How to Change the Arena for the best (v2)

I’m going to go ahead and repost this - under the right section this time - since it’s been over two months and there has been no changes made so far… but I still have faith in 343i.

Introduction

Well, I’ve tried countless times with Bungie to no avail. I had long given up at some point and was just intending to stick with what they gave me, out of desperation.

When I’ve heard about 343 taking control of Halo, I felt like there was a slight hope for it. Hope that the competitive Matchmaking players would be heard and listened to, for once, for a change. When I’ve seen the Title Update, and how dedicated 343 is to making better games, I regained faith in Halo, I feel like good things can happen to Matchmaking and not just for the more casual-oriented players, but for the more competitive ones as well.

So hear me out and bear with my for a few minutes, while I voice the complaints of many players regarding something that I feel as if Bungie had neglected for the past few months; The Arena, hence it’s low population.

Here it goes.

Note: For a TL;DR about the changes that I suggest, scroll down to ‘How to increase the Arena’s population’ and read the bold.

How to increase the Arena’s population (and make it popular once again)

I will now attempt to, based on complaints I’ve heard about people and based on my own personal experience of Halo 3, and knowledgeable experience of the Arena (and competitive Reach overall) attempt to list things that could make the Arena better and more appealing overall to players, whether it’s the more casual or competitive type of player.

I hope that the popularity of this thread will confirm my beliefs and be a proof of if some changes have to be implemented.

So I’ll list a few things and put a description and an explanation why this feature should be implemented or changed in order to affect the Arena in a positive manner. You are welcome to post better or alternative ideas!

In no particular order, since I do not want to mix my personal preferences with those of the community.

  • The CURRENT Division should be shown next to nameplates at all times, in any lobby, as long as connected to Xbox LIVE
    Even though I said ‘in no particular order above’, I believe this would cause the biggest change in the Arena’s population. The reason for this is that people want to have the incentive to play the Arena. Sure, some players do it just for the competition, but ultimately, people want to prove their skill! This is a measure of skill, because it shows how much you can win against other players. It will NOT cause any more elitism than K/D ratios will, so why not show it. The space is there (by design!) anyway. Like I said, it is of upmost importance and has to be addressed ASAP.

  • The weapon set in settings should be reverted to ‘Arena Default’ like it was made by design, instead of ‘Map Default’.
    It removes a lot of the weapons that cause slower games on smaller maps or that aren’t picked up (E.G. Sword on Countdown, Hammer on Powerhouse) and replaces some of them to allow more even starts (Sniper on Powerhouse instead of Focus Rifle, vs. Grenade Launcher for other team). It helps speeding up the gameplay, which a huge issue.

  • Better cR payouts for games complete
    Decreases the quitting incentive, makes cR-oriented players search it more. This was a very notable change when there were Super Jackpot weekends, so something similar has to be re-done and in a permanent manner. It should also be made clear to players (I.E. put in the playlist description)

  • The removal of the Jetpack loadout
    The Jetpack loadout on its own is not that bad. It adds something to the game. But when an entire team starts using it and disregards how much time a map designer spent creating it, it’s about when it becomes bad. A lot of people have been complaining about the Jetpack and it’s almost worse than pre-TU Armor Lock. People abuse Soft Kill zones and get out of the maps or very high above it to rain death of their opponents. It does not seem that bad when I talk about it, but it is AWFUL in game, and causes slow paced games, because people do not fight for map / weapon control anymore and just sit in their bases for entire games. This is the second biggest issue in the Arena I believe and should have been addressed months ago.

  • The removal of a few select maps (Sword Base and Uncaged)
    These maps simply cause awful stalemates and long lasting games for no reason. Mainly because of their passive [play style] design. Sword Base is too easy to camp and has too many CQC weapons on a small quarters map. It’s easy to force the opposite team to spawn at the bottom for the entire game and if the other team is smart, will decide not to try to rush the top. No need to explain how it leads to boring games. Uncaged is about the same, due to its small open areas that lead to death when crossed and that lead to people having to sit back for entire games. There’s also the fact that a certain team will vote for a certain map based on their team color, to get a certain spawn which gives them an advantage. These maps need to be taken out of “hardcore” playlists.

  • The implementation of TU (and other) settings
    Even if they have to be implemented in a Beta version manner, I feel like the Arena would play much more competitively with TU settings (whether it’s 85% or ZB). It does not mean that an entirely new playlist has to be made. Perhaps just an addition to the current gametypes. This could also make other gametypes like Slayer Pro (no radar), ZB Slayer DMRs / Magnums. But we need more than the constant and blatant Arena Slayer that almost uses Default Team Slayer settings, minus Armor Lock.

That’s all I can think of right now. More to come when I get time to think of it, or if anyone else posts good ideas!

Conclusion

The possible changes that I have listed above are extremely important for the Arena to become THE competitive playground in Matchmaking again. It fails at being entertaining in a competitive manner for players right now and fails to measure skill in a proper manner, due to its limited population (making it an ease to obtain the normally hard-to-reach Division Percentiles). I know not of these changes will happen, but I sure do know that all of them can. So for Reach Matchmaking to be competitive again, you have to voice your opinion on the matter. Please, take a small minute and post something on the matter. Remember that it’s not just about the Arena’s population, but also Reach’s total population.

