Well, everybody, I’d like to take a moment and discuss improvement with you- more importantly, I’d like to discuss how we should improve the game.
First, we need to discuss what improvement is. Improvement, in its most basic form, is making something better. Improvement should be nothing more. All too often, I see suggestions to “improve” the game that focus on gaining a population. While any improvements eventual goal is to gain a population, the basis of improvement needs to stay the same.
I loved Bungie, as a developer, because they really seemed to understand what improvement is. They didn’t make changes to make the game more realistic, or to bring in more players. They changed the game to make it better, nothing more.
Next, we have to ask where our improvement goal is. For example, improvement in CoD should focus on making the game more accessible- as the games success is based on being user friendly. Improvements on the Gears of War series should focus on making teamwork more effective- as the game itself is teamwork based. Halo, so far, has been based on individual skill. Teamwork can be the difference in evenly matched games, but the overall meta-game is based on the skill of individual players. As such, I feel improvement should focus on making skilled players better- while still providing a consistently even battlefield. The future of Halo is arguable, but I say it should be the same as the previous trilogy.
There are some obvious cases of changes that work against basic Halo, such as performance customization. Some “improvements” are a bit harder to spot, such as bloom. While bloom sounds good on paper, it didn’t work well in practice. First of all, it introduced an element of luck. While pacing your shot well can win you most battles, it allows the losing player to get lucky and make a quick comeback. This comeback has nothing to do with skill. Bloom also reduced the need to multitask. As crouching reduced the effect on bloom, most battles now feature much less strafing and jumping. Players no longer traverse the map while fighting, as it decreases their chances of winning a fight.
So now I ask you to look at your own suggestions, or look at another user’s ideas and ask yourself: What is the immediate goal of this change. If the answer is anything other than to make the game better, why should it be there? While the eventual goal of improvement is to gain/keep more players, how we gain those players is the big question. “New” gameplay make bring in a few more players, but if those changes don’t make the better- those players will soon leave, along with the players that were already there.
Hope you take this into account in future posts. That’s it for now.