Importance of Power to the Individual

I have been looking over the success of previous Halos and looking at their success vs more modern Halos. I feel that I have found the reason that newer Halos are not as enticing and do not promote longevity as much.

The problem is that we have made the individual weaker.

Now what do I mean by making the individual weaker?

TBH, it is really hard to pin down exactly what I mean by that. I think the easiest definition I can make is this:

“A strong individual is able to drastically effect the outcome of the game either by skill, supporting team-mates, controlling power items, ect… A weak indiivdual is unable to drastically effect the outcome of the game because they are unable to make important plays due to the slow kill times, players running away, and mechanics that help poor/unskilled play work.”

Basically it comes down to this. When you give the player the ability and capability to make a difference, they are able to feel powerful. This power makes them feel good and allows them to enjoy the game for a longer time. It also encourages them do improve their skill in order to get this enjoyment more, making them want to play the game over a longer period of time.

Making a difference should come from a combination of smart play and skilled play along with teamwork.

I want to point out that empowering the individual does not detract from teamwork at all. Being able to do a lot of damage and change heavily effect the match encourages things like map control, power weapon control, and flanking.

I will try to identify several of the problems below:

1) slow kill time and avoiding death

If it takes forever for a player to get a kill, then they are unable to feel powerful. Halo 1, 2 and 3 all had very quick kill times and were the primary popular games of their time. Halo reach with bloom however took significantly longer to get kills, and was much less popular. Furthermore, Halo reach added a lot of mechanics that made prolonging life much easier making the individual even less powerful. Things like sprint, armor lock, and jetpack allowed players to avoid death without much thought or skill. Because of this, a player cannot get awesome kills and make huge plays that shift the momentum of the game.

Halo 4 also had this problem upon release. Between sprint, and the weak carbine, br, and Light rifle, the game played too slow. In addition, a lot of Armor abilities help prolong life such as hard-light shield, Promethean vision, thruster pack, ect… However, in Halo 4, you got an AA AND you got sprint at the same time even further pushing the amount of time someone could stay alive.

All of this combined to make it almost impossible to kill more than 1 player within a single clip. Halo 2 and 3 however allowed you to kill up to 3 players with a clip if you positioned yourself in a way that you had an advantage.

So slow kill time make weak individuals. The solution to this is to make kill times faster and/or remove elements that allow players to run away from bad situations.

2) Map/Weapon control

In previous Halos, a person could do a lot of damage from locations known as power positions. These kind of exist in new Halos, but not nearly to the same extent. The only one I can think of is the top of the base on Abandon, and that map’s sight-lines are so closed off, and kill times are so slow that someone standing there cannot do much damage.

Compare this to places like Pink tower on midship in Halo 2/3 where one player could put shots down across the map and completely shut down players from taking that route of the map if they play well from pink. This allowed one player to make a huge difference in the game. Same with Lockout. If you controlled snipe tower, you could control a map.

These maps were so popular for a reason. It is because they had heavy elements of map control. Everybody wanted to play them over and over. Newer maps aren’t a well received because they don’t have much control. People avoid maps like adrift because it is just a series of hallways with no places that are really controllable. Haven on the other hand has principals of controlling top mid and mohawk area, along with the hallways, which is why it is voted for so often in matchmaking.

Maps with power positions are simply better than ones without power positions. Period.

The second element is weapon control. In past Halos, you had to move around the map to get weapons. You had to understand the map and control the locations where the power weapons and powerups were going to spawn. THIS IS CRITICAL TO HALO.

When you can use knowledge to get powerweapons, it allows you to use those weapons to make a drastic impact on the game.

This is something that went really wrong with Halo 4. The weapons were no longer placed in areas that required knowledge and good play to get. They were randomly dropped around the map meaning that everybody could get power weapons even if they were playing poorly.

This mechanic was created to remove the rewards from good play and reward equalize bad play. This equalized the playing field and prevents someone from making a huge difference to the game. It also de-emphasises map control.

Sprint, instant respawn, and slow kill times also detract from map control. This is for a few reasons:

-Slow kill times mean that people can just run away if they get in the line of sight of a power position
-Slow kill times lower the effective range of that power position’s influence making it less important to the map
-Sprint allows people to get away from the LOS of the power position
-Sprint allows people to quickly get to a power position, making it inherently less powerful
-Instant respawn allows dead people to not get punished for dying and allows them to quickly break map control after dying.

