually recreate older Halo’s in terms of mechanics. Individual weapon customization is a big one.

  1. Give players reasons to keep playing the game.
    This is in the form of how fun the game is, skill gap, how often it is updated, and incentives to keep playing the game. If the game has a high skill gap, players will often want to get better at the game if they enjoy it, leading them to play more. If the game is updated enough (IE, Reach’s minor updates that come in infrequently and only address minor complaints and change around playlists to Black Ops’s several Title Updates) then players know the developer cares about the game and are more willing to wait around. Finally, incentives like ranks, collectibles, and upgrades are a big part of what keeps players integrated. This leads to a controversial discussion though… no Halo game has gone the CoD route and made the player actually receive benefits that help them during gameplay. I’m in favor on continuing that for balancing purposes. Also, on a related note, it is very important to not alienate players early on. Many players play their first match in a game, dislike it, and never play another one. This is a massive pain for the developer, as so much rides on a good first impression. It is of vital importance though that the first impression is good. One of the more interesting idea’s I’ve thought of is automatically checking the GamerTag of a player when they start the game up for the first time to see if they’ve ever played another Halo, and if they haven’t, set it so that the first match that player goes into will be with other people who have never played before. This makes it so they won’t get destroyed in the first game of Halo they play.

  2. HYPE. IT. UP.
    Halo 3’s hype train was the skittles and -Yoink-. I would stay up till 12 watching videos and being in awe of it. This led it to being one of the most (MW2 being the most) overhyped games of all time. But hype is never a bad thing, because it almost always leads to sales. So, hype it up. Get Microsoft to write as big a check for Ads as possible. Reach didn’t have the same amount of hype Halo 3 did, and it was visibly noticeable. MW2 had much more, and as a result it sold massively, same with Black Ops.

  3. Live and Die by the community.
    I and a lot of other people have felt a huge disconnect with Bungie after the release of Reach. They have more or less ignored some of the most blatant complaints from the community. Don’t do this 343. Don’t act like the community is beneath you and filled with morons even though it probably will be. Keep a close connection, respond to player concerns, tell us everything you can, because it really makes us happy. Jeremiah over at Bungie has really done this job by himself, and despite how good he is at it (I would have quit if not for his work), it’s too much for one guy. You get paid to make games, I understand. The biggest part of the game is the people who buy and play them. So far you guys have done a great job, and I really appreciate it. Please don’t stop.

And that’s about it. I’ve covered about everything I wanted to cover. Tis quite a wall o’ text. Here’s to Halo 4, I know I’m looking forward to it.

Good to read, viper. Im relegated to the H3 environments so its good to see an overall consideration of all things as Halo Wars and Reach are on my list to get respectively. If I could even manage to get my kill count above 10, I’ll be a bit more confident to join a team mnore often as I really don;t want to embarrass me or throw a monkey wrench into a decent team.

Cheers,
Brad

> Good to read, viper. Im relegated to the H3 environments so its good to see an overall consideration of all things as Halo Wars and Reach are on my list to get respectively. If I could even manage to get my kill count above 10, I’ll be a bit more confident to join a team mnore often as I really don;t want to embarrass me or throw a monkey wrench into a decent team.
>
> Cheers,
> Brad

It takes a while to get good at the game, don’t worry about it. I’m excited to see what 343 is going to do with the series, and it’s important to look at all the games for ideas and inspiration.

  • Dedicated servers so we can play up to 32 players online without lag, custom games can be hosted and even tournaments, boosting/cheating would be much harder and there would ne less (no) lag.

  • Let us use vehicles, don’t nerf them like in Reach. Let them be good and uefull, like in previous games :slight_smile:

  • Unlike previous games, make the guns balanced. Make close-mid range guns like AR actually kill people at that distance, or make BR/DMR suck at close-mid, like it should. Balanced weapons = more fun for everyone :slight_smile:

brilliant post(s)!

i wholeheartedly agree, and you are literally right on every point.

you win 100 internats.

