Objective Gametype Changes for Halo 4 (CTF, Assault etc.)

> Click here to read the article

So we know that CTF is definitely in Halo 4 thanks to this video as well as several other unconfirmed objective gametypes. We also know that they’re going to be changing it somewhat for the new game. The question is, how are they changing it? Well my friends, I might have a few ideas…

Objectives are Griefable
It’s no secret that Slayer is massively more popular than objective gametypes are. It’s also no secret that the ‘core’ objective playlist in Halo: Reach, Team Objective, is disasterously unpopular. Now, part of this is undoubtedly due to the fact that you get no direct reward in cR for completing objectives - so players don’t bother grabbing the Flag or planting the bomb. But surely since objective gametpyes can go on longer, and have no kill-limit, people after cR would prefer them? Well if you’re on the losing side, it can actually get really un-fun, and makes players not want to play those gametypes.

Extending games past what they would be if they were played only for the win is known as a ‘griefing’ behaviour. It existed in Halo 3, it existed in Halo 2 - and Objectives were comparatively unpopular there as well.

So how do you alter the way objective gametypes are played to make them ungriefable? To keep players completing the objectives? To keep the game moving, to keep it fun?

The Changes
Well, I’ve written an article (also linked above) that discusses how and why these objective gametypes are griefable, and also discusses a range of changes to nearly all the objective gametypes that are designed to help them be less griefable.

The main inspiration comes from two gametypes which are already in Reach: Invasion and 3 Plot Territories. In Invasion, if objectives are completed, the game goes on LONGER - completely opposite to CTF where the game can be very short if objectives aren’t completed. In 3 Plot Territories, if teams are relatively even and trading the central territory, the game goes on longer, but if one team secures dominance, it ends much more quickly - again, different to where

From this, I suggest the outline for variations of CTF and Assault where players initially get a very short amount of time, and get MORE time only if they complete the objective (capture flags or plant bombs). So if one team has an advantage and wants to get more kills, they at least have to complete the objective at the same time. Or if you’re on attack and can’t complete the objective (because the other side is too strong) then instead of facing minutes of failure, it’ll just end.

There are also a lot of other things in there but that is the main gist.

The Article
The Article Hub is here. That briefly outlines each of the 11 sections. It’s quite long, so if you don’t want to read the entire thing, each section has a bulleted list of the main points right at the start.

If you’re already familiar with the griefing potential of the gametypes, you can skip ahead to Part 6 where I discuss how you could make 3 Plot territories much better than it’s current implementation in Reach. Part 7 is an Invasion-ized version of 3-Plot (obviously, not applicable to Halo 4). Part 8 talks a little about Slayer then talks about new One Flag and Stockpile gametypes. Part 9 talks about two assault variants. Then part 10 talks about some fixes to Headhunter, then some crazier variants based on the Oddball and King themes.

Your Thoughts?
So what do you think Waypoint? Do you like it? If not, what’s wrong with it? What would you change? Do you think this may be like what 343i is planning for Halo 4?

I’m certain there are those of you that will react with great disgust at some of these gametypes, will wonder how I can possibly think CTF is flawed and will hail classic 2 Flag as the greatest thing ever. What I say to you is that even though they can still be fun, they are still flawed gametypes, are demonstrably unpopular and need to change. What’s more, as confirmed by Brad Welch, they WILL be changing in Halo 4 and there is nothing you can do to stop it. The only question left is: HOW?

While you’re all here, why not speculate with me? Perhaps your eyes might be opened to something new.

As an example, let me post the bit about Capture the Flag:

> - In one Flag, don’t play 4th round if already 2-0
> - But nicer to play just 2 rounds: once attack, once defence
> - Add extra time for attackers based on getting flags
> - Speedflag carrier settings (no penalty) to make capture easier
> - More about how quickly can grab flags rather than if at all

> So as I discussed, both Neutral and 2-Flag have serious issues. This leaves 1-Flag as a good base, but the format it is played in needs serious work. One obvious fix is to not play the 4th round if the first attackers already have a 2-0 lead: its pointless. However, having so many rounds can still lead to long games without much progress in the score. Instead let’s play 1-Flag in just two rounds, since that’s getting pretty familiar already: once on attack, once on defence.
> To stop the non-capture griefing problem we can take a few elements from Invasion and gate the available time-limit of the rounds dependent upon continuing captures. So attackers would get 2 minutes to make their first capture, then an additional 2 minutes to make their second, and an additional 2 to make more. The score limit could be something like 5 captures. This ensures that the game has to progress (more captures) otherwise it ends quickly. It also stops the current case where a 60 second capture is worth the same amount as a 4 minute 20 second capture: in my design, that quick capture would buy more time to score additional flags. This gives defenders more incentive to delay attackers every second they can and attackers to keep grabbing as many flags as they can: since the gametype is less about whether you can grab a flag at all, but more about how many Flags each team can grab.
> Alternatively, the additional time could be 4-1-1 (max 6 minutes each way, same as above), or for a slightly longer game, 4-2-2 (max 8 minute each way). That sort of decision would need an implementation to figure out but hopefully the notion is understood.
> The current Flag carrier settings (no AAs, 75% speed, no weapon use, melee only) are basically unchanged from their 2001 design and intentionally make Flag captures difficult – too difficult to get 5 captures in 6 minutes, I would argue, so we change this. With movement-enhancing AAs, it is no longer really necessary to slow down the carrier to such a degree – they can have default movement speed. But we could even go all the way and adopt the SpeedFlag notion of having zero-penalty Flag-carrying except a waypoint over your head.
> This would make the carrier able to get out of bases quickly, able to defend themselves, and in-progress Flag-Captures would be harder to stop for defenders. But all this isn’t a problem because even just delaying Flag-captures as much as possible is advantageous to defenders since that restricts time for subsequent captures.
> Like in Invasion, this gametype would need furnishing with an early-end condition: if the 2nd attackers managed to surpass the first attacker’s score, the game would end immediately since the result is already decided.
> Finally, let’s discuss sudden death, since its purpose is solid, but we don’t want it abused. Each team would get a single block of 30 seconds of sudden death (so this is half the sudden death the current 1-Flag allows). Team’s could use this at any point, but it would not replenish. So if a team gets to the 2 minute mark and they have not captured, they could use some of their sudden death time to make the capture (say, 10 seconds). But if they they are struggling again near the end of the 4th minute, they would only have 20 seconds of sudden death remaining to use. If they use most of it (25 seconds), then at the end of the round (6th minute) they would have very little sudden death time left (5 seconds). So the best course for attackers is to capture the first two flags as quickly as possible so if they need it they can use the full allowance later.
> So going back to the complaints about Flag game-lengths and non-activity, with this new CTF variant I described the maximum game-lengths of some scores would like this:
> 1st attacker score – 2nd attacker score (first round+second round+sudden death)
> ■0-0 = 5 minutes. (2+2+1)
> ■1-0 = 7 minutes (4+2+1)
> ■2-0 = 9 minutes. (6+2+1)
> ■5-0 = 9 minutes (6+2+1)
> ■5-5 = 13 minutes
> ■2-2 = 13 minutes
> ■0-1 = 5 minutes
> ■1-2 = 9 minutes (4+4+1)
> So, games that progress, where teams are playing the objective, are longer. Whereas ones where little happens, or one team has the distinct advantage, are shorter.
> Of course, if the stronger team attacks first, the game can still be fairly long. With this knowledge, it would be better if matchmaking made the weaker team attack first so the stronger team has to chase their score but, I digress.

Click here to read more about that as well as Slayer and Stockpile.