Halo:Reach-Where it Failed and What 343i Can do for the Next Halo Game

Like many others I have high hopes for the next Halo game, but I also have high expectations. Personally, Reach failed to excite like any other Halo game, mainly due to what I believe were poor choices in both gameplay and storytelling, especially the former. I understand many have already shed their own light on this topic, but I really want to share my own opinions, and bring up several areas in greater detail. To clarify, by “next Halo game”, I am referring to the next Halo FPS to be made by 343I. Before I get into my critiquing I would like to point out that I do like many of the things in Reach, despite its numerous flaws. The customization is great, the netcoding is second to none, and it’s by far the best looking Halo game yet, even though it is missing some of that classic Halo look. I understand much of this post is negative, but it is only because I want what I believe is better for the series future. Much of it focuses on Reach and the mistakes it made, but I will also explain what can be done for the next game. 343i asked us to be vocal and share our opinions so here is mine. One more point: it’s long!

First, I’ll touch briefly on campaign, a part of a game that is always important to me and to many others as well. Personally, I will never truly love Reach’s campaign due to the massive canon changes (read “errors”) that were made by Bungie. We had an excellent and already fleshed out back-story that covered in great detail the Fall of Reach, but instead we were given a very flawed telling of it. This is not the focus of this post, but here is a much more in-depth look at these errors http://www.bungie.net/Forums/posts.aspx?postID=49053700. Many promises were made and not kept, and looking back at the ViDocs will show you exactly what I’m talking about. The characters development was really non-existent, and frankly the campaign was really just lackluster with the exception of a few cool moments. I won’t talk too much about the gameplay and level design, as other people really can hit the nail on the head better than I.

I honesty hope that 343I returns to Master Chief and his story, as it allows for a familiar place to draw upon, and allows for plenty of creativity in story telling. This does seem to be a likely outcome, given Frankie’s comments on this possibility, and I really agree with him. Some would argue we should just keep MC at rest because he’s already starred in 3 games. However the next game has the potential for a whole new storyline, and for plenty of character development and story telling. It’s just too good of an opportunity to miss.

But before I get into anything really gameplay related, I want to talk about a few poor design choices made by Bungie, and how many could be fixed. Many things were expanded in Reach, but others were changed, making them worse than previous installments. Custom game options were limited, and have prevented many great gametypes from being created. Theater was limited to one person, something that in particular is bothersome. The file saving system is also very buggy and is known to overwrite files of that awesome map you just made, wasting your time. These are just truly unnecessary mistakes in my opinion, and honestly quite easy editions. Now I understand that memory in these days is becoming an obstacle for developers. The best solution is simply to just release the game on two discs. One disc will allow for campaign and theater mode (for convenience), while the other will contain all things multiplayer such as firefight, matchmaking, customs, etc. The only problem I could see in this is that someone may not be able to view campaign films on the multiplayer disc, and vice versa. I am not expert, and if anyone really knows the answer to this problem please share it.

Now for the “meat” of my post…multiplayer! This is an object of very heated debates and I plan on simply presenting my ideas and arguments accordingly. I believe the best place t start would simply be the gameplay. Halo: Reach, without much argument, is easily one of the most “unique” of the series. That being said, some find it to be refreshing, while others, including myself, prefer the gameplay of the previous games. Armor abilities are without a doubt the biggest change to the series, and there are several reasons why they just don’t belong in a Halo game. They all directly of indirectly save you from death and give you an advantage over your opponent. This is not necessarily a bad idea on paper, but unfortunately the player does not have to do anything to acquire them, they simply have them from the spawn. There have been similar things in past Halo games, namely powerups and equipment, but they were of one and done deal, at least until they respawned. They along with other features add only to the randomness of the game, making it frustrating and annoying for other players. Simply put, I do not want armor abilities in the next game, and possibly even equipment looking back on it. Powerups are the best way to allow for that “edge” that players want to feel, and they also encourage map control and “flow” of the map. The only AA that I can come to terms with is sprint and evade, as the movement speed of Reach is so slow. If the movement speed is bumped up, there will be no need for these AA.

Another topic of great debate is bloom. It, along with the AA, just adds randomness and frustration to the game. I honestly don’t think it has any benefits compared to the fixed fire rate of the precision weapon that most have come to love. I understand bloom has been in past Halo games, but it only affected fully automatic weapons such as the AR, SMG, etc. It has never affected the main precision weapon of the game, be it the BR of the pistol, which brings me to my next topic. Having a great precision weapon with a big skill gap is what practically defined the main Halo trilogy. They are not necessarily overpowered (with the exception of the pistol!), and in the hands of a very good player can be devastating. They are not unstoppable though, and are easily outclassed at very long and very close range. I remember often killing someone with my AR at mid-range while they had a BR. A final note on this topic is that they should be hitscan. The bullets lag enough with it, and it can be unbearable when there is no hitscan.

