I have been waiting for months for a title update. There were several things that I wanted to see fixed after the Halo Reach Beta. My biggest issue was bloom. I am quite disappointed in Bungie for not doing anything at all about this problem. I expected to at least have a custom game option in the final game, but not even that made it into Reach. I was afraid Reach was going to stay like that for ever. I’m glad 343 Industries has finally released a title update to show us their loyalty to the competetive fanbase.
Before I start about bloom I’d like to give my opinion on some of the other changes. Armor lock and invisibility have been nerfed. In my opinion armor abilities don’t belong in competetive gametypes anyway, so if they stay away from those gametypes then I’m satisfied. Bleedthrough has returned from previous Halo games, but I’ve barely noticed it because the DMR and pistol are so powerful. That also solves the AR rushing problem, that often occurred in Halo 3. The sword block has been removed. I never really had any trouble with this, because sprint made it a very deadly weapon. The sword block prevented the sword from dominating in every close range situation. In the TU Beta playlist however, the pistol has caused an increase in close range kill times, which balances the removal of sword block.
Now to the interesting topic: bloom.
Bloom doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. It’s the way it was implemented in Reach that many fans (including me) hate. Of course it does take some skill to know when to spam the trigger and when not to, but any decent player will know that at the closer ranges you’ll have to start spamming. This makes close range DMR fights very random, because there’s no way to control your bloom. ‘Then don’t spam the trigger’ Pacing your shots at close range will decrease your chances of getting a kill, because the spammer will have a higher rate of fire, so you’re forced to spam too. Basicly bloom takes away the skill to aim and replaces it with luck. With the TU beta playlist, we get to choose between two gametypes: 85% bloom and zero bloom.
85% bloom is a step in the right direction. The decreased bloom increases the kill times and speeds up the game. The bloom stays accurate for a longer amount of time than in default Reach, which also requires players to aim accurately for a longer amount of time, increasing the skill gap. Despite the decreased bloom, it still suffers from the randomness of the bloom.
Zero bloom is currently the best gametype in my opinion. The bullet goes exactly in the middle of your reticle, no randomness involved. Good players get rewarded for hitting their shots, while the bad players get punished for missing their shots. Isn’t that what we’ve all asked for? According to some people, the DMR and pistol are now overpowered. I disagree. If you want to beat the enemy team you’ll still have to take control over the power weapons. Rocket launchers, snipers, swords, etc. are all very useful in the appropriate situation. The only weapons that are worthless now are assault rifles, plasma repeaters, needlers, concussion rifles, etc., but these weapons didn’t add a lot to the game anyway. They feel like unnecessary additions. Even in default Reach the DMR often beat these weapons.
Zero bloom isn’t perfect however. Currently the pistol is best for close range and DMR for long range. It’s not that big of a deal but I would prefer to only have the DMR, because it get’s annoying having to switch between the two all the time. Also, it feels very easy to kill somebody now. A DMR fight relies too much on shooting the other person first. By increasing motion speed and removing strafe acceleration, strafing will become more skillful and will make it harder to hit your opponent.
That’s everything I have to say about the TU Beta so far. Keep up the good work 343!
(Excuse me for grammar mistakes, English is not my first language)