The aiming system/mechanics in Infinite are a major problem. And there needs to be a change to up the base aim assist significantly before launch.
I want to preface my comments on this by saying that I’ve played Halo since the launch of CE, and played competitively through CE, 2, and 3. Played mostly casual after that, but have logged thousands of hours into each Halo game (except for Halo 5 - more on that later). And I’m an above average player (you can go check the stats if you’d like). I’m certainly not a new player, and I’ve played Halo at every level of skill. And I’ve kept a general awareness of what’s happening in competitive Halo throughout the franchises history. With that being said…
From my understanding, Halo: Infinite is meant to be a throwback to the classic era Halo’s AND a game that’s approachable and fun for new players, while also allowing for (and growing) a strong competitive/pro scene. And in most areas of the game, I think Infinite accomplishes this. And does so exceptionally well…
…except for the aiming system/mechanics.
It’s clear to me that Infinite’s aiming system/mechanics are a continuation of Halo 5’s system/mechanics. And it’s clear that Halo 5’s were built to favor pro-style play rather than casual play. Aim assist was tuned down significantly. As such, the average player, and even long time players, had a very hard time adjusting. And new players had an especially hard time adjusting. Players found themselves missing shots they could always land in previous games, and were left wondering why (being totally ignorant to the behind the scenes changes).
But the pros loved it.
HCS and competitive players thrived. The skill-gaps across the board increased exponentially. But for the rest of us? We all went back to MCC. The much more approachable and forgiving, and frankly… just more fun game to play. Because in MCC, we could actually aim and hit our targets. And we didn’t need to read a book about advanced controller settings to try and do it. After all, what makes a shooter fun? Aiming at things and shooting them. That felt WAY better in MCC than Halo 5. So the general player base moved back to MCC.
And despite the skill-level in HCS being the highest it’s ever been in the history of Halo… the passion for the HCS league died out quickly amongst the rest of us. At least, it died in volume. And the ole’ “Halo is dead” adage was proving to be right yet again as HCS events struggled to pull the viewership numbers they needed.
And why was that? Because casual play fuels interest in pro play. And the casual player base all went back to the more casual player friendly MCC rather than sticking around in the hard to aim/play Halo 5.
And I fear that Infinite’s commitment to the Halo 5/pro-style aiming system is going to cut the legs out of the casual player base, again. Just like it did with Halo 5.
We can have all the arguments we want about MKB vs. controllers and how aim assist, etc. plays into things there. We can also talk about how other components of the game (like movement, weapon balance, etc.) contribute to things too.
But the fact is that new and returning players are currently getting crushed in the Infinite tech test because they simply can’t play the game like they should be able to at a fundamental level… they can’t aim at their target and shoot it consistently. They’re running into the exact same problems they faced in Halo 5, despite all the other changes to the game. Even myself, a very seasoned player, struggles to land shots consistently in Infinite. I usually place top of my team in games, and my accuracy in the tech test is probably only 43-47% with peaks of ~50% (usually dependent on if there’s a BR on the map that I can get my hands on or not). In a first person shooter game that’s built around THE core component of aiming and shooting things… I can’t even land the majority of my shots. How can we expect new, returning, and casual players to fare any better???
It’s frustrating. And it’s takes a lot of the fun out of playing Infinite. And I really think it’s going to alienate and force a lot of new and returning players away from the game. Just like Halo 5 did to thousands and thousands of Halo fans. Me included. It just wasn’t fun anymore… it was like going from my casual youth soccer team where everyone got to play and have fun, to the state competitive soccer team all over again. All the fun was gone. Only the best of the best skill players could play and succeed.
I strongly feel like we need to stop building Halo to try and appease the pro players, and get back to the roots of Halo. Which has ALWAYS been fun casual play. Why is big team battle so insanely popular amongst Halo players? It’s because it’s a casual mode that’s tons of FUN! No one comes to play Halo for it’s world class pro-style gameplay. That’s what they get later on once they stay. They come to play Halo to have fun, and create memorable experiences as they shoot and blow stuff up with friends (of all skill levels). Halo has always been a great game to bring new players into, especially new players to the FPS genre. It has always a game you wanted to play with your friends to have some fun on during the weekends after a long week. But it’s feeling less and less that way as they continue to give more and more of it away to a very small % of the player base whose only concern is to drive as big of a skill-gap between them and everyone. They don’t care about approachability and fun. They care about staying the best of the best and winning. And the truth is that they’ll figure out how to make that happen at the HCS level regardless of what the aim system is. They’re just that good. But that isn’t true for casual/new players.
And the irony is that as Halo does this (goes towards a more pro-style system), it’ll cause them to continue to lose the foundational casual player base that they need and want so desperately for competitive/pro play to thrive. No pro sports franchise ever survived in a league with no or very few fans.
So after that wall of text, I say again: Infinite’s aiming is a problem, and needs to be changed to increase aim assist drastically before launch. Or else I fear we’ll have another Halo 5 on our hands. Which in many respects is a great game. But ultimately is unable to survive long-term because such a basic and fundamental component to it is missing: the ability to aim and shoot things easily.