The two other points of interests are the melee system and a few other general gameplay notes. The current system doesn’t work, and it just allows for a whole lot of herp-a-derping. Bleed through damage is a much better system, as it makes gameplay faster and actually encourages shooting. While the melee system could be a pain in Halo 3, it would be much improved with Reach’s netcoding. It also would be best if the actually melee lunge was toned down, and Spartans weren’t able to fly 3-4 feet at the touch of a button. Movement speed, jump height, and acceleration are all vital for the next Halo game to be successful. Bump up the speed and jump height from Reach, making it feel more like Halo 2 and 3. No falling damage is also a plus. Also, by acceleration I mean the speed at which the player gains speed, both actual running and the speed at which they turn, or aim. In Halo 2 it was much more responsive and it didn’t require any “build-up” before you reached full speed, allowing for strafing to be an important part of any players skillset. The final point I want to touch on is rank. Reach’s ranking system, while it does help prevent boosting, cheating, etc does not promote winning or helping teammates. Arena tries to do this but simply fails. I propose we have 1-50 back. It’s in H:R but is not visible. In addition to that have credits replace exp, and still allow players to spend those credits on their Spartan’s armor. Do not display how many credits they have, only rank, so that there is less of a chance to steal accounts, boost, cheat, etc. Please share any thoughts you have, be it agreements or arguments.

I understand many of the issues are controversial ones, but as a player I feel it is necessary to at least voice my opinions. 343i are the ones whose opinions matter at the end, but they do seem willing do listen to out ideas too. I don’t want the same exact game as Halo 3 but I think by adding these features and gameplay elements, while adding new, balanced, and fun ones, the game will be that much closer to being great. Thanks for reading!

Multiplayer needs improvements, but teh biggest issues today is the LAG and host, and p2p in general. As long as it excist, Br spread and bloom will be even more random then ever intended :frowning:

What Halo 4/5 needs:
*At least 32 player support

  • Dedicated servers all over the world, in live arcade games like Section 8: Prejudice can do it, And Homefront/Battlefield/GEars can, so can Halo

  • Maps that allow us to use vehicles, like Valhalla, Sand Trap, even Avalanche worked. In Reach no maps (original/noble) has allowed great vehicular gameplay, for MP/firefight

  • Balanced weapon sandbox, nerf sniper and long distance weapons, and up close quarters gun and mid range guns. Especially, keep anti vehicle-weapons (spartan lasers) instead of making DRM/sniper anti vehicle…

  • Implement a better system for vehicles and power weapons, let us “buy” them by trading in kills/objective points (not kilstreaks) like in Homefront and Section 8 prejudice. Vehicles go to players who are active (not campers)

Great thread; I read through it all and I agree. I’d also like to add my own bit in regards to one of the most important parts of Multiplayer: maps. Reach has too few maps, and many of them are simply poor in quality. 343 Industries needs to engineer environments in Multiplayer at a quality where people will look back and remember the fun times they had in said environments because the geometry was simple, balanced and allowed for both competitive and casual games.

However, I must disagree with part of your post Grumbledock. Dedicated Servers won’t be of much help because people further away from the server will be disadvantaged as opposed to those near the server. P2P is a much cheaper and more efficient strategy. The next Halo game should utilize Reach’s netcode; it’s fantastic.

> Great thread; I read through it all and I agree. I’d also like to add my own bit in regards to one of the most important parts of Multiplayer: maps. Reach has too few maps, and many of them are simply poor in quality. 343 Industries needs to engineer environments in Multiplayer at a quality where people will look back and remember the fun times they had in said environments because the geometry was simple, balanced and allowed for both competitive and casual games.

Thanks for the support! You bring up an interesting point, one I wish I had added to the OP. Map design. Reach has poor maps, but the both the Noble and Defiant Map Packs are a great step foward. I’m especially excited to see 343 pull out work that looks so good, plays well, and makes some huge nods to the Halo lore. I hope that 343i, possibly with the assistance of CI, continue the great work into the next Halo game.

> Multiplayer needs improvements, but teh biggest issues today is the LAG and host, and p2p in general. As long as it excist, Br spread and bloom will be even more random then ever intended :frowning:
>
> What Halo 4/5 needs:
> *At least 32 player support
>
> * Dedicated servers all over the world, in live arcade games like Section 8: Prejudice can do it, And Homefront/Battlefield/GEars can, so can Halo
>
> * Maps that allow us to use vehicles, like Valhalla, Sand Trap, even Avalanche worked. In Reach no maps (original/noble) has allowed great vehicular gameplay, for MP/firefight
>
> * Balanced weapon sandbox, nerf sniper and long distance weapons, and up close quarters gun and mid range guns. Especially, keep anti vehicle-weapons (spartan lasers) instead of making DRM/sniper anti vehicle…
>
> * Implement a better system for vehicles and power weapons, let us “buy” them by trading in kills/objective points (not kilstreaks) like in Homefront and Section 8 prejudice. Vehicles go to players who are active (not campers)

You make so good points. The vehicle combat is a complete and utter disgrace in Reach. DMR and Snipers destroy vehicles, not to mention it is difficult enough with other AA and other power weapons such as the rocket launcher and spartan laser. Dedicated servers sound good in theory, but it is a big investment and commitment for 343i. perhaps it will work, perhaps not. 343i knows what their limitations are better then us.