100/100

great job!

the main things for me are as follows
-grenades that arent nukes plz
-REMOVE NO BLEED MELEES, they are unintuitive, and make literally no sense.
-REMOVE ADDED LUCK FACTORS IN SHOOTING
-dont epic fail like bungie did with armor lock (six seconds of invincibility? are you KIDDING ME? rollseyes)

Hey vipe did we play grifball together ? :slight_smile:
And #1 and 5 is just wrong why do people try to speak for everyone? Too funny Every thread is the same way… I’m a " hardcore" fan OMGZ AL / BLOOM / no 1-50 etc etc = ADAPT

Keep everything but rifles.

No DMR’s
No BR’s
No NR’s

> If you play it and then play Halo 1, 2, or 3, you really don’t see the connection. It just doesn’t feel like Halo, because its weapon balance is off, its maps are lacking (especially in Big Team because of large maps being tailored to Invasion), its skill gap is small, and the gameplay just feels off.

No, if YOU play it, YOU really don’t see the connection. When I play Reach, I very much feel like I’m playing a Halo game. But beyond that, I feel that I am playing a game more similar to CE than 2 or 3, but always, and I mean always feel like I am playing a Halo game.

As far as weapon balance goes… I’m going to have to say no. There’s a reason why a weapon doesn’t act like its forerunner in the sequel. Because it didn’t work as intended in the previous installment.

As far as a skill gap goes. Again, quite throwing the word skill out there like it’s the fasizal. Skill in an FPS is your ability to use the map (priority) with your team (if one exists) and shoot your weapon (listed in order of priority). If veteran players are not owning newbs like the old game, then the new game is obviously a new game and it’s going to take the vets some time to get their gap back.

> But as it is, since they’re available off spawn, have little to no skill gap, and many of them make game flow feel choppy and reward bad play instead of skilled play, they’re a crappy addition

Sure it may make the game feel choppy to you, but a skill gap doesn’t exist because everyone get’s a choice at spawn? What kind of logic bomb is that?

> Rewarding players with steady aim makes sense, but the way it was implemented Bloom often rewards spamming

Bloom doesn’t reward spamming. Bloom prevents the spamming of a weapon at its maximum range while allowing a player to engage an enemy against another weapon across all ranges. If you keep dying because of bloom, it isn’t bloom killing you, it’s your position on the map relative to the enemy, teammates and action.

As far as fast gameplay… there are many list that have varying speed of gameplay. Halo always has had this. Different settings = different gameplay speed. Snipers with no shields = fastest gameplay.

> They have more or less ignored some of the most blatant complaints from the community.

The playlists that have been added by the blatant complainers have very low populations. The complaints may be loud, but they don’t represent much of the community.

> Reach gave the hard core fan base a giant middle finger.

Which hardcore fanbase? There are many hardcore fan bases within Halo. Don’t be so selfish or small-minded. I certainly felt fingered in H2 but not Reach… so take that as food for thought.

