How You Should Be Looking At Halo 5

Ever since Halo: Reach came out, fans all over the world have been begging for a true Halo game. One that is equal and competitive with a wide skill gap and stays true to its roots. Now, some people may ask what Halo’s roots are exactly. Some will answer that its roots are that of the Arena Shooter, others will be more specific and say Quake or Unreal Tournament. And while Halo is an Arena Shooter, no one asks what kind of Arena Shooter it is. The reason? Because no one thinks of Arena Shooter as having any sub-genres of its own. And for the most part that’s true because most Arena Shooters are all very similar, with minute differences here and there to differentiate them from one another. But other than that, they are an Arena Shooter through and through, so no need to label them as anything else. And back in the day, Arena Shooters were the only kind of shooter there was. Then Call of Duty came along and carved its own niche because it just couldn’t compete in the Arena Shooter genre, which Halo had impacted greatly. So when players think of Halo, they think Arena Shooter, and that was true back in the CE/2/3 days. Reach and Halo 4 obviously deviated far from what an Arena Shooter yes, yet somehow managing to retain the core of Halo(This is debatable for many of you I know, just roll with it for the sake of this post.). But the fact was that while it had the name and the look, it didn’t have the feel of Halo. The mechanics of the games just didn’t work and you couldn’t really throw them out either which made the problem worse. So what did players ask for? They asked for a game that was like Halo 2, which to many is the high point of Halo’s multiplayer. So for Halo 2’s 10th Anniversary, they were given Halo 2 Anniversary multiplayer, a Director’s Cut of Halo 2’s multiplayer that played very much like the original Halo 2, but with some tweaks that made the gameplay even better and filled in some holes in the sandbox. And for the most part it has been greatly received… by the Halo community mostly.

And that brings me to the point of this whole thread. See, Halo 2, and forgive me for saying this because I really do love the game… it’s outdated. Yeah, it’s still fun, but you aren’t going to attract anyone new with old gameplay. That’s like asking someone whose played Super Mario 3D World to go back and play Super Mario 64 or the original Super Mario Bros. In this modern age of gaming, the classic Arena Shooter is losing relevance in the industry. Halo is one of the last vanguards of the classic Arena Shooter, and it is quite apparent that it is struggling to keep up with the times. Halo has for the most part been written off. I used to heard the whole Halo vs Battlefield vs Call of Duty debate back during Halo 3’s reign, but now Halo is never mentioned alongside the competition. Why? Because it just doesn’t appeal to the vast majority anymore. It appeals to a niche community of loyal fans. And this has put 343 Industries in a very undesirable position. On one hand, they have to please these long time fans who form the very foundation of Halo’s multiplayer success. And on the other hand, they have to figure out a way to innovate or evolve the game without making only minor changes like Halo 3’s Equipment, in order to draw in new fans. Not the people who play Call of Duty or Battlefield mind you, but just new fans in general. The main problem is that it’s a very serious game of Tug of War. The competitive community tugs really hard to try and get 343 to just forget about the new guys and cater to them. Give them Halo 2.5 because that game was great and all games should be like Halo 2. And with the recent reveal of Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer gameplay, that same community is divided heavily. Roughly half of them really love what they’re seeing, and even the pro players who got to play the Beta were amazed at how great the game plays despite the inclusion of Spartan Abilities. Then there’s the other half who are not happy at all and already demanding that changes be made before the Beta even gets out the door and before they even try it. And here is the problem I keep seeing: You keep using Quake or Unreal Tournament as a measuring stick. If Halo does not play exactly like Quake, Unreal Tournament, or the first three Halo games in every way, shape, or form, it’s automatically horrible. But see, Halo 5: Guardians is still an Arena Shooter. But it is not the Classic Arena Shooter. It is a Next-Gen Arena Shooter, an Arena Shooter that will define future Arena Shooters.

People are so focused on those old Arena Shooters that they can’t picture an Arena Shooter any other way. It’s like thinking that a chocolate bar is entirely chocolate for years, and then you go to take a bite out of a brand new chocolate bar, only to realize that the inside chocolate has been replaced by something that isn’t chocolate. You can’t imagine a chocolate bar that isn’t 100% chocolate inside and out. “That’s impossible, you can’t make chocolate bars any other way. They only work one specific way and that’s it. Anything else isn’t a chocolate bar anymore.” That’s the gist of this dilemma. People only see Arena Shooters one way. They can’t picture Arena Shooters playing any differently than they already have. They don’t mind tweaked settings or very minor additions that don’t affect gameplay because the game is still exactly the same as it was and is thus an Arena Shooter.

