When we look back on Halo: Reach, we see the Flood game (Infection) that was first created in Halo 3 made into its own game type. It was pretty simple when it first came out, and people found spots on the map to ensure that the flood could only come at them from one direction. Sword Base is a great example, as people could use the gravity lift in the center to boost themselves up onto a wall where they could snipe unsuspecting zombies with their pistols. All of this came to an end eventually though as spots like that were thought of as exploits and were eventually outfitted with soft-kill zones. But I digress, I’m not here to speak of maps or how their layouts don’t suit Flood. In fact, they would be great if it weren’t for one tiny little detail: OVERSHIELDS.
No, not the overshields you pick up to put an additional shield over the shield you alright where on your body. I’m talking about the original overshield which every Spartan has. Before I go into detail as to why it is a Flood-ruining detail, I’ll go into the logistics.
In Halo: Reach today, yes today, we see that Flood is the most played game type regularly. Why is this? I’ll assume it is because most people find it fun to be able to play as a Spartan with nothing but a pistol and a shotgun versus very fast “zombie” Spartans with swords. Simple concept that apparently many enjoy. Earlier in Halo: Reach’s history, Flood was no where near the most played game type. In fact, it had a pretty small population for a while before improvements like Alpha Zombie types were added. In any case, the popularity for Flood grew overtime and it became one of the most played gametypes in Halo: Reach. Fast forward to Halo 4. Today, Flood ranks in the bottom six playlists regularly. What happened to Flood? Why is it no longer a top ranking playlist even though it was once so popular?
Firstly, let me say that when the first previews for the flood came out which showcased new models of infected Spartans I squealed like a small child receiving a puppy made out of chocolate for Christmas. It seemed to me that 343i really was paying attention to the Flood gametype and were primed to make it even more popular. Halo 4 came out and I got the game as fast as I could. What was the first thing I did? Campaign. Yeah, I know you thought I was gonna say Flood. But after campaign, I began playing Flood. As usual, I spawned as a zombie first off. I noticed that I had an overshield and at that very moment felt excited. I thought the Spartans must have had some overpowered weapons that could take down my shields quickly as in Halo: Reach an infected spartan was killed instantly if shot in the head as his overshield disappeared. Perhaps a plasma pistol or something along those lines? Nope, same old weapons. It made sense that the overshield had disappeared because if you played any of the original Halo trinity you noticed that flood would kill elites and you after your overshield was taken down and then you became an infected being with no overshield. But this new Flood type had done away with that and gave the Flood overshields most likely because they needed to stand more of a chance against the shotgun and pistol-wielding Spartans. However, I believe this was overdone by quite a bit.
When I was playing my first few rounds of Flood, I noticed how ridiculously difficult it was for a Spartan to kill a single Flood, let alone an entire team of them. In addition to super speed, a boost with which to dodge, and an sword lunge, the flood now had an overshield rendering pistols nearly completely useless in every circumstance besides faraway firing. The days in which you were able to use your pistol in order to pick off Flood lunging towards you are long gone, instead you must hope that your shotgun can pick off one or two of the flood zooming by your body at speeds faster than what your controller allows you to turn with.
In Halo: Reach, with enough skill a team could outlast the Flood until the end relying on nothing but pistols to get headshots for half of the round. Now you unload your entire pistol just trying to kill three of them, and that is if the bloom gods have blessed you enough to allow you to receive a headshot from long distances. Instead you must try and find a hiding spot where you can defend yourself. Too bad that is nearly impossible due to the speed and dodging abilities of the Flood that are attacking. I believe I’ve lost one or two games as the Flood and that was SOLELY due to incompetent team members who believed sailing off of edges with their boost was the best thing they could have done to help.
Now, If you’ve every played Flood you know what I am typing about here. Surviving the entire game is now nearly impossible if you are faced with a team of angry Flood who know how to find cover every time you begin shooting at them. You can’t pick them off easily anymore as they now have a shield. How often do you use your pistol successfully? When was the last time you actually managed to kill the hoard of infected Spartans approaching you with your pistol or shotgun as they use their boost to decimate you quickly?
My best guess is that 343i felt that the infected Spartans in Halo: Reach had a hard time and died too often. So, instead of giving them more mobility and calling it a day, they decided a full-blown overshield along with the mobility would be a good amount of extra protection. A grievous mistake in my opinion. True, I don’t die nearly as much as I used to being an infected Spartan, but I no longer have the same fun I used to have when playing Flood. As a Spartan, I can’t really score many kills whatsoever. If an infected player gets within range and lunges at me as I shoot to stop this action I die even while receiving a bulltrue medal. The armor abilities provided also don’t help matters. What good are 8 second shields that can be avoided by a simple sprint around to the player’s back, wallhacks, and invisibility when I’m playing against super-mobile players with a one-hit killing lunge and an overshield to make matters near impossible!? No, the Flood players don’t have to choose the boost with which they dodge, but you won’t find many caught dead without it.
Are the above the reasons why the population of Flood is so low?
Please 343i, I implore you to remove overshields from the infected Spartans in the Flood gametype. I’ve been both an infected player and a Spartan plenty of times and have a pretty good feel for the balance between them. Sure I can get killed once or twice by some skilled shotgun wielding players, but if I can pick off just one with my boost, I’m able to build an infected army in just a short minute to end the game with. Keep the armor abilities and everything else within the gametype, but please remove the overshields which make pistols useless and the gametype near impossible to actually win as a Spartan player. At least give us an option to vote on a Flood gametype that varies between classic and newer editions!
Sorry for the long read, I was going to include a small monologue after this, but I reached the character limit as I was typing it.<mark>To keep things short: I believe overshields on infected Spartans ruins the Flood gametype as it makes pistols nearly useless and Flood overpowered. Please take this edition to the Flood gametype away.</mark>