> Ever since Halo 1, the Halo series multiplayer has steadily declined. Halo 1 was nearly perfect: it had pristine weapon balance, innovative and classic maps, a large skill gap, and fantastic gameplay. Was it perfect? No, but it was close. The issue is that each consecutive Halo has done worse in each of these 4 categories (except for Halo 2 in regards to maps, as it probably had the best Multiplayer Map collection of all time). These are all things that should be touched upon and improved upon in the next Halo, and the best template to use would be Halo 1. So, I’m going to discuss several focal points I think the next Halo needs to model itself after.
>
> 1. Understand what make’s Halo Halo.
> This is said often enough, but is often misunderstood. A great Halo game has the 4 mechanics I mentioned above. When you pick it up and play, you know you’re playing a Halo game. Reach lost this. If you play it and then play Halo 1, 2, or 3, you really don’t see the connection. It just doesn’t feel like Halo, because its weapon balance is off, its maps are lacking (especially in Big Team because of large maps being tailored to Invasion), its skill gap is small, and the gameplay just feels off.
>
> 2. But that doesn’t mean it can’t do things differently.
> AA’s are not a bad idea. If they were implemented like power-ups, but could be dropped like power weapons when you die, they could become very interesting and add to the gameplay. But as it is, since they’re available off spawn, have little to no skill gap, and many of them make game flow feel choppy and reward bad play instead of skilled play, they’re a crappy addition. Same goes for bloom. Rewarding players with steady aim makes sense, but the way it was implemented Bloom often rewards spamming. It’s not that Reach had a boatload of bad ideas: it’s just some of them were implemented very poorly. Don’t be afraid of trying new things. There’s a lot of potential to shift the game mechanics and come up with exciting new ideas. Just make sure they are carefully thought through.
>
> 3. Please make the gameplay fast.
> This is a no-brainer. The competitive community highlights this as one of their biggest issues with Reach. Every game since Halo 1 has been slower. In Reach it has hit an all time low with Armor Lock, slow kills times, and slow speed. The casual community clearly likes fast gameplay, as CoD is all the rage. There is no sensical reason to keep the game slow. Speed it up.
>
> 4. Do cater to casual players, but not by breaking core mechanics.
> There is nothing wrong with catering to casual players. They are a majority of the consumers. That doesn’t mean you should screw the game up for them. A good example of this is Reach, but an even better one is MW2. I’d actually go as far to say that taking notes from Treyarch wouldn’t be a bad idea, as Black Ops is a hell of a lot better than MW2. They made the game much better. This is one of the harder points, because the easiest way out is seemingly to lower the skill gap. However, this leads to lower population as the game ages. It is much better to have a install base of dedicated fans who will stick by you as long as you continue to operate at a high level than people who hop from fad to fad. This is truly something that is hard to do, adding things into the game to hook in the casual gamers while satisfying the hardcore gamers, but I know 343 is capable of it.
>
> 5. Cater to the hard-core gamers.
> Reach gave the hard core fan base a giant middle finger. The game mechanics were completely changed, and many of them (Bloom, fall damage, health recharge without health packs, grenade damage) were not changeable in custom options. You cannot make the Pistol and DMR a 4 shot kill without completely screwing up the rest of the sandbox. Arena was a complete failure, and up until very recently there wasn’t a playlist addressing any of the complaints about the game. This needs to be fixed. The next Halo should have options in Playlists and Playlists dedicated to Veterans and Competitive players, and custom options should be INCREDIBLY EXTENSIVE so that players should be able to virtually recreate older Halo’s in terms of mechanics. Individual weapon customization is a big one.

Everything this guy says please DO IT.

I could’t agree more with you. A very good read OP!

343i should definitly look into this.

>

“As far as weapon balance goes… I’m going to have to say no. There’s a reason why a weapon doesn’t act like its forerunner in the sequel. Because it didn’t work as intended in the previous installment.”

um… what?

not only does this not make sense, it hasnt been observed till now. maybe im missing something, but most people can draw then line from the pistol to the BR, then stop drawing the line. the DMR is horribly implemented. if the BR didnt work as intended, why did it stay in halo as a primary weapon spawn intended to serve that purpose?

if a BR esque weapon in the pistol didnt work in halo 1, why was it revamped into the BR in halo 2?

if the BR didnt work in halo 2, why was it updated to be more consistent?

if the BR didnt work in halo 2, why was it brought to halo 3?

sure, the DMR has the potential to add depth, and skill gap to the game, but it currently does neither. the only thing the DMR adds that the BR didnt, is consistent random chance at an alarming rate.

inb4 you say the BR from halo 2, and 3 has ‘bullet spread’ which is literally negligible at best on lan, and on xbox live it is the same for everyone, regardless of how they are using, or mis-using their weapon. its also considered BAD by everyone INCLUDING YOU.

the added luck factor that the DMR factually adds to halo reach isnt accepted by the vast majority of the competitive crowd. why is this? because luck adds literally nothing of value to ANY LEVEL of halo play.

