Sandbox Design in Reach

Halo 2 and 3 are often dubbed as the best multiplayer games of the decade, and for good reason. Between these two fantastic games, the weapon sandbox stayed relatively the same. There were several tweaks , some new things like brute vehicles and equipment, but the weapon sandbox in both games is very close. This did a lot of good in multiplayer, because the veterans from Halo 2 had a much smaller change between games.

The Problem: The problem with Halo: Reach, is that it was a very drastic change from Halo 3’s weapons to Reach. The DMR has infinite range, where the BR did not. The DMR is also a hitscan weapon (instantly hits target the second you pull the trigger. The BR was not hitscan, and players had to lead their shots to be accurate at long range. This tends to break down the open maps with little or no cover, because I can shoot from teleporter to teleporter on Hemmorhage without having to lead my shots. This was never possible on Valhalla, Sandtrap, or any Halo 3 maps. Imagine if you could camp on the dune of Sandtrap and pick people off across the map! It would have broken the map completely!

In Reach, a team can win the entire game without even thinking about power weapons. Why? The DMR. The DMR has infinite range, and can be aimed with some skill, across any map in matchmaking. It also tears through vehicles like tissue paper (another thing not present in H3). The DMR IS a power weapon. Give it to a well coordinated team, and it’s an easy win as well.

Remakes: Remaking a map works well between some games. It really does. Between Midship and Heretic, yes there was some change, but it still felt like Midship to me. That is because of H2&3’s weapon sandbox. Here is the remake that should have never happened.

Hemmorhage/Blood Gulch: I know, fighting in a canyon… Classic Halo. The open style of this map worked great for Halo 1. But the pistol did not have any of the range of the DMR. An open map generally worked well in Halo 1, 2, and 3. However, given the DMR, any open map with little cover instantly becomes a standstill. Players rarely go through the middle of the map, and those that do get slaughtered. When players cant use the middles of the map for infantry movement, the games, especially objective, become stagnant. I am not hating on Reach. I just think that the way it was made could have been better thought out.

Solution: The easiest solution for this would be to keep looking for community maps that offer cover throughout the entire thing, but don’t detract from vehicular gameplay. An example of a map like this would be [Abridged](http://www.bungie.net/Stats/Reach/FileDetails.aspx?fid=24263484&player=Schmittler 5000) (Schmittler 5000). This map is balanced well between infantry, vehicular, flying, close, mid, and long range combat.
Thanks for reading… Feel free to comment with your opinion :slight_smile:

so your saying map/weapon control is broken because of the DMR?
and that vehicular combat is unneeded because of the destructive capabilities of said weapon?!

I. LOVE. YOU

Eh… I think vehicular combat is a great facet to matchmaking. Thats why I love BTB so much. But the DMR ruins this because a communicating team can put a vehicle down in seconds.

I stopped reading when you said the DMR is hitscan and the BR wasn’t.

H2 BR was hitscan, H3 BR was not.
Also, the H2 BR had virtually no spread (it was pretty much the Zero Bloom DMR but 3 round burst, 4 shot kill, with a slower rate of fire).

> Eh… I think vehicular combat is a great facet to matchmaking. Thats why I love BTB so much. But the DMR ruins this because a communicating team can put a vehicle down in seconds.

That’s a problem I have with Halo Reach’s big team battle. The vechiles are too weak. If the DMR was weakened spawn killing with the banshee would be even easier than it is now. (It relly annoys me how the banshee bomb is so powerfull that the canons are never used)
To the OP. I agree with what yousaid about abridged. That is one of my favorite big team maps.

> > Eh… I think vehicular combat is a great facet to matchmaking. Thats why I love BTB so much. But the DMR ruins this because a communicating team can put a vehicle down in seconds.
>
> That’s a problem I have with Halo Reach’s big team battle. The vechiles are too weak. If the DMR was weakened spawn killing with the banshee would be even easier than it is now. (It relly annoys me how the banshee bomb is so powerfull that the canons are never used)
> To the OP. I agree with what yousaid about abridged. That is one of my favorite big team maps.

That’s a problem I also have. The Banshee isn’t balanced. It’s easy to use but easy to kill. That, in my mind, isn’t balanced, because it takes no discernible skill to use or destroy. In Halo 3, it was balanced. Really good players could get upwards of Running Riots regularly, and rightly so. They’re really good. But it wasn’t overpowered in that someone’s 7-year-old brother on a Guest account would fail and be blown down in an instant after jumping in and hovering around the zone where the Enemy Laser spawned. The Banshee required Power Weapons to take down. You needed a Splaser, or a Missile Pod, or a Gauss Hog, or a Scorpion. You didn’t spawn with something that could be spammed at it and kill it.

