Central issue with halo's multiplayer.

There is a specific reason why halo has been loosing audience. It has to do with the game getting progressivly farther from it’s root core gameplay mechanics. There are a few reasons why Halo CE and Halo 2 was such an enjoyable game:

  1. Fast kill times
  2. Significant teamwork factor that did not over shine the individual skill
  3. It was easy to pick up and be decent at but you had to invest a lot of time and effort to be great
  4. Fun mechanics (this ties into the fast kill times)
  5. Fast paced gameplay
  6. Lack of random factor (I.E. BS moments where you should have outplayed your opponent, but were outplayed by a poor mechanic in the game such as bloom, spread, host, or armor lock)
  7. A spawning weapon that is able to be used successfully in all roles, but is overshadowed when faced with weapons outside of this role (BR v. Sniper or BR v. Shotgun).

Now the reason why Halo is starting to lose population to COD is because, while COD has kept it’s core gameplay values, halo 3 and reach have been drifting away from several of the core gameplay values. Of the above list of seven main mechanics, only three are present in halo reach. Number 3, number 4, and number 7:
As for the other four, these are the reasons why reach does not meet these core values that make halo successful.

  1. The kill times for halo CE were about 1.5 seconds with a max kill time of 1 second and the kill time for halo 2 was about 1.7 seconds on average. Halo Reach on the other hand has a max kill time of 1.6 (a fully spammed 5-shot) and an average kill time of over 2 seconds. This makes it to where many battles end in someone running away due to long kill times and sprint. This is not enjoyable to either party. The player who ran away does not usually feel rewarded, only pestered that he had to run away and will need to work his way back to where he was before. The shooter is annoyed that he was not able to finish his kill. Neither party gets an enjoyment factor out of this. In halo CE, at least one party would get an enjoyment factor in 90% of battles. When you fought someone, you didn’t run away. You had a fast paced battle that ended in a resolution. The combination of fast kill times and skillful weapons made the overall encounter enjoyable. Futhermore, in FFA games, fast kill times make it to where an individual is almost never going to be able to get a skillful kill. Many FFA games will end with one player having 10 assists because someone came in and mopped up the work they did mid-fight. Fast kill times fix this issue for the most part. Furthermore, having a fast killing weapon increases the pace of the game and addresses number 5 on the above list.
  2. In halo CE and halo 2, working as a team was highly important. However, a good player could also do a lot of damage by himself. In halo 3 and halo reach, a good player cannot do much damage by themselves. They are restricted to how good their team is and cannot shine as an individual as much as they could in previous games. Halo works best when it is a balance between individual and team. Halo 3 and reach do not have this balance. They are tipped much more to the side of teamwork than individual talent.
  3. Fast paced gameplay is a staple that is central to enjoyment factor. Slow camping games are not enjoyable because people do not find it enjoyable to sit and do nothing. The faster paced the game, the more of an adrenaline rush is produced. Games that are slow are not as enjoyable as quick games. Camping is frustrating to the player who is getting camped against. When a game is fast paced, even if you lose an individual fight, the pace makes it to where this doesn’t effect you as much as if you lose a fight during a slow paced game. Furthermore, winning a fight in a slow paced environment, is likewise unenjoyable. When there is a higher pace, psychologically, your brain has a higher enjoyability factor. The main way to fix this is to have a fast killing weapon and fast movement speed. Sprint allows for fast movement speed, but the DMR has such a slow kill time, that the fast movement does not do enough to make the game fast paced. In fact, since you can run away, it often slows down encounters by prolonging them.
  4. When there is a random element that causes you to unjustly lose a fight that you would have otherwise won, the player gets highly frustrated. The other player who unjustly won the fight is likely not to enjoy his victory as much if he realizes it was luck that caused him to win. Bloom, AL, ect… highly detriment the game because they are frustrating to lose against, and they do not give someone a sense of accomplishment when they do win. Take another example. Sniping has no luck factor and it is highly rewarding to get a headshot because you know you deserved it. However, how often do you get that high from spamming the DMR? Probably not often.
    Now how do we fix these issues?
    For the first three issues, making the DMR, NR, Magnum, and AR kill faster would solve most of these problems. Fast killing weapons create a faster pace, and since things happen faster, they increase the skill gap. When things happen faster, people are rewarded for quick thinking, as long as it isn’t too fast (see swat or COD). If the DMR/NR/Magnum/AR had a max kill time of 1.3 seconds and an average of about 1.7-1.8, then the pace would improve dramatically as would the skill gap. This would make it to where you would need both skill and teamwork to shine as opposed to just teamwork (which isn’t always present when you are searching in matchmaking). For the last issue, removing bloom and armor lock would drastically increase the enjoyability of the game. If 343 wants to include what has made halo successful in the past, then this is what they should address for future titles/possible title updates. They need to keep these factors in mind as they develop the game.