This makes map control almost insignificant, so the superior tactic becomes simply running around and trying to outgun someone. This detracts from intelligent play which is essential to empowering the individual.

3)Randomness

A little randomness is not gamebreaking, but the more RNG elements that are in a game, the less important individual play becomes. This is because RNG is inherently designed to level the playing feild for people who are playing dumb, without skill, and without teamwork.

There is a reason that Mario party has so much RNG. It is designed so that a 6 year old can still win against someone who spends 8 hours a day practicing mario party.

It is also why Fighter games have almost no RNG and are inherently more skillful because of it.

One game is designed entirely around allowing everybody to win, while the other type of game is designed entirely around mastering the game

Things like random ordinance make it where a person who is not playing well can get an incineration cannon and roll over the game even if they didn’t earn it.

Now I hear you saying to yourself: Well both people can get it. The one playing well and the one not playing well. This is true, but because it is random, the person playing poorly has the same chance of getting it as the person playing well. Lets say that there is a 1v1 and player A is 50% better than player B. Logically, Player A should get 15 kills and player B should get 10. However, random ordinance is 50-50 and therefore plays in the favor of player B because he can now win. In a non-random game, Player A wins 100% of the time 15-10 (assuming they both play with the same skill ever

Randomness allows player B to win sometimes. Lets say that with luck, player B can win 10% of games by getting a lucky sniper or something like that which allows him to control Player A. If Player A gets the ordinance, he wins either way, but if Player B gets the ordinance, he can win.

100% is a hell of a lot more encouraging of good play than 90%. Random things level the playing field and decrease from the influence of individual players when a poor player can succeed with less effort.

When you don’t encourage players get better and allow them to drastically effect the game, you decrease from the longevity of the game.

There is a reason why people are still playing Starcraft Brood War to this day despite it being over a decade old. It allows progression for players.

This progression is real rather than contrived. It is not a simple “you get X experience points for playing and you get a cool title to go along with it.” It is substantial. If you start a new Battle net account, the progression you got from the depth of the game carries over. It is real and you actually can feel good about it. This is also why fighting games are so popular.

Basically, all I am saying is to do things that increase the pace of the game and reward people who are playing well. Don’t make in-game mechanics that try to handicap smart players. That is the job of the matchmaking system.

If the game is matching average players with pros, or pros with noobs (which both Halo Reach and to a lower example Halo 4 did), then you have a bad matchmaking system that needs adjustment.

Very good post, my friend! You’ve described one thing that is crucial to a great Halo experience that has been lacking in Halo 4. I sincerely hope that 343i keeps this idea in mind when they’re creating Halo 5, and use it to give us a Halo game that feels like Halo.

Even though I’m a casual player, and don’t care much about whether I win or lose, I must say that the game being based on skill and smart play has always been far more enjoyable to me than the randomness of Halo 4.

Kill times are great now. Any faster will be too fast.
EDIT: Other than that, I agree.

> Kill times are great now. Any faster will be too fast.
> EDIT: Other than that, I agree.

I think kill times are just within the correct range now (after the update), but the problem is that we still have elements like sprint and bullet spread that prolong longevity of the enemy and make shooting cross map a pointless en devour.

If the BR spread were tightened and sprint removed, I would be fine with the current kill times. However, atm, the kill times are not fast enough to offset the negative effects of sprint and spread.

Very good post and an interesting read. I honestly couldn’t agree more.

I remember getting these feelings back in Halo 3. The adrenaline rush of a close game and getting the final kill was just amazing. It made me feel like a real Spartan as cheesy as that may sound LOL. Halo Reach and Halo 4 have only presented me with hollowness. Why play when most of the time, there is no challenge and people don’t even care to win?

This is only part of the remedy, we still have a whole lot more to cover, but this will at least suggest many ideas for Halo 5 to start or base off of by fixing the broken mechanics, now this is what actually made MLG Halo back in the day today’s Call of… I don’t need to answer…
I only get that adrenaline from the past games in 1v1s
Bravo sir, Bravo! You have actually left me speechless.

> It is also why Fighter games have almost no RNG and are inherently more skillful because of it.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a good example of a fighting game turned into crap due to random elements being introduced (i.e. Tripping).

Anyways, I agree.