Warning: This is a long read but it’s worth it.
TL:DR AT BOTTOM.
The ideals behind Halo 4’s multiplayer are good. Play how you want to play, do what you want to do. You want to be a CQC man? Go ahead. You want to be a marksman? Go ahead. Heck, you want to be a pro warthog driver? Go ahead!
This is in complete contrast to classic Halo. In H1-H3 you started off equal to everyone else. This eliminated variety off spawn, and the way variety worked in the game was pick ups. You had to pick up your favorite weapon.
These are two different philosophies for Halo’s multplayer, and they can both work as good as the other, and how they work is not that different from each other as well.
In classic Halo, what weapon you spawned with dictated what niche of combat you were in off spawn. BR starts? Medium range combat. AR starts? Close quarters. Want to change your niche? Pick up something else. The point is, you spawned in a niche and if you tried to play outside of it, you most likely got killed.
In Halo 4, what weapons you spawn with dictate what niche of combat you’re in off spawn. Spawn with a BR? Medium range combat. Spawn with an AR? Close quarters. Want to change your niche? Pick up something else. The point is, you spawn in a niche and if you try to play outside of it, you’ll most likely get killed.
The only difference between these two things is that you can choose what weapons you spawn with in Halo 4. Some view this as adding randomness, but it adds variety close to how classic Halo did. It just introduces variety quicker.
The introduction of this different method of variety means you’re forced to think and play smarter. In classic Halo BR starts, you could just run around and out gun everyone without much tactical reasoning, since everyone pretty much had what you had. In Halo 4, you get to CHOOSE what niche you will be in and you realize everyone else does as well. Spawn with a BR? Don’t go outside your niche or you’ll die. Basically, the ‘random’ variety is also a consequence to those who don’t play smart. If you have an AR, stick to your small corridors. If you have a DMR, stick to your good lines of sight.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “Yeah, this looks good on paper but why does the game still suck sometimes?”. It’s not the philosophy of play behind Halo 4, but it’s something else, and it’s infected almost every FPS out there.
The game holds your hand. The bullet magnetism and aim assist are off the charts. It’s not even funny. You know why the DMR can succeed outside it’s designated niche? Not because it should be the end all utility weapon akin to past games, but because of magnetism. You do not even have to have your reticle be red or on target in some cases. Let’s not even delve into the automatic weapons either, or how stickies can curve.
Or we simply have some bad mechanics such as spawning with instant kill weapons. Halo needs to evolve, and it has, but that right there should never creep into the game. True CQC gun fights are all but dead with the inclusion of the Boltshot and stickies off spawn. The Boltshot can even be fine if it were balanced better. Make the charging sound louder, make it glow more, decrease the 1SK range, or even make it a primary so if they really go out of the niche they’re done. As for stickies, IMO, that should not be in loadouts at all due to the lag compensation methods of the game.
Then we have random ordnance, world and personal. The new system has potential, but they way it works is flawed. When a binary rifle can just drop next to me on Haven randomly, that’s bad. When in my personal ordnance I get fuel rods over the other guy’s needler? That’s bad. Maps need constant middle ground predictable power weapon spawns, and personal ordnance needs to be predictable on a map-by-map basis. Random map ordnance spawns like a needler or grenades? Sure, that can be okay.
Lastly, dynamic spawns. Dynamic spawns on assymetrical maps are pretty good, but on symmetrical ones it’s bad. It’s something talked about since Halo 3 and it’s often claimed as a get-out-of-jail free card for those who lost control and got trapped. It is exactly that. Play bad? Get a bad reward, not a chance to shoot the enemy in the back. Let me be clear though, I don’t want someone to get spawn sniped 1 second off spawn, the spawn trapped team just needs to be spawned out of sight from the enemy team, but still trapped on their base. Dynamic spawns even subvery the integrity of random map ordnance as well. The designers want you to earn that ordnance no matter where it is? But at what cost? Going to the enemy’s base, taking it, only to have them spawn at YOUR base so THEY can take your ordnance? Bullocks, if you ask me. And if you MUST have dynamic spawns, don’t let them spawn LOOKING at the enemy with the enemy’s back turned. -cough cough- Harvest. -cough cough-
That’s a wall of problems right there, sure, but guess what? It’s really only four problems. Let’s recap. 1. Noob friendly magnetism and aim assist. 2. Spawning with instant kill weapons that subvert skillful CQC gameplay. 3. Random ordnance. 4. Dynamic spawns.
TWO of those problems can be fixed by a normal player, the other two are dependant upon the developer to fix, and simply toning down magnetism/aim assist and altering some weapon characteristics? A mostly simple task.
And, these four things are often talked about as bad along with the core gameplay philosophy of spawning with what you want, but we know now the spawn system is fine, it’s just those four problems. I guarantee you, if those are fixed this will be the best gameplay-wise Halo ever. 343i just needs to appeal less to the bad players and let Halo evolve with skill in mind.
P.S: Before you try to talk about how magnetism and aim assist are needed because of online play…no. Lag compensation and noob friendly mechanics are two different things. You want to learn what compensation methods are? Read up.
If you do happen to read that, you’ll know that the feeling of being shot through walls is only increased with the likes of curving bullets.
TL:DR: The philosophy of spawning with what you want is GOOD if not BETTER than classic Halo philosophy. The TRUE problems of H4 is 1. Noob friendly magnetism and aim assist. 2. Spawning with instant kill weapons that subvert skillful CQC gameplay. 3. Random ordnance. 4. Dynamic spawns.