It’s been a week all ready and the time has flown by, new weapons to use, new vehicles to drive and more new things to try out, but through it all I’ve noticed a crucial gameplay element has changed: Friendly Fire.
What is friendly fire you ask? It’s quite simply when you shoot, set off explosives or cause other forms of damage to another member of your team, not particularly friendly at all you say? I agree, and so do a multitude of British soldiers in recent years. Jokes aside for a second, it’s time to explain how this has changed the gameplay, at least for me.
I’m part of a small group of players that play together on a regular basis, it’s typical of us to go into BTB more than anything to accommodate our large team size but often we find that we are one or more players down, having to play alongside random players.
As many people remember through Halo 2, Halo 3 and the ever not-popular Halo: Reach, friendly fire was the bane of the BTB player. Betrayals were rampant and players killed their own team makes repeatedly for weapons, vehicles or sometimes for no reason at all. This of course prompted the developer at the time, Bungie, to drop in a Betrayal Booting system, a way of kicking out players who betray you, which, to this day, still exists within the confines of Halo 4’s custom game settings and in many of its Matchmaking playlists.
The problem with this system is that it didn’t account for accidents, players in Halo 2 and 3 could be booted for accidentally running over a team mate who jumped out into the middle of their Warthog’s path like a Ford Fiesta speeding through an oncoming Squirrel on a motorway. In addition the system was prone to abuse, with a player taunting or ‘Shield Popping’ other players until a just betrayal had been served on the trouble making player, but then they simply booted the other players out, this count also be abused via a variety of Betrayal inducing glitches in the map’s terrain and still exist in Halo 4 today in many places. These bootings also counted as a quit and a player count be temporarily or permanently banned from Matchmaking for ‘Quitting’ when actually they were just being unjustly booted repeatedly, with or without caution on their part sometimes in the frantic fray of fire on the battlefield these betrayals just happen.
So in Reach, this system was ‘improved’ and I say ‘improved’ because in actuality it was randomized, at least from what I can figure out. Sometimes a player could betray several times before a boot option was allowed, sometimes once was enough, sometimes revenge betrayals constituted a boot, sometimes they didn’t. It was completely random how this worked and at the end of it, a small group of players emerged from the battlefield, pissed off at being booted and betrayed repeatedly without ability to counter, having to simultaneously fight the enemy team as well as part of their own.
So 343 stepped forth and grasped the Halo series by the reins, vowing a great many things and released the game on November 6th 2012, one week ago today. They finally brought down a golden thought and removed friendly fire completely from the Infinity Gametypes, that which would be most prone to betrayals and booting. No more would you have to fight your own team mates, sure they can destroy your vehicles still, even if you’re driving them, but regardless your K/D, W/L and mental health is safe.
So personally, as much as people will dislike it, removing friendly fire from those playlists has made my gameplay experience in Halo 4 that much more enjoyable as I nor my team of friends have to worry any more about the horrendous betrayals we had to suffer in the prior games in the Halo franchise.
Until we step out of Infinity playlists at least, I implore 343i to remove friendly fire from every playlist in future as this would, at the very least, remove the betrayal/booting frustration.