THAT is balance. Making it easy for both sides ISN’T. Ideally the DMR would lose it’s Anti-Vehicular aspect and the Banshee Bomb’s radius would be decreased and the recharge time would be longer, also the flips would take away from the boost, meaning people can’t just flip everywhere.

^ I presume you also hate the map renegade in big team?

I have a hypothesis as to one of the bigger weapon changes. I’m not the most experienced when it comes to Slayer analysis, so I could be wrong. Grain of salt. Get one. Take it with this.

Accuracy kills open spaces on any maps. The more accurate the guns are, the less feasible it is to travel into open spaces. We see this with the zero-bloom patch, where maps that aren’t ceaseless mazes of narrow corridors become pains in the rear to play, for example.

A variety of factors served to make guns less accurate in Halo 3. Spartans had faster movement speed and were less effected by inertia, making strafing useful in lowering the effective accuracy of any given player. The guns themselves were also affected by the lack of hitscan, as you stated, OP; this made them less reliable in general, and notably less reliable under laggy conditions. So people could blame themselves (for aiming slowly) and the netcode (for not using hitscan shots).

Reach, however, seems to have really only relied on one factor across the entire sandbox: bloom. And so people only have one thing to blame for inaccuracy: the gun itself. Not themselves (“I need to get better,”) and not the netcode (“It’s an inevitable issue, so I may as well learn to deal,”), but the gun (“I’d be able to aim worth a s*** if I weren’t firing a piece of s***!”). You can see how this might lead to problems.

Removing bloom without compromising accuracy in other ways only leads to further imbalance – effectively breaking virtually all open spaces in maps. As bass-ackwards as this may sound, I think one of the major changes that Reach’s sandbox needs is inaccuracy from factors other than the guns themselves.

> I have a hypothesis as to one of the bigger weapon changes. I’m not the most experienced when it comes to Slayer analysis, so I could be wrong. Grain of salt. Get one. Take it with this.
>
> Accuracy kills open spaces on any maps. The more accurate the guns are, the less feasible it is to travel into open spaces. We see this with the zero-bloom patch, where maps that aren’t ceaseless mazes of narrow corridors become pains in the rear to play, for example.
>
> A variety of factors served to make guns less accurate in Halo 3. Spartans had faster movement speed and were less effected by inertia, making strafing useful in lowering the effective accuracy of any given player. The guns themselves were also affected by the lack of hitscan, as you stated, OP; this made them less reliable in general, and notably less reliable under laggy conditions. So people could blame themselves (for aiming slowly) and the netcode (for not using hitscan shots).
>
> Reach, however, seems to have really only relied on one factor across the entire sandbox: bloom. And so people only have one thing to blame for inaccuracy: the gun itself. Not themselves (“I need to get better,”) and not the netcode (“It’s an inevitable issue, so I may as well learn to deal,”), but the gun (“I’d be able to aim worth a s*** if I weren’t firing a piece of s***!”). You can see how this might lead to problems.
>
> Removing bloom without compromising accuracy in other ways only leads to further imbalance – effectively breaking virtually all open spaces in maps. As bass-ackwards as this may sound, I think one of the major changes that Reach’s sandbox needs is inaccuracy from factors other than the guns themselves.

Good thinking. I agree with you.

> > I have a hypothesis as to one of the bigger weapon changes. I’m not the most experienced when it comes to Slayer analysis, so I could be wrong. Grain of salt. Get one. Take it with this.
> >
> > Accuracy kills open spaces on any maps. The more accurate the guns are, the less feasible it is to travel into open spaces. We see this with the zero-bloom patch, where maps that aren’t ceaseless mazes of narrow corridors become pains in the rear to play, for example.
> >
> > A variety of factors served to make guns less accurate in Halo 3. Spartans had faster movement speed and were less effected by inertia, making strafing useful in lowering the effective accuracy of any given player. The guns themselves were also affected by the lack of hitscan, as you stated, OP; this made them less reliable in general, and notably less reliable under laggy conditions. So people could blame themselves (for aiming slowly) and the netcode (for not using hitscan shots).
> >
> > Reach, however, seems to have really only relied on one factor across the entire sandbox: bloom. And so people only have one thing to blame for inaccuracy: the gun itself. Not themselves (“I need to get better,”) and not the netcode (“It’s an inevitable issue, so I may as well learn to deal,”), but the gun (“I’d be able to aim worth a s*** if I weren’t firing a piece of s***!”). You can see how this might lead to problems.
> >
> > Removing bloom without compromising accuracy in other ways only leads to further imbalance – effectively breaking virtually all open spaces in maps. As bass-ackwards as this may sound, I think one of the major changes that Reach’s sandbox needs is inaccuracy from factors other than the guns themselves.
>
> Good thinking. I agree with you.