theres a reason why you scour your brain to come up with even one excuse for why added luck in the DMR, then fail to do so. its because luck adds nothing to the game, it only takes away where it was intended to add.

please, thy reaperMC, provide me with 1 group of people who benefit from the added luck factor. can you do it? NOPE.

or, please provide me with 1 ‘pro’ (like pros and cons) for the added luck factor for people of ANY LEVEL of play. can you do it? i doubt it.

or, please explain to me how it adds skill gap to halo even the slightest bit, where the DMR didnt.

or, please explain to me how it adds ‘depth’ to halo reach, where the BR didnt.

see, when you look at the BR, and the DMR in comparison, you quickly see that the BR is not only more consistent, it also rewards skilled gameplay. the DMR isnt consistent at all, up until mid range, the optimal rate of fire is SPAM (cept for the last shot), so god knows who will win encounters almost every time up until mid range, where the pacer will win around ~85% of the time, and the spammer will ‘get lucky’ by defying the odds around ~15% of the time.

you always say things like, there are other factors involved, but why is it ok for the game to straight up not function as intended when a lot of those outside factors are removed?

“As far as a skill gap goes”

false. the game is played with all of those things, always. if one of the games core game mechanics is out of sync, it effects everything else negatively.

instead of halo being played like

-control the map, power weapons, and powerups
-out shoot my opponents
-use grenades to aid in my efforts
-use melees where appropriate
-shoot to get ahead in close combat

it has changed into

-control nothing if jet pack is in the gametype, powerups removed, power weapons can be controlled if jet pack isnt in the gametype.
-out shoot people at only mid range and further, every other range is essentially completely random, and even at mid range if someone is spamming they can beat you regardless of how amazing you are at shooting.
-throw mini nukes if you have them, the radius is ginormous so its essentially impossible to miss if you are even a little bit competent at the game. halo reach is more of a first person grenadier than a first person shooter at this point.
-sprint -> melee -> melee in close range, or wait for them to sprint -> melee, then you melee them back. maybe shoot, but it wont get you ahead or have any impact on your battle SOME of the time.
-dont shoot in SOME close combat situations if no bleed melees remove the viability of shooting from them.

“Sure it may make the game feel choppy to you, but a skill gap doesn’t exist because everyone get’s a choice at spawn? What kind of logic bomb is that?”

who, exactly, is telling you that armor lock doesnt make the game feel ‘choppy’, or ‘slow’, or HORRIBLE?

“Bloom doesn’t reward spamming. Bloom prevents the spamming of a weapon at its maximum range while allowing a player to engage an enemy against another weapon across all ranges. If you keep dying because of bloom, it isn’t bloom killing you, it’s your position on the map relative to the enemy, teammates and action.”

when spamming wins, thats the reward. spamming not only wins ~15% of the time at mid range, it is also optimal to spam every shot except for the headshot up until this range, which effectively maeks ALMOST EVERY ENCOUNTER COMPLETELY RANDOM.

spammer vs spammer… who will win? no one knows. if you are dying because of bloom, its because, oops, you tried to 1v1 someone when it isnt viable to do so expecting success, regardless of how incredible you are with the weapon. sure spamming helps battle other weapons for a variety of ranges, but this could have easily been done without the absolute removal of entirely skill-based shooting.

"As far as fast gameplay… there are many list that have varying speed of gameplay. Halo always has had this. Different settings = different gameplay speed. Snipers with no shields = fastest gameplay

wheres the options to turn off bloom, or tweak it so it isnt horrible? wheres the options to make grenades not nukes? wheres the options to turn of no bleed herp a derp melees?

“The complaints may be loud, but they don’t represent much of the community.”

you are right here, the majority of the community is casuals. they are the majority that argue tooth and nail that armor lock is not only balanced, it takes skill to use. the community is a joke. not only would the casuals not complain if anything was changed to the competitive players liking, they would defend it to the teeth without being able to fully grasp its effect on the other areas of play. change should be made for the people who are competent enough to see how things work, not for the people who just want to see explosions, and play a ‘halo’ title.