Thank you so much for taking your time and reading this if you did.

Love,

  • Vetoed

Definitely support. At least you’re getting the TU update next Tuesday.

I also would add that the 2’s trick (although I don’t know much about it) should be addressed, as well as being able to see your opponents in the pre-game lobby (to assess if they are in parties or not) and being able to at least get matches timely.

I agree 100%

they should also add the MLG maps that aren’t grey by replacing arena zealot with mlg zealot and countdown with mlg countdown.

I also like the idea of having “slayer dmrs” be 85 bloom and “slayer pro” being zero bloom.

good ideas

Agreed, Vetoed knows his stuff.

As with Whale’s thread, if 343 feels like going a step further, here are a few simple changes to make certain maps more balanced so that they are not as questionable for removal:

> For Sword Base:
> * Move blue starting spawns to shotgun room (so they aren’t completely screwed from spawning down low)
> * Move shotgun to control area/computers at bottom yellow lift (so blue doesn’t immediately start with shotgun right away, bottom team at least has a chance of getting back up & both sides of map have a PW instead of just one)
> * Move red starting spawns a bit over into stairs area (so they’re not starting out so close to sniper)
> * Increase size of spawn zone in bottom break room (so people can’t spawn 2 feet behind you)
> * Cut ammo of Sword and Shotgun in half & slightly increase spawn time (so they’re more about take-back strategy rather than camping lifts for the whole game)
> * Move grenade launcher slightly more towards shotgun side (because they have a wall blocking them from easily grabbing it and running back in… break room is much easier)
>
> Countdown:
> * Cut sword energy in half (it should be a power weapon, not dolphin gun: destroyer of worlds)
> * Replace shotgun with sniper or nade launcher (shotgun encourages camping whereas sniper/launcher breaks it)
>
> For reflection, this:
>
>
> > RC Clone;407964 wrote:
> > Why can’t someone bring back the symmetrical starting spawns Ivory Tower had in Halo 2?
> >
> > I I feel like just moving the starting spawns to the lower areas under each side lifts should be a simple change. You could name it Arena Reflection.

Again, input appreciated. I will update this post if someone can provide a better alternative change-list.

TU coming on Tuesday although with jetpack that means more accurate shots coming from soft kill zones. Would love to see some of the other suggestions mentioned. At least 343 knows the arena playlist exists. Before this update was announced I wasn’t sure (you still can’t see your division on this website and they’ve never mentioned plans for arena).

> Agreed, Vetoed knows his stuff.
>
> As with Whale’s thread, if 343 feels like going a step further, here are a few simple changes to make certain maps more balanced so that they are not as questionable for removal:
>
>
>
> > For Sword Base:
> > * Move blue starting spawns to shotgun room (so they aren’t completely screwed from spawning down low)
> > * Move shotgun to control area/computers at bottom yellow lift (so blue doesn’t immediately start with shotgun right away, bottom team at least has a chance of getting back up & both sides of map have a PW instead of just one)
> > * Move red starting spawns a bit over into stairs area (so they’re not starting out so close to sniper)
> > * Increase size of spawn zone in bottom break room (so people can’t spawn 2 feet behind you)
> > * Cut ammo of Sword and Shotgun in half & slightly increase spawn time (so they’re more about take-back strategy rather than camping lifts for the whole game)
> > * Move grenade launcher slightly more towards shotgun side (because they have a wall blocking them from easily grabbing it and running back in… break room is much easier)
> >
> > Countdown:
> > * Cut sword energy in half (it should be a power weapon, not dolphin gun: destroyer of worlds)
> > * Replace shotgun with sniper or nade launcher (shotgun encourages camping whereas sniper/launcher breaks it)
> >
> > For reflection, this:
> >
> >
> > > RC Clone;407964 wrote:
> > > Why can’t someone bring back the symmetrical starting spawns Ivory Tower had in Halo 2?
> > >
> > > I I feel like just moving the starting spawns to the lower areas under each side lifts should be a simple change. You could name it Arena Reflection.
>
> Again, input appreciated. I will update this post if someone can provide a better alternative change-list.

Back in the day when I wanted Bungie to make changes to the Arena, I made an entire set of tweaked maps that would provide a much more competitive experience compared to the default ones due to a limited arsenal of “camping” power weapons, added power-ups, as well as much fairer starting spawns.

I had also made a long changelist of what changes every map had in comparison to its original. Sad part is that I lost that changelist while Bungie cleansed their forums of Optimatch, and also that I never got a response from them, perhaps out of some sort of laziness on the MM sustain team’s side. The good part is that I still have these maps on my HDD. I just need to go spend some time in Forge again, work on them to be even better, give them some internal testing, releasing them to the public for more testing and fine-tuning, then finding a method of submitting them to 343i.

The reason I got motivated for doing it again is because both my Sword Base and Reflection variants feature about these (the ones you’ve mentioned above) EXACT changes. I will just go over them again and put a new changelist together (VERY time-consuming) so that it is clear for everyone when testing them.

