Playlist, Challenge, and XP Feedback

343, please hear us out. This game feels amazing to play. The work you have put into making the game feel fresh and new, while still distinctly Halo is very evident, and satisfying to experience, especially in a long-term, free-to-play format which can evolve over time - it’s very exciting.

However, there are a few systems in place at the time of writing that cause concern for many in the community, and I wanted to highlight that here as feedback, as many already have.

  • The lack of playlist options means that players are unable to choose modes that suit or satisfy their preferences, and lead to a slog of unenjoyable matches. I worry that this might incentivise quitting games early to restart the search in the lobby (although I’m sure there are punishments for this behaviour, it seems like forcing players to endure matches they don’t want to play runs counter to the goal of having fun and enjoying the game). Having a system where players can cue up for the specific game modes they want to play would keep players happy and allow them to engage in their own terms, rather than to slog or grind through matches that feel unrewarding.
  • The challenge system at the moment requires players complete specific game modes, and in some cases, to ‘win 3 games’ of a specific mode. This exacerbates the problem of having no control over what modes you want to cue up for, as now players have to spend more time in matchmaking to randomly encounter the game mode required for the challenge. The challenge to win these modes is especially frustrating. It would be more accessible, without sacrificing the root of the challenge, if challenges were game mode-generic and could be completed in any mode, rather than forcing players into modes they don’t enjoy (and demanding they then win at those modes).
  • XP is currently tied entirely to completing challenges. This causes a number of problems. Progression is far too slow, with the reward for challenges being around 200-250xp, and the aforementioned specificity of the challenges means that you generally can’t complete more than 2 or 3 in one match (especially as more game mode-specific challenges crop up). There is no XP/progression reward or incentive to play well, or to complete the game objectives, nor to play cooperatively with teammates (i.e. making use of team vehicles, assists, or the callout system). There are no rewards for achieving difficult or ‘impressive’ medals. Because progression is only achievable through challenges, players are instead incentivised to seek out specific weapons or game modes, and not engage with the match they are in. This could lead to unsporting or uncooperative behaviour, or players quitting out to pursue progression. It also feels as though the game does not value the player’s time put into it, when completing a match results in a miniscule amount of XP regardless of how they played. It currently takes 20 matches to rank up once in the battle pass. This is a glacial pace.
  • The challenges are boring. The current challenges to get X number of kills with a specific weapon or complete/win X number of games in a specific mode, amount to no more than a checklist with no personality. The random nature of matchmaking only drags this out longer and leaves players bored as it takes up more of their time, and the only rewards in the game are given for very easy or very arbitrary accomplishments. A challenge system should pose a challenge to its players, not in an unhealthy or frustratingly impossible way, but as a means to incentivise engaging with the sandbox and playing the game creatively, perhaps in ways the player may not ordinarily do (not by forcing game modes or weapons either). The game has a variety of interesting sandbox elements - vehicles, projectiles, physics, new movement mechanics and equipment - and currently there is no recognition or reward for utilising these. It is disinteresting to look up the challenge menu between matches only to see boring, arbitrary challenges such as “kill an enemy spartan with the bulldog” or “complete a game of oddball”.

All of this is to say that the current systems seem to be designed to drag out the time it takes to progress through the battle pass, arbitrarily. Players are left without freedom of choice in what modes they play or how they engage with the game, and are instead forced to sit through match after match waiting for the requisite game mode to be randomly selected for them. Once in the game, the only actions worth any XP are simple, disinteresting tasks that also rely on randomness (weapon spawns, availability), and time consumption (winning X number of matches, getting X number of kills). After completing several matches, regardless of engagement or achievement, the player may only be a single rank further in the premium battle pass that they spent money and time on. Because of this, the cosmetic options are unlocked at a glacial pace and there is little to no diversity in the spartans on the battlefield, which means zero personal expression. Seeing a player with a coveted armour set or coating does not instill a desire to work for that unlock, it instead seems daunting and exhausting as it may take many weeks of grinding to get there.

So, with that said, a more engaging progression system might look like this:

  • Award XP for playing the match through. This incentivises completing games and allows for a steady, reasonable progress through the battle pass.
  • Award additional XP for racking up kills and general medals (double kills, sprees, etc). This incentivises playing well and rewards skilled play.
  • Award additional XP for completing objectives. This incentivises engaging with the game mode and playing competitively, as well as rewarding players who contribute to their team rather than lone wolving.
  • Award additional XP for playing cooperatively, including assists, callouts, and team vehicle use (perhaps tied into completing objectives as well). This rewards players who work as a team and who engage either socially or cooperatively in good sport.
  • Award bonus XP for challenges. These should be large XP boosts and are awarded for achieving impressive feats or engaging with the sandbox in unique or creative ways. This is an optional objective with a big reward for playing the game enthusiastically, rather than a checklist of generic weapon kills or game mode completion. This could also tie into seasonal ‘easter egg’ additions similar to the moa statues added to Halo 3 in MCC recently.

Thank you for listening to the community, and for being open to feedback on the game, I hope that these issues may be addressed in the future, as I think this would benefit the game’s longevity greatly and prevent player burnout from setting in too soon. I am glad to see that the progression system is being investigated but as many players have already pointed out, there needs to be a redesign of this system before Halo Infinite can be ready to compete with other live service games. Keep up the amazing work and I hope to see an update in a future Inside Infinite in the near future!