Halo 5: Guardians is the potential benchmark for the next generation of Arena Shooters. Descope is back, players all start on equal footing, the focus is 4v4 gameplay, the sandbox is completely balanced, and all players have the exact same abilities. The new additions are Spartan Abilities which include a versatile Thruster Pack for enhanced maneuverability, Ground Pound which uses your Thruster Pack to slam you into the ground within a small proximity to you and any direct hits on another player will result in an instant kill while you will be exposed in the preparation for a ground pound, Sprint which allows you to cross distances much faster and make a hasty retreat with the drawback that your shields will not recharge when in use and has a cooldown period meaning that even if you escape an engagement you are still likely to die if another player finds you quickly enough, Slide allows you to reach cover quicker and safer than usual with the stipulation that you must be sprinting in order to use it and you are able to use your gun while sliding and avoiding enemy bullets, Clamber allows you to grab onto ledges that you have just barely missed with a normal jump, Charge uses your thrusters to bash into an opponent with normal strikes taking down their shield and a hit to the back for an instant kill while a complete miss will leave the player completely vulnerable, and lastly Smart Scope is just a fancy version of the classic zoom with no attributes actually changing. Your accuracy will not increase, your movement speed will not slow, and firing from the hip is just as good as using the Smart Scope. The Smart Scope is more or less just for new players who need the extra assistance in aiming and it does it in a believable way without interfering with gameplay. Essentially what these abilities do is make you feel like more of a supersoldier with far greater mobility than ever before. These abilities emphasize skill and precise timing to make the most out of them, meaning that new players will likely fumble around with them while the more skilled players will know when to utilize them to their full effect, thus creating a skill gap. And this is what sets Halo 5: Guardians apart from its progenitors. While Classic Arena Shooters rely solely on base movement speed and perhaps a double jump, Halo 5: Guardians has expanded greatly upon the mobility of the player opening up new strategies that never existed before. It has expanded upon the core of the Arena Shooter, it has evolved it. Perhaps not innovated, but the combat has indeed evolved, thus breathing new life into a dying genre.

And so I ask of you. Please stop thinking of Halo 5: Guardians in terms of what a Classic Arena Shooter is. Start thinking of it as what the next generation of Arena Shooters should be. Halo 5: Guardians is an entirely new beast born from classic gameplay of the Arena Shooter and the advancements in gameplay of the modern era. Stop trying to make every Halo fit a very old mold. It is far past time that a new mold was made, and Halo 5 may very well be the one to make that new mold from which newer Arena Shooters will be made.

(Yeah, couldn’t fit it all in one post, sorry. I just had a lot to say and didn’t feel like cutting any of it.)

Nice write-up.

The only thing I disagree on is clamber and Sprint emphasizing skill and precise timing.

Clamber is you missing a jump that you failed at and then hitting a button to make the game go : “oh we’re sorry you missed the jump, here we’ll put you on the ledge anyways.”

Sprint’s just a gimmick that actually doesn’t do anything to benefit the gameplay and is just there to make the game more realistic and/or appeal to the modern shooter crowd.

Edit: I’m fine with 343i trying to “create a new mold” as you have said, but there needs to be custom game options support and at least one playlist where all of this extraneous stuff is removed and the competitive players have somewhere to go play Halo 2.5.

> 2533274875705074;3:
> Nice write-up.
>
> The only thing I disagree on is clamber and Sprint emphasizing skill and precise timing.
>
> Clamber is you missing a jump that you failed at and then hitting a button to make the game go : “oh we’re sorry you missed the jump, here we’ll put you on the ledge anyways.”
>
> Sprint’s just a gimmick that actually doesn’t do anything to benefit the gameplay and is just there to make the game more realistic and/or appeal to the modern shooter crowd.
>
> Edit: I’m fine with 343i trying to “create a new mold” as you have said, but there needs to be custom game options support and at least one playlist where all of this extraneous stuff is removed and the competitive players have somewhere to go play Halo 2.5.

I definitely agree with the custom games support, but I am also wary of giving those competitive purists(No offense intended) a Halo 2.5 playlist. The reason being that as many have often said, these kinds of mobility based abilities alter the size and shape of maps. It has to be that way otherwise it just doesn’t work. A Halo 2.5 playlist would essentially be stripping players of these essential traversal abilities and placing them on a map that wasn’t meant for them, which in turn will incite riots and even more hatred because the gameplay is now slower on bigger maps.