> I stopped reading when you said the DMR is hitscan and the BR wasn’t.
>
> H2 BR was hitscan, H3 BR was not.
> Also, the H2 BR had virtually no spread (it was pretty much the Zero Bloom DMR but 3 round burst, 4 shot kill, with a slower rate of fire).

If you read the OP again more carefully you will see that he was describing the transition from the H3 BR to the DMR.

I would say a hitscan weapon is feasible when you have two of the three factors that make up accuracy.

  1. The weapon itself, if the weapon is perfectly accurate all the time, but low aim assist and magnetism, there can actually be less of an advantage because the shot will only go in the exact middle of the reticle, (ie the Halo CE pistol, though it is not hitscan).

  2. cover, if there is lots of cover for players to move to and from, the hitscan advantage is also cut down because players can quickly hide and wait for some way to gain the upper-hand.

  3. player traits, in my opinion the most important one, as a player with higher run/strafe speed and jump height is invariably harder to get a bead on, particularly with a low amount of aim assist and bullet magnetism.

Reach only really has the first point in the vanilla game: guns are not perfectly accurate all the time. Either maps had more cover or players were themselves harder to actually hit, then I think Reach would be a better game, that’s why Halo 2 was fun even with the hitscan BR.

Cudos to the OP for the note about vehicle damage, I too have felt they were far too weak to be taken seriously as of now.

Vehicle combat is so lackingin Reach, maybe bcause vehicles in this game explode if they run over a pothole…

I miss the Epic large BTB warfare on Halo 3 with all the “heavy” variants of the maps, so awesome.

Reach is so infantry focused I feel asif there is only half a halo multiplayer in matchmaking.

The Halo: Reach Sandbox is by far the most balanced out of any of the games, so that’s not really an issue.

But, the whole DMR is used for cross map sniping thing doesn’t really hold up. On all maps in Halo 2/3/Reach, it happened. The only game that had a good deterrent to it was Reach (Halo 3 is second though, because of the lack of hitscan and slight spread of the bullets). Bloom forces players to shoot much slower at very long distances.

The entire game’s balance is based on bloom, and much like DavidJCobb said, if you alter bloom you better damn sure be altering the rest of the default gameplay as well. Every gun/players/AA/map is going to need some changes to make up for no bloom. And I just don’t see that happening, so the entire core playerbase is getting the shaft so a few thousand people can have no bloom variants that are massively imbalanced. (Also, to DavidJCobb, in past games the inaccuracy was due to the gun because of the spread/recoil associated with it, also guns in past games “seemed” more accurate because of the massive aim assist associated with the games, they had different flaws that’s for sure)

Oh and for the vehicle complaint, they are FINE. They are still incredibly powerful. They can still be used to win easily with a skilled Wraith/Warthog driving around.

I don’t see the massive difference… The only thing I do see, however, is that vehicles actually have some sort of counter besides power weapons. It was ridiculously, and I MEAN RIDICULOUSLY, imbalanced in Halo 2/3 when you’d spawn with an SMG and be smack dab in the middle of a field against a Warthog that you could literally do almost no damage to.

The DMR provides some sort of counterbalance to the vehicle’s already very strong armor… Players who don’t see that something needed to be done must have been bad with vehicles or something. They were almost unstoppable, now they’re still incredibly strong but with a little bit more balance to them.

Just checked a few statistics from Bungie.net, and I really don’t think anyone here has the basis to say the vehicles needed to stay at the same strength.

Blondbassist, you don’t have any vehicles in your top ten used, and you only have a couple hundred kills with vehicles total. Don’t really have too much insight.

FlyingTrenberth, you hardly ever use vehicles as well. Only a few hundred kills here or there in Halo 3/Reach.