Truer words have never been said; I truly hope 343 or Affinity take a close look at this thread among other ones, Halo’s decline is from the lack of power players feel. Players don’t want to feel weak and useless in a First Person Shooter, they want to feel powerful and threatening to their enemies, this is something Bungie has geared away from for some unknown reason I hope that someone can bring it back on track.

> "3) It was easy to pick up and be decent at but you had to invest a lot of time and effort to be great "

Disagree. Halo vets are having trouble playing against newcommers. That tells me it is easy to pick up and will take a lot of time before great players are found.
And combine that with appearent wanting of the Pistol/BR gameplay of the previous Halos, you know, 1 weapon metagames, the amount of time invested would be seriously reduced, not rewarded as you intend.

That Reach has a balanced sandbox makes it so anyone can use a weapon in its intended niche with relative ease. If a player wants to be real good, they have to learn not only how to use a weapon outside of its niche, but how weapons within that niche being explored works. Hence the frustration of pros and vets wanting things to be like previous Halos, they don’t want to relearn or invest time or effort. It’s also why a lot of you so called competitive or Halo core players want old maps returned. Because you don’t want to learn new maps. And the even funnier part is when players get remakes but because it’s a new game, they complain the map isn’t the same.

> 4) Fun mechanics (this ties into the fast kill times)

Purely subjective. I like CE and Reach’s MP most. And none of the reasons have to do with kill times.

> 5) Fast paced gameplay

Gameplay is fast, kill times are not. Huge difference. At the same time, using a grenade or plasma pistol to drop an enemy’s shields sure as hell speeds up kill times.

> 6) Lack of random factor (I.E. BS moments where you should have outplayed your opponent, but were outplayed by a poor mechanic in the game such as bloom, spread, host, or armor lock)

I believe you mean BS moments where it must be the game’s fault and not your poor situational awareness?

> 7) A spawning weapon that is able to be used successfully in all roles, but is overshadowed when faced with weapons outside of this role

Very contradictory. A weapon for all roles, but when used outside of its role, it gets owned. In an FPS, that can be a gamebreaker. Especially if kill times nearly match those of the powerweapons.
The AR and Pistol combo accomplish this. You either have complacent gamer syndrome or you only show up for Godzilla ( http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/JustHereForGodzilla ).

I posted this in another thread but feel it equally relevant here.

It’s like this, the current state of competitive Halo Reach is downright laughable at times. While the team mechanic and shooting skill is a requirement to get into the top tier of players the luck factor removes the x factor in individual skill in this game.

A: A patch that “fixes” the DMR’s poor bloom mechanic or allows us to remove bloom and this game will be a very good competitive game.

B: Removal of the “no bleed” mechanic and/or the ability to adjust body damage(so we could make the DMR a 4 shot kill without making it too easy to shoot the body) would make it a great competitive game.

C: The ability to adjust strafe acceleration/decelaration and this game could rival Halo CE in competitive gameplay and surpass it in overall competitive value.

Basically it is 3 steps from being the single most competitive shooter on a console ever. Isn’t that kinda crazy?

Additional things that would be nice.