I will attempt to get this done within the next few days or so. It takes massive time and dedication though and I hope that you can cope with the wait, like I have done whilst working on them… and when waiting for a response I never got from Bungie. But keep an eye out for the post in question when I release the maps to the public for extra testing. I will post in this [How to Change the Arena for the best (v2)] thread to announce it.

Anyways, much love for the support peeps.

  • Vetoed

pretty much perfect solutions.

These should all be implemented asap

I fully agree with you and what you are saying here, I sure hope 343 can at least make some of these changes!

@343
please do, putting bloom to 85% is good, now doing this other stuff will actually make arena enjoyable

Agreed.

Whale made a thread awhile ago for some “quick fixes”. Link

Bs angel replied she’d pass it along but I think she forgot or didn’t pass the changes needed.

I even took the liberty of compiling a list of videos, that should show some of the problems.

GL with your thread, hopefully it won’t fall on deaf ears.

I hope your thread won’t fall upon deaf ears Vetoed. I’ll keep posting here occasionally to ensure that it stay’s at the top of the Matchmaking list. It’s good to see 343 is finally acknowledging the failing Arena playlist. The addition of the TU changes to it should help keep it alive for now but your changes would make it worthwhile for everyone.

> Agreed, Vetoed knows his stuff.
>
> As with Whale’s thread, if 343 feels like going a step further, here are a few simple changes to make certain maps more balanced so that they are not as questionable for removal:
>
>
>
> > For Sword Base:
> > * Move blue starting spawns to shotgun room (so they aren’t completely screwed from spawning down low)
> > * Move shotgun to control area/computers at bottom yellow lift (so blue doesn’t immediately start with shotgun right away, bottom team at least has a chance of getting back up & both sides of map have a PW instead of just one)
> > * Move red starting spawns a bit over into stairs area (so they’re not starting out so close to sniper)
> > * Increase size of spawn zone in bottom break room (so people can’t spawn 2 feet behind you)
> > * Cut ammo of Sword and Shotgun in half & slightly increase spawn time (so they’re more about take-back strategy rather than camping lifts for the whole game)
> > * Move grenade launcher slightly more towards shotgun side (because they have a wall blocking them from easily grabbing it and running back in… break room is much easier)
> >
> > Countdown:
> > * Cut sword energy in half (it should be a power weapon, not dolphin gun: destroyer of worlds)
> > * Replace shotgun with sniper or nade launcher (shotgun encourages camping whereas sniper/launcher breaks it)
> >
> > For reflection, this:
> >
> >
> > > RC Clone;407964 wrote:
> > > Why can’t someone bring back the symmetrical starting spawns Ivory Tower had in Halo 2?
> > >
> > > I I feel like just moving the starting spawns to the lower areas under each side lifts should be a simple change. You could name it Arena Reflection.
>
> Again, input appreciated. I will update this post if someone can provide a better alternative change-list.

Love these changes to spawns on the more unbalanced maps in Reach. Some weapons were changed on Sword Base, why havent the spawns ever been changed? Same goes for Reflection–I think having spawns opposite lifts would at least promote a first battle for power weapons, as opposed to Red automatically getting rockets then jetpacking Top Elevator and getting snipe too

Hey Vetoed, good stuff. Still support all the way.

I may try and get back into Arena if the pop increases with the upcoming inclusion of TU settings, which it likely will, albeit not by a whole lot. Good post though. TU settings are a step in the right direction, however your proposed changes would be an even more massive upgrade to Arena. I can personally attest to Vetoed’s Halo know-how… After all, we used to dominate the playlist :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I think 343 are wasting their time going 85% bloom. This is hardly a difference they should go no bloom or re add doubles arena back.

MLG variants into Arena -> thousands more people would play it.

> Hey Vetoed, good stuff. Still support all the way.
>
> I may try and get back into Arena if the pop increases with the upcoming inclusion of TU settings, which it likely will, albeit not by a whole lot. Good post though. TU settings are a step in the right direction, however your proposed changes would be an even more massive upgrade to Arena. I can personally attest to Vetoed’s Halo know-how… After all, we used to dominate the playlist :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Thanks man, the support is much appreciated! I’ve been looking to get back into it, but with the low population, mediocre settings / maps (compared to the newer ones) and insane search times, it is not appealing at all.

> MLG variants into Arena -> thousands more people would play it.

MLG playlist’s population peaks at around 1.6k. If it had increased search times, it would drop a bit more, although some players (Gamebattles kids, amateurs, pros) would such more instead of playing customs, I don’t think that MLG has a high enough population to support the Arena’s system without leading the playlist to its downfall in terms of numbers. I also think that the “Ranked” of Reach has to remain similar to the default playlists so that it makes sense for the more casual players who want to have an idea of where they stand in terms of skill.

On a very different note, I have just got done reviewing / tweaking the map variants I had made a while back for Arena. I will do some internal testing tomorrow then release them to the public for more testing and feedback, to end up submitting them to 343i for possible implementation in Matchmaking.