As for Sprint being a gimmick, I will give you that in Reach and 4, Sprint just felt so odd, like it didn’t belong there. I will also agree that it is there to add a sense of realism. But at the same time I disagree in the case of Halo 5 in particular. Why? Because I think they may have found a way to make Sprint fairly balanced and a true gameplay mechanic. The only other reason I could see for it being included against all odds is because of Slide. Slide seems like a really cool ability, but it requires Sprint. Without Sprint you have no slide. Normal base movement speed would not make for a realistic slide even if you sped it up. So perhaps for once, Sprint isn’t just some gimmick. That is something the Beta will answer.

You forget what makes an arena shooter an arena shooter how ever. Halo gave BTB to players who wanted something other than arena shooters , because Arena shooters rely on small maps and weapon control. Once you increase map size to fit a faster base move mechanic it starts to move away from Arena based combat.

The name Arena even says small. I understand an Arena is not a small building , until you compare it to a stadium or amphitheater(including natural surroundings).

> 2533274875705074;3:
> Clamber is you missing a jump that you failed at and then hitting a button to make the game go : “oh we’re sorry you missed the jump, here we’ll put you on the ledge anyways.”

Clamber should have come along a lot earlier; we see in cutscenes that Chief and other Spartans can grab onto ledges and pull themselves up if they almost make a jump or are falling, but you can’t do it in-game? Did Spartan training overwrite the instinctual need for someone to grab onto a ledge and try to pull themselves up?

> 2533274811959854;6:
> > 2533274875705074;3:
> > Clamber is you missing a jump that you failed at and then hitting a button to make the game go : “oh we’re sorry you missed the jump, here we’ll put you on the ledge anyways.”
>
>
> Clamber should have come along a lot earlier; we see in cutscenes that Chief and other Spartans can grab onto ledges and pull themselves up if they almost make a jump or are falling, but you can’t do it in-game? Did Spartan training overwrite the instinctual need for someone to grab onto a ledge and try to pull themselves up?

You don’t use lore or story to craft a competitive gametype. People who make mistakes like mistiming their jumps need to be suffer the consequences to create a skillgap. Otherwise there’s nothing to differentiate those who are adept at timing their jumps and those who are bad at it but use their clutch-grab to climb onto platforms anyways.

While we’re at it, since players don’t accurately simulate a Spartan 2’s level of accuracy during multiplayer matches, should we slap an aimbot onto every player as well?

Keep it in casual multiplayer and the campaign where it belongs, but not in competitive multiplayer.

> 2533274801802416;4:
> I definitely agree with the custom games support, but I am also wary of giving those competitive purists(No offense intended) a Halo 2.5 playlist. The reason being that as many have often said, these kinds of mobility based abilities alter the size and shape of maps. It has to be that way otherwise it just doesn’t work. A Halo 2.5 playlist would essentially be stripping players of these essential traversal abilities and placing them on a map that wasn’t meant for them, which in turn will incite riots and even more hatred because the gameplay is now slower on bigger maps.
>
> As for Sprint being a gimmick, I will give you that in Reach and 4, Sprint just felt so odd, like it didn’t belong there. I will also agree that it is there to add a sense of realism. But at the same time I disagree in the case of Halo 5 in particular. Why? Because I think they may have found a way to make Sprint fairly balanced and a true gameplay mechanic. The only other reason I could see for it being included against all odds is because of Slide. Slide seems like a really cool ability, but it requires Sprint. Without Sprint you have no slide. Normal base movement speed would not make for a realistic slide even if you sped it up. So perhaps for once, Sprint isn’t just some gimmick. That is something the Beta will answer.

Why? It’s one playlist that would be given to competitive players. Since you don’t have a competitive mindset you don’t understand how frustrating playing default Reach could be. Without the MLG playlist competitive players had no arena to play in. Or Halo 4, which had Legendary BRs that later got shoved into Infinity Slayer due to 343i’s poor decision-making. The competitive players can just use Forge to craft the maps that will work with their settings, like they did in Reach.

And removing Sprint doesn’t make the game slower. Sprint itself makes the game slower, because your base movement speed has to be lowered in order so that you have a reason to Sprint, and the maps are made larger than they need to be so that there’s actual areas to Sprint in. Which is why I say it’s a gimmick. It’s a placebo effect to make the average player go “omg I’m moving really fast” with the motion blur at the sides of the screen and the gun animation bobbing up and down, but it hinders the flow of gameplay by creating prolonged periods where people are just Sprinting to reach their opponents to shoot them, or, worse, running away and prolonging fights with Sprint.

Whereas if everyone was just moving at 200% base speed and could still shoot, throw grenades, jump, etc. instead of being forced into going into one direction with no tactical options available to you like what Sprint is, the gameplay would be much faster.