Every Thursday for the last 7 years (originally started 16 years ago) our Halo squad has come together to put aside work, family, and real-world obligations to lose track for a few hours of our week, crack open a couple of ice-cold Dews, pop some fresh corn, and share a few laughs while we played Halo. Over the years we have added a few more to our squad when we needed subs for when people took vacations or had other obligations pop up, leaving us with a good group of 8-10 guys in our mid-30s to mid-40s. Our occupations range from political advisor to pharmacist, and orthodontist/dentist to professor. The majority of us have played Halo since 2001 and have a collection of Halo memorabilia cluttering our homes. We all have disposable income and would LOVE to spend money on the franchise we center our friendship on, but unfortunately Infinite is tearing us from Halo.
Last night, after an attempt to encourage some of the guys to keep playing the game with me, the last of them broke down and are fed up trying to find the fun in Infinite. I have talked with them all to try and figure out WHAT is wrong with Infinite compared to all the other titles in the franchise. And for context, Halo 5 is our collective favorite multiplayer of all of them.
I love the game, and have a lot of fun playing it. But that’s just me. Not to be a braggart, but I am the best player of our squad in Infinite. I am in no way skilled enough to compete, but for our group I have the best stats. But I also put in more time with the game, practice in the range, against bots, and am invested in getting better. Everyone else wants to play Infinite for the same reason we have played Halo for the past 20 years - TO HAVE FUN!
We identified four main points to the game that cause frustration and why they are having a hard time having fun with the game:
No Casual Modes
Lack of Content
I will elaborate on each point based on the feedback from my squad-mates.
- Game mode selection: There is no option to play the game modes we want to play. We are forced to play the maps and modes chosen for us. We love playing objective based modes, but even in quick play we are often forced into slayer matches. We want to be able to select CTF & Oddball only matches, or whatever game mode we WANT to play.
- MMR is too sweaty, no balance: Since I play more and am a statistically better player than my squad, when we play together we are playing against others at my skill level, and then it becomes a sweat fest even in the modes we enjoy playing. Why isn’t there an option like in Halo 5 to choose balance, expanded, or focused for our search preferences?
- Server selection: We all live in different states and we notice we all get thrown into a west coast server where my connection is stronger than everyone else, so they experience more lag and connection errors than I do. Even if someone else is party leader, we still seem to connect to west coast as opposed to something closer to them.
- Forced cross-platform: We all choose to play on Xbox because that is what we are accustomed to and what we feel comfortable playing on. But in every other franchise you can choose to turn off. Why can’t we choose this when playing non-ranked? This would help with people complaining about cheaters as most of the cheating comes from PC players.
- Can’t casually pick up any weapon: It feels like you have to master each weapon or it’s useless. The mechanics of each weapon are so different and unique that if you don’t spend time in the shooting range or play hundreds of hours, you can’t control the weapon.
- What happened to my shot?!: Hit box size seems smaller, bullet magnetism seems less, and shot registration seems to be inconsistent.
- Close combat weapons: Sword is inconsistent, hammer takes forever to swing and often feels like it does personal damage when hitting someone, and why are there no close-combat weapons you can kill an enemy without having to do a melee combo?
No Casual Play
- Every mode and match feels competitive: Why can’t we play casually? Infinite feels like you need to play daily to keep up with skill level. The reason Halo 2, Halo 3, and even Halo 4 are games people remember is that you can miss playing for 5 year, and still have fun and play like you never stopped. I stopped playing Infinite for 4 days, and I felt like I needed to play bot matches just to remember how to shoot each weapon!
- Vehicles feel useless: Warthogs bounce around everywhere and have no control, wasps and banshees are made out of paper, tanks and wraiths are seldom seen and when they are, how can you maneuver through the 3 maps we have that have narrow roads and just stuff everywhere?
- Challenge system doesn’t allow player freedom: We understand the need for challenges, but when I am supposed to play/win a certain number of CTF/Oddball/Strongholds games, but I can’t CHOOSE to play those, I am getting forced to play the games the way YOU want me to play. I don’t get to have the player freedom to play what I want and be rewarded for playing.
- Custom games are basic and broken: We can’t even create a favorite mode of our squad, even if we tried. Husky Raid. We can’t even create a simple Fiesta CTF game. What is wrong with creating games we want to play, be able to save the settings, and be lined up for next time we get together? Instead, we have limited functions to what we can do, and then we have to spend 45 minutes putting together the settings again because they won’t save.
Lack of content
- Core game modes missing: King of the Hill, Infection, Fiesta CTF (Husky Raid), Speed Flag, Griffball (although this wouldn’t be as fun with how the hammer currently swings), One Flag, Rockets Only/Rock & Rails, Team Snipers. Are we just supposed to wait for future updates to have these modes we have grown to love, but won’t be able to find matches since the player pool will be so small when they finally come?
- Limited “sandbox”: We understand this is a live service game, and new maps, weapons, and equipment will come, but it just feels like there are 5-6 guns worth anything to shoot. What about the saw, fuel rod cannon, Spartan laser/rail gun, smg, dmr, Covenant Beam Rifle, classic shotgun, or a plasma pistol that actually works on vehicles?
- Events aren’t rewarding: The “Limited Time Offer” on event modes and rewards isn’t appealing. Not when we have others things going on in life that doesn’t allow us the opportunity to play Halo daily, login daily, or complete the list of activities that are only available for a limited time. What happened to commendations for achieving something (i.e. 500 headshots for this visor, 100 back smacks for this emblem, etc.)?
- UI is confusing to navigate: Why is everything in a horizontal line to look at? There is so much to scroll through and so much empty space on the screen. Can’t this be utilized better?
This was long winded, but is something that needed to be said from this small group of friends trying to cling onto the fun and spirit of Halo! The game FEELS like Halo, but it just isn’t keeping our attention. The FUN isn’t there. We are well established in our careers and aren’t trying to make it professional in Halo Esports or becoming streamers.
Since these aspects we laid out are what we think are missing, my friends are choosing to go play other games that have these features, create those casual gamer feelings (Fortnite, Rocket League, Call of Duty) or are just hanging up their controller to retire.
We just want to get together once a week as a group of friends, have some dumb fun and laugh at the crazy rag doll effects from some crazy shot we hit! Halo is for creating memories and visiting another universe with your friends to have a moment to leave the troubles of this one behind. I hope this feedback is seen and is helpful.