  • Grenade fuses like H:CE, with larger blast radius
  • Stickies can’t kill in one grenade
  • AA tweaks, Armor Lock nerf etc.
  • Better Forge, give the great forgers the ability to make better maps with more color contrast and less budget restrictions/frame rate problems
  • Constant timers. Drop Spawns are nice, but it’s basically a glitch. Allow us to toggle between static and dynamic timers for all weapons and powerups.
  • Powerup options. Allow us to customize overshields and camo’s to our liking. Options like the number of OS shields and time a camo lasts in a game/change in camo when moving on/off would go a long way.
  • Have a mirror option in forge, that way a forger could design half of a symetrical map, hit the mirror button and blam!, perfectly symetrical map.
  • Individual weapon modifiers
  • Aim smoothing on/off
  • Bullet magnetism/Auto Aim reduced or adjustable.
  • Mapable Button Layouts
  • Built in customizable tournament system
  • Have sequencing fix for Headhunter(like KOTH)
  • Make timers for Stockpile more visable
  • Be able to assign flags to flag stands so that they are always connected, more competitive that way.
  • When a game is mathmatically over end it automatically(griffball does this, durp)

> I posted this in another thread but feel it equally relevant here.
>
> It’s like this, the current state of competitive Halo Reach is downright laughable at times. While the team mechanic and shooting skill is a requirement to get into the top tier of players the luck factor removes the x factor in individual skill in this game.
>
> A: A patch that “fixes” the DMR’s poor bloom mechanic or allows us to remove bloom and this game will be a very good competitive game.
>
> B: Removal of the “no bleed” mechanic and/or the ability to adjust body damage(so we could make the DMR a 4 shot kill without making it too easy to shoot the body) would make it a great competitive game.
>
> C: The ability to adjust strafe acceleration/decelaration and this game could rival Halo CE in competitive gameplay and surpass it in overall competitive value.
>
> Basically it is 3 steps from being the single most competitive shooter on a console ever. Isn’t that kinda crazy?
>
> Additional things that would be nice.
>
> - Grenade fuses like H:CE, with larger blast radius
> - Stickies can’t kill in one grenade
> - AA tweaks, Armor Lock nerf etc.
> - Better Forge, give the great forgers the ability to make better maps with more color contrast and less budget restrictions/frame rate problems
> - Constant timers. Drop Spawns are nice, but it’s basically a glitch. Allow us to toggle between static and dynamic timers for all weapons and powerups.
> - Powerup options. Allow us to customize overshields and camo’s to our liking. Options like the number of OS shields and time a camo lasts in a game/change in camo when moving on/off would go a long way.
> - Have a mirror option in forge, that way a forger could design half of a symetrical map, hit the mirror button and blam!, perfectly symetrical map.
> - Individual weapon modifiers
> - Aim smoothing on/off
> - Bullet magnetism/Auto Aim reduced or adjustable.
> - Mapable Button Layouts
> - Built in customizable tournament system
> - Have sequencing fix for Headhunter(like KOTH)
> - Make timers for Stockpile more visable
> - Be able to assign flags to flag stands so that they are always connected, more competitive that way.
> - When a game is mathmatically over end it automatically(griffball does this, durp)

Other than the cheesy built-in tournament system and the end game automatically points, he has the right idea.

Forgot to say fix the core mechanics of bloom. At least get MLG’s input on the mechanic. It would make a great competitive game, and the casuals wouldn’t even know the difference (making everyone happy!)

I think the change in halo reach was more pronounced because they broke the sandbox with Armor Abilities. I think that if they give reach a title update, they should make the game like it would be if there were no armor abilities (increase damage on normal weapons, faster movement, higher jump etc.) If anything, armor abilities should be in only some playlists, and “classic” settings should be more common.

I totally agree this philosphy should happen for the next Halo, but they cannot forget about those who like Reach mechanics (I’m 50/50)…

Thats why the next Halo needs an enormous amount of playlist variety, endless customization, and an Optimatch playlist to allow Custom game finders.

> Truer words have never been said; I truly hope 343 or Affinity take a close look at this thread among other ones, Halo’s decline is from the lack of power players feel. Players don’t want to feel weak and useless in a First Person Shooter, they want to feel powerful and threatening to their enemies, this is something Bungie has geared away from for some unknown reason I hope that someone can bring it back on track.

+100