Wumpa Warrior, same thing. you hardly ever use vehicles, but you have a little bit more experience than the two above, you still don’t even match my kills with the Banshee in Halo 3 alone. (I don’t think all of you three’s total vehicle kills match my Banshee kills alone…)

Compared to my own statistics from Halo 3/Reach, and basically ONLY playing Big Team Battle/Invasion, I do believe I have a pretty good amount of insight into vehicle balanced compared to most.

And it definitely has improved with Halo: Reach, without a doubt.

I completely support the reconfiguration of Reach’s DMR. The weapon is far too effective against every item in the sandbox whatever the scenario. Honestly, I’d really like to see its Beta version return (12 rounds) with a subtle decrease on its vehicle damage output. Perhaps then, gamers would start playing smarter and more conservatively with their utility weapon. Maybe, just maybe, gamers might even remember how to aim at the occupants of a vehicle instead of constantly spamming their precision weapons into the object.

While we’re on the topic of vehicles, plasma weapons and automatics should do more damage to the actual vehicles than precision rifles. Plasma could have the ability to shred armor the most effectively with automatics maintaining a close second. Do you remember Halo 3’s SMG? It destroyed vehicles up close. The more rounds one can fire onto the vehicle, the better off they will be. If users of precision weapons are aiming for a vehicles occupants however, that’s another story. Bottom line, the DMR should not be as detrimental to vehicles as it currently is. Allow me to elaborate on a few more points brought up by another community member.

> The Halo: Reach Sandbox is by far the most balanced out of any of the games, so that’s not really an issue.

With the exception of Halo: CE and its single overpowered weapon, I can agree with this statement. Reach’s sandbox is the closest Halo title we have had, in terms of balance, since Halo: CE. I’d argue that the weapons in the Beta, except the AR, were balanced far better than what shipped upon launch. That, however, is a personal opinion.

> But, the whole DMR is used for cross map sniping thing doesn’t really hold up. On all maps in Halo 2/3/Reach, it happened. The only game that had a good deterrent to it was Reach (Halo 3 is second though, because of the lack of hitscan and slight spread of the bullets). Bloom forces players to shoot much slower at very long distances.
>
> The entire game’s balance is based on bloom, and much like DavidJCobb said, if you alter bloom you better damn sure be altering the rest of the default gameplay as well. (etc…)

Your bloom critique is spot on. All I take issue with, is your remark about the DMR and its usage. Since the DMR is the most easily utilizable and effective weapon in the sandbox, it is constantly overused. Unlike its earlier counterparts, the DMR was given the bloom attribute, as you said, to help regulate its usage. The problem is, Reach’s DMR is by far the most effectively versatile precision weapon to date. It may not be the fastest killing precision weapon in the Halo franchise, but outside of bloom, there is not a single, real, engagement in which the weapon is guaranteed a loss.

In mid-long range engagements, use the DMR and maybe a grenade. Against opponents using CQB tactics and weapons, back peddle and DMR. Is sprint or evade ruining your day? Melee and DMR! Hey, look over there at that enemy tank and Banshee! DMR… You see the picture. The weapon is far too powerful.

I’ll happily participate in a sandbox with a precision weapon similar to Halo 3’s BR, (reduced scope, lack of hit scan, and minimal vehicle damage) over the current DMR setup in any Halo game. I’d even go as far to say Halo 3: ODST’s Covenant Carbine was the most balanced precision weapon out of the bunch (second to the Beta DMR if we count that weapon). Are those the ideal solutions for Reach’s DMR or other games? I don’t think so, but that discussion is for another time.

> Oh and for the vehicle complaint, they are FINE. They are still incredibly powerful. They can still be used to win easily with a skilled Wraith/Warthog driving around.
>
> I don’t see the massive difference… The only thing I do see, however, is that vehicles actually have some sort of counter besides power weapons. (etc…)

Not to be rude, but us Wheelmen (and women) don’t need vehicle kills to show our prowess in any vehicle. It’s all about the positioning, tactics, and support provided to our team/gunner(s). Take it from a lifelong designated driver, veteran of Halo: CE; Reach’s vehicles fall victim to far too much damage from the DMR and on some occasions the UNSC Sniper.

There is absolutely no reason a precision weapon (DMR), utilizing a current NATO round, should do more damage than all other non-power weapons. This is even more baffling when we consider how ineffective other categorically similar sandbox items, such as another rifle firing the same round at a faster rate of fire, and plasma weaponry that can melt armor and shields, truly are. Something is not quite right…

-Always Hope